NBC News Is Only Network To Report On Suspected ISIS Border Crosser

The catastrophe along the U.S. southern border has all but disappeared from the corporate network evening news. A recent NBC News story demonstrates why networks must still report on the border, notwithstanding that issue driving President Joe Biden’s unfavorable numbers.

Watch as NBC News correspondent Julia Ainsley describes a shocking scenario wherein an Uzbek crossed the border illegally in 2022, was released into the United States only to struggle to find him once it was known that he was a potential member of ISIS:

JULIA AINSLEY: Tonight, among the record wave of migrants crossing the southern border, a suspected ISIS member who lived freely in the U.S. for nearly two years, two U.S. officials tell NBC News. 33-year-old Jovokhir Attoev of Uzbekistan crossed into Arizona in February 2022, where he was apprehended and vetted by both Customs and Border Protection and I.C.E. He was not on the U.S. terror watchlist and he was released into the U.S., those sources tell us. Then, in May 2023, Uzbekistan put out an international alert saying that Attoev was affiliated with ISIS and wanted there. But it took nearly a year for U.S. officials to figure out the suspected ISIS member was living freely here in the U.S.

It is inconceivable that it would take the government almost a year to find a man suspected of being an actual terrorist. Compare that to the dispatch with which the government is able to locate random school board protesters, pro-life activists, or random grandmas walking the Capitol grounds on January 6th, and you begin to sense a real disconnect. 

The report leaves viewers with some uncomfortable questions: how many more suspected ISIS terrorists have crossed, unvetted, into the United States? Of those, how many are known to the government and what is being done in order to be able to track them down? There is no answer for that, which is not good given the Biden administration’s proposal to bring Gaza refugees into the United States

It is shocking that such a report would even make it to air, given the media’s propensity to cover for the administration’s failures. To their credit, NBC News reported an uncomfortable story- which is more than can be said for their competitors.

Click “expand” to view the full transcript of the aforementioned report as aired on NBC Nightly News on Wednesday, May 1st, 2024:

LESTER HOLT: We’re back with our NBC News report on the terror concerns at the U.S. border. We’ve learned a suspected ISIS member not only crossed into the U.S. illegally, he was also living here for quite some time before anyone realized it. Here’s Julia Ainsley.

JULIA AINSLEY: Tonight, among the record wave of migrants crossing the southern border, a suspected ISIS member who lived freely in the U.S. for nearly two years, two U.S. officials tell NBC News. 33-year-old Jovokhir Attoev of Uzbekistan crossed into Arizona in February 2022, where he was apprehended and vetted by both Customs and Border Protection and I.C.E. He was not on the U.S. terror watchlist and he was released into the U.S., those sources tell us. Then, in May 2023, Uzbekistan put out an international alert saying that Attoev was affiliated with ISIS and wanted there. But it took nearly a year for U.S. officials to figure out the suspected ISIS member was living freely here in the U.S. 

U.S. Officials tell us DHS made the alarming discovery after reviewing Attoev’s application for asylum. Shortly after DHS connected the dots, ICE arrested him here, in Baltimore, just two weeks ago. Former Homeland Security officials tell us his case raises red flags about the vetting process for migrants after they cross the border.

Should alarm bells be going off here?

ELIZABETH NEUMANN: We are in the midst of a really volatile threat environment. Any time I see a gap in a system like we are seeing in this case, I do have concerns. Any time you have just a massive volume of people like we do, our systems are overwhelmed and we need more resources at the southern border to properly protect the homeland.

AINSLEY: And it follows our exclusive report last month that a migrant U.S. officials say was affiliated with an Afghan terror group crossed the border and was released into the U.S. because agents lacked information to connect him to the terror watchlist. That man, Mohamed Harwin was arrested hours after our report aired. The FBI director recently alerted Congress, the agencies investigating whether ISIS has a hand in smuggling migrants across the southern border.

CHRISTOPHER WRAY: There is a particular network that has — where some of the overseas facilitators of the smuggling network have ISIS ties that we’re very concerned about.

AINSLEY: Two U.S. officials tell NBC News DHS has not yet concluded that Attoev is part of ISIS, but they are questioning him in detention. A DHS spokesperson tells us he remains in U.S. custody and there is no threat to public safety. Lester.

HOLT: Ok. Julia. Thank you.

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