We’re just learning of another troubling incident at our own U.S. border with Mexico. Government watchdog organization Judicial Watch reports that federal law enforcement sources apprehended a Middle Eastern woman caught surveilling a U.S. port of entry along the Mexican border. She apparently had a sketchbook with drawings of the port of entry vehicle inspection area, complete with video surveillance cameras. The drawings included both Arabic and English notes.
As reported by Judicial Watch:
The woman has been identified as 23-year-old Leila Abdelrazaq, according to a Customs and Border Patrol (CPB) report obtained by JW this week. Abdelrazaq appeared to have two accomplices, a 31-year-old man named Gabriel Schivone and a 28-year-old woman named Leslie Mcafee. CBP agents noticed the trio “observing the facilities” at the Port of Mariposa in Nogales, Arizona on December 2. Schivone was first noticed inside the entrance of the pedestrian area while the two women stood outside by the entry door, the CPB document states.
When federal officers asked Abdelrazaq why she was drawing sketches of the facilities she “stated because she’s never been to the border,” according to the CBP report. Abdelrazaq resisted showing officers the sketchbook, citing personal reasons, but subsequently handed it over. “During the inspection of the Abdelrazaq sketching book, CBPOs noticed the book contained writings in English and Arabic language,” federal officers write in the document. “There were drawings of what appeared to be vehicle primary inspection area and an additional drawing of pedestrian turn stile gate depicting video surveillance cameras above the gate.” The report proceeds to reveal that the drawings were “partial and incomplete.”
Now, of course, just because a woman is Middle Eastern and writes in Arabic alone does not make her a cause for concern. But that combined with suspicious activity — what can most logically be interpreted as staking out a U.S. point of entry — is indeed alarming. C’mon, nobody buys her excuse that she was drawing a picture of the vehicle inspection area to commemorate her first time seeing the U.S. border. And, sorry, but it’s just a fact that there are a large number of people with Middle Eastern background who have declared their intent to harm us.
This distressing information comes on the heels of two separate—and equally alarming—incidents in the same vicinity. A few weeks ago JW reported that five young Middle Eastern men were apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol in Amado, an Arizona town situated about 30 miles from the Mexican border. Two of the men were carrying stainless steel cylinders in backpacks, alarming Border Patrol officials enough to call the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for backup. DHS officially denies this ever occurred, but law enforcement and other sources have confirmed to JW that the two men carrying the cylinders were believed to be taken into custody by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
A week earlier six men—one from Afghanistan, five from Pakistan—were arrested in nearby Patagonia, a quaint ranch town that sits 20 miles north of the Mexican border city of Nogales. Federal authorities publicly confirmed those arrests after local media learned about them. JW has broken a number of stories involving serious terrorist threats on the southern border that have been disputed on the record by various Obama administration officials. Among these is an April report—confirmed by high-level Mexican authorities—about ISIS operating camps near the U.S. border in areas known as Anapra and Puerto Palomas west of Ciudad Juárez in the Mexican state of Chihuahua.
Last fall JW was the first to report on an Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) plot orchestrated from Ciudad Juárez to attack the U.S. with car bombs or other vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED). As a result of JW’s reporting Ft. Bliss, the U.S. Army base in El Paso, increased security.
Given our own government’s apparent difficulty in both doing everything in its power to secure our borders and being transparent with the American people, we’re grateful to Judicial Watch’s tireless efforts to hold them accountable. And to keep us informed.
It’s interesting to note as well that this woman at the U.S. Mexico border was apprehended on December 2nd, just one day before the December 3rd San Bernardino terror attacks. As we’ve written before, it’s very possible that the San Bernardino killers were part of a larger web of terror cells in the Southern California area. Is it possible this woman who was apprehended at the border was part of a plan to bring in more jihadists to join the web? Of course, that’s pure speculation on my part at this point.
Whatever the truth is behind this particular incident, it is at the very least another chilling reminder that our border with Mexico is just another way in for people who wish to harm Americans and our way of life. And, as such, we must be vigilant in protecting it.
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]