If you’ve been on Twitter in the last few days you may have run across a story about a possible ISIS camp near El Paso. It was originally reported by a group called Judicial Watch, and then later caught the attention of Fox News. The report claims that writings in Arabic and Urdu have been found west of Juarez, including plans of Fort Bliss. They also claim coyotes and drug cartels are helping terrorists move into Texas.
We called up Bob Moore, Editor of the El Paso Times, who is usually on top of imminent threats in the area. He talks with the Standard about why this story isn’t what it seems.
“I don’t quite understand why an organization that purportedly has people with U.S. passports who could come and go in the country at will would choose to cross the border at its most heavily fortified point,” Moore says. “That doesn’t make much sense to me, but I guess common sense isn’t really a factor in this story at all.”
Reports like this are part of a pattern the El Paso Times has seen over this past few decades. “I asked for some volunteers to head over to Anapra, which is where ISIS supposedly has a camp and couldn’t get any volunteers,” Moore says.
Each time the story pops up again, it seems the characters get changed slightly to align with whatever the current threat is.
“Congressman Beto O’Rourke from El Paso has presented some pretty interesting research that shows that this the tale of terrorists crossing the border in preparation of an attack on the United States actually goes back to about 1981, with supposedly Libyan hit squads that were coming across the Mexican border,” he says. “So as times change there’s some change in the bad actors in there, you know for a while it was Al Qaeda and now it’s ISIS.”
While this type of story isn’t too surprising, Moore says it “really takes our eye as a country off the ball where the real threat is.”
So what’s being done to dispel the rumors?
“The Department of Homeland Security is going to have a statement coming out really soon, so we’ll pass those along and we’ll share them,” he says. “Congressman O’Rourke has taken a bit of a different approach today, instead of putting out a media statement or anything, he’s trying to use social media, which is where the real problem is. That’s where all this stuff is being spread.”
It just goes to show you, you really can’t believe everything you read on the internet.