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Budd, Colleagues Demand Answers After Jordanian Nationals Attempt to Breach Quantico

Washington, D.C. — Today, Senator Ted Budd (R-NC) led a group of 13 Senators to send a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas pressing the department for answers after two Jordanian nationals attempted to break into Marine Corps Base Quantico.

News reports indicate that the individuals illegally entered the United States through the southern border and are on the U.S. terrorist watch list.

The letter was co-signed by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Roger Wicker (R-MS), J.D. Vance (R-OH), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Mike Lee (R-UT), Ted Cruz, (R-TX), Rick Scott (R-FL), Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-KS), John Kennedy (R-LA), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Braun (R-IN), and John Hoeven (R-ND).

Full text of the letter:

We write to express our grave concerns regarding the recent attempt by two Jordanian nationals to break into Marine Corps Base Quantico (“Quantico”) in Virginia. This incident and a number of similar incidents in recent months are in stark contrast with your statements to Congress that the border is “secure,” “no less secure than it was previously,” “closed,” and that DHS has “operational control” of the border. The military community at Marine Corps Base Quantico and the American people deserve answers regarding the terrorism and counter-intelligence threats posed by the Biden administration’s open border policies.

As you know, on May 3, 2024, two Jordanian nationals drove up to the gate at Quantico in a box truck, posing as Amazon subcontractors, and disregarded instructions to go to a holding area for standard vetting. Instead, the pair attempted to drive directly onto the base. The pair were stopped only after base law enforcement raised barriers blocking the truck from further entry. Criminal investigators at Quantico detained the pair for trespassing and notified Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), who arrested them and placed them into custody pending removal proceedings.

According to a news report, multiple sources state that one of the individuals recently entered the U.S. via the southern border and one of the individuals is on the U.S. terrorist watch list. ICE, however, has declined to release the identities of the pair to the public.

This deeply concerning incident occurred mere weeks after a Chinese national who was in the country illegally broke into Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms on March 27. This individual attempted to enter the base without valid identification and, despite being instructed by base security to exit, proceeded onto the installation until he was caught and detained by military law enforcement.

As of September 2023, Chinese nationals have attempted to access U.S. military bases and other sensitive sites up to 100 times. In one instance, a group of Chinese nationals, claiming that they were tourists, attempted to push past guards at Fort Wainwright, a U.S. Army installation in Alaska, saying they had reservations at a commercial hotel on the base.

All of these events occur in the context of increasing U.S. Border Patrol encounters of aliens on the terrorist watchlist as well as a record number of Chinese national encounters at the southern border during the Biden administration.  In fiscal years 2017 to 2020 combined, 11 noncitizens on the terrorist watchlist were caught attempting to enter via the Southern border between ports of entry. That number increased to 15 in FY 2021, 98 in FY 2022, 169 in FY 2023, and 80 in FY 2024 as of May 15.  This attempted breach also occurs in the context of multiple accidental releases of aliens on the terrorist watchlist into the United States, such as Afghan national Mohammad Kharwin, who was allowed to roam free in the U.S. for eleven months before his capture.

Lastly, FBI Director Christopher Wray recently testified to Congress, “Now increasingly concerning is the potential for a coordinated attack here in the homeland, akin to the ISIS-K attack we saw at the Russia concert hall a couple weeks ago,” in reference to ISIS-Khorasan, that is, ISIS’s Afghan affiliate.

Due to the serious nature of these threats and the danger not just to our military installations but the American public, we request that the Department of Homeland Security brief the undersigned senators or their staff, and respond to the following questions by June 6, 2024.

  1. What are the identities of the two Jordanian nationals?    
  2. When and where did they enter the U.S. and for what purpose?
  3. Did these Jordanian nationals claim asylum?  If so, how was their asylum claim resolved?  
  4. What was the vetting process for these Jordanian nationals when they entered the U.S.?  Did DHS have information indicating that these Jordanian nationals posed a national security threat when they entered the U.S.?  Did DHS accidentally release them into the U.S.?
  5. Does DHS assess their actions were motivated by terrorism?  Do they support Hamas or another designated foreign terrorist organization?  Do they oppose U.S. support for Israel?  
  6. Was this an attack or a test run/dry run for an attack?
  7. Were weapons, explosives, or other dangerous items found either on the truck or on the persons of these Jordanian nationals?  Did they intend to use the truck itself as a weapon?
  8. How did these Jordanian nationals obtain this truck?  Did they steal this truck or obtain it under false pretenses?
  9. Did these Jordanian nationals present credentials indicating that they were Amazon subcontractors?  If so, how did they obtain these credentials?  
  10. Did these Jordanian nationals have driver’s licenses?  If so, how did they obtain them?


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