someone ring the false alarm
January 7, 2019

The numbers are in, and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is way off.

On Sunday, Sanders told Fox News' Chris Wallace that "nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists" have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border, presumably annually. But Customs and Border Protection data shows only six people on the terrorist watch list tried to cross in the first half of fiscal year 2018, NBC News reports.

If Sanders' numbers were correct, that would mean six suspected or known foreign terrorists were detained Oct. 1, 2017, through March 31, 2018, and another 3,994 were detained from then until Sept. 30, 2018.

Wallace challenged Sanders' claim on Sunday, correctly saying her statistic referred to terrorist watchlist arrivals in FY 2018 as a whole. That number largely stems from airport arrivals, and those are largely false alarms because someone merely shares a name with an actual suspect on the list, an Obama-era national security official told NBC News.

Still, Sanders maintained that terrorists were coming "by air," "by land," and "by sea." Public Justice Department data shows no one has been "arrested at the southwest border on terrorism charges in recent years," NBC News writes. Kathryn Krawczyk

See More Speed Reads