FBI Director: ‘Not Familiar’ With Case of Colombian National on Terror Watch List Apprehended 2 Weeks After Crossing Southern Border

(CNSNews.com) – FBI Director Christopher Wray testified Wednesday that he’s not familiar with the case of a Colombian national caught by DHS and released into the U.S. for two weeks before the FBI determined he was on the terrorist watch list and had him arrested.

As CNSNews.com reported, Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.) told Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” on Wednesday about the case. He said that it took the Biden administration “two weeks for some unexplained reason for them to go and arrest him when they found him in Florida. So it just goes to show you that they do not have operational control [of the border].”

During a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies hearing, Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) asked Wray, “I’d like to turn to another case now that’s at our southern border, specifically a national named Isnardo Garcia Amato, who recently crossed our southern border, and who was flagged by the FBI Terrorist Screening Center. He was released by Border Patrol agents into the United States on April 18. 

“Then on April the 21st, three days after his release, the FBI alerted the Department of Homeland Security that this man was on the terrorist watch list. You’d think that DHS would then immediately arrested this person. Yet, despite knowing that a suspected terrorist had been released into the United States, the leadership of the Department of Homeland Security didn’t even authorize ICE to arrest him until two week later,” he said.

“He was in Florida at that time. So this Colombian national who was caught by DHS and then released into the United States before the FBI determined that he was on the terrorist watch list. Is that your understand as well?” the senator asked.


WRAY: I will confess, Senator, that I’m not sure I’m familiar with the specific case. It has a vague ring of familiarity from something I’ve been briefed on, but I think I would have to circle back to you, which I’m happy to do.

HAGERTY: I’d appreciate that. You can see my concern though. I guess my broader question is in your view if this were to happen, does that jeopardize American safety to catch and release border crossers before the FBI has had the opportunity to make that determination as to whether or not they’re terrorists?

WRAY: Well certainly, I think we need to have close lash-up between FBI agents on the Joint Terrorism Task Force, especially on the border states with their DHS counterparts who have a very tough job those folks, CBP folks down on the line there that I’ve met with, and they usually have people designated on our task forces, which is designed in part to prevent some of the slippage.

HAGERTY: I’d say that slippage is a great concern. Even further concerning is DHS taking two weeks after receiving information from the FBI to actually notify ICE to arrest a person. Does that concern you as well as slippage that could again endanger American safety?

WRAY: I certainly understand the concern. I think I would need to kind of drill in further on the facts and make sure I’ve got the full context.

HAGERTY: I would appreciate that, and also when you come back to me, if you could let me know how many border crossers that are on the National Terrorist List. I’m deeply concerned about this. When I went to the border myself a couple of— about six weeks ago, I was informed that 157 different nationalities have been apprehended at our southern border in the past year. That’s a deep, deep national security concern, and I would very much appreciate your following up with me in terms of what’s known and also if you have any estimates on what’s not known because I would think that’s a greater concern. Are those people that are coming here using the border as Senator Moran talked about for some very nefarious purposes.


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