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Decorated ex-Homeland agent: Americans more vulnerable today to terrorism than before 9/11

Eric Caron cites open borders, bungled Afghan exit and less attention on ports as major vulnerabilities.

Updated: September 3, 2021 - 11:00pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

A decorated former Homeland Security agent is warning that America enters the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks more vulnerable to terrorism, saying weakened immigration and border enforcement, a messy Afghan war exit and less rigid focus on screenings at ports of entry have given enemies wide openings to strike.

"Are we safer today than we were before 9/11? Absolutely not," retired agent and author Eric Caron told Just the News. "You know, our borders are wide open. And all we talk about right now is the southern border. No one's paying attention to our northern border. And bad guys, as you know, and I know, will go whereever it's soft."

"We're not paying attention to our container ships that are coming into America," said Caron, who focused on port security and weapons of mass destruction as a Homeland Security agent assigned to Dubai in the Middle East more than a decade ago. "We have to understand our ports of entry, land ports, airports, seaports, they all need to be secure. We're more vulnerable today than we have ever been, under this administration."

Caron, who was recognized for his counterterrorism efforts with an award in 2011 by the Obama Justice Department and then-Attorney General Eric Holder, told the John Solomon Reports podcast that one of the biggest failures of the war on terror has been the inability of U.S. agencies to prevent American tax dollars from being defrauded and diverted into terror networks in places like Afghanistan.

"I tried, at my level, but we needed leadership at the highest points of our government, the White House, if you will, the State Department, they all needed to understand we needed to fight corruption and the flow of dirty money from Afghanistan into Dubai, and other parts of the world," he said. "... We failed to recognize that corruption did us in, if you will."

Caron's sentiments echo those of former congressman Lee Hamilton, a Democrat who served as cochair of the bipartisan Sept. 11 commission. Hamilton wrote an op-ed in recent days noting hat many of his commission's recommendations have yet to be implemented and that America has demonstrated a troubling inability to stop new terrorists from being groomed to take the place of those effectively killed by the military.

"The United States has also fallen short in addressing the upstream causes of terrorism," Hamilton wrote. "Our military and intelligence services are superb at finding, tracking, and eliminating terrorists. Yet it is easier to destroy threats than to rebuild societies. Prevention is less costly than military intervention, but it requires time and patient effort."

Caron said the Biden administration's bungled Afghan war exit has exacerbated the threat level, leaving the Taliban in charge of the country and able to coordinate with other criminal and terror enterprises.

"You know they're a criminal, organized international terror group, and they will exploit trade, travel and telecommunication all day long," he said. "And they will come to America. They have agents here in America. As I speak, that shouldn't be a breaking news story, but they do have agents of the Taliban, Al-Qaeda is here, Hamas is here. Hezbollah is here.

"We better wake up as a society, because time is ticking. And we're on the brink of another, the 20th, 9/11 anniversary. And you know, and I know, they love to celebrate anniversaries. And this is a great anniversary for them to celebrate, in light of what's happened in Afghanistan. Big anniversary date coming up, we better hold on to our hats and get ready because it is war."

Caron said of all the terror threats on the map — from Al-Qaeda to ISIS — "Iran poses the most serious threat to global security" as they pursue a nuclear weapon after decades of launching attacks on Saudi refineries and towers, U.S. Marine barracks, the U.S. embassy in Tehran and other Western targets

"They've been working extremely hard on developing the nuclear weapon," he said. "There's no question about that. The Biden administration thinks that they're going to try to negotiate with Iran. It's the same thing, you know, as far as trying to negotiate with the Taliban. I mean, you can't sit at the table with terrorists."