Exclusive! Rep. John Culberson

Published November 21, 2005

| FoxNews.com

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," November 18, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Texas Republican Congressman John Culberson has introduced legislation to help law enforcement officials identify and to detain people who are sneaking in the U.S. illegally. He says known terrorists have recently been apprehended at our borders. And he joins us now with the details.

Representative, what are you saying when you say known terrorists? What are you talking about?

REP. JOHN CULBERSON (R), TEXAS: Well, in fact the FBI director Robert Mueller, first testified to our subcommittee in appropriations that the FBI has knowledge of individuals from countries with known Al Qaeda connections who have entered the United States leaving false Hispanic identities, pretending to be illegal immigrants and entering the country and disappearing.

I then followed that lead to the river, went to Laredo, went to the Rio Grande River, saw firsthand the War on Terror going on there. And the Hudspeth County sheriff, Arvin West, and the Brewster County, Ronnie Dodson, confirmed for me that they had an Al Qaeda terrorist, an Iraqi national who was on the FBI's terrorist list as an Al Qaeda member in the Brewster County jail. He had been apprehended by Mexican authorities, handed over by the Mexican authorities to the Hudspeth County sheriff, with whom the Mexican authorities had a good working relationship...

COLMES: What do you know about terrorist training camps along the border, along the U.S. border?

CULBERSON: Yes. In fact, the Sheriff of Cameron County, and all of the sheriffs along the border, confirm that there are today in operation, in the open, in Mexico just across from Brownsville, at least one — and probably three — narco-terrorist training camps, run by the Zetas, a paramilitary force that is the muscle and the army for the Gulf cartel. It appears there may be, the sheriffs tell me, another narco-terrorist training camp operating outside of Del Rio, about 40 miles southwest...

COLMES: What are the authorities doing about this? Are they on this? Are they on top of it? Are we doing a good enough job stopping these people from getting in? You've said they've apprehended one who may be in McNairy, Texas, I believe, in a cell.

CULBERSON: Yes. This...

COLMES: So are they doing a god job stopping these people?

CULBERSON: Well, the sheriffs are completely outnumbered and outgunned. And the border patrol, we don't have enough border patrol agents on the border.

So in a bipartisan effort to restore law and order on the border, my good friend and Democrat colleagues, Congressman Silvestre Reyes, Congressman Henry Cuellar , and a number of Republican congressmen, we authorized legislation to send money and authority to the border sheriffs. They're locally elected. They're accountable. They know the territory and the people. And they can respond the most quickly to this — what is a real national security emergency, because the border is unprotected.

These — this Al Qaeda terrorist that was in the Brewster County jail, confirmed again by the sheriff there in Brewster and Hudspeth County, was taken away by the FBI, Alan, and to an unknown location about six weeks ago.

And the border patrol congressional office confirmed for me tonight that this is not the first time that Mexican authorities have handed over an Arab from a country with known Al Qaeda connections to a local sheriff across the border. FBI picks them up and disappears and — yes, sir.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Congressman, it's Sean Hannity. I don't have a lot of time. I want to make sure I get this in. This is important.

You're saying within the last six weeks that we know for a fact that Al Qaeda terrorists have crossed our border and are in the United States? Can you say this for a fact, with a certainty?

CULBERSON: Yes. Yes. Yes, sir. And I encourage you to contact the Hudspeth County sheriff, Arvin West, Sean. I want to put him in touch — or Sheriff Ziggy Gonzalez. In particular, Arvin West from Hudspeth County, contact him. You need to put this man on the air, and let him tell you straight up. He will testify from his own experience what he goes through.

HANNITY: Are you going...

CULBERSON: And he'll testify that this guy was handed over.

HANNITY: Congressman, are you going just based on what he's telling you or are you going based on the evidence that you've seen? And do you have any other evidence to corroborate this?

CULBERSON: Both Sheriff West and Sheriff Dodson, the two sheriffs from Hudspeth and Brewster County, had this information confirmed for them by the FBI and the Department of Justice, who came down, and this guy was on the FBI's Al Qaeda list of terrorists. He was picked up and questioned. First, questioned carefully by the FBI and then picked up and taken out of the Brewster County jail.

And I just discovered tonight, Sean, the border patrol confirmed that this is not the first time that an Arab from a special interest country, a country with known Al Qaeda connections, has been handed over by the Mexicans to a local sheriff and then picked up by the FBI.

The reason you can't confirm it is the FBI won't talk about it.

HANNITY: Congressman, I have a quick question.

CULBERSON: The NBC affiliate...

HANNITY: Let me ask you the last question. We're about to have this vote tonight on the Iraq pullout and the [Rep. John] Murtha position. What is your position? We only have a second.

CULBERSON: Well, the — I'm going to vote in support of the president of the United States, our commander in chief, in keeping the troops in Iraq until the president and our military is convinced that the mission is complete.

While our troops are there in Iraq fighting the war and chewing up the terrorists over there, we do need to protect the backdoor — and that's our southern border — and give the sheriffs and our border patrol and law enforcement the money and troops they need to get out there and enforce law and order on the border.

COLMES: Congressman, we thank you for being with us tonight. Thank you, sir.

CULBERSON: Thanks.

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