Biden Administration Defies Lawmakers on Jordanian Quantico Base Attack

Furious lawmakers promise it isn't over

By Todd Bensman on June 25, 2024

Republican lawmakers have lodged five deadline information requests to President Biden’s Department of Homeland Security for information that would enlighten the American public about a Jordanian border-crosser’s May 3 truck-ramming attack on the Quantico Marine Corps Base in northern Virginia along with a co-conspirator here on a student visa.

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has stiff-armed every one of them with a silent treatment that has infuriated Republican lawmakers who regard the thwarted Quantico truck attack as having propelled the out-of-control Southwest Border mass migration crisis, now in its fourth year, to a top-tier national security matter requiring urgent redress.

The border-crosser was one of two Jordanians claiming to be Amazon deliverymen who drove a large box truck to the base’s front gate and then hit the gas when diverted for investigation and despite “halt” orders. Marine sentries hit a button that deployed road obstructions, thwarting the Virginia base attack, then arrested the pair and turned them over to immigration officers.

Rep. Mark Green, chairman of the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee, which sent an information request with a June 6 deadline, seemed to suggest that subpoenas might be coming next, as did at least one other congressman.

“It’s not surprising that Secretary Mayorkas and other top Biden officials don’t want to tell us the truth about what happened at Quantico, but the fact is, they don’t have a choice,” Rep. Green told the New York Post. “I am tired of this administration stonewalling every investigation into its unlawful, irresponsible, and disastrous policies and decisions.”

“We have given these departments plenty of opportunity to respond to our requests for documents to which we, as well as the people we represent, have a right — and we are going to get them. Whether they are compelled to provide them will be up to the Biden administration.”

The committee’s May 23 letter to Mayorkas, as well as to FBI Director Christopher Wray and U.S. Department of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, asked for the names of the two Jordanian attackers, one of whom reportedly crossed the southern border only a month prior and the other a student visa violator. The committee then wanted all records, text messages, internal memoranda, and guidance that would reveal any motive behind the attack, plus how the border-crosser got in and was handled by DHS before the attack, and what has happened to him and his accomplice since.

The DHS Office of Public Affairs did not respond to an emailed request for comment about the agency’s failure to respond to so many lawmakers’ requests.

Other House and Senate Republican lawmakers also demanded answers on deadline about a terrorism motive and details about the Jordanian attackers, including a group of 12 led by Texas Rep. Chip Roy, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, and the office of Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin. The Biden administration has dissed Youngkin’s urgent information request, too. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham fired off one on behalf of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Republican minority, albeit with an “as soon as possible” deadline.

Biden officials have parried not just those information requests, but every media inquiry ever since the attack, even at a White House press conference, leaving the American public in the dark about what happened and no doubt hoping interest would fade before the November 5 presidential election, which polls show may hinge on high negative voter sentiment about Biden’s border crisis.

The letter spearheaded by Rep. Roy, whose district partly runs along the Southwest Border, set a June 6 deadline seeking motive and immigration information about the Jordanians. The Texan is hot under the collar about it.

“The leadership at DHS has no interest in answering questions from Congress about terrorists, criminals, and fentanyl pushers flooding our country because they don’t have any,” an angry Rep. Roy told the Post, two weeks after the deadline came and went. “So they ignore us because there are no consequences with a Congress hell-bent on funding them.”

The House Judiciary Committee’s June 6 deadline came and went without apparent response, too. A border state congressman who sits on the committee told the Post the committee should compel testimony next.

“I think we need to bring them on in to answer questions publicly,” Arizona Republican Andy Biggs said. “They don’t want this out there. But I want the answers. The American people should get the answers and Congress should get the answers. We need to understand how this happened, what their intentions were, for the public to know and for law enforcement to know. Everyone needs to know this for how to best protect America.”

Texas Republican Rep. Brian Babbin, another border-state lawmaker, who authored yet another ignored letter signed by eight other members seeking information about border-crossing terrorism intelligence failures, had heard nothing by their June 21 deadline.

“Biden spent three-and-a-half years chumming the water — now the sharks are here,” a frustrated Babbin told the Post. “Biden is deliberately enabling the next 9/11-style attack on U.S. soil.”

Recipients of congressional information request letters are not legally bound to answer them, even though lawmakers are constitutionally bound to provide oversight of the executive branch, but ignoring such requests does thwart Congress’s required duty, said George Fishman, a Center for Immigration Studies fellow who formerly served as chief counsel for the House Judiciary Committee's immigration subcommittee. Congressional committees can therefore subpoena executive branch officials who have gone dark and possibly compel testimony by withholding appropriations or even conducting impeachment proceedings, he said.

“In order for congress to fulfil its constitutional duty, it needs information from the administration to know if the laws are working or need to be fixed,” Fishman said. “The withholding of information is impeding Congress’s ability to effectively do its job.”

Meanwhile, executive lips will remain sealed about this fundamentally bipartisan national security threat issue even though Green’s homeland security committee has fired off at least one new letter demanding information about border-crossing terrorist suspects, this one about an early June FBI-led counterterrorism sting operation that rolled up eight Tajikistan nationals who’d crossed the southern border. No doubt, mum will be the word on that one, too.