Columbian officials have broken up a fake passport ring they say had ties to al-Qaida and Hamas terrorist organizations. The DHS and DOJ say not. Read more after the jump...

Colombian officials said the gang allegedly supplied an unknown number of citizens from Pakistan, Jordan, Iraq Egypt and other countries with false passports and Colombian nationality without them ever setting foot in the country.

An undisclosed number of those arrested are wanted for working with the al-Qaida terror network and the militant Palestinian group Hamas, said acting Attorney General Jorge Armando Otalora.

The counterfeit Colombian, Spanish, Portugese and German passports were used to enter the United States and Europe, he said.

Homeland Security and the Justice Department say the group had no terrorist ties and were working for FARC:

In Washington, however, Justice and Homeland Security officials were surprised by the announcement of the investigation, which they said involved people posing as members of Colombia's largest rebel army, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC — not al-Qaida or Hamas.


But Justice Department spokesman Bryan Sierra said an indictment unsealed Wednesday in Miami charges 10 foreign nationals with smuggling "people that they thought were members of FARC into the United States."

"We are not alleging any connections to any terror organization other than the FARC," said Justice Department spokesman Bryan Sierra.

He said the U.S. will seek to extradite the 10 alleged smugglers, of whom eight have been arrested.

"The operation was, in fact, a sting operation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement," he said, adding that Colombian law enforcement were "an active and critical part" of the investigation.

Seems odd that U.S. and Columbian officials were working together but can't agree on who these people are or who they work for. The article does mention that four Jordanians were arrested.

Anyway, this seems pretty frightening. It's a reminder how easy it is for a determined enemy to enter the U.S. It's also a reminder that current U.S. policy says terrorism is not an intelligence or law enforcement problem, but rather a military problem. Maybe that has something to do with the DHS and DOJ reaction. Otherwise, I guess we'd have to make plans for invading Columbia?


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