CBP deletes release about migrants on terrorism watch list over ‘national security’ concerns

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US Customs and Border Protection officials removed a press release from their website that announced the arrest of two Yemeni nationals on the terrorism watchlist who’d illegally crossed the border this year. 

Officials deleted the release because it “was not properly reviewed and contained certain disclosure and policy information related to national security,” CBP spokesman Justin Long told The Post Tuesday.

The press release, which is archived online on Wayback Machine, was originally published Monday but is no longer accessible on CBP’s website. When its link is clicked, readers are sent to a page that says “Access Denied” and “You are not authorized to access this page.” It’s not clear when the release was removed.

The deleted release states that US Border Patrol agents from CBP’s El Centro sector in Southern California apprehended two Yemeni men in January and March that were found to be on the FBI’s terrorism watch list and the federal No-Fly list. 

The release included two images of the men with black bars over their eyes. 

The first man, a 33-year-old who is unidentified, was arrested on January 29 around 1:10 a.m. about three miles west of the Calexico Port of Entry, about two hours east of San Diego, the archived release states. 

When agents searched the man and conducted record checks on him, they found he had a sim card stashed underneath the insole of his shoe and was on the FBI’s Terrorism Watch List and the No-Fly list.

CBP said in the archived release the man was transferred to the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which is in charge of deporting people back to their home countries. 

The second incident occurred on March 30 around 11:30 p.m. when agents arrested a 26-year-old unidentified man about two miles west of the same port of entry and realized he was on the same federal security lists, the removed release states. 

CBP said the man was being held in federal custody “pending removal.” 

“Part of the Border Patrol’s mission states we will protect the country from terrorists,” Chief Patrol Agent Gregory K. Bovino boasted in the since-removed release.

“Today, like every other day, our agents did that. These apprehensions at our border illustrates the importance of our mission and how we can never stop being vigilant in our everyday mission to protect this great country.”

When pressed by The Post to elaborate on the apparent security snafu, a CBP spokesperson punted.

“It is CBP’s policy not to confirm status on any investigative, law enforcement or national security list,” the spokesperson said.

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