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Gov. Youngkin calls for transparency on attempted 'breach' at Quantico

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By Sarah Roderick-Fitch
The Center Square

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin is demanding answers from President Joe Biden’s administration following attempts by foreign nationals to “gain unauthorized access” to Virginia military installations, including the U.S. Marine Corps headquarters at Quantico.

The governor is “formally requesting” that the White House and federal government immediately provide him and his public safety and homeland security team with a “full briefing.”

As first reported by Potomac Local News, on May 3 two Jordanian foreign nationals driving a box truck attempted to “breach” a gate at Quantico. It came five days after a fatal incident at Fort Story in Virginia Beach.

In a letter to the president, the governor indicates that one of the individuals at Quantico is “believed to have entered California illegally from Mexico.” Youngkin added that the individual “was served a notice to appear before an immigration judge but was ultimately released.”

Youngkin says the second individual “is believed to have entered the United States on a student visa, which was terminated in January 2023 due to failure to maintain enrollment.”

On April 28 at Fort Story, an “undisclosed driver” sped through an entrance gate on the base and crashed into a hydraulic barricade,” sparking a fire, killing the driver. Youngkin said the incident was confirmed to news outlets, but that “federal officials remain silent” on providing information relating to the identity, including “national origin and immigration status of the assailant.”

Youngkin chastises the federal government for not providing “adequate information,” describing the lack of transparency as “disturbing.” 

“The attempted breach at Quantico and the federal government’s silence on the immigration status of the individuals involved reiterates the gravity of your failure to secure the southern border and to provide state governments notice of illegal migrant legal relocations so I can protect the safety of all Virginians,” Youngkin wrote.

The latest security breach at Quantico follows a troubling audit report from the U.S. Department of Defense Inspector General released in January 2022 regarding the housing of nearly 4,000 Afghan refugees on the base following the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021.

The report found that Task Force Quantico personnel “did not have controls in place to ensure the accountability of the 3,755 Afghan evacuees under their supervision. As of Sept. 27, 2021, there were no additional accountability checks of Afghan evacuees after initially documenting names upon their arrival,” according to the audit.

The report noted that personnel “relied on Afghan leaders and interagency partners to inform the Command when individuals went missing or did not show up for scheduled appointments.”

Personnel admitted that “without proper accountability of personnel, it was difficult for TF Quantico personnel to determine if any Afghan evacuees were missing in an emergency or other unexpected events.”

In addressing concerns about the proper vetting of Afghan refugees in the commonwealth, Youngkin criticized the president’s “unforgivable evacuation of our allies,” troops, and “others.” He added that he thought “the team did a very good job of understanding who was coming" while expressing concern for unanswered questions about who was being brought into the country.

“This gets back to the fact that governors across the country deserve to know who is being brought into our states so that we can do our jobs,” Youngkin told The Center Square. "And to me this is part of the failure of the Biden administration in making sure that governors are well equipped to fulfill our responsibilities and that's the note who is in our states, and therefore we can react in order to keep Virginians in this case, safe."

In addition to the Marine Corps, Quantico is also home to the FBI Academy and five military investigative agencies. The base is critical to military and federal law enforcement training.

Youngkin added, “An attempted breach of this critical operation poses threats to national security and so too to citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

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