Ben Carson clarified his comments regarding drone strikes on the U.S./Mexico border, saying, “There are caves that they utilize, and those caves can be eliminated. There are a number of possibilities, and that could be one of them. I am not talking about killing people. No people with drones.”
Carson, appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, said “it seems like we have not only the cartels there to deal with and the drug smugglers, and the people smugglers, but we the federal government which is not being helpful over the last couple of years.”
Jim Acosta: And let me ask you about something said early this week. You said that the United States should consider using drone strikes to secure the border with Mexico. What did you mean by a that? Obviously, drones are used for surveillance along the border. Are you talk about taking drone strikes at the U.S./Mexico border?
Ben Carson: It was quite clear what I was talking about. I said that drones are excellent for surveillance. You know, along that border, we have miles and miles of fences, and, you know, I went there last week and didn’t see any Border Patrol people and those fences are so easy to scale. It is almost like not having a fence there. So drones can help with the surveillance, and no way did I suggest that drones be used to kill people. And I said that to the media at the time. I said you guys, some of you are going to go out and say that Carson wants to use drones to kill people on the border, and how ridiculous, at some point, I hope that at some point we have some responsible media which actually focus on the problem. We have a huge security risk there, and talking to some of the sheriffs down there on the border, Sheriff Babeu, Sheriff Daniels and some of the other law enforcement agencies down there, and listen to frustration, and you have them on the show, and have them talk about what is going on down there, and it seems like we have not only the cartels there to deal with and the drug smugglers, and the people smugglers, but we the federal government which is not being helpful over the last couple of years, and they have released 67,000 of those people.
Acosta: But Dr. Carson.
Acosta: But Dr. Carson, there were some reports that said that you were at the very least considering drone strikes on cartels down there on the border and you are saying under no circumstances would you use drones for military purposes along the border of the U.S./Mexico border? No drone strikes whatsoever?
Carson: That’s a total lie. What I said that, it is possible that a drone could be used to destroy the caves that are utilized to hide people. You know those need to be gotten rid of.
Acosta: To hide immigrants or hide? Who would be hidden in the caves? Where are the caves?
Carson: The scouts and the people who are facilitating all of the illegal activities. Those caves are evident. And I hope that you have some of the sheriffs in there, and they can show you the pictures. They can show you what is going on there. We are not getting the support from the federal government to deal with these people, they are being outgunned and 66 percent of that border is not under our control.
Acosta: Ok but I just want to make sure we button this down, so you’re saying that in some instances you are going to advocate using drone strikes to take out cartels that are bringing migrants across the border. Is that what you are talking about? Wouldn’t there be some instances where perhaps innocent people might get killed?
Carson: Please. please listen. Read my lips. Listen carefully to what I am saying. I said there are caves. There are caves that they utilize, and those caves can be eliminated. There are a number of possibilities, and that could be one of them. I am not talking about killing people. No people with drones.
Acosta: You would take out the caves themselves, and make sure that the caves are empty and then drone them?
Carson: I think that is — I made that very clear. I also made it very clear that we have excellent military people, and military strategists, and we have to get them involved. We have National Guard, and why are they called the National Guard.