UPDATED: Sheriff says U.S. alone in not securing borders with military
Speaking to his hometown newspaper, a Texas sheriff warned of possible enemies inching into the state from Mexico.
A Midland Reporter-Telegram news story posted online May 10, 2015 — in the wake of the Islamic State group claiming credit for a failed attack on a Garland, Texas, contest to draw cartoons of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad — quoted Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter saying he had no doubt ISIS has "contacts in Mexico supporting them. They’re a huge threat," Painter said, "because it is an avenue of approach to get into the U.S."
Our eyes clamped on what Painter said next: "We’re the only nation in the world that does not use the military to secure our border. We’re not serious about it."
By phone, Painter told us the United States is one of the few nations in the world not using the military to secure the border. He said he based his declaration on news reports showing military forces on the borders of other countries. "All you’ve got to do is look at the news on TV," Painter said. "You see it." He said he didn’t remember which countries he saw on those news reports.
In fact, we soon learned, the sheriff was incorrect about the U.S. being alone in not using the military to secure its borders. Indeed, his claim shook out as not so and ridiculous--Pants on Fire.
Canada, members of the European Union, the United Kingdom and other countries, like the U.S., primarily rely on civil border patrol and customs agencies, though military units are enlisted to assist.
After our story was published, we thought that Painter tweeted: ".@PolitiFactTexas my pants may be on fire, but last I checked, Midland is still ISIS free." We then retweeted. However, a reader pointed out today, that wasn't Painter tweeting at all; the Twitter account is even labeled a parody account. So that's our error.
CORRECTION, 11:52 a.m. June 18, 2015: We erred in our first post of this story by suggesting the Midland County sheriff had commented on our fact check via Twitter. This story has been revised to say the tweet in question came from a parody account. Also, the story has been rewritten to focus on our fact check and not the fake response.