Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy challenged press secretary Jen Psaki directly over the 42 suspected terrorists who may have been released into the United States after illegally crossing the southern border.

The information came to light during a hearing late last week when Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH) pressed Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on the status of 42 people from the Terror Watch List or the no-fly list who had been apprehended at the border.

Mayorkas said during that exchange that he could not account for the disposition of each of the 42 names on that list — meaning that he could not say whether or not any of them had been released into the United States after being encountered at the border.

The DHS Secretary attempted to clean up those remarks during an appearance with anchor Bret Baier on “Fox News Sunday,” saying that he did, in fact, know where they were. He went on to say that because they could be the subjects of ongoing law enforcement activity, he could not elaborate further on their whereabouts.

Doocy pressed Psaki on the matter during Monday’s briefing, asking why the person charged with protecting the United States — presumably by controlling who was and was not released into the interior of the country — couldn’t say exactly where suspected terrorists were at any given time.

“The DHS Secretary is now talking about people on the terrorist watchlist crossing the border into the U.S. and he says, ‘We know where those 42 are.’ Why isn’t he saying, ‘We know where those 42 are: They’re in jail!’” Doocy challenged.

Psaki referred Doocy to the Department of Homeland Security, telling him that he should ask them directly if he wanted “more follow-up details” on Mayorkas’ comments.

“So then what is the President’s priority? Would it be stopping potential terrorist attacks or letting these migrants come in?” Doocy continued, going on to draw a comparison to the relatively small number of terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks just over two decades earlier.

“But if it takes 19 people to carry out the September 11 attacks. What do you guys think 42 people on the terrorist watchlist might be capable of?” he asked.

“Again, Peter, the number one job of the President of the United States, the Vice President, and certainly the Secretary of Homeland Security is to keep the American people safe,” Psaki pushed back, arguing that the fact that they had identified 42 people from the Terror Watch List was “an indicator” that they were doing their jobs effectively.

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