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What's The Point Of Rick Perry's 'ISIS In U.S.' Warning?

During a speech at the Heritage Foundation Thursday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry warned ISIS militants might have crossed into the U.S. already.
Posted at 10:40 AM, Aug 22, 2014

Just days after he was booked at a Texas courthouse on charges of abusing his authority, Texas Gov. Rick Perry shifted his focus to the border Thursday with this ominous prediction about terrorists crossing into the U.S. at the southern border.

RICK PERRY, C-SPAN: "Individuals from ISIS or other terrorist states could be, and I think that it's a very real possibility that they may have already used that."

Perry was one of many to voice his concerns about the growing terrorist threat in Iraq and Syria after giving a border security speech at the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation. And he didn't stop at a warning.

Perry also said the U.S. should increase airstrikes, send more special operations forces into the area and give Kurdish forces the weapons they need to fight ISIS, which now refers to itself as the Islamic State. (Video via Euronews)

Now, Perry did stress that he has "no clear evidence" that individuals with ISIS or any other group have illegally crossed into the U.S.

And U.S. officials confirmed to CNN they've seen no indication that ISIS militants are coming across the border, though they have expressed concern about U.S. citizens who have joined ISIS.

In the hours following his comments, many accused him of trying to capitalize on "false fear" to get people into his corner and shift attention away from his own legal woes.

But others say Perry's speech overall showed how well he's playing off his recent indictment, which he addressed during his opening remarks.

KASIE HUNT, MSNBC: "I think it showed how this indictment can play, especially with the base. I mean, people were really excited to see him. He seemed almost defiant and like he was kind of enjoying himself a little bit before he took this deep dive into all of this foreign policy with ISIS."

Perry has the support and sympathy of conservatives and liberal strategists and commentators alike since the indictment. And Politico suggests he's making the most of all the attention.

Perry pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of abusing his power Tuesday after a grand jury indicted him last Friday. He is now the first Texas governor to face criminal charges in nearly a century.

Prosecutors say he vetoed $7.5 million in state funding for a Travis County district attorney's office after the DA refused his call to resign. The DA was arrested for drunk driving last year. (Video via ABC)

But Perry, who's called the charges against him a "farce," is still considering a second run for the Republican presidential nomination. He's scheduled to make appearances in New Hampshire this weekend.

This video includes images from Getty Images and the Travis County Sheriff's Office.