Tag Archives: Homeland Security

How Will We Screen Out Terrorists Among Syrian Refugees?

Over the weekend, President Barack Obama announced the United States will welcome 10,000 Syrian refugees for resettlement over the next 12 months. Now, sane Americans must wonder how government officials will screen out terrorists among the refugees entering the country through refugee processing centers in almost every state.

This U.S. Department of State map shows where refugees, including those from Syria, will be sent.

This U.S. Department of State map shows where refugees, including those from Syria, will be sent.

The transcript of a State Department background briefing for reporters Sept. 9 offers some clues about how those ostensibly in charge of the nation’s foreign affairs programs — including Secretary of State John “F’n” Kerry and other left-wing political appointees — plan to ensure no members of the Islamic State and other Islamic terror groups enter the United States under the guise of being refugees. Michael Gordon of The New York Times asked the first question:

“Could you tell us, please, what the range of numbers is? You say you want to – the Secretary wants to increase the number of refugees that are admitted, so what is the range you’re looking at and what does that cost? And then it seems that part of the problem is vetting, in that the UN has submitted a list but it takes a long time to vet these people. Are you looking at committing more resources to speed up that vetting process? Thank you.”

As someone who spent four years investigating the federal government’s use of so-called credibility assessment technologies in places like Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay and Iraq, I’m more aware than most of the capabilities that exist within our defense and intelligence agencies for conducting background checks and vetting (a.k.a., “screening”) foreign nationals. That awareness makes me more than a bit interested in the response of an unidentified “senior State Department official” to Gordon’s question. It appears below with acronyms deciphered by yours truly:

“The Secretary talked about a range of different numbers, but I will not be sharing them with you today. And there was varying views within the group from the judiciary committees of the House and Senate about how receptive they were to increasing the numbers of refugees coming.

“And the process to bring refugees here is careful and deliberate, and that’s – as a result, it takes a while. It takes between 18 to 24 months between when a refugee is referred to us and when they – if approved, when they end up arriving in the United States. And a big reason for this is the care that’s put into the security vetting for them. It involves several aspects. Part of it is that every refugee has their sort of case file put together with help from organizations that we fund overseas, and then those files and the refugees’ families themselves are interviewed by someone from the Department of Homeland Security, from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. And then we also check their names against a whole series of U.S. Government databases to make sure that they’re not already in there – some sort of derogatory information about them.

“What we’re trying to do is weed out people who are liars, who are criminals, or would-be terrorists. And this is something that slows down the process and it’s taken very seriously by everyone involved in it.”

The response, especially the description of the security vetting process having “several aspects” and being “careful and deliberate,” reminds me of what I was told repeatedly over a period of several months in 2012 by U.S. military public affairs officers speaking on behalf of the now-defunct International Security Assistance Force, precursor to the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan. An excerpt from a July 12, 2012, statement appears below:

“We (ISAF) have today, just as we discussed back in April, advise the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in assisting them to develop improvements to the overall vetting and recruitment process for the ANSF. The 8-step vetting process, which we have discussed in the past, is the result of our advising on this issue. Just like everything else that we (ISAF) advise on in Afghanistan, it is an ongoing and continuous process. We continually advise our Afghan partners on ways to improve processes. Again, the Afghans have the lead and are responsible for vetting their recruits into their security forces.”

Two months after receiving the statement above via email, I learned Afghans had not been in charge of all of the vetting taking place in that country. Instead, U.S. Army personnel were doing much of the vetting and, by September 2012, had grown “increasingly frustrated” with the eight-step vetting process that turned out to be largely ineffective at stopping so-called “Green-on-Blue” or “Insider” attacks, the often-deadly surprise attacks waged against U.S. and coalition forces by allegedly-trustworthy Afghans wearing the uniforms of Afghan military, police or security agencies.

And therein lies the problem with vetting 10,000 Syrian refugees, a group Nicholas Rasmussen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, described as “clearly a population of concern” during a meeting of the House Committee on Homeland Security last week. [UPDATE at 7:55 p.m. Central: UK Prime Minister David Cameron has been warned that two out of every 100 Syrian refugees are Islamic State fighters.]

If federal government officials are not willing to subject Syrian refugees to the same highly-effective interrogation technology that was used to interrogate members of Saddam Hussein’s inner circle (a.k.a., “The Deck of Cards”) as well as hundreds of al-Qaeda and Taliban terrorists and other detainees at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere around the world, then we might as well plan to see a significant increase in the number of terror attacks waged on U.S. soil.

At a bare minimum, we will likely see more cities experience the types of refugee problems the folks in Minneapolis are facing.

Click on image above to order a copy of The Clapper Memo by Bob McCarty.

Click on image above to order a copy of The Clapper Memo by Bob McCarty.

To learn more about the no-touch, no-torture, no-pain non-polygraph interrogation technology that was used with great success before its use by Department of Defense personnel was banned in October 2007 by James R. Clapper Jr., then Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and now Director of National Intelligence (i.e., nation’s top intelligence official), visit TheClapperMemo.com. There, you’ll find an overview of my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo, as well as several stellar endorsements the book has received. FYI: You’ll also be able to order a copy of the book!

h/t Zero Hedge

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Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Border Security Trumps Immigration Reform

Most news reports about President Barack Obama’s expected announcement about so-called immigration reform — that he will issue an executive order and open the illegal immigration floodgates — seem to be focusing on the impact five million new legalized residents will have on the already-tenuous job market for Americans already out of work. What they ignore is a far more serious subject, one the Washington Times reported on more than six and a half years ago.

Click image above for link to Washington Times article Feb. 6, 2008.

Click image above for link to Washington Times article Feb. 6, 2008.

Here’s a snippet of what the Times reported:

Senior al Qaeda leaders have diverted operatives from Iraq across the globe and are increasing preparations to strike the United States, senior intelligence officials told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence yesterday. They said the terrorists had plans to attack the White House as recently as 2006.

“Al Qaeda is improving the last key aspect of its ability to attack the U.S. — the identification, training and positioning of operatives for an attack in the homeland,” said Michael McConnell, director of national intelligence, which oversees all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies.

The prospect of terrorists entering the United States is much more troubling than any problems caused by a flood of impoverished and poorly-educated people from Mexico, South America and elsewhere. Why? Because terrorists can do immediate damage with dirty bombs, biological weapons and/or — insert audible gasp herenuclear weapons that can create far more serious problems than unemployment. As recently as one week ago, a report surfaced about a terrorist from Turkey being captured after crossing the border into Texas.

Of course, there have been a handful of articles in which news outlets like USA TODAY do the bidding for President Obama, quoting Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson as saying the president’s executive order will include measures to boost border security. Will he follow through and work with Congress to implement tough measures to thwart members of groups like al-Qaeda and its upstart cousins in the Islamic State (a.k.a., “ISIS” and “ISIL”)? Color me skeptical.

My point: Members of Congress need to hold the president accountable and do whatever it takes to ensure that the nation’s primary focus lies on securing the nation’s borders and preventing terrorists from entering. Only after that problem is solved should anyone in Washington pretend to deal honestly with immigration reform.

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.