Individuals with ties to terrorist groups in Syria have tried to infiltrate the United States through the Obama refugee program that will admit at least 10,000 Syrians, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has confirmed.
The disturbing admission comes amid robust assurances by the administration that the refugees are thoroughly vetted before entering the country. In fact, the State Department publicly guarantees that every Syrian refugee is rigorously screened because “nothing is more important to us than the security of the American people.” The agency also addresses public concerns involving resettling Syrian refugees by asserting that it’s a “myth” that “all Syrians are dangerous.” In fact, “none have been arrested or removed on terrorism charges,” the State Department writes in a bulletin. Admission is only granted “after the most extensive level of security screening of any category of traveler to the United States,” according to the agency.
Nevertheless, in early October the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Matthew Emrich, admitted during a congressional hearing that there’s no way to adequately screen the new arrivals from the war-torn Muslim nation that’s a hotbed of terrorism. That’s because the Syrian government doesn’t have an intelligence database to run checks against so there’s no reliable method to accurately verify the identity of the new arrivals. Emrich did ensure during his congressional testimony that “we check everything that we are aware of” and that “we are in the process of overturning every stone.” This may not sound all that reassuring to most Americans.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Assistant Director Michael Steinbach has also conceded that the U.S. government has no system to properly screen Syrian refugees. “The concern in Syria is that we don’t have systems in places on the ground to collect information to vet,” Steinbach said. “That would be the concern is we would be vetting — databases don’t hold the information on those individuals. “You’re talking about a country that is a failed state, that is — does not have any infrastructure, so to speak. So all of the data sets — the police, the intel services — that normally you would go to seek information don’t exist.” Judicial Watch reported on these two alarming revelations back in October.
Now we have the ODNI, the broad agency that serves as an umbrella for the intelligence community and advises the president, verifying that indeed terrorists have tried to exploit Obama’s Syrian refugee initiative. The ODNI is composed of more than a dozen spy agencies, including Air Force, Army, Navy, Treasury and Coast Guard intelligence as well as the FBI and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). This week the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Michael McCaul, released unclassified excerpts of information provided to him by the ODNI regarding possible terrorist exploitation of Syrian refugee flows. It’s scary but, unfortunately, not surprising.