Barbarians are at the gate,’ says congressman
ISIS fighters come from all over the world, including Western Europe and America, with Tunisia leading the way in the number of jihadists it has sent to the battlefields in Iraq and Syria.
A senior FBI official has admitted the United States is finding it virtually impossible to screen out terrorists that could be hiding among the thousands of Syrian “refugees” heading soon to American cities.
The U.S. simply does not have the resources to stop Islamic radicals in Syria from slipping into the country through the State Department’s refugee-resettlement program, said Michael Steinbach, deputy assistant director of the FBI’s counter terrorism unit.
Separating legitimate refugees from terrorists was difficult enough in Iraq, where the U.S. had a large occupation force. Even then, the U.S. government’s vetting process missed “dozens” of Iraqi jihadists who slipped into the country posing as refugees, according to a November 2013 ABC News report.
In Syria, the challenges are much greater. That’s why Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, held hearings this week on the process of vetting refugees and sent a letter to the White House voicing the committee’s “serious national security concerns.”
“We learned our lessons with the Iraqi refugee population. We put in place a USIK-wide background and vetting process that we found to be effective,” Steinbach told the committee Wednesday.
“The difference is that in Iraq we were there on the ground collecting (information), so we had databases to use,” he added. “The concern is that in Syria, the lack of our footprint on the ground in Syria, the databases won’t have the information we need. So it’s not that we have a lack of a process, it’s that there is a lack the information.”
Separating the wheat from the tares
Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., asked Steinbach if he could suggest ways to go about getting this vital background information that would separate legitimate refugees from those who may be seeking to enter the U.S. to harm Americans.
“I just don’t think you can go and get it,” Steinbach said. “You’re talking about a country that’s a failed state, does not have any infrastructure so to speak. So all the data sets, the police, the intel services, that you would normally go to and seek that information, don’t exist.”
“And that obviously raises a grave concern of being able to do proper background checks on individuals coming into the country?” Katko asked.
“Yes,” Steinbach responded.
Written by LEO HOHMANN
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