TERROR THREAT: Federal Agents Investigating “Dozens” Of Syrian “Refugees” Admitted Into U.S. Without Proper Vetting by Obama Admin
Federal agents are reinvestigating the backgrounds of dozens of Syrian refugees already in the United States after discovering a lapse in vetting that allowed some who had potentially negative information in their files to enter the country, two U.S. law enforcement officials said.
Agents have not concluded that any of the refugees should have been rejected for entry, but the apparent glitch — which was discovered in late 2015 and corrected last year — prevented U.S. officials who conducted background checks on the refugees from learning about possible “derogatory” information about them, the two officials said. At a minimum, the intelligence would have triggered further investigation that could have led some asylum applications to be rejected.
The refugees whose cases are under review include one who failed a polygraph test when he applied to work at a U.S. military installation overseas and another who may have been in communication with an Islamic State leader, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.
The officials cautioned that the investigations, which began last year under the Obama administration, were preliminary, and often the initial red flags turn out to be mistakes or benign. For example, someone could speak to an Islamic State militant without knowing about that affiliation, they said.
But the vetting gap raises questions about the Syrian refugee screening process, which the Obama administration had often described as exhaustive and rigorous, but which President Trump has criticized as a national security risk.
President Obama ramped up the acceptance of Syrians last year to address the humanitarian crisis in that country, admitting 15,479 Syrian refugees, a 606% increase over the 2,192 admitted in 2015. Since the civil war started, the U.S. has accepted more than 18,000 Syrians seeking asylum, according to the State Department. < The CIA declined to comment. A U.S. intelligence official, who requested anonymity to discuss the closely held vetting process, said “No immigration program is completely without risk. We continuously examine options for further enhancements for screening refugees.”