Guest posted by tim, The Godless Heathen
In a previous post Rick questioned whether we can help Syrian refugees and at the same time fight Jihadists.
Over at Ace's Place we get some answers from the Obama administration –
Advocates for resettling tens of thousands of Syrians in the US say the process is robust, thorough and extensive. But in the end the reality is you can only check people's backgrounds against the information you have and when it comes to Syrians we don't have much.
Don't take the word of a crazy rightwinger who is clearly afraid of women and children, take the word of Team Obama.
But one of the senior administration officials at Tuesday’s briefing acknowledged the limitations inherent in screening refugees from Syria, where it’s very difficult to determine something as basic as an applicant’s criminal history.
“We do the best with what we have,” the official said. “We talk to people about what their criminal histories are, and we hear about that. That’s pretty much where we are.”
Here's FBI Director James Comey testifying before Congress last month.
FBI Director James Comey, flanked by the nation’s top intelligence officials, admitted to the House Homeland Security Committee Wednesday that for some of the 10,000 Syrian refugees the administration has agreed to allow into the U.S., there will be no basis to vet them through the databases it uses to determine if they have ties to terrorism.
“We can only query against that which we have collected, and so if someone has never made a ripple in the pond in Syria in a way that would get their identity or their interests reflected in our database, we can query our database til the cows come home, but … there’ll be nothing show up, because we have no record on that person,” said Comey.
And here's DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson also from last month.
“We’ve gotten better at that over the last couple of years, but it is a time-consuming process and one of the challenges that we’ll have is that we’re not going to know a whole lot about the individual refugees that come forward.”
The "gotten better" part is important because, let's just say there's a lot of room for improvement in the screening process.
Several dozen suspected terrorist bombmakers, including some believed to have targeted American troops, may have mistakenly been allowed to move to the United States as war refugees, according to FBI agents investigating the remnants of roadside bombs recovered from Iraq and Afghanistan.
The discovery in 2009 of two al Qaeda-Iraq terrorists living as refugees in Bowling Green, Kentucky -- who later admitted in court that they'd attacked U.S. soldiers in Iraq -- prompted the bureau to assign hundreds of specialists to an around-the-clock effort aimed at checking its archive of 100,000 improvised explosive devices collected in the war zones, known as IEDs, for other suspected terrorists' fingerprints.
There's more here.