FBI Investigating Hundreds of Refugees, Many From Now Banned Countries, For Terror Ties

Posted: Mar 06, 2017 2:00 PM

The FBI is investigating at least 300 refugees admitted to the U.S. for ties to terrorism after vetting from the countries they came from failed. Fox News Chief Intelligence Correspondent Catherine Herridge has the story

Nearly a third of the 1,000 FBI domestic terrorism cases – 300 – involve those admitted to the U.S. as refugees, a Department of Homeland Security official said Monday. Officials said some of those 300 came to “infiltrate” the U.S., while others were radicalized once they were in the country.

Monday's development marked the first official concrete linkage between the refugee program and terrorism.

During a speech to the National Association of Attorneys General in 2015, FBI Director James Comey said agents were working on nearly 1000 ISIS linked cases throughout the United States.

"We have investigations of people in various stages of radicalizing in all 50 states," Comey said last year. 

During a 2015 national security event in Washington, former NSA Director James Clapper said ISIS potentially using the refugee stream out of failed states as a pipeline for terrorists was a "huge concern" of the Obama administration.

"We don’t obviously put it past the likes of ISIL to infiltrate operatives among these refugees," Clapper said. "As they descend on Europe, one of the obvious issues that we worry about, and in turn as we bring refugees into this country, is exactly what’s their background?” 

During testimony on Capitol Hill, former DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson admitted backgrounds of refugees from Syria are sparse, leaving room for ISIS to exploit the refugee screening process. 

"It is true that we are not going to know a whole lot about the Syrians that come forth in this process," Johnson said. "We know that organizations like ISIL might like to exploit this [Syrian refugee resettlement] program."

ISIS leaders have repeatedly encouraged fighters to infiltrate the refugee stream to carry out attacks on western targets in Europe and the United States.

These statements prompted then GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump to promise extreme vetting of refugees should he win the White House. President Trump issued a new executive order Monday temporarily banning refugees and visa holders from six terror specific countries from entering the United States for 90 days. A previously issued order banning refugees from seven countries, which was fought heavily by liberal groups in court, was rescinded.