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Tipsheet

Afghan Refugees Were Not Properly Vetted For Terrorism and It Gets Worse From There

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

A new Department of Defense Inspector General report shows thousands of Afghans who were brought to the United States in the aftermath of President Biden's catastrophic exit from the country were not properly vetted. 

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"We found that Afghan evacuees were not vetted by the National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC) using all DoD data prior to arriving in CONUS. This occurred because Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) enrollments were compared against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT) data, which did not initially include all biometric data located in the DoD Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) database and because the DoD’s National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC) has agreements with foreign partners that prohibits the sharing of some ABIS data with U.S. agencies outside of the DoD," the report states. "Furthermore, during their analytic review, NGIC personnel identified Afghans with derogatory information in the DoD ABIS database who were believed to be in the United States." 

The report contradicts claims by the White House that Afghan refugees were properly and fully vetted before arriving at military installations in states across the country.

"I can absolutely assure you that no one is coming into the United States of America who has not been through a thorough screening and background check process," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on September 1, 2021. 

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Lawmakers who warned about a lack of vetting and threats to Americans as a result, are responding to the findings. 

"Following the Biden administration’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, I expressed concern about the administration’s lackluster efforts to screen evacuees flooding from the terrorist safe haven. According to a new report by the Pentagon watchdog, the situation is far worse than we thought. The Department of Defense (DoD) inspector general’s office found that thousands of Afghans were not properly screened using all available DoD data before arriving in the continental United States," Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley said about the findings. "The National Counterterrorism Center did not use all the data it should have, leaving dangerous gaps in the screening process. And worse, the administration cannot locate some evacuees with problematic records who were released into the United States before their background checks were completed."  

“These processing problems pose serious national security and public safety concerns. The relevant agencies ought to rapidly implement the OIG’s recommendations. Congress should not even begin to consider proposals related to sweeping immigration status changes for evacuees, such as an Afghan Adjustment Act, until the Biden administration, at the very least, guarantees the integrity of and fully responds to long-standing congressional oversight requests regarding the vetting and evacuee resettlement process. Anything less would be irresponsible,” he continued.  

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In addition to a lack of vetting for terrorism, crimes committed by Afghan refugees after being relocated to the United States were not properly handled. 

In September, a female soldier at Ft. Bliss was assaulted by a number of male refugees. 

"Federal authorities are still investigating the recent assault on a female service member by three to four Afghan men at a Fort Bliss shelter complex, according to Gen. Glen VanHerck, head of U.S. Northern Command," ABC News 7 reports. "VanHerck told the Associated Press on Thursday that so far no one has been arrested or charged in that incident, and officials are still trying to identify the men. A prior Fort Bliss statement said the assault happened Sept. 19 at the Doña Ana County Range Complex." 

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