In efforts to provide relocation and safe havens for tens of thousands of Iraqi refugees during the second war with Saddam Hussein and the al-Qaeda insurgency, the US may have allowed several dozen terrorists into the country, thanks to sloppy background checks. Two have already been arrested in Kentucky after an FBI sting caught them trying to move weapons back to Iraq, one of whom had left fingerprints on IEDs in Iraq — and had admitted under question several years ago to being a part of the insurgency. ABC News has the exclusive on this heartwarming development:
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.
“We are currently supporting dozens of current counter-terrorism investigations like that,” FBI Agent Gregory Carl, director of the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center (TEDAC), said in an ABC News interview to be broadcast tonight on ABC News’ “World News with Diane Sawyer” and “Nightline”.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if there were many more than that,” said House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul. “And these are trained terrorists in the art of bombmaking that are inside the United States; and quite frankly, from a homeland security perspective, that really concerns me.”
Alwan is an especially egregious case of bureaucratic incompetence. Not only had he confessed and his fingerprints taken, Alwan ended up on the federal dole after gaining entrance to the US:
But the FBI discovered that Alwan had been arrested in Kirkuk, Iraq, in 2006 and confessed on video made of his interrogation then that he was an insurgent, according to the U.S. military and FBI, which obtained the tape a year into their Kentucky probe. In 2007, Alwan went through a border crossing to Syria and his fingerprints were entered into a biometric database maintained by U.S. military intelligence in Iraq, a Directorate of National Intelligence official said. Another U.S. official insisted that fingerprints of Iraqis were routinely collected and that Alwan’s fingerprint file was not associated with the insurgency.
In 2009 Alwan applied as a refugee and was allowed to move to Bowling Green, where he quit a job he briefly held and moved into public housing on Gordon Ave., across the street from a school bus stop, and collected public assistance payouts, federal officials told ABC News.
So … how many more of these terrorists managed to get past the lax security in the refugee program? It’s a good question, and the estimates above aren’t exactly a confidence-builder. The US already had Alwan’s fingerprints on file and his confession, and yet couldn’t manage to find them when he applied and received refugee status. On the other hand, we haven’t seen a rash of terrorist attacks here in the US over the last few years, which means that the problem may be relatively rare — or that the former terrorists have given up on their jihad, which seems unlikely.