A senior FBI official has admitted the United States is finding it virtually impossible to screen out terrorists that could be hiding among the thousands of Syrian “refugees” heading soon to American cities.
The U.S. simply does not have the resources to stop Islamic radicals in Syria from slipping into the country through the State Department’s refugee-resettlement program, said Michael Steinbach, deputy assistant director of the FBI’s counter terrorism unit.
Separating legitimate refugees from terrorists was difficult enough in Iraq, where the U.S. had a large occupation force. Even then, the U.S. government’s vetting process missed “dozens” of Iraqi jihadists who slipped into the country posing as refugees and took up residence in Kentucky, according to a November 2013 ABC News report.
In Syria, the challenges are much greater. That’s why Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, held hearings this week on the process of vetting refugees and sent a letter to the White House voicing the committee’s “serious national security concerns.”
“We learned our lessons with the Iraqi refugee population. We put in place a USIK-wide background and vetting process that we found to be effective,” Steinbach told the committee Wednesday.
“The difference is that in Iraq we were there on the ground collecting (information), so we had databases to use,” he added. “The concern is that in Syria, the lack of our footprint on the ground in Syria, the databases won’t have the information we need. So it’s not that we have a lack of a process, it’s that there is a lack the information.”