Tag Archives: background check

How Will We Screen Out Terrorists Among Syrian Refugees?

Over the weekend, President Barack Obama announced the United States will welcome 10,000 Syrian refugees for resettlement over the next 12 months. Now, sane Americans must wonder how government officials will screen out terrorists among the refugees entering the country through refugee processing centers in almost every state.

This U.S. Department of State map shows where refugees, including those from Syria, will be sent.

This U.S. Department of State map shows where refugees, including those from Syria, will be sent.

The transcript of a State Department background briefing for reporters Sept. 9 offers some clues about how those ostensibly in charge of the nation’s foreign affairs programs — including Secretary of State John “F’n” Kerry and other left-wing political appointees — plan to ensure no members of the Islamic State and other Islamic terror groups enter the United States under the guise of being refugees. Michael Gordon of The New York Times asked the first question:

“Could you tell us, please, what the range of numbers is? You say you want to – the Secretary wants to increase the number of refugees that are admitted, so what is the range you’re looking at and what does that cost? And then it seems that part of the problem is vetting, in that the UN has submitted a list but it takes a long time to vet these people. Are you looking at committing more resources to speed up that vetting process? Thank you.”

As someone who spent four years investigating the federal government’s use of so-called credibility assessment technologies in places like Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay and Iraq, I’m more aware than most of the capabilities that exist within our defense and intelligence agencies for conducting background checks and vetting (a.k.a., “screening”) foreign nationals. That awareness makes me more than a bit interested in the response of an unidentified “senior State Department official” to Gordon’s question. It appears below with acronyms deciphered by yours truly:

“The Secretary talked about a range of different numbers, but I will not be sharing them with you today. And there was varying views within the group from the judiciary committees of the House and Senate about how receptive they were to increasing the numbers of refugees coming.

“And the process to bring refugees here is careful and deliberate, and that’s – as a result, it takes a while. It takes between 18 to 24 months between when a refugee is referred to us and when they – if approved, when they end up arriving in the United States. And a big reason for this is the care that’s put into the security vetting for them. It involves several aspects. Part of it is that every refugee has their sort of case file put together with help from organizations that we fund overseas, and then those files and the refugees’ families themselves are interviewed by someone from the Department of Homeland Security, from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. And then we also check their names against a whole series of U.S. Government databases to make sure that they’re not already in there – some sort of derogatory information about them.

“What we’re trying to do is weed out people who are liars, who are criminals, or would-be terrorists. And this is something that slows down the process and it’s taken very seriously by everyone involved in it.”

The response, especially the description of the security vetting process having “several aspects” and being “careful and deliberate,” reminds me of what I was told repeatedly over a period of several months in 2012 by U.S. military public affairs officers speaking on behalf of the now-defunct International Security Assistance Force, precursor to the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan. An excerpt from a July 12, 2012, statement appears below:

“We (ISAF) have today, just as we discussed back in April, advise the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in assisting them to develop improvements to the overall vetting and recruitment process for the ANSF. The 8-step vetting process, which we have discussed in the past, is the result of our advising on this issue. Just like everything else that we (ISAF) advise on in Afghanistan, it is an ongoing and continuous process. We continually advise our Afghan partners on ways to improve processes. Again, the Afghans have the lead and are responsible for vetting their recruits into their security forces.”

Two months after receiving the statement above via email, I learned Afghans had not been in charge of all of the vetting taking place in that country. Instead, U.S. Army personnel were doing much of the vetting and, by September 2012, had grown “increasingly frustrated” with the eight-step vetting process that turned out to be largely ineffective at stopping so-called “Green-on-Blue” or “Insider” attacks, the often-deadly surprise attacks waged against U.S. and coalition forces by allegedly-trustworthy Afghans wearing the uniforms of Afghan military, police or security agencies.

And therein lies the problem with vetting 10,000 Syrian refugees, a group Nicholas Rasmussen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, described as “clearly a population of concern” during a meeting of the House Committee on Homeland Security last week. [UPDATE at 7:55 p.m. Central: UK Prime Minister David Cameron has been warned that two out of every 100 Syrian refugees are Islamic State fighters.]

If federal government officials are not willing to subject Syrian refugees to the same highly-effective interrogation technology that was used to interrogate members of Saddam Hussein’s inner circle (a.k.a., “The Deck of Cards”) as well as hundreds of al-Qaeda and Taliban terrorists and other detainees at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere around the world, then we might as well plan to see a significant increase in the number of terror attacks waged on U.S. soil.

At a bare minimum, we will likely see more cities experience the types of refugee problems the folks in Minneapolis are facing.

Click on image above to order a copy of The Clapper Memo by Bob McCarty.

Click on image above to order a copy of The Clapper Memo by Bob McCarty.

To learn more about the no-touch, no-torture, no-pain non-polygraph interrogation technology that was used with great success before its use by Department of Defense personnel was banned in October 2007 by James R. Clapper Jr., then Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and now Director of National Intelligence (i.e., nation’s top intelligence official), visit TheClapperMemo.com. There, you’ll find an overview of my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo, as well as several stellar endorsements the book has received. FYI: You’ll also be able to order a copy of the book!

h/t Zero Hedge

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Military, Government Security Clearance Holders Vulnerable to Blackmail After Hackers Share Ashley Madison Data

How many more Aldrich Ames and Edward Snowden types are lurking among the millions of people who hold U.S. Government security clearances, vulnerable to blackmail as a result of their involvement in the AshleyMadison.com data breach?

Click on image above to read Wired.com article about Ashley Madison data breach.

Click on image above to read Wired.com article about Ashley Madison data breach.

If you haven’t heard of AshleyMadison (dot) com, let me offer some background information borrowed from Wired.com’s article published Tuesday:

“Ashley Madison is the most famous name in infidelity and married dating,” the site asserts on its homepage. “Have an Affair today on Ashley Madison. Thousands of cheating wives and cheating husbands signup everyday looking for an affair…. With Our affair guarantee package we guarantee you will find the perfect affair partner.”

Also in the article is news that the data breach included some 15,000 .mil or .gov addresses.

Now that you understand what’s at stake, I’ll continue.

While serving as an Air Force public affairs officer and possessing such a clearance during the last few years of the Cold War, I was regularly reminded of the types of behavior and activities that could prevent a person from obtaining or maintaining his security clearance. Atop the list of things were activities that might make you vulnerable to blackmail by a foreign agent — things such as sexually-promiscuous behavior, financial mismanagement and drug and alcohol abuse, just to name a few. And while those things may sound like everyday activities for members of Congress, those of us in uniform had higher standards. Back then.

Now, fast forward to more-recent days and the four years I spent investigating the federal government’s use of so-called “credibility assessment” technologies, including the polygraph. During those years, I learned a lot about the system via which U.S. government personnel — especially in Defense and Intelligence positions — are vetted in advance of being granted security clearances. Truth be told, I learned more about the subjects of security clearances and background checks during my investigation than I did while in uniform. I also learned CIA employee-turned spy Ames, NSA contractor-turned Russian house guest Snowden and countless others who engaged in unauthorized dissemination of classified information — and, in many cases, blatant espionage — had had to pass periodic polygraph exams as a condition of their employment with U.S. military and intelligence agencies. And pass the polygraph exams, they did!

Even after I exposed a plethora of serious concerns associated with such practices via the May 2013 release of my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo, leaders of the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community, led by Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. — continue to rely upon the century-old polygraph in the security clearance vetting process and cause me to ask, “WHY?”

The Clapper Memo offers the closest thing to an answer to that question.

Click here to learn more about the book and read some of the high-profile endorsements it has received.  Click here to order a copy of The Clapper Memo.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.