Tag Archives: International Security Assistance Force

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

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Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

DoD Still Keeping Best Vetting Technology From Warfighters

I’ve asked a lot of questions in recent years about the measures being employed to stop so-called “Green-on-Blue” attacks by members of the Afghan National Security Force against the U.S. and coalition personnel.  Two years ago today, I concluded that some — if not all — of the answers I had received from official U.S. and coalition spokespersons in Afghanistan were simply not true. Today, Defense Department leaders are keeping the best vetting technology on the market out of the hands of our nation’s warfighters.

TCM_Bailey_Endorsement

Click image above to learn more about the book and see who has endorsed it.

My conclusion stemmed from what I read in the first paragraph of TIME/World reporter John Wendle’s article published Sept. 4, 2012:

Alam Gul, a potential Afghan Local Police (ALP) recruit sat cross-legged on a mat outside the unit’s crumbling, mud-brick headquarters in the village of Tabin, in Kandahar’s restive Arghandab district, alternately looking at his hands and at the sky as he answered a series of questions.  Two ALP members sat watching nearby, while others washed motorbikes or lounged in the sun.  The U.S. Army specialist and staff sergeant in charge of the interview were getting increasingly frustrated with the young man.

The words in the final sentence of that paragraph revealed what the reporter interpreted was happening before his eyes.  At the same time, they ran counter to everything I had been told since April 4, 2012.

After I asked Army Lt. Colonel Jimmie E. Cummings about the process via which ANSF members are being vetted prior to working alongside U.S. and coalition forces, the International Security Assistance Force public affairs officer told me via email that “ISAF or U.S. are not responsible for vetting Afghans for either the Afghan National Army or Police. The Afghans use a 8-step process in vetting their candidates.”

Responding to similar questions July 4, Colonel Cummings reassured me nothing had changed and that Afghans were still in charge:

“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.”

On Aug. 23, Colonel Cummings’ replacement in Afghanistan, Air Force Maj. Lori Hodge, confirmed again via email that Afghans were in charge of vetting Afghans:

“In response to your question on the vetting procedures adopted by the Afghans, the Afghan National Security Force is working hard to make their vetting processes more robust.”

As examples of the measures being taken, the major listed the following:

The ANSF introduced re-vetting procedures for Afghan National Army soldiers returning from leave;

• The ANSF outlawed the sale of uniforms; and

• The ANSF established an anonymous reporting system.

Further, the major explained that Afghan President Hamid Karzai had issued a presidential decree which mandates that Afghan National Army recruits be interviewed by a four-person council consisting of officials from the Ministries of Defense and Interior as well as from the Afghan National Directorate of Security and medical department officials.

In closing, Major Hodge reiterated what I had been told by her predecessor and referred me to the Afghan MoD for further information on vetting procedures:

“While we advise our Afghan counterparts, the vetting of recruits and personnel is an Afghan-led and -owned process and they would be the appropriate authorities to discuss it in more detail.”

Maybe Wendle misinterpreted what was taking place before his eyes.  But I doubt it.

One thing I’m certain about is that Department of Defense leaders are still doing everything they can to keep the best vetting technology available out of the hands of our warfighters.

Be sure to tune in to Freedom 560 with Ken Clark Thursday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. Central Time. I’ll be talking with host Ken Clark about “Green-on-Blue” attacks, Rules of Engagement and other hot topics — many of which I tackle in my book, The Clapper Memo.  More details here.

To learn more about the The Clapper Memo and read some of the endorsements it has received, click here. To order a copy, click here.

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.