Governor Pat McCrory sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to cease sending Syrian Refugees to North Carolina, citing concern over federal government screening procedures.
For the world to be safe, America must lead. Leaders from the FBI, National Counter-terrorism Center, and the Department of Homeland Security have said they do not have the necessary on-the-ground intelligence to thoroughly vet refugees.
Until there is a certification process in place that we can trust to prevent terrorist threats in America, North Carolina’s Syrian and Iraqi refugee program should be paused.
While North Carolina has a proud tradition of refugee resettlement, the federal government lacks the information needed to confidently screen refugees from the Syria conflict zone to identify possible terrorism connections:
Tom Fuentes, Former Assistant Director of the FBI: “Our human sources [in Syria] are minimal, and we don’t have a government we can partner with, and that’s a key thing.”
Nicholas Rasmussen, National Counter-terrorism Center Director: “The intelligence picture we’ve had of this [Syrian] conflict zone isn’t what we’d like it to be… you can only review [data] against what you have.”
James Comey, FBI Director testified to Congress in October: “we can only query against that [data] which we have collected. So if someone has not made a ripple in the pond in Syria in a way that would get their identity or intentions reflected in our databases, we can query our databases until the cows come home, but nothing will show up because we have no record of that person…You can only query what you have collected.”
Michael Steinbach, Assistant Director of the FBI: “The concern in Syria is that we don’t have the systems in places on the ground to collect the information… All of the data sets, the police, the intel services that normally you would go and seek that information [from], don’t exist.”
Senior federal officials remain concerned about the risks and acknowledge the possibility of ISIS infiltration into U.S.-bound Syrian refugee populations:
James Comey, Director of the FBI: “There is risk associated with bringing anybody in from the outside, but especially from a conflict zone like [Syria]…My concern there is that there are certain gaps I don’t want to talk about publicly in the data available to us.”
Jeh Johnson, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security: “It is true that we are not going to know a whole lot about the Syrians that come forth in this process…Organizations like ISIL might like to exploit” the Syrian refugee resettlement program into the United States.
James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence: “We don’t obviously put it past the likes of ISIL to infiltrate operatives among these refugees.”
Retired General John Allen, the president’s recent envoy on the coalition to defeat ISIL: “We should be conscious of the potential that [ISIS] may attempt to embed agents within that [Syrian refugee] population.”
Recent warning signs around the world have raised concerns that ISIS and other Islamist terrorist groups have been attempting to infiltrate refugee flows.