According to a watchdog report, the Department of Homeland Security failed to properly screen tens of thousands of refugees who fled Afghanistan after last year’s botched US troop withdrawal. The NY Post revealed that border security officials admitted “at least two” Afghans who were national security risks.
The Homeland Security Department failed to fully vet thousands of Afghan evacuees it brought into the U.S. during last year’s airlift, the department’s inspector general said in a devastating audit. The audit warned that some people who “posed a risk to national security” were indeed let into the country, The Washington Times reports.
One evacuee, just liberated from prison by the Taliban, was cleared to reach the U.S. Another reached the U.S. and was released, only to have the FBI conclude three months later that the evacuee “posed national security concerns.”
The evacuation was constructed so hastily that the department wrote procedures on the fly, with screening decisions made “on an ad hoc basis,” the audit, released Tuesday.
“As a result, DHS paroled at least two individuals into the United States who posed a risk to national security and the safety of local communities and may have admitted or paroled more individuals of concern,” the inspector general concluded.
According to the Washington Times, the prisoner was even flagged upon arrival at a U.S. airport. A Customs and Border Protection passport screener spotted “derogatory” information in the system, but a supervisor overruled the officer and paroled the evacuee, the audit found.
Many of the 79,000-plus Afghan evacuees paroled into the United States after the disastrous U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan were not properly vetted, says a new report from the Homeland Security Department’s Office of Inspector General.
THE DEVASTATING AUDIT
“We conducted this audit to determine the extent to which DHS screened, vetted, and inspected evacuees arriving as part of Operation Allies Refuge (OAR) and Operation Allies Welcome (OAW),” the inspector general said.
“After meeting with more than 130 individuals from the Department of Homeland Security, we determined DHS encountered obstacles to screen, vet, and inspect all Afghan evacuees…Specifically, U.S. Customs and Border Protection did not always have critical data to properly screen, vet, or inspect the evacuees.”
For example, the report says, “417 records had first name unknown or “FNU.” 242 records had a last name unknown or “LNU.” And 11,110 records had the DOB recorded as “January 1.”
The 34-page report said because of such inaccurate, incomplete or missing identification data, “DHS may have admitted or paroled individuals into the United States who pose a risk to national security and the safety of local communities.”
“CBP [Customs and Border Protection] did not always have critical data to properly screen, vet, or inspect Afghan evacuees arriving as part of OAR/OAW. We determined some of the information used to vet evacuees through U.S. Government databases, such as name, DOB, identification number, and travel document data was inaccurate, incomplete, or missing,” the investigation found. “CBP admitted or paroled evacuees who were not fully vetted into the United States. We attribute the challenges to DHS not having: (1) a list of Afghan evacuees who were unable to provide sufficient identification documents; (2) a contingency plan to support similar emergency situations; and (3) standardized policies. As a result, DHS paroled at least two individuals into the United States who posed a risk to national security and the safety of local communities and may have admitted or paroled more individuals of concern.”