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Homeland Insecurity: Al Qaeda ‘Refugees’ on Welfare

Posted By Arnold Ahlert On November 21, 2013 @ 12:22 am In Daily Mailer,FrontPage | 87 Comments

Unbelievably, the Obama administration finds itself embroiled in yet another scandal. ABC News is reporting that dozens of alleged Islamic terrorists with bomb-making skills may have been mistakenly allowed to take up residence in the United States, due to a flawed screening system. Hundreds of FBI specialists have been assigned to an around-the-clock investigation of FBI archives that contain 100,000 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) retrieved from Iraq and Afghanistan. The investigation was prompted by the 2009 discovery of a pair of al Qaeda operatives living as war refugees in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The men subsequently admitted in court that they were terrorists who had attacked U.S. troops in Iraq.

A 2010 video shows one of the men, Waad Ramadan Alwan, 32, field stripping what the FBI revealed to be a Russian PKM machine gun. Subsequent surveillance videos show Alwan and accomplice Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, 26, with a Stinger missile launcher and and a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launcher (rendered inoperable by the FBI) provided to them during a sting operation. Alwan was also known as a braggart who told an agent involved in the sting that he had killed American soldiers in Iraq. “He said he had them ‘for lunch and dinner,’” FBI Louisville Supervisory Special Agent Tim Beam said, “meaning that he had killed them.”

The FBI was initially led to Alwan in 2009 by an intelligence tip. His claims of being a refugee facing persecution if he remained in Iraq fell apart when a cordless phone base wired to unexploded bombs, and dug up by U.S. soldiers Bayji, Iraq on Sept. 1, 2005, contained his fingerprints.

In 2010, the FBI learned that Alwan had been arrested in Kirkuk in 2006, where he confessed to being a terrorist during his interrogation. In 2007, Alwan crossed into Syria. During that crossing, his fingerprints were entered into a biometric database maintained by U.S. military intelligence in Iraq. Despite that reality, Alwan’s prints were not associated with the Iraqi insurgency, ostensibly because fingerprints of Iraqis were collected on a routine basis.

Hammadi had also been detained by Iraqi authorities. Yet at a 2012 House hearing, a senior intelligence official for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) testified that both men’s names and fingerprints were vetted by the FBI, DHS and the Defense Department and “came in clean.”

During their trial, it was revealed that the FBI had employed a confidential human source (CHS) to record meetings and conversations with the two men, beginning in August 2010. After the CHS confided that he was aiding the Iraqi insurgency, Alwan participated in deliveries of weapons and money he believed were being supplied to Iraqi terrorists. Hammadi was recruited by Alwan the following January. Both men were finally arrested in May 2011. Alwan pleaded guilty on all counts of a 23-count indictment on Dec. 16, 2011. Hammadi pleaded guilty on all counts of a 12-count superseding indictment on August 21, 2012. During sentencing, Alwan received 40 years after cooperating with authorities. Hammadi was given life in prison, and is appealing the sentence.

Unfortunately, these two men apparently represent the tip of a potentially deadly iceberg. “We are currently supporting dozens of current counter-terrorism investigations like that,” said FBI Agent Gregory Carl, director of the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center (TEDAC). House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) implied that assessment was an understatement: “I wouldn’t be surprised if there were many more than that,” he said. “And these are trained terrorists in the art of bomb-making that are inside the United States, and quite frankly, from a homeland security perspective, that really concerns me.”

The DHS offered up the typical bureaucratic cop-out. A statement released by spokesman Peter Boogaard contended that the federal government

continually improves and expands its procedures for vetting immigrants, refugees and visa applicants, and today [the] vetting process considers a far broader range of information than it did in past years. Our procedures continue to check applicants’ names and fingerprints against records of individuals known to be security threats, including the terrorist watchlist, or of law enforcement concern… These checks are vital to advancing the U.S. government’s twin goal of protecting the world’s most vulnerable persons while ensuring U.S. national security and public safety.

A couple of individuals “known to be security threats” managed to elude both the DHS and the CIA. Despite the fact that would-be underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was on the government’s terror watch list, he wasn’t on their no-fly list. Thus, he was able to board Northwest Flight 253 on Christmas day in 2009 with a bomb. That it failed to detonate was nothing more than sheer luck. Then-DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano’s initial reaction? She told ABC News that the “system has worked really very, very smoothly over the course of the past several days.”

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was also on a watch list, the CIA’s classified Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment database (TIDE). He was added to that list eighteen months before the 2013 Boston Marathon. Unlike the people on Northwest Flight 253, the people of Boston paid a brutal price for bureaucratic ineptitude.

Ironically, or perhaps infuriatingly, the Tsarnaev family and the Kentucky terrorists enjoyed similar treatment, courtesy of America’s welfare state. As the Daily Mail reveals, when Alwan and Hammadi were arrested, “they were living in public housing and collecting government assistance checks in Bowling Green, Kentucky.” The paper further notes that several other bomb-making terrorists may be enjoying the same lifestyle.

“How do you have somebody that we now know was a known actor in terrorism overseas, how does that person get into the United States? How do they get into our community?” wondered Bowling Green Police Chief Doug Hawkins.

The answer to that question is fairly simple. We have a president who has directed various government agencies to engage in selective law enforcement, and/or impose a filter of political correctness on every decision they make.

This governing philosophy has degenerated DHS into a lawless agency that capriciously enforces law and security policy on an entire range of issues, for instance, the federal immigration law mandating that those seeking entrance into the country not be welfare-reliant.

According to the Section 212(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), “Any alien who, in the opinion of the consular officer at the time of application for a visa, or in the opinion of the Attorney General at the time of application for admission or adjustment of status, is likely at any time to become a public charge is inadmissible.”

U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services defines a “public charge” as a person who is likely to become “primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, as demonstrated by either the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance, or institutionalization for long-term care at government expense.”

Data for the FY2011 reveals that a minuscule 7,069 applications out of the more than 10.37 million immigrant and non-immigrant (those applying for a temporary pass) applications processed by the State Department were found to be ineligible based on the possibility of an applicant becoming a public charge. That amounts to a rejection rate of .068 percent, yet even a majority of those rejections were subsequently overturned. In 2012, the DHS initiated a single case, that was later withdrawn–even as the agency finally admitted it does not keep track of new immigrants who become public charges.

Now they are scrambling to find terrorists who have become public charges.

Despite that reality, the Obama administration remains utterly unchastened. The DHS is on the verge of lifting a 1983 restriction barring Libyan nationals from coming to the United States to study or receive training in aircraft maintenance, flight operations or nuclear-related subjects. “The United States has normalized relations with Libya and is working to establish robust diplomatic, military and economic ties,” the document says. That would be the same Libya perilously close to becoming a failed state, one where militias run amok, oil production has cratered, Prime Minister Ali Zaidan was temporarily kidnapped, and not a single suspect has been brought to justice for Benghazi.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) was incensed. “It is shocking that the Obama administration is turning a blind eye to real terrorist threats that exist in Libya today,” he said in a written statement. “We still haven’t gotten to the bottom of the Benghazi terrorist attacks and continue to face additional terrorist threats from Libya, yet the Obama administration is preparing to lift a longstanding ban that protects Americans and our interests.”

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Barbero, who headed the military’s Joint IED Defeat Organization until last May, attempts to offer some sobering perspective regarding the Kentucky case. “We need to take this as a case study and draw the right lessons from it, and not just high-five over this,” he said “How did a person who we detained in Iraq–linked to an IED attack, we had his fingerprints in our government system–how did he walk into America in 2009?”

Barbero need look no further than the Obama administration’s infestation with virulent levels of political correctness, incompetence and corruption. Not only is it putting Americans at risk every day, but it constitutes nothing less than a profound betrayal of the American public.

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Don’t miss Josh Brewster‘s video interview with Frontpage editor Jamie Glazov on why the Obama administration reaches out in solidarity to America’s jihadist enemies:

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