The vast majority of the tens of thousands of Afghan citizens evacuated in the closing days of August amid the chaotic U.S. pullout were not seriously vetted despite President Biden’s promise that they would be, according to a new report.
In fact, according to a memo drafted by Senate Republicans, just a small number of evacuees who were transported to the United States were actually vetted as well as being screened, according to the Washington Examiner.
The report went on to note that the claimed lack of vetting, if it occurred, is a departure from longstanding U.S. policy regarding refugees, not to mention a contradiction of what Biden promised Americans as the deadly, botched evacuation proceeded.
The Biden administration reportedly screened more than 82,000 evacuees by running them through criminal and terrorist databases, but officials shunned information that had been garnered from interviews, according to the memo cited by the Examiner.
The GOP Senate memo also said that around 75 percent of Afghans allowed into the U.S. were not American citizens, green card and visa holders, or applicants.
“They created a brand-new, out-of-cloth screening process just for this population,” said an anonymous who spoke to the Examiner. “And then they told everyone, ‘This is what you follow.’
“DOD [the Defense Department] was such a heavy part of this, and they follow orders. And so, they’re like, ‘OK, here’s the checklist. I’ll do exactly what the checklist says — no more.’ So, that’s how it happened, but it was centrally managed via DHS [Department of Homeland Security],” the source continued.
The anonymous source went on to tell the Examiner that the Afghan screening process under Biden was a “significant” departure from standard operating procedure and vetting that became a requirement following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Biden promised the country in August that all Afghan evacuees would be vetted.
“Planes taking off from Kabul are not flying directly to the United States,” Biden noted at the time. “They’re landing at U.S. military bases and transit centers around the world.
“At these sites where they are landing, we are conducting thorough scrutiny — security screenings for everyone who is not a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident,” he said.
The Examiner, citing the memo, reported that the overwhelming majority of Afghans were not vetted due to the fact that just a few of them were flagged by U.S. databases; only those evacuees underwent further scrutiny.
In a statement to the outlet, DHS claimed the agency performed “rigorous, multi-layered and vetting” processes on new Afghan arrivals.
“As with any population entering the United States, DHS, in coordination with interagency vetting partners, takes multiple steps to ensure that those seeking entry do not pose a national security or public safety risk,” DHS officials told the outlet.
“The rigorous, multi-layered screening and vetting process involves biometric and biographic screenings conducted by intelligence, law enforcement, and counterterrorism professionals from DHS and DOD, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), and additional intelligence community partners,” the statement continued.
“This process includes reviewing fingerprints, photos, and biographic data for every single Afghan before they are cleared to travel to the United States.”
Robert Charles, a former assistant secretary of state during President George W. Bush’s administration, critiqued the Biden process during a Friday appearance on Fox News.
“We’ve left Americans and visa holders and [Special Immigrants Visa] holders and permanent residents and former employees of the embassy back in Afghanistan and we pulled out 73,000 that we really had no basis for pulling out,” he told “Fox & Friends.”
“We have to be right 100% of the time. The bad guys only have to be right 1% of the time,” Charles added.
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