Members of the Biden administration appear to believe they know better than the Department of Homeland Security’s own inspector general.
On Tuesday, DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari released a damning report revealing that during the Biden administration’s importation of Afghan refugees following the fall of Afghanistan last year, it’d failed to accurately screen said refugees.
Yet when questioned about these findings on Wednesday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre essentially dismissed them as false.
“[W]e determined DHS encountered obstacles to screen, vet, and inspect all Afghan evacuees arriving as part of Operation Allies Refuge (OAR)/Operation Allies Welcome (OAW). Specifically, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) did not always have critical data to properly screen, vet, or inspect the evacuees,” the report found.
“We determined some information used to vet evacuees through U.S. Government databases, such as name, date of birth, identification number, and travel document data, was inaccurate, incomplete, or missing. We also determined CBP admitted or paroled evacuees who were not fully vetted into the United States.”
Based on these findings, Cuffari, a Trump appointee, concluded that “DHS may have admitted or paroled individuals into the United States who pose a risk to national security and the safety of local communities.”
New: a watchdog report found that DHS encountered obstacles in screening Afghan evacuees, and admitted some evacuees who “were not fully vetted” into the U.S.
— Caroline Simon (@carolinesimon66) September 7, 2022
Now fast-forward to Wednesday, when Jean-Pierre was questioned about these findings by none other than Fox News journalist Peter Doocy. He tends to be the only member of the White House press corps who consistently asks tough questions.
“As refugees were being evacuated from Afghanistan into the U.S. last year, why weren’t they all being thoroughly vetted?” Doocy asked her point-blank.
“What are you referring to?” the press secretary replied.
“Well, so, as the White House was managing the Afghanistan withdrawal last year, we were told no one is coming into the United States of America who has not been through a thorough screening and background check process,” Doocy responded.
“But now, there’s this DHS inspector general who says CBP admitted or paroled evacuees who were not fully vetted into the United States. That is not good. That is different than what you guys said. So how did this happen?”
That’s when Jean-Pierre dismissed the IG’s findings.
“That very report did not take into account the key steps in that rigorous — you heard from us, rigorous and multi-layered screening and vetting process the U.S. government took before at-risk Afghans were permitted to come to the U.S,” she said.
“It did not take into full account what the other eight agencies are involved in making sure that this multi-layered process and screening process — it is a multi-agency effort and it did not — this particular report did not include that.”
In fairness to Jean-Pierre, she was just repeating DHS’ own talking points. Indeed, in response to Cuffari’s findings, DHS issued a statement refuting the allegations.
“DHS said in a statement Wednesday on the inspector general’s report that it ‘does not concur with the two recommendations made in the DHS Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) report regarding Operation Allies Welcome (OAW).’ The department also strongly disputed the watchdog’s conclusions about the Afghan evacuee vetting,” according to CBS News’ Catherine Herridge.
“Despite the fact that, on multiple occasions, DHS provided the OIG with a comprehensive understanding of the OAW vetting and screening process, the OIG’s report does not accurately characterize that rigorous and multi-layered screening and vetting process, including the critical roles of multiple other federal agencies,” the statement read.
“Further, the report does not accurately account for the fact that all individuals paroled into the United States as part of OAW are already subject to continuous vetting,” it continued.
As for Cuffari’s recommendations, one was for DHS to “immediately identify evacuees from Afghanistan who are in the United States and provide evidence of full screening and vetting based on confirmed identification — especially for those who did not have documentation; and Ensure recurrent vetting processes established for all paroled evacuees are carried out for the duration of their parole period.”
DHS rejected this recommendation.
The second recommendation meanwhile called for DHS to “[d]evelop a comprehensive contingency plan to handle similar evacuation efforts in the future and account for, screen, vet, and inspect all individuals during unprecedented evacuation events when limited biographic data is available.”
DHS rejected this recommendation as well.
DHS officials lacked “critical data” when vetting Afghan evacuees + may have admitted individuals who pose “a risk to national security + safety” Inspector General finds https://t.co/Y0WdQGxEyJ
— Catherine Herridge (@CBS_Herridge) September 7, 2022
As noted up top, members of the Biden administration appear to believe they know better than the DHS IG. This despite the damning nature of the IG’s findings.
“DHS admitted an Afghan evacuee who had previously been released from prison by the Taliban. The evacuee was deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after officials learned of the information roughly three weeks after the individual’s arrival in the U.S.,” Herridge reported, citing the IG’s findings.
“A second Afghan evacuee, the report said, was placed in deportation proceedings three months following his arrival, after the FBI found the individual posed ‘national security concerns.'”
But none of this seems to matter to the know-it-all Biden administration …
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