State Department Tells TheBlaze That Refugee Vetting System Is Strong, Despite Reports of ‘Several Dozen’ Terrorists Slipping Through

Dozens of suspected terrorist bomb makers may have been allowed through the United States vetting process as Iran and Afghanistan war refugees, ABC News reported.

The report comes as the Obama administration is making the case for allowing thousands of Syrian refugees into the United States, arguing there will be a thorough screening.

So far 31 states have asserted their opposition to taking Syrian refugees.

Syrian families wait their turn to register at the UNHCR center in the northern city of Tripoli, Lebanon, Wednesday, March. 6, 2013 (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
Syrian families wait their turn to register at the UNHCR center in the northern city of Tripoli, Lebanon, March. 6, 2013 (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

Kentucky in particular, has a case to make. Two Iraqi refugees who settled in Bowling Green, Kentucky, were terrorists linked to Al Qaeda, according to ABC News. Both pleaded guilty to charges of trying to obtain weapons while in the United States. Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi were reportedly caught on surveillance video in 2010 in a storage locker in Kentucky with heavy weapons that included a Russian-made machine gun and a Stinger missile launcher.

However, a State Department official told TheBlaze that the vetting system is strong.

“The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program has admitted nearly 785,000 refugees in the 14 years since the events of 9/11,” a senior State Department official told TheBlaze Wednesday. “Of those, our analysis is that approximately a dozen — a tiny fraction of 1 percent of admitted refugees — have been either arrested or removed from the United States due to terrorism concerns that existed prior to their resettlement in the U.S.”

But the State Department’s claims do not line up with reports from ABC News:

The 2013 ABC News investigation also revealed that several dozen other suspected terrorist bombmakers, including some who were believed to have targeted U.S. troops, may have mistakenly been allowed to move to the U.S. as Iraq and Afghanistan War refugees, among the tens of thousands of innocent immigrants.

The Obama administration insists now that Syrian refugees are subjected to intense vetting before they’re allowed to settle in the U.S. and that a vast majority of the millions of refugees the U.S. has resettled since the 1970s are normal, peaceful people, but the program has had serious security problems before. In 2009, a flaw in background screening of Iraqi refugees allowed the two al Qaeda-linked terrorists to settle in Bowling Green and led to a temporary suspension of the refugee program, officials told ABC News in a 2013 investigation.

U.S. officials said the two suspects intended to attack a military post in Kentucky, but FBI officials told ABC News they discussed using a bomb to kill a U.S. Army captain they had known in Iraq.

“We need to take this as a case study and draw the right lessons from it, and not just high-five over this,” retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Barbero told ABC News. “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?”

On Twitter Wednesday, President Obama said, “We will provide refuge to at least 10,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria over the next year after they pass the highest security checks. Here, our focus is giving safe haven to the most vulnerable Syrians — women, children, and survivors of torture. Welcoming the world’s vulnerable who seek the safety of America is not new to us. We’ve safely welcomed 3 million refugees since 1975. Slamming the door in the face of refugees would betray our deepest values. That’s not who we are. And it’s not what we’re going to do.”

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