60 Minutes aired a short interview about the refugee vetting process with Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson on Sunday. To say that Bill Whitaker, the interviewer, failed to do his job is an understatement. It is a study in serial journalistic malpractice. Johnson lied and misled about the vetting process from start to finish and was not once challenged by Whitaker.
The most blatant lie was Johnson’s assertion that the vetting process takes 18 to 24 months. Obama announced earlier this year that he was reducing that to 3 months. How did Whitaker overlook something so basic that has been extensively reported in the mainstream press?
Rep. Ryan Zinke, a former 22 year veteran U.S. Navy SEAL and founder of the Naval Special Warfare Advanced Training Command says that the Obama administration engaged in a “bait and switch”, endangering Americans by resettling unvetted Syrian refugees on an accelerated timeline. “This will inevitably put our nation and our citizens at risk for future terrorist attacks,” he said.
Johnson further justified the vetting process. “Our State Department does an interview, does a background check, vets the refugee, develops a file… If there are any particular security flags or concerns, we add extra checks to the process at that point.”
Why not just deny the application? Shouldn’t our primary domestic security agency err on the side of caution? Shouldn’t Whitaker have asked that question?
Johnson went on to say, “The vetting encompasses multiple agencies of the United States government, including our intelligence community, our law enforcement community, various different databases that exist here in the Department of Homeland Security…”
No it doesn’t. Not for Syrians. This is the major misdirection refugee resettlement advocates use to avoid the actual question. They do not address vetting of Syrians specifically. If they did so, they would have to admit that no databases exist. The databases for certain other countries are also sketchy at best.
Both FBI Director James Comey and Counterterrorism chief Michael Steinbach have repeatedly warned about this, with Comey famously saying, “we can query our database until the cows come home, but there will be nothing show up because we have no record of them… You can only query what you have collected…” Steinbach added that the process is “not even close to being under control.”
Johnson himself has admitted as much, saying this: “It is true that we are not going to know a whole lot about the Syrians that come forth in this process…” And this: “In all candor, I do agree that the refugee flow coming out of Iraq and Syria represents a potential opportunity for terrorist organizations to move its members into other nations for potential attacks.”
Yet in a 60 Minutes interview he essentially says “not to worry, its all good”. Why wasn’t he asked about this? Are we supposed to believe hyper-partisan administration hacks over the entire federal national security apparatus?
Many believe it is only a matter of time before we are attacked in a major way. CIA Director John Brennan has said ISIS “is probably exploring a variety of means for infiltrating operatives into the West, including refugee flows, smuggling routes, and legitimate methods of travel.”
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper said. “We don’t obviously put it past the likes of ISIL to infiltrate operatives among these refugees. That is a huge concern of ours.”
Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, has said that ISIS will “attempt to direct attacks on the U.S. homeland in 2016.”
Remarkably, Johnson agrees, saying “You can’t say everything is a priority…” So let’s give ourselves thousands more security risks to focus on. Wouldn’t a prudent interviewer want an explanation for this seeming dichotomy?
At a recent Senate hearing, Senator Ted Cruz quoted an internal DHS memo which said that the “refugee program was particularly vulnerable of fraud due to loose evidentiary requirements where at times the testimony of an applicant alone is sufficient for approval.” U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service director Leon Rodriquez reluctantly acknowledged, “There are cases where the testimony [of a refugee] are not corroborated by documents…”
This glaring fraud vulnerability was exposed in a recent DHS inspector general report which found that over 1,800 criminal aliens scheduled for deportation — some from countries of terrorism concern — instead gained citizenship through the use of fraudulent documents because fingerprint data was not available to positively identify them. An additional 315,000 fugitive criminal alien fingerprint records were found missing.
Johnson did say one thing that was accurate: “Of all the different ways of entering this country as an immigrant, doing so as a refugee is one of the most cumbersome and time-consuming.”
So Obama has done all he can to allow Syrians in through what he calls “alternative pathways.” Most people would be shocked to know that over 100,000 Syrians have already entered the U.S. this way since the Syrian civil war began.
Hillary Clinton wants to resettle 65,000 more Syrians. Donald Trump promises to suspend immigration from Syria and certain other states until better vetting procedures can be developed. Both Trump and vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine have proposed establishing safe zones in Syria, so refugees can return home when the crisis ends. Most Syrians prefer this solution and we can help twelve Syrians in place for what it costs to resettle one in the U.S.
None of this came up in the interview. Through willful ignorance or choice, Bill Whitaker missed a major opportunity to refute or at least challenge much of the dishonest rhetoric being relentlessly promoted by the Obama administration regarding the refugee program.
Sending refugees home is supposed to be the primary goal of the U.N. refugee program. But Obama and Hillary are intent on importing ever larger numbers of needy populations who they can shower with generous welfare benefits to secure their future votes.
James Simpson is an author, economist, businessman and investigative journalist. His latest book is The Red Green Axis: Refugees, Immigration and the Agenda to Erase America. Follow Jim on Twitter & Facebook