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Dozens Of Homeland Security Employees On Terrorist Watch List

Photograph: Win McNamee/Getty Images

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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A minimum of 72 employees at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are on a terrorist watch list, according to an inspector general report.

Democratic Rep. [crscore]Stephen Lynch[/crscore] revealed the existence of the inspector general report during an interview with Boston Public Radio.

“Back in August, we did an investigation—the inspector general did—of the Department of Homeland Security, and they had 72 individuals that were on the terrorist watch list that were actually working at the Department of Homeland Security,” Lynch told Boston Public Radio.

Lynch also used part of the interview to complain about the Transportation Security Administration. A recent report found the agency, which falls under the jurisdiction of DHS, totally failed to stop 95 percent of attempts by investigators to smuggle banned items past security at major airports in the U.S.

In some cases, DHS Red Team employees strapped guns to their ankles and walked right through security without a hitch. In another, the TSA did not detect an explosive device taped to the back of one of the Red Team members, despite a pat-down.

A report released earlier this year by Sen. Tom Coburn, ranking member of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, found that federal guards had no idea how to screen for weapons, adding that the culture at the agency is dysfunctional.

The department “spent $50 billion over the past eleven years on counterterrorism programs, including homeland security grants and other anti-terror initiatives, but the department cannot demonstrate if the nation is more secure as a result.”

Years of abysmal failure at the DHS is precisely why Lynch supports more restrictions on refugees from Syria seeking entrance into the U.S. Americans by far, at 61 percent, do not support allowing Syrian refugees in the country, though 60 percent of Democrats and those sympathetic to the Democratic Party, believe the U.S. should open up the gates to refugees. Only 17 percent of Republicans agree.

“I have even lower confidence that they can conduct the vetting process in places like Jordan, or Belize or on the Syrian border, or in Cairo, or Beirut in any better fashion, especially given the huge volume of applicants we’ve had seeking refugee status,” Lynch said in the interview.

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