During an appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” former Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell falsely claimed “not a single” Iraqi refugee turned out to be a terrorist, but in 2013 two Kentucky residents from Iraq pleaded guilty to federal terrorism charges.
After former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani defended Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Morell was interviewed about his support for former secretary of state and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Morell bragged that the U.S. government has “got some very effective, robust processes for vetting people” and despite “thousands of Iraqi refugees” being resettled in America, he claimed, “[n]ot a single one has ever turned out to be a terrorist because the vetting was so good.”
“So I want the vetting to be solid,” Morrell added.
But, on January 29, 2013, a Department of Justice press release announced, “Two Iraqi citizens living in Bowling Green, Ky., who admitted using improvised explosive devices (IEDs) against U.S. soldiers in Iraq and who attempted to send weapons and money to Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) for the purpose of killing U.S. soldiers, were sentenced today to serve federal prison terms by Senior Judge Thomas B. Russell in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky.”
“Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, 25, a former resident of Iraq, was sentenced to life in federal prison, and Waad Ramadan Alwan, 31, a former resident of Iraq, was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison, followed by a life term of supervised release,” the DOJ statement added. “Both defendants had pleaded guilty to federal terrorism charges.”
“This Week” host Martha Raddatz didn’t even challenge Morell on his claim, even though ABC News reported an exclusive called “US May Have Let ‘Dozens’ of Terrorists Into Country As Refugees” in November of 2013, which referred to the arrests of Alwan and Hammadi.
“The Iraqi had claimed to be a refugee who faced persecution back home — a story that shattered when the FBI found his fingerprints on a cordless phone base that U.S. soldiers dug up in a gravel pile south of Bayji, Iraq on Sept. 1, 2005,” ABC News reported nearly three years ago. “The phone base had been wired to unexploded bombs buried in a nearby road.”
The ABC News investigation criticized the “flawed U.S. refugee screening system” that “mistakenly allowed” Alwan to move to “the leafy southern town of Bowling Green, Kentucky, a city of 60,000 which is home to Western Kentucky University and near the Army’s Fort Knox and Fort Campbell.”
In response to the 2013 story, Homeland Security spokesperson Peter Boogaard stated that the US “continually improves and expands its procedures for vetting immigrants, refugees and visa applicants, and today [the] vetting process considers a far broader range of information than it did in past years.”
Last November, Fox News also countered “many news sources” for neglecting to mention Alwan’s arrest.
Republican presidential Trump used Twitter to bash Morell on Twitter Sunday afternoon, calling him a “lightweight,” claiming he “has made serious bad calls,” and is a “total Clinton flunky.”
Michael Morell, the lightweight former Acting Director of C.I.A., and a man who has made serious bad calls, is a total Clinton flunky!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 7, 2016
Morell served in both the Bush and the Obama administrations, almost immediately blamed Al Qaeda after the 9/11 attacks, and criticized Clinton on her email scandal last year before endorsing her a few months ago.