WASHINGTON, DC- Before FBI Director Christopher Wray turned his tail and fled from a Senate hearing last week, he faced intense scrutiny from Senate Republicans over a number of issues, including a whistleblower report that the administration, when evacuating Afghanistan, also removed hundreds of individuals on the US Terrorist Watchlist.
Republican Senators Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) both have urged the Department of Defense to immediately launch a probe into the whistleblower’s allegations which state the administration evacuated hundreds of Afghans without properly vetting them prior to release into the United States, according to The Epoch Times.
NEW whistleblower allegations – hundreds of Afghan evacuees who appeared on DOD terror watch list allowed to enter the U.S. @SenRonJohnson and I lay out what we’ve learned pic.twitter.com/zBHlVB0ujE
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) August 4, 2022
The whistleblower says that some 324 Afghan evacuees who were on the DoD’s Biometrically Enabled Watchlist (BEWL) were improperly vetted. That list, said Hawley and Johnson, includes known suspected terrorists. Now they are demanding answers.
The Epoch Times notes the BEWL “identifies individuals whose biometrics have been collected and determined by analysts to be threats or potential threats to national security, including known suspected terrorists.”
Moreover, it is also alleged that the White House and Defense officials told agency personnel to “cut corners” and not conduct full fingerprint analysis on the evacuees at staging bases in Europe, ostensibly to enable “the rushed evacuation from Afghanistan.”
Yet still, the Department of Homeland Security authorized staff to delete old biometric data at their discretion, which the senators said was a “troubling development that could threaten national security and public safety.”
Last Thursday, Hawley and Johnson drafted a letter outlining the allegations exposed by the whistleblower to acting DoD Inspector General Sean O’Donnell.
“We write to you with concern over new allegations raised by a Department of Defense (DoD) whistleblower. This information may show the Biden Administration’s failure to vet those evacuated from Afghanistan was even worse than the public was led to believe. The following allegations demand an immediate investigation by your office,” they wrote.
The Department of Defense has previously acknowledged in a report that not all Afghan refugees were properly vetted “using all DoD data prior to arriving in” the United States by the National Counter-Terrorism Center.
Earlier this year, the DoD said it had identified 50 Afghans in the U.S. whose records show they could pose a significant security concern.
In their letter, Hawley and Johnson indicated they “understand that number has risen to at least 65,” while admonishing O’Donnell that they “need to be immediately located, fully vetted, and, if appropriate, deported.”
The new number of 324 Afghans on the watchlist are in addition to the 50 to 65 already confirmed.
The two senators asked O’Donnell now many BEWL matches were generated by submissions obtained from the Afghan refugees. Further, they asked if those who generated matches were denied entry into the U.S., admitted entry, or are currently within the United States.
The senators also asked for clarification as to whether NSC or DoD staff were urged to cut corners in processing the evacuees’ information, while also demanding clarification on the circumstances under which agency personnel are permitted to delete biometric data.
O’Donnell was also asked to specify the number of BEWL matches generated by Afghan evacuees after they arrived in-country, as well as what steps have been taken toward identifying, vetting, or deporting them, while also asking how many were known suspected terrorists, The Epoch Times reported.
That led to the questioning of Wray, who was slammed from a number of fronts, including Sen. Ted Cruz, who admonished the agency for declaring certain symbols or depictions from the American Revolution were indicators of right wing extremism.
Ted Cruz slams boot on table while questioning FBI Director Christopher Wray https://t.co/1w3QPdqEMh pic.twitter.com/djQDooH6BQ
— Newsmax (@newsmax) August 5, 2022
Law Enforcement Today recently reported on that phenomenon, and that story may be found below.
Hawley pressed Wray about the whistleblower’s allegations, asking about the agency’s ability to track down and interview the 324 suspected terrorists. While he wasn’t able to provide specifics, Wray did admit that “there are a number of individuals, through our joint terrorism task forces, that we are actively trying to investigate.”
Wray, who spends more time dodging questions than actually answering them, claimed the FBI had staved off a number of actions related to the evacuees, but refused to get specific.
“I will say that this was a massive number of people to be vetting in an extraordinarily short period of time, and that in my view inevitably raises concerns,” Wray said when asked about allegations of cutting corners.
“Oh, I think you’re absolutely right about that,” Hawley interjected. “’Inevitably raises concerns’ I think is the nicest thing that could be said about it.”
Continuing, Hawley said:
“We know that the basic procedures were not followed. We know that the screening process was not followed. And now we know that potentially hundreds of people connected to terrorism are loose in this country as a result,” he finished as he ran out of time.
The Epoch Times reports the Biden administration admitted some 77,000 Afghans to the U.S. during the failed withdrawal from the country last August. That botched withdrawal resulted in the deaths of 13 American service members and countless Afghan citizens.
The airlifts out of the country were ostensibly for those who may have been threatened with retaliation by the Taliban for helping the U.S. during the 20-year war there. However the evacuation has been widely criticized and is yet another black mark on the Biden administration.
Below is the piece about an FBI whistleblower who reported the inclusion of symbols and images of the American Revolution as signs of violent white extremism:
We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, profanity, vulgarity, doxing, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain fruitful conversation.