Dozens of Afghan refugees released in the US have Pentagon records that “indicate potentially significant security concerns,” according to a new probe conducted by the Department of Defense (DOD) Inspector General (IG).
The Afghans are being brought into the US after the botched US withdrawal from Afghanistan last August, and the country's subsequent fall to the Islamic extremist Taliban, whom the US had been fighting.
Under the Biden administration’s Operation Allies Welcome (OAW), approximately 80,000 “displaced persons from Afghanistan” have been admitted to the US under a special immigrant visa (SIV) or humanitarian parole.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was placed in charge of resettling the Afghans, and the Biden administration assured Americans the refugees would be thoroughly screened.
The new IG report confirms even more troubling details that investigators at National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), the agency responsible for clearing the Afghans, is not properly using all available intel from the DOD and its federal agencies, including DHS, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to adequately vet candidates, prior to their arrival in the US.
According to the audit, in addition to the NCTC missing significant DOD security concerns of at least 50 refugees, the nation’s lead counterterrorism intelligence entity has also failed to stop at least four dozen Afghans with “derogatory information” in their record.
The report defines "derogatory information" as potentially justifying an unfavorable fitness or access determination, requiring further investigation.
The audit also discloses that 1,236 Afghan parolees left U.S. military bases, also known as "safe havens," without completing full processing protocols. Parolees are expected to get required vaccinations and tuberculosis testing before leaving the base.
The DOD watchdog warns:
“As a result of the NCTC not vetting Afghan evacuees against all available data, the United States faces potential security risks if individuals with derogatory information are allowed to stay in the country. In addition, the U.S. Government could mistakenly grant SIV or parolee status to ineligible Afghan evacuees with derogatory information gathered from the DoD ABIS database.”DOD IG Report