Patterico's Pontifications


President Obama: U.S. Will Accept Syrian Refugees. Governors Say No, American Security Comes First

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:17 pm

[guest post by Dana]

After it was revealed that at least one of the terrorists in the Paris attacks had entered Europe as a Syrian refugee, 24 governors have thus far said that they will not accept Syrian refugees. The states are as follows:

— Alabama
— Arizona
— Arkansas
— Florida
— Georgia
— Idaho
— Illinois
— Indiana
— Iowa
— Kansas
— Louisiana
— Maine
— Massachusetts
— Michigan
— Mississippi
— Nebraska
— New Hampshire*
— North Carolina
— Ohio
— Oklahoma
— Tennessee
— Texas
— Wisconsin

*It should be noted that New Hampshire’s governor Maggie Hassan is a Democrat. Her office released the following common-sense statement:

The Governor believes the federal government should halt acceptance of refugees from Syria until intelligence and defense officials can assure that the process for vetting all refugees, including those from Syria, is as strong as possible to ensure the safety of the American people.

The current vetting process takes up to two years.

Interestingly, back in October, DHS director, Matthew Emrich was questioned by Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions about whether Syrian refugees could even be properly vetted:

Under questioning from Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, Emrich admits that there is no reliable way to assure that individuals coming from Syria are properly checked. The exchange lasts about seven minutes and Emrich sounds desperate when he says “we check everything that we are aware of” and that “we are in the process of overturning every stone.” The bottom line is that there is no way to verify the identity of Syrians so the defeated Homeland Security official proceeds to say that “in many countries of the world from which we have traditionally accepted refugees over the years the United States government did not have extensive data holdings.”

Emrich’s testimony before the Senate panel comes on the heels of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Assistant Director Michael Steinbach’s revelation that the U.S. government has no system to properly screen Syrian refugees. “The concern in Syria is that we don’t have systems in places on the ground to collect information to vet,” Steinbach said. “That would be the concern is we would be vetting — databases don’t hold the information on those individuals. “You’re talking about a country that is a failed state, that is — does not have any infrastructure, so to speak. So all of the data sets — the police, the intel services — that normally you would go to seek information don’t exist.”

Yesterday, the head of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Michael McCaul was on Meet the Press, and addressed the issue of databases :

“We have hundreds of Americans that have traveled” to Iraq and Syria, he urged. “Many of them have come back as well. I think that’s a direct threat.”

McCaul once again said he has spoken with FBI and Homeland Security officials who say that “We don’t have the databases to vet them.”

“They tell me this cannot be properly done.” the Congressman added.

McCaul has consistently warned that ISIS has planned to use the refugee crisis to get operatives into the US.

“This causes a great concern on the part of policymakers, because we don’t want to be complicit with a program that could bring potential terrorists into the United States,” McCaul said.

FBI Director James Comey had earlier discussed similar concerns:

“My concern there is there are certain gaps … in the data available to us,” Comey said.

“There is risk associated of bringing anybody in from the outside, but specifically from a conflict zone like that,” he added.

“There is no such thing as a no-risk enterprise and there are deficits that we face.”

In particular, the lack of solid on-the-ground intelligence assets in Syria has clouded the U.S.’s ability to crosscheck the backgrounds of every refugee hoping to come to the U.S., Comey and other national security officials told the Senate panel.

In spite of these officials “popping off” about the risks associated with Syrian refugees coming into the U.S., President Obama remains determined to press on with his plans to accept 65,000 100,000 Syrians next year, because to not do so would be un-American.


Various News Items on ISIS, Syria, and Paris Attacks

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:31 am

Obama spokesmoron sez the plan to take in thousands of Syrian refugees is on, baby!

President Obama still plans to allow 10,000 Syrian refugees into the country over the next year, despite terrorist attacks in Paris, at top aide said Sunday.

“We’re still planning on taking in Syrian refugees,” White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We had very robust vetting procedures for those refugees.”

If there’s anything we can trust in this world, it’s Barack Obama’s robust vetting procedures.

ISIS promises to hit Washington:

Islamic State warned in a new video on Monday that countries taking part in air strikes against Syria would suffer the same fate as France, and threatened to attack in Washington.

The video, which appeared on a site used by Islamic State to post its messages, begins with news footage of the aftermath of Friday’s Paris shootings in which at least 129 people were killed.

The message to countries involved in what it called the “crusader campaign” was delivered by a man dressed in fatigues and a turban, and identified in subtitles as Al Ghareeb the Algerian.

“We say to the states that take part in the crusader campaign that, by God, you will have a day, God willing, like France’s and by God, as we struck France in the center of its abode in Paris, then we swear that we will strike America at its center in Washington,” the man said.

The New York Times says that folks in Beirut, victimized by a large terrorist attack last week, feel neglected by the lack of an international outpouring of sympathy such as that received by France:

Ali Awad, 14, was chopping vegetables when the first bomb struck. Adel Tormous, who would die tackling the second bomber, was sitting at a nearby coffee stand. Khodr Alaa Deen, a registered nurse, was on his way to work his night shift at the teaching hospital of the American University at Beirut, in Lebanon.

All three lost their lives in a double suicide attack in Beirut on Thursday, along with 40 others, and much like the scores who died a day later in Paris, they were killed at random, in a bustling urban area, while going about their normal evening business.

. . . .

“When my people died, no country bothered to light up its landmarks in the colors of their flag,” Elie Fares, a Lebanese doctor, wrote on his blog. “When my people died, they did not send the world into mourning. Their death was but an irrelevant fleck along the international news cycle, something that happens in those parts of the world.”

Not mentioned in the story: the fact that the Beirut attacks merited a small box on the front page of the very same New York Times, which devoted its entire front page to the Paris attacks. You can see the report of the Beirut attacks in that tiny little box in the lower left of this image:

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 7.17.16 AM

And here is the paper’s coverage of Paris:

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 7.26.46 AM

Paper of record, heal thyself.

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