Not Enough Pictures in Reports For Cartoon President Reading on 4th Grade Level? From [HERE] and [HERE] When President Trump signed an executive order last month temporarily barring [non-white] visitors from seven mostly Muslim countries, he said he was moving to protect the United States from terrorist attacks. The Homeland Security secretary, John F. Kelly, echoed the president, saying the travel ban was necessary because vetting procedures “in those seven countries are suspect.”
But an internal report written by intelligence analysts at Mr. Kelly’s department appears to undercut the assessment that people from the seven countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — pose a heightened threat of terrorism. The three-page report found that “country of citizenship is unlikely to be a reliable indicator of potential terrorist activity.”
The document — first reported by the Associated Press and later confirmed to the Washington Post — relies on public materials, and a Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman said it was “clear on its face that it is an incomplete product.” Still, it could prove another hurdle in the administration’s effort to restore the travel ban, undermining the White House’s argument that the measure is necessary for national security reasons.
The report is three pages long and does not address head-on whether the temporary ban on people entering the United States from Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen and Libya is an effective measure. But it asserts that citizens from those countries are “rarely implicated in U.S.-based terrorism,” and citizenship itself is an “unreliable indicator of terrorist threat to the United States.”
Based on an analysis of Justice Department press releases, it says of 82 people “who died in the pursuit of or were convicted of any terrorism-related federal offense,” more than half were U.S.-born citizens.
The report referenced eight people from Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Sudan and Yemen who it said were convicted of or died in pursuit of terrorism. It said none had done so from Syria and did not specifically mention Libya. It also excluded those merely traveling or attempting to travel to join a foreign terrorist organization.
The report also concludes that while terror groups in Iraq, Syria and Yemen pose a threat of attacks in the United States, the other four countries are “regionally focused.” That conclusion is based on another, non-classified report.
The report also found that in the past six years, the terrorism threat reached much more widely than the seven countries listed — individuals from 26 countries had been “inspired” to carry out attacks in the United States.
Furthermore, few individuals from the seven countries affected by the ban have access to the United States, the report said, noting the small numbers of visas granted by the State Department to citizens of those nations.
The report adds to the difficulties the Trump administration has faced in carrying out the travel ban. Federal judges have suspended the order, and the administration has said it will redo it to withstand legal scrutiny, but has not given a timetable.
The White House and the Department of Homeland Security sought to play down the significance of the report. The White House said that it was politically motivated and disregarded information that would have provided support for the travel ban. The Department of Homeland Security said the report was just a draft and “not a final comprehensive review of the government’s intelligence.”
Stephen Miller, a senior aide to Mr. Trump, told Fox News on Tuesday that the redrawn executive order would “have the same basic policy outcome.”
The Trump administration on Friday also took the first steps toward following through on the president’s plan to build a wall along the border with Mexico.
Customs and Border Protection, an agency within the Department of Homeland Security, announced that it would begin accepting design proposals for a wall. The agency said it would need the proposals by March 10. After it chooses a list of potential vendors, full proposals would be required a few weeks later.
The agency said it could make a final decision by the middle of April.