A disturbing update on the two Muslim “refugees” from Iraq now living in Kentucky charged with terrorism.
Nearly 37,000 Iraqi’s have been permitted to enter the U.S. since 2009 alone, more than 50,000 since 2003. Two have now been arrested. How many now in the U.S. waged jihad against American soldiers? How many are still plotting? via Fingerprints in terror case unchecked for months
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — While an Iraqi refugee spent two years in the U.S. plotting to help al-Qaida attack American soldiers in Iraq, court documents say, federal authorities unknowingly had evidence that already linked him a roadside bomb in his home country in 2005.
National security experts said the 21-month lapse in linking fingerprints from the bomb to the suspect shows poor communication among the several federal agencies in charge of anti-terrorism efforts.
Waad Ramadan Alwan, 30
“That’s very disturbing,” said Charles Rose, a criminal and military law professor at Stetson Law School in Gulfport, Fla., who served as an Army intelligence officer and a judge advocate general. “That’s a problem.”
Even without the fingerprint match, the FBI had begun investigating 30-year-old Waad Ramadan Alwan a few months after he was allowed to come to the U.S. as a refugee. Still, experts say the crime-scene evidence from Iraq could have led to a faster arrest.
He and 23-year-old Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, both of Bowling Green, Ky., were charged last week with plotting to send explosives, guns and missiles to Iraqi insurgents after an investigation that began in September 2009. Neither is charged with plotting to launch attacks inside the United States, and authorities said their weapons and money didn’t make it to Iraq.
But Alwan’s fingerprints had been lifted off an improvised explosive device found near Bayji, Iraq, in September 2005.
Before he entered the U.S.as a refugee in April 2009, he had to provide a set of fingerprints for a security check. A statement from the Department of Homeland Security acknowledged that gaps prevented authorities from connecting the refugee fingerprints to the bomb until January 2011.
“Rarely do you get that much evidence,” said Frank Cilluffo, director of a homeland security studies program at George Washington University who also served as White House domestic security adviser to President George W. Bush. “It’s that much more troubling that it wasn’t caught.”
Alwan is charged with conspiracy to kill a United States national, conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to terrorists. Hammadi is charged with attempting to provide material support to terrorists and knowingly transferring, possessing or exporting a device designed or intended to launch or guide a rocket or missile.
The men pleaded not guilty to the charges Tuesday, and are in federal custody pending a detention hearing.
Alwan and Hammadi, also a refugee, entered the United States four months apart in 2009. The FBI and federal prosecutors wouldn’t say how the two men were granted refugee status and wouldn’t address why Alwan’s fingerprints weren’t matched sooner to those taken off the IED.
Iraqis seeking refugee status in the United States have two ways of getting it. One is to apply through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, and the other is via a special exemption that is made for those who assisted U.S. forces.
Applicants must show they have a fear of persecution due to their race, religion, nationality, membership in a social group or political opinion, according to the Department of Homeland Security. They must submit to an interview by an immigration officer and two security checks.
According to a report on the Department of Homeland Security website, even if authorities determine a person meets the definition of a refugee, that person “may nonetheless be inadmissible to the United States due to criminal, security or other grounds, and therefore ineligible for refugee resettlement.”
The report, “Refugees and Asylees: 2010,” shows that almost 19,000 Iraqi refugees were allowed into the United States in 2009, accounting for more than a quarter of all refugees admitted to the U.S. that year and the highest number of Iraqis on record. In 2010, the number totaled 18,016.
A Department of Homeland Security official, who requested anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, said Tuesday that the gaps that allowed Alwan and Hammadi to slip in have been filled.
The official said the agency now checks people repeatedly as new information becomes available.
Ten years after 9/11 and the same agencies still can’t share information to prevent jihadists from entering the U.S. and the DHS has been largely compromised.
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