Concerned about blunders in the US government’s vetting process for effectively screening Syrian refugees, 31 states including Texas, Arizona, Michigan, Illinois, Maine and New Hampshire have taken action to block the acceptance of asylum seekers.
Trepidation about welcoming Syrian refugees into the US heightened following a string of recent terror attacks including one that claimed the lives of 130 people in Paris, France, and another in San Bernardino, California, in which 14 were killed and dozens more injured.
Now, their fears have been confirmed after intelligence officials admitted Monday they are aware that “Islamic extremists have explored using the refugee program to enter the United States,” The Hill is reporting.
The revelations were made by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, and have not yet been made public by the Obama Administration. McCaul declined to go into detail about the newly released information.
“ISIS members in Syria have attempted to exploit it to get into the United States,” said McCaul during a speech at the National Defense University, as reported by The Daily Caller. “The U.S. government has information to indicate that individuals tied to terrorist groups in Syria have already attempted to gain access to our country through the U.S. refugee program.”
In their original article that has since been modified, The Hill reported:
McCaul would not say specifically who informed him and other lawmakers about the revelation, only describing the sources as “elements of the intelligence community.”
“That was very courageous for them to come forward with this, to tell me about this personally, given the political debate on the Hill,” he added, suggesting that the news did not come from intelligence leaders.
The briefing happened “earlier this week,” McCaul said.
The White House would not confirm or deny McCaul’s claim, instead referring reporters to his office to explain where he got the information.