Ian Patrick, FISM News
A Department of Defense Inspector General report recently revealed that multiple Afghani people who represent security risks were released into the continental Unites States (CONUS) during the disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal in August of 2021.
Released on Feb, 15, Acting Inspector General Sean O’Donnell’s report directly contradicts Biden’s promise last year that all Afghan refugees will be properly vetted before being allowed entry into the United States. “Anyone arriving in the United States will have undergone a background check,” Biden said at the time.
However, this report explicitly says that “Afghan evacuees were not vetted by the NCTC (National Counter-Terrorism Center) using all DoD data prior to arriving in CONUS.” The DoD was not involved “in enrolling, screening, or overseeing the departure of Afghan parolees at temporary housing facilities (safe havens) within the continental United States.”
The reason improper vetting occurred during the Afghanistan evacuation was because the agencies in charge “did not use all available data when vetting Afghan evacuees.”
This occurred because Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) enrollments were compared against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT) data, which did not initially include all biometric data located in the DoD Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) database and because the DoD’s National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC) has agreements with foreign partners that prohibits the sharing of some ABIS data with U.S. agencies outside of the DoD.
The inspector general said that this mistake has led NGIC personnel to identify “50 Afghan personnel in the United States with information in DoD records that would indicate potentially significant security concerns” as of November 2, 2021. In a footnote, these risks are explained to “include individuals whose latent fingerprints have been found on improvised explosive devices and known or suspected terrorists and for which the NGIC sends derogatory information notifications to appropriate DoD personnel.”
In addition to this troubling update, the inspector general also noted that the government was not able to locate Afghan individuals in possession of “derogatory information that would make them ineligible for the parolee program conducted at CONUS safe havens.”
NGIC have identified 31 refugees that fall under this category, but only three have been located by the government; the remaining 28 location in the United States remains unknown. According to the report, not locating these individuals could “quickly and accurately could pose a security risk to the United States” and lead the government to “mistakenly grant” these individuals with special immigrant visas or “parolee status.”
With all of this in mind, the inspector general suggests that the “temporary sharing agreement of biometric information” between DHS and the NGIC continue so that they may “complete their analytic review of Afghan evacuees for derogatory information.”
He also suggests “that the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security develop procedures for sharing derogatory information on Afghan evacuees with the Department of Defense and interagency stakeholders.”