Biden’s catastrophically botched withdrawal from Afghanistan was bad enough in itself, diminishing America’s standing in the world and projecting an image of weakness that has encouraged and emboldened enemies of our nation worldwide. The fallout from it, however, could be incalculably worse. A Defense Department (DoD) whistleblower has revealed that 324 of the Afghans whom U.S. forces brought to the United States as the disaster in Afghanistan was unfolding appeared on the department’s Biometrically Enabled Watchlist (BEWL), which includes terrorists, and yet were admitted into the country without being vetted. No one who has been watching the spreading dumpster fire that is the Biden administration could possibly be surprised.
Senators Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) and Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) have called upon the DoD to investigate. On Thursday, they wrote to DoD Acting Inspector General Sean O’Donnell about their “concern over new allegations raised by a Department of Defense (DoD) whistleblower. This information may show the Biden Administration’s failure to vet those evacuated from Afghanistan was even worse than the public was led to believe. The following allegations demand an immediate investigation by your office.” There should indeed be an investigation, but in these days of the hyper-politicization of everything and concomitant wokeification of the government bureaucracy, a genuinely illuminating investigation is about as likely to happen as Donald Trump or Ron DeSantis getting the Democrat nomination for president in 2024.
Epoch Times reported Friday that “the BEWL identifies individuals whose biometrics have been collected and determined by analysts to be threats or potential threats to national security, including known suspected terrorists.” But instead of stopping those who appeared on this watchlist, the whistleblower contents that “White House and DoD officials instructed agency personnel to ‘cut corners’ and not conduct full fingerprint tests on the evacuees at staging bases in Europe, ‘in order to promote the rushed evacuation from Afghanistan.’”
The whistleblower also charges that “Department of Homeland Security (DHS) staff were authorized to delete old biometric data at their discretion.” Really, what could possibly go wrong? Hawley and Johnson point out, with admirable understatement, that this is a “troubling development that could threaten national security and public safety.”
Yeah, it could. And as it was all initially unfolding, Joe Biden was doing what he does best: lying. Sensitive to criticism arising from the importation of unvetted Afghans in the U.S., Biden declared in September 2021 that “planes taking off from Kabul are not flying directly to the United States. They’re landing at U.S. military bases and transit centers around the world. At these sites where they are landing, we are conducting thorough scrutiny — security screenings for everyone who is not a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident.” State Department spokesman Ned Price added: “Before anyone who is evacuated from Afghanistan comes to this country, they undergo a rigorous vet. Unless and until they complete that vet they will not be in a position to come to the U.S.”
In reality, however, there appeared to be a concerted effort to bring unvetted Afghans into the United States. At least 82,000 Afghans were brought to the U.S. without being vetted. In October 2021, Senate Republicans noted in a memo, accordingto the Washington Examiner, “senior officials across the departments of Homeland Security, Defense, State, and Justice described a disastrous screening and vetting process.” Immigration officials accepted uncritically what Afghans said about who they were, without making any effort to check their stories. According to the Examiner, “the large majority of people, approximately 75%, evacuated were not American citizens, green card holders, Afghan Special Immigrant Visa holders, or applicants for the visa.”
Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) had been given to Afghans who aided U.S. forces in Afghanistan. In September 2021, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas revealed that “of the 60,000 Afghans who have entered the U.S., nearly 8,000 are either U.S. citizens or residents, while about 1,800 are SIV holders, having obtained visas after assisting the U.S. military.” That meant that 52,000 of the 60,000 Afghans who had come into the country were not U.S. citizens or SIV holders. In November 2021, Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) stated that only 700 of the 82,000 Afghans now in the U.S. were SIV holders.
The Examiner noted that Biden’s reception of these Afghans “violated long-standing U.S. government policies for handling refugees.” This was a deliberate decision: “Refugees are to be screened and vetted before being admitted to the U.S. through an extensive process that includes multiple interrogations. Rather than follow the protocol, the Biden administration instructed federal law enforcement and military officials handling the evacuations and processing to adhere to less stringent standards.”
Hawley confronted FBI director Christopher Wray about all this Thursday. According to Epoch Times, “Wray wasn’t able to give a clear answer about the FBI’s efforts to track down and interview the 324 Afghan evacuees.” Once again, no one should be surprised. Clearly this is all going the way the Leftist elites want it to go.
EDITORS NOTE: This Center for Security Policy column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.