President Trump has instructed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to assist the Department of Justice (DOJ) in constructing a legal case in defense of his temporary travel ban on immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries, CNN reported on Thursday.
Several Trump administration sources told the news network that some White House intelligence officials are concerned about the order and the potential politicization of intelligence.
"DHS and DOJ are working on an intelligence report that will demonstrate that the security threat for these seven countries is substantial and that these seven countries have all been exporters of terrorism into the United States," one senior White House official told the news source.
"The situation has gotten more dangerous in recent years, and more broadly, the refugee program has been a major incubator for terrorism," the official added.
Trump's controversial executive order on immigration was put on hold by a federal judge in Seattle, a ruling later upheld by the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. In its unanimous decision, the three-judge panel questioned the administration's evidence for specifically banning citizens of those seven predominantly Muslim countries — Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen.
"The Government has pointed to no evidence that any alien from any of the countries named in the order has perpetrated a terrorist attack in the United States," the judges wrote.
The senior official told CNN that one possible way the White House could justify the ban is to include a list of terrorism-related injuries, investigations and other actions in the report.
Trump has previously called for the collection and publication of data on foreign nationals charged with terrorism-related crimes.
Trump's order, and a revised version expected next week, are sure to draw a flood of legal opposition. The White House has argued that the president has broad legal authority over national security issues.