National Security

DHS analysis found no evidence of extra threat posed by travel-ban nations: report

A draft intelligence report compiled by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) finds little evidence that citizens from the seven countries included in President Trump’s travel ban pose a terror threat, according to The Associated Press

The document, compiled by the agency’s intelligence unit, reportedly says citizenship is an “unlikely indicator” for terror threats within the U.S. 

It also points notes that just a handful of people from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and Sudan have been linked to terrorist activity in the U.S. or participated in attacks. 

{mosads}The report undermines the rationale for Trump’s executive order, which he said was put in place to protect the country from terror threats. 

The ban, which also halted the U.S. refugee program, has been on hold since early this month by order of a federal judge in Washington state. The White House is drafting a new order that it believes can pass legal muster, which Trump said Friday will be released in the coming days. 

DHS spokeswoman Gillian Christensen told the AP the document is just a draft and is not a final assessment of the potential threat posed by people covered by the travel ban. 

White House spokesman Michael Short said it’s not the full report that Trump had requested. He told the AP he thinks “the intel community is combining resources to put together a comprehensive report using all available sources, not just open sources, and which is driven by data, not politics.”

Trump had reportedly requested that the DHS, alongside the Justice Department, help it build its legal case in defense of the ban. 

Former officials and intelligence policy experts have expressed dismay at the request, arguing that it amounts to politicization of intelligence. They say that the administration is asking the agency to cherry-pick intelligence to support a foregone conclusion — rather than following the intelligence where it leads them. 

The contradictory report appears to highlight ongoing tension between the White House and the career professionals tasked with carrying out Trump’s ambitious agenda. 

The president has repeatedly hammered agencies for leaks that he has argued are political hit jobs carried out by Obama administration hold-overs.

According to the AP, the DHS report found that of 82 people the government determined were inspired by a foreign terrorist group to attempt an attack in the U.S., more than half were U.S. citizens born in the United States. 

The others were from 26 separate countries, only two of which — Somalia and Iraq — were among the seven nations included in the ban. 

Of the remaining five countries banned, one person each from Iran, Sudan and Yemen were involved in those terrorism cases. None came from Syria. Libya was not mentioned. 

The three-page report was based on unclassified information drawn from Justice Department press releases, State Department visa statistics, the intelligence community’s 2016 Worldwide Threat Assessment and a 2015 State Department country-by-country terrorism report. 

It found that while terrorist organizations in Iran, Libya and Somalia are regionally-focused, groups in Iraq, Syria and Yemen do pose a threat to the United States. 

– Updated at 5:31 p.m.


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