It seems Political Correctness has once again trumped the safety of Americans, as a newly released government document shows that the Department of Homeland Security is scrubbing the Terrorist Watch List to make it look like we don’t have a problem with Islamic Terrorism in the United States.
According to documents received by Judicial Watch, as part of a Freedom of Information Act Lawsuit, the Obama administration has been scrubbing the DHS Terrorist Screening Database” in order to protect “the civil rights” of suspected Islamic terrorist groups. According to Judicial Watch, the documents show that the Obama administration has created a “hands off” list, potentially allowing thousands of individuals with potential terrorist ties into the United States.
On May 6, 2014, Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) released internal Department of Homeland Security emails revealing an alleged terrorist “hands off” list that allowed people with potential terrorist ties into the United States.
Allegations by former Customs and Border Patrol Officer Philip Haney – now a whistleblower of the Department of Homeland Security – spurred Grassley’s and other congressional investigations.
Grassley’s letter to DHS read:
My office recently received copies of disturbing internal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) e-mails regarding the admittance of individuals into the United States with potential ties to terrorism.
The May 2012 e-mail chain between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) surrounds the question of whether to admit someone who had scheduled an upcoming flight into the U.S. Allegedly, the individual was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and a “close associate” of a supporter of “Hamas, Hizbollah, and (Palestinian) Islamic Jihad.” According to the same e-mail, the individual had been in secondary inspection “several dozen times of the past several years,” but had not had a secondary inspection since 2010.1
One of the responses to the initial e-mail states: “The [CBP National Targeting Center (NTC)] Watch Commander advised that the subject has sued CBP twice in the past and that he’s one of the several hands off passengers nationwide. . . . Apparently his records were removed in December 2010 and the DHS Secretary was involved in the matter.”2
“I’m puzzled how someone could be a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial, be an associate of [redacted], say that the US is staging car bombings in Iraq and that [it] is ok for men to beat their wives, question who was behind the 9/11 attacks, and be afforded the luxury of a visitor visa and de-watchlisted. It doesn’t appear that we’ll be successful with denying him entry tomorrow but maybe we could re-evaluate the matter in the future since the decision to de[-]watchlist him was made 17 months ago.”3
In order to understand the events described in these e-mails, please provide the Committee with answers to the following questions:
1) Why was this individual removed from the watchlist in December 2010?
2) Please describe the nature, extent, and reasons for the involvement of the DHS Secretary or her staff in the removal of the individual from the watchlist.
3) What is the current watchlist status of this individual?
4) How many people are on the “hands off” list mentioned in the email?
5) What qualifies someone to receive the “hands off” designation?
6) Does filing a lawsuit result in being designated “hands off” and thus avoiding secondary security screenings?
7) Who makes the determination that an individual should be considered “hands off”?
The new Homeland Security documents confirm that the list was scrubbed, modifying nearly 1,000 terrorist suspect reports. It also appears that removed data from that list could have helped prevent the San Bernardino terrorist attack.
“These new documents bolster allegations that the Obama administration may have removed information from a terrorist watch list that could have prevented the San Bernardino terrorist attack,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Philip Haney risked his career to blow the whistle on how the Obama administration created a ‘hands off” list of over 1,000 foreign nationals with potential terrorist ties. And, once again, it was a Judicial Watch lawsuit – and not Congress or the media – that uncovered the key information about this national security scandal.”
Haney told Breitbart.com, after the San Bernardino terrorist attack, that entries regarding suspicious and terror-related activity were removed from an agency watch list as the result of political pressure after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing:
“They came into the National Targeting Center, either physically or through emails and correspondence, and said that we could not develop cases based on association with Tablighi Jamaat [a Muslim religious organization with which the San Bernardino terrorists were reportedly affiliated], and/or any Islamic group,” Haney revealed.
Haney said his superiors actually erased some of his files pertinent to the case, because they insisted the initiative had “gone in a different direction” and he was no longer authorized to add his data.