Grassley Investigating Alleged DHS Terrorist Lookout Record Deletions

Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) is investigating allegations the Department of Homeland Security has deleted records related to a list of terrorists the agency maintains as part of a “hands off” policy on some of the individuals on the list.

Grassley released emails last week describing the alleged terrorist “hands off” list at DHS which apparently resulted in the deletion of records of an individual who was allegedly a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and a “close associate” of a supporter of “Hamas, Hizbollah, and (Palestinian) Islamic Jihad.”

The individual referenced in Senator Charles Grassley’s inquiry to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson is Jamal Badawi, as previously reported by the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

Badawi is an Egyptian born Canadian Islamist leader and member at large of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). He was also a founding member of the Muslim American Society (MAS) as well as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

PJ Media’s Patrick Poole reported in 2012 about Homeland Security’s reluctance to halt Badawi’s extensive travels throughout the United States, regardless of his involvement in the Holy Land Foundation Trial as an unindicted con-conspirator-- the largest terrorism financing trial in American history. Additionally, Badawi has made recorded statements in 2009 in support of suicide bombings, The Investigative Project noted in May of 2012.

Grassley asked Johnson why Badawi was placed on a “hands off “ terrorist list maintained by DHS and allowed entry into the United States after suing “CBP twice in the past.” Additionally, Grassley inquired about former DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano’s involvement in the wiping of Badawi’s records in December of 2010 from the DHS system.

Grassley wrote to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson on February 3, 2014:

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.

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 several hands off passengers nationwide…Apparently his records were removed in December of 2010 and the DHS Secretary was involved in the matter.”

The e-mail continues:

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 [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.

Grassley asked Secretary Johnson why the individual was removed from the watch list in December of 2010. Additionally, Grassley inquired about former DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano’s or her staff’s alleged involvement with the removal of the individual from the watch list as well as the current watch list status of the individual, among other questions.

The Iowa Republican also posted a response letter from Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske, who told Grassley that CBP does not maintain a list “which would render an individual free of the grounds of inadmissibility or from other inspection requirement, including secondary inspections.”

“A traveler’s ability to enter or be admitted to the United States may be determined without necessitating a secondary inspection because information available to CBP has been reviewed and examined on numerous prior occasions, including any appropriate interagency coordination,” Kerlikowske wrote.

“It is important to understand that CBP does not have the authority to ignore information that renders an alien inadmissible because CBP does not have discretionary authority to admit inadmissible alien.” Kerlikowske added, “Accordingly, CBP does not maintain any list or mechanism which would render an individual free of the grounds of inadmissibility or from other inspection requirement, including secondary inspections.”


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