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Peter King: ‘No Real Way of Vetting’ Syrian Refugees

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Representative Peter King (R-NY), a member of the Homeland Security Committee and Chairman Counterterrorism and Intelligence Subcommittee, said there is “no real way of vetting, to any extent, these refugees coming in” on Tuesday’s broadcast of the Fox Business Network’s “The Intelligence Report with Trish Regan.”

King was asked, “could ISIS wind up seeding terrorists among the refugees that might come here?” He responded, “the answer is yes, and we know they’re going to try, and we have to assume that with this open border, — I mean, allowing 10,000 people in from Syria, that we have to assume that somebody is going to make it through, and in this day, in the post-9/11 era, we always have to assume the worst, and there’s a very good chance here that the worst will happen. And, you know, you have to realize that there is absolutely no way — no real way of vetting, to any extent, these refugees coming in. Now, over the last year-and-a-half or so, there has been an attempt at vetting, and they say they’ve cleared 1,500. Let’s assume that’s true. That’s 1,500 in over a year. How is the president going to find another 10,000 that we can vet. The reason I say that is, there is no intelligence on the ground. We don’t have people on the ground who can vouch for everyone. There’s obviously no government records we can go to. Syria is a totally chaotic country, and it’s a hotbed of al Qaeda and ISIS. And we have no idea who’s coming out of Syria. … it definitely puts the United States at risk.”

He added, “Well, as a country we’ve always been open to refugees. In fact, I was in Congress in the 1990s, and we had more than 150,000 Bosnian refugees come into this country, and I supported that. But, in those situations, the refugees coming were not a threat to the United States. Like people say that Jews were kept out during the 1930s when they were escaping Nazi Germany, and that was terrible. That was horrible. The fact is, those Jews were not a threat to the United States, there was no rationale to keep them out. They weren’t kept out because they were Jews. They were kept out because we didn’t want to upset Hitler. We were neutral. It was terrible. It was a terrible, terrible decision, and they should have been let in, because they were no threat to the United States, plus they needed, of course, the relief from the horror they were going through. In this case, we have no idea who we’re getting. And a lot of these refugees — even for instance, my understanding is, that three-year-old boy that was — that washed up onto the shore, which was horrible to look at, and it was a terrible disaster, but he was not a political refugee. He and his family were living in Turkey, and they were from Syria, went to Turkey, and they were going to Europe for economic gain. And, you can understand that, but do you open up all your borders, not knowing who’s a real refugee, who’s coming for economic reasons, and who is affiliated with ISIS?”

King also argued, “We have to seal the borders now, and have the strictest possible vetting. And other than that, we should also start taking real action in Syria. The president dropped the ball two years ago when he allowed Assad to cross the red line, that allowed both ISIS to develop, and allowed it also allowed Assad to build up his strength.”

King concluded by saying of the Gulf states, “They should be doing a lot more. Now, Jordan has done a very good job. Jordan is the best ally we have over there in the Arab states. But, as far as the Saudis, the UAE, the Gulf states, they obviously have the space, they have the money, they have the ability, and they should be the ones who are taking them in. There’s no doubt about that.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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