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State Dept Spox: ‘Potential For ISIS Terrorists To Insert Themselves’ Among Refugees, Vetting Process ‘Not Perfect’

On Wednesday’s broadcast of the Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends,” State Department Spokesperson Rear Admiral John Kirby (Ret.) stated, “I wouldn’t debate the fact that there’s the potential for ISIS terrorists to try to insert themselves,” among Syrian refugees, and that “the vetting process, while not perfect, is very, very stringent.”

Kirby said, “I would tell you that the more than 10,000 now Syrian refugees that we’ve admitted into the country, by this month, have all been extremely and very stridently vetted.”

He added, “There’s certainly not the same amount of information you have on individuals there that you would have here. But I would tell you a couple things, first of all, they’re the — only the most vulnerable individuals. Eight out of ten of the more than 10,000 Syrian refugees that we’ve admitted to the country are women and children, and of the men that make up the remainder, most of them are connected to families. Number two, they are going through a very serious inter-agency vetting process, the most that any refugee goes through. Is it perfect? Can it be perfect? Can it be foolproof? Well, probably not, no. But it is very, very serious.”

Kirby further stated, “We feel good that it is — it’s done appropriately, it’s done thoroughly, that the vetting is good.”

Kirby also said, “I wouldn’t debate the fact that there’s the potential for ISIS terrorists to try to insert themselves, and we’ve seen that in some of the refugee camps in Jordan and in Turkey, where they’ll try to insert themselves into the population. But again, the vetting process, while not perfect, is very, very stringent. And it takes — it can take almost up to two years for a single refugee to make it to the country.”

He further argued that the “bulk” of recent terrorist attacks “are not from refugees.” Kirby added, “I can tell you that, since the ’70s, we’ve admitted millions of refugees. A fraction of 1% of them were sent out of the country because of terrorist or violent criminal behavior.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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