Director of National Intelligence Warns ISIS May Infiltrate Syrian Refugees

Reuters/Alkis Konstantinidis
Reuters/Alkis Konstantinidis

Not long before President Obama declared that at least 10,000 more Syrian refugees would be flown into the United States for resettlement, his director of National Intelligence, James R. Clapper, warned about the dangers of ISIS operatives infiltrating Western countries through the flood of migrants.

“As they descend on Europe, one of the obvious issues that we worry about, and in turn as we bring refugees into this country, is exactly what’s their background?” said Clapper. “We don’t obviously put it past the likes of ISIL to infiltrate operatives among these refugees. That is a huge concern of ours.”

The Washington Times describes Clapper’s remarks as coming from a “rare and unusually informal public appearance at an annual U.S. intelligence community conference that kicked off Wednesday morning in Washington.”

Clapper claimed that the U.S. has a “pretty aggressive” screening system for asylum-seekers, but worried about the ability of European nations to properly screen the hundreds of thousands of migrants flooding across their borders.

Of course, screening the 2,000 or more Syrians we have accepted so far is a very different proposition than the 10,000 Syrians President Obama just unilaterally announced the United States would accept over the coming year. White House spokesman Josh Earnest assured reporters that Obama “would not sign off on a process that cuts corners” on security. It is not clear how that will be accomplished, or if the process will be designed to accept only actual refugees from the Syrian war zone, rather than “economic migrants.”

ISIS operatives have been claiming for some time that thousands of fighters would be smuggled into Europe and the United States through the refugee tide. It would not be the first time refugees have turned out to be terrorists; the Tsarnaev brothers are among the most infamous examples, but unfortunately there are many others.


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