AG Lynch: Acknowledges ‘Challenges’ to Vetting Syrian Refugees

Attorney General Loretta Lynch (L) calls on reporters after announcing a major civil settlement with U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania David Hickton at the Justice Department November 16, 2015 in Washington, DC.
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Attorney General Loretta Lynch concedes there are “challenges” associated with vetting refugees from Syria.

“Certainly there are challenges to [the vetting] process because of the situation in Syria.” Lynch testified before the House Judiciary Committee. “But I would note, however, that we do have the benefit of having that significant and robust screening process in place. A process that Europe has not been to set up which renders them more vulnerable.”

Lynch declined to say that complete vetting of Syrian refugees is impossible, dancing around the issue when pressed by Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) about the concerns raised by FBI Director James Comey that the government lacks the intelligence to fully vet the Syrian refugees who have applied for resettlement in the US.

Lynch argued that the Justice Department’s “most important priority” is the safety of the American people and “As the FBI director has noted, there is a process in place that allows for selective vetting of refugees from all countries,” she said.

Goodlatte responded by pointing out that Comey said the opposite about Syrian refugees, going on to quote Comey, “ He said, ‘We can query our database until the cows come home home. but there can be nothing to show up because we have no record on that person.’”

“Certainly with respect to the databases that the director was referring to, as he noted I believe before this committee, there is a screening process that has data from several different agencies FBI, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, National Counterterrorism Center. Much information is vetted and quarried. Certainly, a lot of the information that is vetted does have to be inputted into the system,” Lynch responded.


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