The FBI cannot track all the terror threats in the United States because President Barack Obama imported too many people from terror-prone countries, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Tuesday.
The remedy is for the federal government to reduce the number of potential terrorists by excluding migrants who fail vetting reviews, Sessions explained December 12.
The statement came at a press conference in Baltimore when Sessions was asked how the department is countering legal immigrants who choose to become “lone wolf terrorists” under the influence of Islamic communities who support terrorism.
Sessions replied cautiously, and without mentioning Islam:
It is a very difficult challenge. We have you know, maybe a million or more people who are in the country from terrorist based countries, where terrorism exists, and I have raised with the FBI and have become very aware of the size of the challenge that they face. The previous administration proposed over 100,000 new refugees mostly from that region, so it just overwhelms the ability of the FBI to monitor them.
There is a myth out there that we just have that we have the power, the unlimited resources, to surveil hundreds of thousands of people … [FBI officials] do a remarkable job. I have been incredibly impressed how often their efforts have stopped someone before a problem occurs, before an attack occurred, but it is just physically impossible to stop all attacks.
I think it is a good question you’ve raised and we need to make sure we are putting the minimum stress on the bureau or reducing the stress by virtue of vetting people carefully before they are admitted into the country.
The question starts at 23.00.
Sessions was joined at the press conference by Kirstjen Nielsen, the new secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
Sessions also used the press conference to champion President Donald Trump’s popular opposition to the visa lottery and chain migration.
The Bangladesh citizen who is alleged to have attacked pedestrians in the subway on December 11 arrived as a chain-migrant, following a Bangladesh uncle who won the visa lottery.