Pence Feels ‘Vindicated’ on Refugee Policy in Wake of Syrian’s Alleged Pittsburgh Church Bomb Plot

Vice President Mike Pence speaking
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Vice President Mike Pence feels “vindicated” on Syrian refugee policy in the wake of federal law enforcement foiling an alleged bomb plot in Pittsburgh, a source familiar with the vice president’s thinking told Breitbart News.

Specifically, when he was governor of Indiana in late 2015 before President Donald Trump won the GOP nomination and selected Pence as his running mate, Pence as governor halted the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Indiana. The effort was bogged down in the court system in the years since, but now President Trump has implemented federal policies to help cement what Pence was doing on the state level back then when now-former President Barack Obama was in the White House. But, now, with federal law enforcement officials charging a Syrian refugee with planning to bomb a Christian church in Pittsburgh, Pence feels he was right about this all along.

“The Vice President feels vindicated in his actions,” a White House official close to the vice president told Breitbart News on Monday morning. “He was putting the safety and security of Hoosiers first, and we now know that his concerns were entirely justified. Under President Obama, this supposed refugee got into the U.S. and was planning to support ISIS and attack a church. It’s because bad actors try to exploit our generous immigration and asylum laws that President Trump and Vice President Pence wanted stronger vetting procedures, and clearly, this is evidence that those stricture measures are warranted.”

As governor of Indiana in late 2015, the vice president joined several other governors nationwide in directing his state’s official agencies not to accept refugees from Syria in the wake of the Paris terrorist attack.

“After the terrorist attacks in Paris, Republican Gov. Mike Pence said Monday that he is suspending the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Indiana,” the Indianapolis Star reported in November 2016. “He joined governors from at least 15 other states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, and Texas, who said they won’t accept Syrian refugees after reports suggest one of the Paris bombers may have posed as a Syrian refugee.”

Pence is quoted in the story as saying his priority as governor was to protect the security of Hoosiers.

“Indiana has a long tradition of opening our arms and homes to refugees from around the world but, as governor, my first responsibility is to ensure the safety and security of all Hoosiers,” Pence said.

The left immediately sued Indiana and the other states and pushed to block what Pence and the other governors were doing. It was not until 2018, long after President Trump and now-Vice President Pence had assumed office in Washington, that the left won their lawsuits against the states.

“A federal judge has dealt a final blow to former Gov. Mike Pence’s ban on aid to Syrian refugees,” the Indianapolis Star reported in a follow-up piece in March 2018, adding:

The decision ends a years-long legal battle between immigration activists and the state of Indiana on the issue. U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt issued a permanent injunction Tuesday against Gov. Eric Holcomb and Jennifer Walthall, the secretary of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration. The officials are barred from withholding federal grant money to Exodus Refugee Immigration Inc., a nonprofit that aids refugees, according to the order.

Indiana settled the lawsuit and ended the fight. But because President Trump is now in office nationally and has, through his travel ban which has been upheld by the Supreme Court, implemented proper security measures that protect the country from future security risks presented by lackluster refugee vetting, Pence’s team believes that the effort was worthwhile.

“Now, under President Trump’s leadership, proper security measures are being implemented,” Pence spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said in March 2018, according to the Indianapolis Star report. “It makes sense that Indiana would settle.”

What’s more, last week the Department of Justice announced charges against a Syrian refugee man admitted to the country under the Obama administration’s lackluster vetting policies in August 2016 for allegedly plotting to bomb a Christian church in Pittsburgh.

The Department of Justice announced in a press release on June 19:

Mustafa Mousab Alowemer, 21, a resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was arrested today based on a federal complaint charging him with one count of attempting to provide material support and resources to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization, and two counts of distributing information relating to an explosive, destructive device, or weapon of mass destruction in relation to his plan to attack a church in Pittsburgh.

The announcement explains, citing law enforcement affidavits filed in federal court, exactly what Alowemer had allegedly planned to do.

“The FBI Pittsburgh JTTF investigation of Mustafa Mousab Alowemer (Alowemer) revealed that Alowemer plotted to bomb a church located on the North Side of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (the Church), using a weapon of mass destruction (i.e., an explosive device),” the Justice Department said.

“According to Alowemer, his motivation to detonate a device at the Church was to support the cause of ISIS and to inspire other ISIS supporters in the United States to join together and commit similar acts in the name of ISIS. Alowemer also targeted the Church in order to ‘take revenge for our [ISIS] brothers in Nigeria.’ Alowemer was aware that numerous people in or around the Church could be killed by the explosion.”

Later in the release, it explains more of what federal law enforcement authorities alleged Alowemer was planning:

In furtherance of the plot to bomb the Church, in May 2019, Alowemer distributed multiple instructional documents related to the construction and use of explosives and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to an individual Alowemer believed to be a fellow ISIS supporter, but who was in fact an FBI employee.  Alowemer distributed these documents with the intent that the information be used in the assembly of a destructive device and in furtherance of conducting an attack in support of ISIS.  In or around June 2019, Alowemer purchased several items with the belief that they were necessary to assemble a destructive device and with the intention that they be used to construct the explosives that would be detonated in the vicinity of the Church.

In planning the attack, Alowemer used multiple social networking and mobile messenger applications to communicate with an individual whom he believed to be a fellow ISIS supporter.  During his communications, Alowemer stated his support for ISIS, and his desire to answer the call for jihad or travel to conduct jihad.  Alowemer also distributed propaganda materials, offered to provide potential targets in the Pittsburgh area, requested a weapon with a silencer, and recorded a video of himself pledging an oath of allegiance to the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.

Between April 16 and June 11, Alowemer met four times in person with an FBI Undercover Employee (UCE) and/or an FBI Confidential Human Source (CHS).  At the June 11 meeting with the UCE and CHS, Alowemer provided additional details about the bomb plot and provided the materials he had purchased for construction of the device.  Alowemer provided two printed copies of detailed Google satellite maps, which included hand-written markings identifying the Church and routes of arrival and escape.  Alowemer also wrote and provided a 10-point handwritten plan (“Confirmation of this operation”) outlining details related to his plot to personally deliver explosives in a backpack.   Alowemer expressed a desire to meet one more time to conduct planning and coordination prior to carrying out the attempted bombing in July 2019.  That meeting was later scheduled for June 19 in the Pittsburgh area.

The release also makes clear that Alowemer was admitted to the United States during Obama’s administration on August 1, 2016.

“According to the complaint and information provided to the FBI by the Department of Homeland Security, Alowemer was born in Daraa, Syria, and was admitted to the United States as a refugee on Aug. 1, 2016,” the Justice Department said.

In other words, if Pence had not done what he did as governor, the Obama administration could have sent this man to Indiana–but they were unable to because of what Pence did to stop that. Now that Trump is president and has implemented his travel ban nationally, people like this are not getting into the country through the refugee program at all. In fact, a recent report shows that President Trump has cut Syrian refugee levels by more than 60 percent since Obama was president.

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