White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre made excuses for the colossal failures of the Biden administration at Wednesday’s press briefing. This time, she was addressing its neglect to properly vet evacuees who fled to the U.S. after Biden’s sudden, catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan one year ago.
Jean-Pierre responded to questions about a damning new report by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General which stated that the agency did not have “critical data to properly screen, vet and inspect” those who came to the United States after Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Daily Mail reported.
Thousands who desperately tried to flee during the chaos were ultimately rescued by Operation Allies Welcome, a U.S. plan for expedited humanitarian parole. The Department of Homeland Security then processed these refugees, including among them “dozens” of evacuees with “derogatory information,” according to Inspector General Joseph Cuffari’s report.
“DHS may have admitted or paroled individuals into the United States who pose a risk to national security and the safety of local communities,” the report added.
Although Jean-Pierre claimed the U.S. had a “rigorous” screening process for the refugees, the IG’s report reveals that the agency did not have “critical data to properly screen, vet and inspect” the evacuees, who, nevertheless, were granted parole, as reported by the Daily Mail.
The Inspector General’s report elaborated on the negligence of DHS:
“We determined some information used to vet evacuees through U.S. Government databases, such as name, date of birth, identification number, and travel document data, was inaccurate, incomplete, or missing.
“We also determined CBP admitted or paroled evacuees who were not fully vetted into the United States,’ according to the report, after investigators spoke to 130 officials including those from Customs and Border Protection.”
Jean-Pierre, offering no evidence, defended the administration during the White House press conference.
“That very report did not take into account the key steps in that rigorous, you heard from us, rigorous and multi-layered screening and vetting process the U.S. government took before at-risk Afghans were permitted to come to the U.S.,” she said before doubling down.
“It did not take into full account of what the other eight agencies are involved in making sure that this multi-layered process and screening process–it is a multi-agency effort, and it did not, this particular report did not include that.”
Peter Doocy of Fox News, challenged the press secretary, asking if the administration thought MAGA posed more of a threat to the U.S. than the non-vetted evacuees in the DHS report. Without answering that question, Jean-Pierre again referred to her notes and insisted that the agency essentially disowns the report of its own IG.
“Again, DHS has disputed this report. It said it didn’t take into account the key steps that we have taken as a U.S. government–the rigorous, multi-layered screening and vetting process that we take as a government–that was not part of the report. Again, this report is not accurate. I know that our team has spoken to your team about this, and the DHS has provided a comment saying just that,” she insisted.
Demonstrating their mastery of “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain,” DHS proffered an official response which said, in part:
“[The Inspector General’s report] does not reflect the interagency nature of the vetting process, despite significant efforts and multiple attempts by DHS program officials, subject matter experts, and others to provide the OIG a comprehensive understanding of the extensive details related to the numerous facts and nuances of the unprecedented … vetting process… [The report] creates confusion with regard to terminology and roles.”
The consequences of admitting evacuees with “derogatory information” into the country remain to be seen.
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