The intelligence arm of America’s Department of Homeland Security says in a draft document that President Donald Trump’s claims that 82 citizens of seven Muslim countries pose a terror threat to the United States are not backed by evidence.
DHS says citizenship in such nations are an “unlikely indicator” of terrorism.
The draft document, obtained by The Associated Press, sparked internal strife with DHS and, White House aides confide to Capitol Hill Blue, outright anger from Trump.
Homeland Security spokesman Gillian Christensen would not dispute the comments within the draft document but tried to downplay its significance in the overall fight against terrorism.
“While DHS was asked to draft a comprehensive report on this issue, the document you’re referencing was commentary from a single intelligence source versus an official, robust document with thorough interagency sourcing,” Christensen said. “The … report does not include data from other intelligence community sources. It is incomplete.”
Writes Vivian Salama and Alicia A. Caldwell of The AP:
Analysts at the Homeland Security Department’s intelligence arm found insufficient evidence that citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries included in President Donald Trump’s travel ban pose a terror threat to the United States.
A draft document obtained by The Associated Press concludes that citizenship is an “unlikely indicator” of terrorism threats to the United States and that few people from the countries Trump listed in his travel ban have carried out attacks or been involved in terrorism-related activities in the U.S. since Syria’s civil war started in 2011.
Trump cited terrorism concerns as the primary reason he signed the sweeping temporary travel ban in late January, which also halted the U.S. refugee program. A federal judge in Washington state blocked the government from carrying out the order earlier this month. Trump said Friday a new edict would be announced soon. The administration has been working on a new version that could withstand legal challenges.
Trump claims 82 people in the seven nations were “inspired by a foreign terrorist group” to carry out attacks on America.
Not true, says the DHS report:
Of the seven nations — Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Yemen, Syria and Libya — DHS found only three people involved in the terrorism cases cited by the President.
“The President exaggerated,” a DHS aide told Capitol Hill Blue. “He does that a lot.”
White House aides say Trump has ordered DHS to “amend” or “trash” the draft document.
No official response, however, has come out of the White House as of Saturday morning.
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