The Corner

National Security & Defense

Our ‘Vetting’ Process Has Been a Deadly Failure for 14 Years

As I’ve written before, the Obama administration is insulting our intelligence by claiming that it can adequately and appropriately “vet” 10,000 or more Syrian refugees. How do we know this? Because our vetting process has been failing for fourteen years, and Americans have died as a result. While Andrew McCarthy described one of our more recent (and embarrassing) failures, the “vetted” Syrian rebels who handed over their weapons to al-Nusra, Syria’s al Qaeda franchise, the problem is much deeper and more deadly.

Since September 11, we’ve been vetting allies in Iraq and Afghanistan and promoting them to positions of power and authority in the Iraqi and Afghan security services. While we haven’t been able to vet every local recruit, we’ve made serious efforts to screen for known members of terrorist organizations. Yet again and again, our vetted “allies” have bombed or shot American soldiers. From January 1, 2008 until April 8, 2015, there were 91 so-called green-on-blue attacks in Afghanistan, killing 148 coalition troops and affiliates and wounding 186. Insider attacks happened when I was in Iraq, with one Iraqi colonel actually using his own personal security detail to plant roadside bombs.

We know ISIS is trying to strike America. We know ISIS has already successfully infiltrated the West through the refugee system. And we know from other contexts that our vetting process can be deadly deficient. Can someone then please tell me why the Obama administration and its allies are so derisive and condescending towards those who would rather help refugees overseas than bring them to America?

David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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