FBI Director James Comey, flanked by the nation’s top intelligence officials, admitted to the House Homeland Security Committee Wednesday that for some of the 10,000 Syrian refugees the administration has agreed to allow into the U.S., there will be no basis to vet them through the databases it uses to determine if they have ties to terrorism.
“We can only query against that which we have collected, and so if someone has never made a ripple in the pond in Syria in a way that would get their identity or their interests reflected in our database, we can query our database til the cows come home, but … there’ll be nothing show up, because we have no record on that person,” said Comey.
As CNSNews.com reported earlier, the White House has agreed to take in at least 10,000 Syrian refugees into the United States over the next year. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson also admitted last week that the U.S. won’t “know a whole lot” about the refugees it allows into the U.S.
Ranking member Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) asked Comey, “Mr. Director, before this committee, [FBI] Assistant Director [Michael] Steinbach said that the concerns in Syria is that we don’t have the systems in place on the ground to collect the information to vet. That would be the concern. Databases don’t hold the information on these individuals. Is that still the position of the department?”