Homeland Security

How Did Renowned Sacramento ISIS Terrorist Slip Through the Obama-Era 'Rigorous' Vetting Process?

Omar Abdulsattar Ameen.

In the wake of the shocking arrest of suspected ISIS killer Omar Abdulsattar Ameen in Sacramento Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is putting out the word that “tighter screening and tougher vetting in the refugee program” has already made Americans safer.

In 2014, Ameen somehow slipped through the Obama administration’s “rigorous vetting process,” including the “many layers of security checks” all incoming refugees were supposed to face before being allowed into the country.

Ameen left Iraq in 2012 and fled to Turkey, where he applied for refugee status in the U.S., according to court documents.

Ameen was granted refugee status in 2014, and as PJ Media’s Patrick Poole reported, he returned to Iraq, where he participated in the ISIS murder of a police officer in the town of Rawah after it fell to the Islamic State.

The Iraqi arrest warrant and extradition request allege that after the town of Rawah, Iraq fell to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) on June 21, 2014, Ameen entered the town with a caravan of ISIS vehicles and drove to the house of the victim, who had served as an officer in the Rawah Police Department. On the evening of June 22, 2014, after the caravan arrived at the victim’s house, Ameen and other members of the convoy allegedly opened fire on the victim. Ameen then allegedly fired his weapon at the victim while the victim was on the ground, killing him.

Five months after that, Ameen was in the United States being resettled as a “refugee.”

According to court documents, it was “common knowledge” that Ameen was a main local figure in ISIS and involved with founding Al Qaeda in the region.

The documents further state that Ameen has “undertaken numerous acts of violence on behalf of these terrorist organizations, ranging from planting improvised explosive devices to the murder that is the subject of this extradition.”

He has allegedly been a member of al Qaeda and then ISIS since 2004 and is not known to have renounced membership in either group.

“One witness interviewed by the FBI states knowledge that the Ameen family home was an ISIS headquarters for Rawah. Another described Ameen as an ISIS commander,” court documents said.

But it gets worse. According to the Justice Department, the Iraqis had warrants out on Ameen as far back as 2010 and 2011.

PJ Media reached out to the Department of Homeland Security to inquire how such an individual was able to receive refugee status. How rigorous could the Obama administration’s screening process have been for a renowned ISIS terrorist to get through?

In a statement to PJM, DHS press secretary Tyler Q. Houlton said, “Last year, at the President’s direction, the U.S. Government implemented significant enhancements to the security of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.”

“Soon after her confirmation, Secretary Nielsen directed further improvements to close identified security gaps and to make it harder for terrorists, criminals, and fraudsters to exploit our humanitarian system,” said Houlton. “Tighter screening and tougher vetting in the refugee program have already started to make Americans safer at home. This is just one example of how raising the bar on our security standards has directly increased our ability to protect and secure our nation from terror groups abroad.”

In 2011, two Iraqi terrorists who had entered the country in 2009 as refugees were arrested in Bowling Green, Kentucky, on federal terrorism charges. The pair were convicted of attempting to provide material support to al Qaeda in Iraq after they had been caught trying to send money and weapons to the terror group.

They also pleaded guilty to supporting attacks on the U.S. military while they were still in Iraq.

The Trump administration has put into place a tough vetting process for refugees, including longer background checks and additional screenings for persons between 14 and 50 from certain countries, including Iraq. It also limited refugee arrivals to the U.S. to 45,000 annually. Additionally, President Trump has imposed a ban on travel to the U.S. from seven countries: North Korea, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and Venezuela.

That’s comforting.

But the arrest of ISIS killer Omar Abdulsattar Ameen this week begs the question: How many more refugees with terrorist backgrounds settled in the United States during the Obama years and are ready to go off like ticking time bombs at a moment’s notice? And how rigorous was the Obama administration’s screening process if hardcore al Qaeda/ISIS terrorists were allowed to slip through the cracks?

Apparently not very.

Forget “extreme” vetting. Was there any vetting at all?