News & Politics

ALMOST NONE of the 82,000 Afghans Airlifted From Kabul in August Were Vetted Before Coming to the U.S.

(AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

Back in September, Old Joe Biden’s teleprompter offered some reassurance to the American people: “Planes taking off from Kabul are not flying directly to the United States. They’re landing at U.S. military bases and transit centers around the world. At these sites where they are landing, we are conducting thorough scrutiny — security screenings for everyone who is not a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident.” Will it really surprise you, after ten months of this hard-Left, habitually dishonest administration, to discover that he was lying?

The reality is that almost none of the 82,000 Afghans who are now in the United States after being airlifted out of Kabul in August were vetted first. There could be any number of jihad terrorists and other criminals among them, but there is no way to know for sure until they actually commit crimes. Until then, celebrate diversity!

This revelation comes from a memo that Senate Republicans drafted in October, in which, according to a Wednesday report in the Washington Examiner, “senior officials across the departments of Homeland Security, Defense, State, and Justice described a disastrous screening and vetting process.” This process relied completely on databases of criminals and terrorists, which were incomplete in the best of times and even less useful in the chaotic situation of the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. Biden administration officials accepted at face value what these Afghan evacuees told them about themselves, without making any effort at all to check whether or not the evacuees’ claims were true.

What’s more, the Examiner reports that “the large majority of people, approximately 75%, evacuated were not American citizens, green card holders, Afghan Special Immigrant Visa holders, or applicants for the visa.” The Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) was given to Afghans who aided U.S. forces during our twenty-year misadventure in the country. As bad as the 75% figures was, it represented a slight improvement over the situation at the beginning of September, when Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas admitted that “of the 60,000 Afghans who have entered the U.S., nearly 8,000 are either U.S. citizens or residents, while about 1,800 are SIV holders, having obtained visas after assisting the U.S. military.” That is, 52,000, or 86 percent, were not U.S. citizens or SIV holders. However, Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) noted in early November that as of the beginning of October, only 700 of the 82,000 Afghans who had already been brought to the United States had SIVs.

Biden himself wasn’t the only one who promised that the Afghans they were bringing into the United States by the thousands would be thoroughly vetted. State Department wonk Ned Price was just as firm: “Before anyone who is evacuated from Afghanistan comes to this country, they undergo a rigorous vet. Unless and until they complete that vet they will not be in a position to come to the U.S.”

The reality was, according to the Examiner, that Biden’s handlers “violated long-standing U.S. government policies for handling refugees.” This was not by accident, but by design: “Refugees are to be screened and vetted before being admitted to the U.S. through an extensive process that includes multiple interrogations. Rather than follow the protocol, the Biden administration instructed federal law enforcement and military officials handling the evacuations and processing to adhere to less stringent standards.”

Related: Biden’s Handlers Want You to Cough Up $6.4 Billion to Resettle 94,000 Afghans in the U.S.

The Examiner explained what was lacking in the criminal and terrorist databases upon which those doing the screening and vetting relied: “While the Afghans were screened against the U.S. databases, criminal background or terrorism affiliations in Afghanistan likely did not come up when cross-checked against the U.S. database because not a significant amount of information was in the system compared to what is known about U.S. residents. Because only those flagged by the system were later vetted, the large majority of the 82,000 were not vetted. Vetting interviews ‘were only conducted for evacuees who had derogatory information associated with their biometrics or phone records,’ the memo states.”

One military official who asked to remain anonymous for obvious reasons (when the attorney general sics the FBI on angry parents, all bets are off) explained: “They created a brand new, out-of-cloth screening process just for this population. And then they told everyone, ‘This is what you follow.’ DOD was such a heavy part of this, and they follow orders. And so, they’re like, ‘OK, here’s the checklist. I’ll do exactly what the checklist says — no more.’ So, that’s how it happened, but it was centrally managed via DHS, the National Security Council, the White House. They said, ‘This is how we’re going to do this. And we’re going to depart significantly from the standard way of doing screening and vetting as we would in literally any other situation.’”

This official added: “They didn’t even really try to do any vetting. We have agents and [Homeland Security Investigations]. There are people who could have worked on this, and it would have been hard and it would have taken hours and days. But they didn’t even try — they just assumed a big risk because it would be less work.”

Less work, and more benefit for the regime: A population was brought into the United States that would be dependent upon government handouts, and would reliably vote Democrat to keep the gravy train going. It’s a neat trick: Biden’s handlers, in their quest for yet another political advantage, have endangered the American people, and made it even tougher than it already was for the American people to hold them accountable at the ballot box.