300 refugees subjects of US counterterrorism investigations
Hundreds of refugees admitted to the US are involved in counterterrorism investigations, according to congressional sources. The FBI has yet to comment on the refugees’ country of origin or any details of the investigations.
An FBI probe of 1,000 counterterrorism investigations involves 300 refugees resettled in the US, Reuters reported Monday. This claim has already been used to defend an updated executive order blocking US entry from six Muslim-majority nations for 90 days and suspending the US visa program for 120 days.
“[M]ore than 300 people who came here as refugees are under FBI investigation for potential terrorism-related activities,” US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Monday morning when he unveiled the revised travel ban.
However, some have expressed concern that the investigations may not present as strong of a case for the executive order.
"The Trump administration has offered up no proof behind this assertion, making it impossible to evaluate this claim without more information,” a spokeswoman for the American Civil Liberties Union told the BBC.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly confirmed that there were 300 refugees being investigated, but could not confirm whether they were from any of the six countries blocked by the travel ban.
Kim Cragin of the RAND Corporation told BBC News that the fact that refugees are investigated by the FBI does not mean they are terrorists. She pointed out that the FBI often has hundreds of investigations open at any time and the majority are closed without finding anything.
Some FBI counterterrorism investigations have been criticized as entrapment. A report from Human Rights Watch claimed that terrorist prosecutions in the US often relied on evidence gathered through shady tactics, such as “overly aggressive sting operations and unnecessarily restrictive conditions of confinement.”
In addition, the FBI has also been known to make counterterrorism related arrests by going as far as planning an attack that the subject believes they are carrying out, some have even been given money and supplies by the FBI for these faux plots, according to the Intercept.