Saturday, February 25, 2017

Department Of Homeland Security Shoots Down Trump's Muslim Ban Redo

Analysts at the Homeland Security Department's intelligence has delivered a crushing blow to Donald Trump's second attempt at a Muslim ban in only three pages.

The conclusion the DHS drew found insufficient evidence that citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries included in Donald Trump's travel ban pose a terror threat to the United States citing that citizenship is "likely an unreliable indicator" of terrorist activity in the United States.

This conclusion emphatically undercuts Donald Trump's reasoning for his Muslim ban.

The three-page report challenges Trump's core claims. It states that of the 82 people the government determined were inspired by a foreign terrorist group to carry out or try to carry out an attack in the United States, over half were U.S. citizens born in the United States. The others were from 26 countries, led by Pakistan, Somalia, Bangladesh, Cuba, Ethiopia, Iraq and Uzbekistan. Of these, only Somalia and Iraq were among the seven nations included in the ban. Of the other five nations, one person each from Iran, Sudan and Yemen was also involved in those terrorism cases, but none from Syria.

This findings completely shatter the logic behind Trump's first attempt at a Muslim ban in which he cited terrorism concerns as the primary reason behind the sweeping travel ban which temporarily barred citizens from the seven countries from coming to the United States, temporarily shut down the U.S. refugee program for four months and indefinitely banned anyone from Syria or Libya.

Famously that first version, which sparked chaos, outrage and widespread protests, was blocked by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals directly challenging Trump's claim that it was motivated by terrorism fears.

After the defeat Trump issued an all caps threat to the judge saying...

After that outrage laden tweet he quickly and quietly withdrew the executive order.

After that defeat his administration set out to rewrite Trump's Muslim ban so that it could withstand the scrutiny of the courts. That is when the asked the Homeland Security Department's Intelligence and Analysis branch to find some evidence that the seven countries on the ban list were "terror threats".

It was only last Friday Trump was boasting that his new edict would be announced soon claiming his administration had been working on a version that could withstand legal challenges...

That is until this report leaked.

Homeland Security spokeswoman Gillian Christensen on Friday did not dispute the report's authenticity, but instead said it was not a final comprehensive review of the government's intelligence...

"While DHS was asked to draft a comprehensive report on this issue, the document you're referencing was commentary from a single intelligence source versus an official, robust document with thorough interagency sourcing. The ... report does not include data from other intelligence community sources. It is incomplete."

Pushing back on the charges of being "incomplete" the report itself reveals that it's findings were based on open sourced, unclassified information from Justice Department press releases on terrorism-related convictions and attackers killed in the act, State Department visa statistics, the 2016 Worldwide Threat Assessment from the U.S. intelligence community and the State Department Country Reports on Terrorism 2015.

The fact that the three page intelligence document was circulated beyond Homeland Security - i.e. leaked -  reflects the tensions between the Trump's political appointees and the civil servants tasked with carrying out his agenda.

Apparently they aren't very keen on their new boss.

FACT CHECK: A separate report released last year by the libertarian think tank Cato Institute reported similar findings as this one in that refugees do not pose a considerable risk to American lives. According to that report, the likelihood of an American being killed in a terrorist attack caused by a refugee is 1 in 3.64 billion per year.

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