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Trump administration's 'bogus' terror report had no Homeland Security input despite claims otherwise

The President tweeted about the report 

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Monday 22 January 2018 16:18 GMT
Mr Sessions is said to have led the creation of the report
Mr Sessions is said to have led the creation of the report (Getty)

A Trump administration report that claimed three-quarters of those convicted of “international terrorism-related charges” were foreign born, was reportedly created without the input of Department of Homeland Security specialists and many experts believe it is misleading.

Last week, the DHS issued the 11-page report which claimed to have examined the details of 549 individuals convicted of offences between September 11 2001 and December 31 2016.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen called the findings of the report “chilling”, while President Donald Trump tweeted about its findings.

“New report from DOJ & DHS shows that nearly 3 in 4 individuals convicted of terrorism-related charges are foreign-born,” he said.

“We have submitted to Congress a list of resources and reforms....we need to keep America safe, including moving away from a random chain migration and lottery system, to one that is merit-based.”

But a new media report claims the analysis was not carried out by the DHS and its experts did not contribute to the report. Rather, the material was collated under the charge of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who then sent it to Ms Nielsen for her sign-off after it was completed.

Senator Tammy Duckworth calls Donald Trump a 'five-time draft dodger'

“The Trump administration is trying to turn counterterrorism into an immigration issue,” said Charles Kurzman of the University of North Carolina, where he tracks Muslim-American involvement in terrorism.

The report by the Daily Beast said career analysts at the DHS told the Department of Justice the data sought for the report simply did not exist within their department. It said the DHS does not track or correlate international terrorism data by citizenship or country of origin.

The Daily Beast said some within the DHS, believe the Trump administration used the Department to conflate immigrants with terrorists in support of the Mr Trump’s immigration crackdown.

“This kind of bureaucratic manipulation of what should be objective, professional analysis is what undermines confidence in these institutions,” said Michael German, a former FBI special agent now with New York University’s Brennan Centre for Justice.

Ms Nielsen told politicians on Capitol Hill the report was “likely just the tip of the iceberg”. She referred to a diversity visa lottery recipient from Uzbekistan who pleaded guilty to conspiring to support ISIS in 2015 after posting a threat against President Barack Obama online.

The White House wants to stop immigrants coming to the US based on family connections through so-called “chain migration” and end the diversity immigrant visa programme. But the DHS analysis provides no firm figures on how many of the 549 individuals at issue entered the US through those programnes, only providing eight “illustrative examples”.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice said the Daily Beast report was an “incredibly silly and inaccurate story”

“For those of us who were actually involved, this story is as bizarre as it is fictional. DHS drafted the report and ran the entire roll out for the report (including breaking it on CBS that morning with their secretary who then opened her testimony with it,)” said the spokeswoman.

“DOJ certainly provided our thoughts/edits when DHS provided us their draft about a month ago and we had someone from DOJ on their calls for the roll out to media and the Hill in case there were DOJ-related questions, but the narrative here is pretty much a 180 from what actually happened.”

A spokesman for the DHS said: The story as reported is categorically false. The Department of Homeland Security worked jointly with DOJ for months on the Section 11 report, and multiple components and offices across DHS were involved in the writing, analysis, and production.

“Furthermore, most if not all of the data in the report either came from DHS or was DOJ data analyzed with the help of DHS professionals.”

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