U.S. intelligence officials have confirmed that ISIS-affiliated terrorists considered using the refugee program to infiltrate the United States.
Though the Obama administration has not announced the find, Republican Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, the head of the Homeland Security Committee, released a portion of a classified letter from the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) on Dec. 7, which identifies "individuals with ties to terrorist groups in Syria attempting to gain entry to the U.S. through the U.S. refugee program," The Hill reported.
“The refugee system, like all immigration programs, is vulnerable to exploitation from extremist groups seeking to send operatives to the West," the NCTC added in the letter.
McCaul mentioned the letter during a speech at the National Defense University, and his office later called it a “misstatement.”
The White House hasn’t confirmed or denied the claim, but officials have repeatedly assured that the screening process, which takes about two years, is sufficiently rigorous.
“Those individuals who seek to enter the United States through the refugee resettlement program do so only after undergoing the most intensive screening of anybody who attempts to enter the United States,” Press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Dec. 7.
In fact, no Syrian refugee admitted to the United States since 2010 has ever been arrested or removed on terrorism charges, according to a statement released by the U.S. Department of State on Nov. 25.