Advanced and easy to use technology exists to vet refugees but the US government has refused to use it. Why? It is hard to understand why public officials refuse to apply technology that can protect Americans from terrorism and crime.
The practical problem is, as our intelligence chiefs have been telling us as recently as this week, is that ISIS and other terrorist organization are smuggling operatives into Europe and the United States.
There is serious concern about illegal transits -for example, at the southern border of the United States where people swarm across on a daily basis. Sometimes illegals from the Middle East are caught at the southern border, but again the agents who arrest them lack proper tools to find out if they are truly refugees or are plants from terrorist organizations.
But the US is also “legally” importing refugees from Syria to the United States, supposedly in solidarity with our European partners who are suffering a massive crisis because of the influx of refugees. In some cities in Europe it is no longer safe to go out, and women are advised to exercise special care. In Sweden Americans have been warned by the State Department to stay away from public events, religious festivals* and the use of public transit.
As the Washington Times reported on April 27th, the administration is not properly screening “legal” refugees under Obama’s program to take 10,000 Syrians. Kansas Governor Sam Brownback cancelled his state’s cooperation with the Federal government on resettling refugees in Kansas because background checks have not even included checks against any negative evidence that might appear on social media.
When a refugee or any other person with a visa comes to the United States there is supposed to be a background check. Often in the past these either have been cursory, carried out by US consulates, or have relied on information provided by the country of origin. As we should have learned after 9/11, taking information form local authorities in the Middle East is a dangerous gamble. Obviously in the case of Syria, which is suffering a horrendous civil war fueled by outside interests, getting reliable information is all but impossible.
Refugees appear with fake papers and false passports, mostly bought on the black market or provided by terrorist sponsoring organizations. They lie about their past; and there is no easy way to check them out. Social media is a possible avenue to get some help, but it is a pig and a poke. Not everyone uses social media, and even fewer blab about their allegiances. And because of false names, lack of fingerprint data, the only technology to try and find an individual on a social site is face recognition. Face recognition sometimes works, but it often produces false positives or misses identification altogether. Even more, some who use social media either don’t use their picture, or they use a photo of someone else. They also now have tools to bypass registration on social media accounts. This is rather common in the criminal and terrorist underground.
To counteract all these problems a fascinating technology was developed in Israel that is able to find out in only a few minutes whether a person is telling the truth or not. The system is all but unbeatable and it is highly accurate. Even more pertinently, DHS ran an elaborate scientific test of the technology and knows that it works.
My company, SDB Partners, took up the cause of the company in Israel and officially represents them in the United States and elsewhere. We did this out of concern that the risk to the United States was growing and we needed better ways to check people out and find out if they posed a concrete danger. Since we undertook this mission, I have been surprised that neither the State Department, DHS, the White House or even the FBI have sat on their hands. Have they been told not to vet refugees? I don’t think so, but the total lack of interest in something that works, and the absence of alarm or worry by those responsible for our security, is a great concern of mine and others.
*It is not clear what the State Department actually means about religious festivals, but most likely it is a reference to Jewish holidays. Jews in Sweden have been under considerable pressure from a hostile and growing radicalized Muslim population.