The Federal government has stripped Americans of their Constitutionally guaranteed right to privacy via National Security Agency spying, claiming that intrusions are necessary to keep the country safe. But while the NSA stays busy collecting massive amounts of communication data, the Department of Homeland Security may have been busy making sure that individuals on the Barack Obama Administration’s terrorist “hands off” list have no troubles getting into the country.
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), a ranking Judiciary member, obtained a series of DHS emails that reveal the government has permitted individuals with direct ties to terrorist organizations such as Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah and others to enter the U.S.
One email even suggests that an individual with terror ties who knew he was on the list sued the Customs and Border Protection agency twice because “he’s one of the several hands off passengers nationwide.”
In a February letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, Grassley wrote: “I’m puzzled how someone could be a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial, be an associate of [redacted], say that the US is staging car bombings in Iraq and that [it] is ok for men to beat their wives, question who was behind the 9/11 attacks, and be afforded the luxury of a visitor visa and de-watchlisted. It doesn’t appear that we’ll be successful with denying him entry tomorrow but maybe we could re-evaluate the matter in the future since the decision to de-watchlist him was made 17 months ago.”
Grassley is still awaiting answers from DHS officials. But in an April response the Senator received from CBP Commissioner Gil Kerlikowsk, Grassley was told that the list is a Justice Department matter.
“CBP does not have any list or other mechanism which would render an individual free of the grounds of inadmissibility or from any other inspection requirements, including secondary inspections,” Kerlikowske wrote.
The CBP official added, “The Terrorist Watchlist is maintained by the Terrorist Screening Center, which was created by the Attorney General and is administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigations. All questions related to the watchlist should therefore be referred to the Department of Justice for response.” Kerlikowske also offers to provide the Senator with a “more detailed briefing on the particular case cited in your letter, in the appropriate setting.” That means nothing will be put in writing so as to avoid any sort of future incrimination in the event the scandal blows wide open.