A Department of Homeland Security report calls into question the need for President Trump’s travel ban and finds that targeting people based on their citizenship is “unlikely to be a reliable indicator” of identifying potential terrorists or an effective method of combating terrorism.
The report’s findings do not fit Trump’s official immigration policy and may provide another obstacle as the administration tries to validate the need for the ban. Trump’s moratorium targeted seven countries — Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen — but was temporarily halted by federal judges.
The DHS report was brought to light by the Associated Press and is not official DHS policy. A spokeswoman for the agency said the report was “clear on its face that it is an incomplete product.” DHS also said the document is “not a final comprehensive review of the government’s intelligence.”
The three page report did provide an illuminating glimpse into what some intelligence experts believe is a foolish anti-terrorism policy, spelled out nations more likely to pose a threat to the U.S., and which of the seven targeted countries terrorist groups have not expanded further than their own soil.
“Terrorist groups in Iraq, Syria and Yemen pose a threat of attacks in the United States while groups in Iran, Libya, Somalia and Sudan remain regionally focused,” it read.
The assessment was prepared for the DHS Acting Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis David J. Glawe. It is unclear if Secretary John Kelly had read the unclassified document before it was reported by the press.
As the Trump administration attempts to rework the travel ban in an attempt to make it able to withstand legal challenge, this report and ones like it may pose a problem.
Judges who reviewed the initial ban wanted to see proof that the travel restrictions were based on credible national security threats, and not religion. Notably, all seven countries named in Trump’s order have a Muslim majority population.
This report calls that credibility into dispute.
[Washington Post] [New York Times] [Photo courtesy Andres Kudacki/AP via Times of Israel]