When President Donald Trump pushed out his controversial travel ban earlier this month, many assumed that he had intelligence telling him these places were threats, but that is not true, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The travel ban affects Lybia, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and the Sudan. All countries are Muslim-populated, but have not been deemed a threat whatsoever.
However, some assumed that maybe there might be some sort of new intelligence that was given to President Trump that forced him to put these specific countries on his ban list. The Department of Homeland Security released a report this week that rejects to notion that any of the countries listed have been considered a threat to the United States by their intel, which Americans have trusted for decades. President Trump put them on the job to justify his travel ban, but the new report was not exactly what he wanted, it seems.
The report from the DHS begins by stating the department “assesses that country of citizenship is unlikely to be a reliable indicator of potential terrorist activity.”
This comes from the fact that due to these countries being in the middle east and Muslim populated, that they must be “sources of terror.” The White House then dismissed the report on Friday, calling it “politically motivated and poorly researched.” The Department of Homeland Security has not been known for making up facts or intel to support any certain party or affiliation, so believing they would now is saying a lot for the president.
Normally, the president would get a great deal of his Intelligence from people from this department, so one has to question where President Trump got his particular knowledge that these specific nations were considered a threat to the United States.
A senior administrator for President Trump claimed, “the president asked for an intelligence assessment. This is not the intelligence assessment the president asked for.” The official would go on to state that intelligence is already available on the countries included in President Trump’s ban, and it just needs to be compiled. White House Spokesman Michael Short also spoke on the situation.
“The intelligence community is combining resources to put together a comprehensive report using all available sources which is driven by data and intelligence and not politics.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security took issue with the Trump administration’s quality of the department’s report, claiming it as “commentary” based on public sources rather than “an official, robust document with thorough interagency sourcing.” The DHS argues that President Trump did not get his intelligence on these countries from proper sources. Gillian M. Christensen, the department’s acting press secretary, also disputed the White House’s claim on the report.
“It is clear on its face that it is an incomplete product that fails to find evidence of terrorism by simply refusing to look at all the available evidence. Any suggestion by opponents of the president’s policies that senior [homeland security] intelligence officials would politicize this process or a report’s final conclusions is absurd and not factually accurate. The dispute with this product was over sources and quality, not politics.”
One of the most commonly used excuses for the countries used in the travel ban is that is goes with the same countries that President Barack Obama’s administration found as “sources of terror.” It was even found that Iraq and Syria were the home to the self-proclaimed Islamic State. One would then worry about people from those countries entering the United States.
However, the Department of Homeland Security refutes this claim, as they compiled six years of work that found foreign-born people in the U.S. were “inspired” to commit acts of terror, and they came from 26 different countries. Analysts from the department also found that of the 82 of the individuals, who either engaged in terrorism, or died in the attempt, or were even convicted on charges, “slightly more than half” were native born citizens of the United States.
This means that out of all forms of terrorism that have occurred on U.S soil, more American-born citizens were responsible. In the same report released by the Department of Homeland Security, they found that in these acts of terrorism from people outside the nation, only two of the countries under the travel ban are among the top countries involved in American-based terrorism. Those countries are Iraq and Somalia. However, Trump did leave off the other top terrorist nations from his ban list.
Pakistan, Bangladesh, Cuba, Ethiopia, and Uzbekistan are the other countries in the top seven spots involving nations where people have come into the United States and committed terrorist attacks, with Pakistan being the number one.
“Out of 180 people charged with jihadist terrorism-related crimes or who died before being charged, 11 were identified as being from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Yemen, Sudan or Somalia, the countries specified in Mr. Trump’s order. No Americans were killed in any of the attacks by those 11 individuals,” the Wall Street Journal reported in January.
It will be interesting to see if there will be further altercations between the Department of Homeland Security and Donald Trump. If, by chance, Trump does have intelligence that is more valuable than that of the organization whose main job is to gather it, then Americans will surely want to see it soon.
[Featured Image By Alex Brandon/AP Images]