• Senator investigates list of “U.S.-approved” killers.
By John Friend —
In early May, Senator Charles Ernest “Chuck” Grassley (R-Ia.) “released internal Department of Homeland Security [DHS] emails discussing an alleged terrorist ‘hands off’ list allowing individuals with potential terrorist ties into the United States,” according to a press release from his office.
The internal DHS emails Senator Grassley made public include a 2012 exchange between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials debating whether or not to admit an unidentified individual into the U.S. who was known to have ties to various Muslim extremist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood.
The individual being discussed in the email exchange apparently had been subjected to secondary inspection several times over the course of the past few years prior to entering the U.S. However, he had not been through secondary inspection since 2010, suggesting the U.S. government was aware of this individual for quite some time, and possibly facilitating his travel into America.
According to the email exchange, the individual also took legal action against the U.S. The email exchange indicates that the individual “has sued CBP twice in the past and that he’s one of the several ‘hands off’ passengers nationwide.” Apparently, Janet Napolitano, then DHS Secretary, became involved in the situation and the individual’s records were confiscated.
Senator Grassley has been hounding the DHS and the other agencies involved in this affair for months now. He originally wrote a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson in February stating in part: “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 U.S. 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.”
CBP Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske responded to Senator Grassley on April 10th, and explained that CBP “does not have the authority to ignore information that renders an individual alien inadmissible because CBP does not have the discretionary authority to admit an inadmissible alien,” according to Judicial Watch. Kerlikowske essentially denied there was a ‘hands off’ list, writing to Grassley that “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 requested Grassley address all questions relating to the ‘hands off’ list directly to Attorney General Eric Holder’s Department of Justice, which is responsible for maintaining a secret terrorist watchlist.
Despite the lingering questions and uncertainties regarding the ‘hands off’ list, many concerns have been raised about the status of American national security in the post-9-11 world and the agencies and officials responsible for protecting it.
“While we don’t know the nature of this list, the emails certainly raise a number of questions and concerns,” a spokeswoman for Grassley recently explained to this newspaper. “That’s why it’s important that the agency provide a briefing to Senator Grassley and his staff and answer questions about this apparent ‘hands off’ list that was referenced in the email.”
Senator Grassley’s office informed AMERICAN FREE PRESS that a briefing has been scheduled for Tuesday, May 20th. However, the briefing CBP is scheduled to provide will be much more limited in scope than Grassley’s office originally asked for.
“Senator Grassley’s office has emphasized to CBP that it needs to explain the conflict between the Commissioner’s claim to Senator Grassley that there is no ‘hands off’ list and the evidence in the email suggesting that a CBP official said there was such a list,” the spokeswoman stated.
Former Central Intelligence Agency counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer Philip Giraldi, who now serves as executive director of the Council for the National Interest, also spoke with this reporter about Grassley’s revelations concerning the apparent ‘hands off’ list, and the individual on it who purportedly is connected to a variety of extremist Muslim organizations, including the Muslim Brotherhood.
“I would suspect that he is a source for U.S. intelligence or law enforcement,” said Giraldi. “There may be other explanations, but that is what would seem to me most likely. It is quite common to facilitate travel arrangements for individuals who are vetted sources.”
Whoever the individual referred to in the emails turns out to be, and what exactly his connections are, the nature of the ‘hands off’ list and its purpose needs to be disclosed and explained to the American public.
John Friend is a California-based writer who maintains a blog.