GOP senators say hundreds of Afghan evacuees reached U.S. without any vetting
Hundreds of Afghan evacuees reached the U.S. despite appearing on a Defense Department watch list or a crucial counterterrorism database, Republican senators charged Thursday, citing the claims of a whistleblower.
Sens. Josh Hawley and Ron Johnson said they’ve been told that 324 Afghans reached the U.S. despite appearing on the Defense Department’s Biometrically Enabled Watchlist (BEWL).
And 65 Afghans who made it to American soil also showed in the department’s Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) — up from 50 who were reported to have been flagged by an inspector general in February.
The senators also said they’ve been told political appointees ordered military officers to “cut corners” on fingerprint checks for the evacuees in order to rush them into the U.S., and Homeland Security employees have been told to delete some biometric data when they personally believed it was out of date.
“This information may show the Biden administration’s failure to vet those evacuated from Afghanistan was even worse than the public was led to believe,” the two senators said in a letter to Defense Department Inspector General Sean O’Donnell.
Mr. O’Donnell first flagged the security lapses in a report in February, saying evacuees were brought out of
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