Homeland Security Congressman: 'We Cannot Vet the Refugees from Syria'

Rep. Pete King (R-NY), a member of the Homeland Security Committee and Chairman of the Sub-Committee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, said unequivocally Tuesday that we cannot adequately vet the "refugees" from Syria—a perspective shared by top-level members of the intelligence community.

King's warning came during an interview with a panel on MSNBC's Morning Joe, in which increasingly combative co-host Mika Brzezinski attempted to tell King that she knew better than him about what the "vetting process" entailed, despite his classified knowledge on the subject and, as co-host Joe Scarborough reluctantly pointed out, the agreement of other top officials.

"People talk about 'thorough vetting. There is no vetting as a practical matter."

Rep. Pete King (R-NY)

Currently, over half of governors have pushed back against President Obama's announcement that he was moving forward with his goal of importing at least 10,000 Syrian "refugees" despite the devastating terror attacks in Paris, which involved at least one terrorist who posed as a Syrian refugee to enter Europe.

When asked about the vetting process, King said flatly, "We cannot vet the refugees from Syria."

"There are no databases to work against, no government records," he explained to an immediately incensed Brzezinski. "People talk about 'thorough vetting.' There is no vetting as a practical matter."

Insisting "there is vetting," Brzezinski continually tried to make the argument about whether or not there was any sort of "vetting process" rather than how reliable that process. Citing "face-to-face interviews" and " health screenings," Brzezinski said the process could even take up to two years to complete for a family.

But King wouldn't let her peddle the false talking points and downplay the massive risks posed by the process, saying, "No, Mika you are entirely wrong."

"Actually sir, I think you’re wrong," said Brzezinskii, adding, "The vetting is happening, whether you like it or not."

Calling her "1000% wrong," King explained that intelligence officials had told him that they did not have anything close to adequate documentation for the refugees to ascertain whether they posed a threat to Americans.

When Brzezinski asked if he was arguing that we should just tell Syrians "stay out of America, you're not welcome here," he gave her an answer she didn't want to hear.

"My job is to protect Americans, not to feel good about myself," said King, adding, "If Americans get killed, because we’re letting people in who have not been properly vetted—and they can not be properly vetted ... How many times do I have to tell you this Mika? You are wrong."

The Hill reported in October that federal officials, including the FBI director, warned that the are significant "gaps" in our ability to screen migrants from Syria, a perspective echoed recently by the head of the House Homeland Security Committee, who described our vetting gaps as "gaping holes."

Video via MSNBC. Partial transcript via Mediaite.

 
 
 

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