Report: al Qaeda Terrorists Entered United States Through Refugee Program

DHS Secretary said ISIS may exploit refugee resettlement program

Waad Ramadan Alwan / AP

Waad Ramadan Alwan / AP


Two al Qaeda terrorists who had killed American soldiers were able to enter the country as refugees, according to a report released Wednesday from the House Homeland Security committee.

Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, two Iraqi refugees settled in Bowling Green, Kentucky, after killing American soldiers, whom they bragged about having “for lunch and dinner.” In 2010, they were caught handling weapons, including included a machine gun and a missile launcher, that they planned to smuggle to insurgents in Iraq.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if there were many more than that,” said Rep. Michael McCaul (R., Texas), the chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security. “And these are trained terrorists in the art of bombmaking that are inside the United States; and quite frankly, from a homeland security perspective, that really concerns me.”

The committee’s report found that the administration’s refugee resettlement program proposal will have “a limited impact on alleviating the overall crisis but could have serious ramifications for U.S. homeland security.”

Jeh Johnson, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, admitted in October at a hearing before the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee that organizations such as the Islamic State might attempt to exploit the Syrian refugee resettlement program.

“It is true that we are not going to know a whole lot about the Syrians that come forth in this process,” he said.

President Obama’s refugee resettlement program is now under scrutiny after deadly terrorist attacks in Paris killed more than 120 people and left more than 300 injured on Friday. It is suspected that one of the terrorists entered the country as a refugee.

In addition to these attacks, men in Minnesota were apprehended by the feds for trying to join the Islamic State. There is growing concern that the state would be a recruiting ground for the Islamic State because of its large community of Somali refugees.

The report was released after a nearly year-long investigation evaluating challenges with allowing Syrian refugee flows into the United States.

Governors from many states are now refusing to allow Syrian refugees to resettle in their states.

“Given the tragic attacks in Paris and the threats we have already seen, Texas cannot participate in any program that will result in Syrian refugees—any one of whom could be connected to terrorism—being resettled in Texas,” said Gov. Greg Abbott.

“There is an undeniable connection between our refugee resettlement program and the increased risk of a terror attack within the United States,” said Jessica Vaughan, an immigration expert at the Center for Immigration Studies.

“There have been roughly 70 terrorist plots in the United States since 9/11 and scores of young people who are first or second generation refugees and immigrants who have become involved in some way with Islamist jihadists, either by undertaking attacks here or traveling overseas to join a terrorist group, or both,” she said.

However, proponents of the program say that refugees have to go through the highest level of scrutiny by intelligence and security government agencies. “All refugees, including Syrians, are admitted only after successful completion of this stringent security screening regime,” a senior Obama administration official said.

“Our federal government has been in denial about the adequacy of our screening of arrivals in all categories,” said Vaughan. ”Not only have we not been able to screen effectively, we have not been able to control the activities of radical groups once they are here and become embedded in immigrant communities and able to recruit new followers.”

Requests for comment from the White House were not returned by press time.

Ali Meyer

Ali Meyer   Email Ali | Full Bio | RSS
Ali Meyer is a staff writer with the Washington Free Beacon covering economic issues that expose government waste, fraud, and abuse. Prior to the Free Beacon, she was a multimedia reporter with where her work appeared on outlets such as Drudge Report and Fox News. She also interned with the Heritage Foundation and Pacific Research Institute. Her Twitter handle is @DJAliMeyer, and her email address is

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