The Trump administration recently released a controversial report on terrorism, which cited a Department of Homeland Security analysis that 73% of international terrorists are foreign born. Among the agencies that did not contribute to the report: the Department of Homeland Security.
The analysis was conducted by Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ office and merely sent to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to sign, reports the Daily Beast. “The Trump administration is trying to turn counterterrorism into an immigration issue,” said Charles Kurzman of the University of North Carolina, who studies Muslim-American involvement in terrorism.
Career analysts at the Department of Homeland Security said that they were not consulted for the report, even though the department has staff responsible for providing objective data analysis. Other sources said that DHS does not track or correlate international terrorism by country of origin or citizenship, so the statistics in the report were compiled elsewhere.
That elsewhere was Sessions’ Justice Department, which in the view of some administration officials is being used to conflate terrorism with immigration, the Daily Beast said. “This kind of bureaucratic manipulation of what should be objective, professional analysis is what undermines confidence in these institutions,” said Michael German, a former FBI special agent.
The Department of Homeland Security said in a statement that the story is “categorically false” and that DHS “worked jointly with DOJ for months” on the terrorism report. “For those of us who were actually involved, this story is as bizarre as it is fictional,” said Justice Department spokesperson Sarah Isgur Flores.
Nielsen previously served as the deputy to Chief of Staff John Kelly in his current post and in his role as Homeland Security Secretary. Kelly, like Trump and presidential adviser Stephen Miller, is described as an immigration hard-liner. The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that Kelly privately favors legislation protecting the undocumented young immigrants known as Dreamers, but he insists additional restrictions are attached to any deal.