Pentagon Inspector General to Review Vetting of Afghan Refugees

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The Department of Defense Inspector General’s Office will review how Afghan evacuees were vetted before leaving their country and upon arrival in the U.S.

The evaluation will look into the biometric screening process, the handling of individuals flagged as “security risks,” and the management  of “individuals’ ingress and egress to a DoD-managed facility when screening/vetting is not complete,” according to a letter Michael Roark, Defense Department inspector general for evaluations, sent Thursday to senior Pentagon officials.

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The Inspector General’s Office will conduct the review at locations where evacuees are being housed upon arrival in the U.S., including Virginia’s Fort Picket, Marine Corps Base Quantico, and the Dulles Expo Center.

“We will perform the evaluation by gathering and reviewing appropriate policies, directives, and orders related to biometric screening, and the screening and vetting of displaced persons from Afghanistan,” Roark wrote.

“We will conduct a request for information to determine which DoD forces or units are being used to conduct the screening, how information is being collected, tracked, and shared with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and what is being done with displaced persons who are identified as a potential threat to security,” he added.

The letter indicated the review will begin in September.

Many have questioned the screening process for the thousands of people the U.S. has evacuated from Afghanistan as part of the U.S. withdrawal from the country. Reports indicate that dozens of evacuees have been flagged for terrorist ties or as possible national security risks.

The Biden administration plans to resettle 95,000 Afghans in the U.S.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Sept. 3 that the vetting process is thorough and that “if and when we obtain derogatory information, we know how to address that.”

He explained that “we deny access to individuals whose derogatory information is not resolved and we do not feel confident in the safety and security of the American people.”

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