February 8, 2017

USA: Fact Check: No Arrests From 7 Nations In Travel Ban? The Judge In Seattle Was Wrong.

The Seattle Times
written by Eric Tucker, Associated Press
Monday February 6, 2017

WASHINGTON — The federal judge who halted President Donald Trump’s travel ban was wrong in stating that no one from the seven countries targeted in Trump’s order has been arrested for extremism in the United States since the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Just last October, an Iraqi refugee living in Texas pleaded guilty to attempting to provide support to the Islamic State group, accused of taking tactical training and wanting to blow himself up in an act of martyrdom. In November, a Somali refugee injured 11 in a car-and-knife attack at Ohio State University, and he surely would have been arrested had he not been killed by an officer.
The judge, James Robart, was correct in his larger point that the deadliest and most high-profile terrorist attacks on U.S. soil since 9/11 — like the Boston Marathon bombings and the shootings in Orlando, Florida, and San Bernardino, California — were committed either by U.S. citizens or by people from countries other than the seven majority-Muslim nations named in Trump’s order.

But he went a step too far at a hearing in Seattle on Friday.

He asked a Justice Department lawyer how many arrests of foreign nationals from the countries have occurred since 9/11. When the lawyer said she didn’t know, Robart answered his own question: “Let me tell, you, the answer to that is none, as best I can tell. You’re here arguing on behalf of someone that says we have to protect the United States from these individuals coming from these countries and there’s no support for that.”

Charles Kurzman, a sociology professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, says his research shows no Americans have been killed in the U.S. at the hands of people from the seven countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen — since Sept. 11. But it’s not quite right to say no one from those nations has been arrested or accused in an extremist-related plot while living in the U.S.

In addition to the cases from last fall, for instance, two men from Iraq were arrested in Kentucky in 2011 and convicted on charges that they plotted to send money and weapons to al-Qaida.

They were never accused, though, of plotting attacks on the U.S. Last week, Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway wrongly cited their case as a “Bowling Green massacre,” which never happened.

All told, Kurzman said, 23 percent of Muslim Americans involved with extremist plots since Sept. 11 had family backgrounds from the seven countries.
The Washington Times
Bowling Green terrorist did kill Americans, but Conway’s ‘massacre’ happened in Iraq
written by Rowan Scarborough
Sunday February 5, 2017

When senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway misspoke and described a terrorist “massacre” in Bowling Green, Kentucky, it was a garbled reference to the fact that two Iraqi refugees who settled there turned out to be committed terrorists.

Although the refugees did not commit a massacre in Kentucky, one of them did in Iraq. The victims: American troops.

Mrs. Conway, a close adviser to President Trump, has been the brunt of a liberal pile-on via Twitter for her now-acknowledged mistake. Chelsea Clinton chimed in with her own tweet, prompting Mrs. Conway to remind her that her mother, Hillary Clinton, made up a story about coming under sniper fire after landing in Bosnia.

In 2009, the Obama administration welcomed Iraqi Waad Ramadan Alwan to the U.S. as a refugee, and he settled in Bowling Green. From afar, he soon began an operation to help al Qaeda in Iraq kill Americans by providing advice on his specialty: building improvised explosive devices, a main killer of U.S. troops.

The FBI discovered his terrorist activities and inserted an informant, to whom Alwan bragged in recorded conversations about the Americans he had killed from 2003 to 2006. His motive in coming to the U.S., he said, was not altruistic: He wanted to obtain a passport so he could carry out his jihad around the world.

Alwan said he was a wanted man in Iraq and could not return, which raises the question of how he was able to obtain refugee status from the Obama administration. The Alwan case prompted the government to suspend the intake of Iraqi refugees while it tightening its vetting procedures.

Alwan said that he procured explosives and missiles in Iraq and conducted strikes every day. He also collected parts for his four types of IEDs, which he buried after dark.

A criminal complaint said Alwan “gave detailed verbal explanations of how to build them and discussed various occasions in which he used these devices against American troops in Iraq.”

His stories about killing Americans was verified by forensic science. His fingerprints were found on IED parts in Iraq. One of his bombs sat unexploded on a railway track. It consisted of high-explosive artillery rounds and phone components.

Alwan said he personally planted IEDs that blew up Humvees and Bradley Fighting Vehicles, which carry four to six American troops.

He said he was also a sniper and that his “lunch and dinner would be an American,” according to the criminal complaint.

In January 2013, Alwan pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiring to kill troops in Iraq with IEDS and other weapons. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

“Protecting the United States from terrorist attacks remains the FBI’s top priority,” said Perrye Turner, the FBI special agent in charge. “Using our growing suite of investigative and intelligence capabilities, FBI agents and analysts assigned to our Bowling Green office were able to neutralize a potential threat.”

Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, an Alwan accomplice who also was an Iraqi refugee, pleaded guilty to terrorism charges and was sentenced to life in prison.

“These are experienced terrorists who willingly and enthusiastically participated in what they believed were insurgent support operations designed to harm American soldiers in Iraq,” said U.S. Attorney David J. Hale.

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