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Congressman: 'Likely' some Bagram terrorist prisoners were evacuated from Afghanistan to U.S.

"The eventuality is at least one of them will succeed in something that will hurt or kill Americans," said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).

Published: February 23, 2022 4:54pm

Updated: February 24, 2022 12:48pm

There is a strong likelihood that prisoners released from Bagram prison in Afghanistan made it to the U.S., according to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).

Issa told the John Solomon Reports podcast Wednesday that according to the commanding general who oversaw the U.S. evacuation from Afghanistan, some of the young men who "pushed through the gates and got onto the plane" and "were clearly not in any way vetted ... could, and likely did, include some of the 5,000 who had just been released from Bagram prison."

After the Biden administration ordered U.S. troops to abandon Bagram Air Base during the withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Taliban released the prisoners who were held there. One of the released prisoners was the suicide bomber who killed 13 U.S. service members and scores of Afghans at the Kabul airport during the U.S. withdrawal.

The congressman noted that there "were young, draft-age males, some of them teenagers," who were evacuated and unlikely to have been interpreters for the U.S., especially since "some of them didn't speak English at all."

Some of the thousands of evacuees arrived in Doha, Qatar, where 20% of them had "paper passports" created for them, he added. With paper passports, an interviewer would ask evacuees in their native language for their name and who they were. An evacuee could then answer, "I am Joe Smith, and I live in this place, and I'm a good guy," give what they claimed was their date of birth, and that would all be recorded in their "paper passport," Issa said.

"It's trust, but no verify, and those people then went on, with a few exceptions, to the United States," he remarked.

"Now, I say a few exceptions because there were at least 300 that were sent to Kosovo," Issa continued, because "some of the Afghans pointed at these people and [said], 'This is so-and-so, he is a bad guy.' And so they were able to catch a few, and they sent them to Kosovo."

Issa said State Department officials told him the questionable evacuees — who number about 1,000, including those evacuated to other bases — are being vetted before sending them to the U.S. The congressman says he reminded the officials that "these people have already been identified as bad people, and that's the reason you sent them [to Kosovo]."

Despite these evacuees being flagged as risks, however, "they're now trying to get those people to us," Issa said.

A State Department spokesperson told Just the News on Thursday, "The Afghan guests relocated to Kosovo have not been determined to be inadmissible to the United States.  Rather, they are being processed for potential entry in the United States and may have cases requiring further processing and consequently more time than can be accommodated in other locations also hosting Afghan travelers."

The spokesperson explained how the U.S. government's vetting process includes "reviewing fingerprints, photos, biometric and biographic data for every single Afghan before they are permitted entry into the United States," which is conducted by the FBI, National Counterterrorism Center, and other partners in the Intelligence Community.

"As part of our screening and vetting process for Afghan evacuees, some of those whose cases required additional processing have been moved to Camp Liya on Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, where interagency teams work to complete​ the processing necessary ​for consideration for their eventual onward travel to the United States," the spokesperson added. "Many have already departed Camp Liya for the United States, and others are in the process of being cleared to depart."

"If any ​individuals​ are not able to travel onward to the United States, the U.S. Department of State will work with international partners to identify ​an alternative durable solution for their relocation," according to the spokesperson.

These risky admissions, Issa emphasized, are in addition to the 28 Afghan evacuees that the Defense Department inspector general said couldn't be located, despite known "derogatory information" associated with them suggesting they "could pose a security risk to the United States."

"All of them are people of the kind of interest that they're likely to be conspiring against the United States right now," Issa said. "And what's the eventuality? The eventuality is at least one of them will succeed in something that will hurt or kill Americans."

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