Report: DHS Didn’t Contribute To Misleading ‘Joint’ Terror Report

Principal Deputy Attorney General Ed O'Callaghan fields skeptical questions from reporters.
January 22, 2018 10:17 a.m.
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A widely pilloried Trump administration report about immigrants and terrorism was compiled without any input from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) until the final sign-off, the Daily Beast revealed.

The report, released last week, was presented as a joint project of DHS and the Department of Justice. It found that 73 percent of international terrorism convictions since 9/11 involved “foreign-born” suspects. But that included foreign nationals extradited to the US after committing crimes abroad — an approach that was widely criticized as misleading.

According to the Beast, citing a government source familiar with the episode, DHS analysts didn’t contribute to the report at all. In fact, “[A]ttorney General Jeff Sessions’s office took charge of the report’s assemblage of statistics — which some terrorism analysts consider highly misleading—and sent it to DHS Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen for her imprimatur after it was all but finalized.”

The report was the subject of broad derision in the media, including during an uncomfortable press conference in which a Department of Justice lawyer, Ed O’Callaghan, spoke to skeptical reporters from the White House, a Trump administration tactic that has drawn criticism in the past. O’Callaghan said the document was “the first iteration of this report in response to the executive order’s directives.”

Former FBI counterterrorism officer Michael German told TPM on Tuesday that the report, which was conducted based on a presidential order issued in September, was “a political document.”

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