Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Counterterrorism Chief: Some on Terror Watchlist Allowed Into U.S. Because ‘We Want Them Here in the Country for Some Reason or Another’

Michael Leiter, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, told the Senate Homeland Security Committee in a hearing last week that the United States sometimes chooses to allow people into the country who are on the federal government’s Terrorist Watchlist.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Me.), the ranking minority member of the committee, said at the same Jan. 20 hearing that the government should suspend the U.S. visas of anyone whose name appears in its master database of all people with suspected connections to terrorism and then put the burden on them to prove “they do not intend to harm this nation or its citizens.

Leiter made the statement about the U.S. government sometimes choosing to allow people on the Terrorist Watchist to enter the country; “I will tell you that when people come to the country, if they are on the watch list, it is because we have generally made the choice that we want them here in the country for some reason or another.”