Kellyanne Conway’s “Bowling Green Massacre” oopsie is ironic on so many levels. Let us count the ways that using this incident to justify a Muslim ban is completely wrong.
First, a recap of the incident in question: two Iraqis were arrested, indicted and convicted for a plot to send high-powered rifles (the kind available at any gun shop in the South) and money to Al Qaeda overseas. The weapons and money would have been used on Western targets overseas. The plot was uncovered by the FBI within months of the men’s arrival in the U.S. No weapons were ever sent overseas, and no terror attack occurred thanks to these two, either in the U.S. or anywhere else. The part that involves refugees is here:
Although both Alwan and Hammadi had been arrested by Iraq security forces, in 2006 they were allowed to enter the United States as refugees in April and July 2009, respectively. Asked why officials and Homeland Security had not properly vetted or reviewed the men’s records, a Homeland Security official said, “This case demonstrates specific gaps that were present in the screening process that was in place in the beginning of the administration. Once the administration became aware of these gaps, it took immediate steps to fill them. Today our vetting process considers a far broader range of information than it did in past years.”
The specific “gap” revealed by this case is that in 2009, fingerprints found on IEDs in Iraq weren’t being matched with those of refugees seeking entry into the U.S. Under George W. Bush, the IED fingerprint data base wasn’t included as part of the refugee screening process. That flaw in the vetting process was corrected by President Obama as soon as it was revealed by this case. So using this specific case to say “we need to fix the vetting process” is wrong because Obama already did that.
Even funnier is Trump’s claim that his bigoted Executive Order is “similar” to Obama’s “2011 Iraqi refugee ban.” Actually, no: Obama never banned Iraqi refugees, temporarily or otherwise. He did order refugee’s fingerprints be checked against those in the IED database. That caused some seriously big delays in the processing of applications as thousands of applications had to be reprocessed. It was not a ban, it was addressing a security issue that Trump now claims he’s addressing.
So just to review our “Bowling Green Massacre” incident:
1- The plot exploited the country’s lax gun laws;
2- The men were under FBI surveillance almost as soon as they entered the U.S.;
3- There was no plot to launch an attack inside the U.S.;
4- No weapons or money made it to Iraq because of the FBI’s undercover investigation;
5- Flaws in the refugee vetting process revealed by this case were corrected by President Obama years ago;
6- Claims that Trump isn’t doing anything that Obama didn’t already do are wrong.
Why do I know this and the president’s top advisor does not? I’m no expert, I don’t work for the government. I’m not involved in the security services. I don’t have top-level security clearance. I’m just a dang housewife in Tennessee who reads the New York Times instead of listening to Sean Hannity and watching Fox News. Is that all it takes to make someone knowledgeable about the world?