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FBI Director Christopher Wray said Thursday that the FBI and its Joint Terrorism Task Force are “actively” investigating suspected terrorists who have entered the United States after being evacuated from Afghanistan last year and who are considered a national security threat. “Any time.

A Department of Defense whistleblower reported to Sens. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., that 324 people evacuated from Afghanistan by the Biden administration and welcomed into the U.S. appeared on the Pentagon’s watch list, including known, suspected terrorists.

Fox News reported in February that at least 50 Afghan evacuees brought to the US in the wake of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan indicated “potentially serious security concerns”. The information comes in a report by the Pentagon’s inspector general, which revealed that US government officials were unable to identify dozens of people who had “disparaging information” that would have made them ineligible for parole.

A footnote in that inspector general’s report states that “key security concerns include latent fingerprints of individuals found on improvised explosive devices and known or suspected terrorists” and that officials forward that incriminating information to appropriate Pentagon personnel.

50 Afghan evacuees brought to US ‘potentially significant security concerns’, says Pentagon IG report

During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday, Hawley questioned Wray on the whistleblower report and whether he knew that 324 — not 50 — people entered the US with defamatory information, presenting a “serious” situation.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said Thursday that the FBI and its Joint Terrorism Task Force are "actively" investigating suspected terrorists who have entered the United States after being evacuated from Afghanistan last year and who are considered a national security threat.  "Any time. (Mandel Ngan/Pool via AP)

FBI Director Christopher Wray said Thursday that the FBI and its Joint Terrorism Task Force are “actively” investigating suspected terrorists who have entered the United States after being evacuated from Afghanistan last year and who are considered a national security threat. “Any time. (Mandel Ngan/Pool via AP)

“I don’t know that I have an exact number,” Wray testified. “I know there are a number of people who have been targeted by our joint-terrorism task forces, and we are actively trying to investigate as a result.”

Wray told Hawley that “there were a lot of interviews of people who came – a lot of interviews, frankly, about people who came as part of the evacuation.”

“I think there are a lot of obstacles,” he said. “How many of them were arrested and under what charges and so forth, I will have to get back to you.”

Wray told the committee that joint-terrorism task forces are “engaged in an effort to investigate potential terrorist activities, any number of which may involve individuals from Afghanistan.”

Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, asked Wray if the FBI knows where flagged evacuees are in the US.

“We have a lot of information about where people are,” Wray said. “I can’t sit here right now and say we know where everything is at any given time.”

The whistleblower alleged that White House and DOD officials directed agency staff to cut corners and not conduct full fingerprint examinations of Afghan evacuees.

Evacuees wait to board a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 23, 2021.

Evacuees wait to board a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 23, 2021.
(US Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Isaiah Campbell)

Wray said he was unaware of that information, but defended the Biden administration’s vetting process.

“That’s a huge number of people to vet in an extraordinarily short period of time,” he said. “And, inevitably, it raises concerns.”

Hawley and Johnson are now seeking answers from Pentagon Acting Inspector General Sean O’Donnell, who has called for an immediate investigation into the new whistleblower allegations.

During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., questioned FBI Director Christopher Wray on the whistleblower

During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., questioned FBI Director Christopher Wray on the whistleblower’s report and whether he knew that 324 — not 50 — people entered the U.S. with defamatory information. “Severe” condition.
(Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

The whistleblower also alleges that Department of Homeland Security personnel have the authority to delete old biometric data when they personally believe such information is out of date, the senators said, which “would compromise the integrity of existing databases and undermine national security.”

Pentagon: ‘No question’ Afghanistan withdrawal will make terror threats more difficult to detect

A DHS spokesperson told Fox News earlier this year that Afghan evacuees go through a rigorous screening and vetting process that spans multiple government agencies.

“The federal government is using every tool available to ensure that no person who poses a threat to public safety or national security is allowed to enter the United States,” a DHS spokesperson said.

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., takes his seat at a Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee and Regional Security Cooperation Subcommittee hearing on Europe on Feb. 16, 2022, in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., takes his seat at a Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee and Regional Security Cooperation Subcommittee hearing on Europe on Feb. 16, 2022, in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.
(Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

DHS, at the time, said it could not comment on the specifics of individual cases, but after evacuation from Afghanistan and clearance to the US, Afghan evacuees are brought to international transit centers where the US government collects and reviews biometric and biographic information.

US Marines with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit process evacuations as they pass through an evacuation control center at Hamid Karzai International Airport on Aug. 28, 2021, in Kabul, Afghanistan.

US Marines with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit process evacuations as they pass through an evacuation control center at Hamid Karzai International Airport on Aug. 28, 2021, in Kabul, Afghanistan.
(Handout by US Marine Corps/Staff Sgt. Victor Mancilla/ REUTERS)

State Department on Afghan refugees in US: ‘We’re doing backwards accounting’

Officials said only those who clear comprehensive checks will be allowed to travel to the US.