White House, Intel Office at Odds Over Travel Ban

Report dismissed by White House disagrees with threat from 7 nations
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 25, 2017 8:48 AM CST
White House, Intel Office at Odds Over Travel Ban
President Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference Friday.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

A new source of friction has emerged between President Trump and US intelligence officials, this time over his travel ban. A report out of an office in the Department of Homeland Security challenges Trump's assertion that blocking travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries will make the nation any safer, reports the AP. The report concludes that "country of citizenship is unlikely to be a reliable indicator of potential terrorist activity," per the Wall Street Journal. A White House spokesman, however, dismissed the report as shoddy and politically motivated, and said the president is awaiting a more complete one that is "driven by data and intelligence and not politics," says spokesman Michael Short.

A spokesman for the DHS acknowledged the authenticity of the report by the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, but characterized it as "commentary," adding, “It is clear on its face that it is an incomplete product that fails to find evidence of terrorism by simply refusing to look at all the available evidence." With his initial travel ban blocked by federal courts, Trump has promised to issue a revised order next week. And it does appear that a different intel assessment is in the works: Earlier this week, CNN quoted a senior White House official who said the DHS and the Justice Department "are working on an intelligence report that will demonstrate that the security threat for these seven countries is substantial." The Journal is skeptical. It found that of 180 people charged with "jihadist terrorism-related crimes" in the US, only 11 were from the seven nations in question (Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Yemen, Sudan, and Somalia).

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