11:06, January 17 209 0 abajournal.com

2018-01-17 11:06:08
Experts say Justice Department manipulated statistics on percentage of foreign-born terrorists

Seventy-three percent of people convicted of international terrorism-related charges since Sept. 11, 2001, were foreign-born, according to a report released Tuesday.

Some experts, however, criticize the statistics, report the Washington Post and the New York Times.

Karen Greenberg, director of Fordham University’s Center on National Security, says the statistics included people who were captured after committing offenses abroad and brought to the United States for trial.

The Justice Department did not disclose how many of the 549 people included in the statistics committed offenses overseas. Greenberg tells the Post there are about 80 such cases.

The report was issued as a result of an executive order requiring the Department of Homeland Security to collect and release “information regarding the number of foreign nationals in the United States who have been charged with terrorism-related offenses while in the United States (or) convicted of terrorism-related offenses while in the United States.” That directive would apparently exclude those captured overseas.

The report said at least 549 people were convicted of international terrorism-related charges in U.S. federal courts between Sept. 11, 2001, and Dec. 31, 2016. The report said 254 of those people were not U.S. citizens, 148 were foreign-born people who received U.S. citizenship, and 147 people were U.S. citizens by birth.

The report includes only incidents motivated by international terrorism groups and does not include domestic terrorism, Greenberg points out.

“It’s an awfully thin report for an absolutely important topic,” Greenberg told the Post. “There’s almost no rhyme or reason to the things they choose to include or not include—they don’t explain it.”

The Cato Institute also criticized the report, according to the Times. Policy analyst David Bier found in his own research that, since Sept. 11, 2001, only 35 foreigners entered the United States and later committed terrorism offenses.

Bier said the report focuses on “terrorism-related” offenses, but about 40 percent of such cases deal with crimes such as theft, child pornography and immigration offenses.

A White House fact sheet promoting the report said it “shows, once again, that our current immigration system jeopardizes our national security.”