Washington, D.C. - Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf on Thursday demanding answers to how a former al-Qaeda leader was allowed to emigrate to the United States as a refugee and become a citizen. Ali Yousef Ahmed Al-Nouri was recently arrested in Arizona after the Iraqi government sought to have him extradited based on charges of premeditated murder committed in 2006 in Al-Fallujah, Iraq. News reports have stated that Al-Nouri became an American citizen two years ago.
"If these reports are accurate, we are concerned that our vetting processes did not identify a former leader of al-Qaeda either when he entered the country as a refugee or when sought and obtained U.S. citizenship," the senators wrote.
Full text of the letter is here and below.
February 20, 2020
The Honorable Chad F. Wolf
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
246 Murray Lane, SW
Washington, D.C. 20528
Dear Acting Secretary Wolf:
On Friday, January 31, 2020, the Department of Justice announced the arrest in Arizona of Ali Yousef Ahmed Al-Nouri, an alleged former leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. The Government of Iraq requested Al-Nouri's arrest and extradition based on charges of premeditated murder committed in 2006 in Al-Fallujah, Iraq. According to press reports, Al-Nouri entered the United States in 2008 as a refugee and became a U.S. citizen two years ago. If these reports are accurate, we are concerned that our vetting processes did not identify a former leader of al-Qaeda either when he entered the country as a refugee or when sought and obtained U.S. citizenship.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plays a critical role in screening visa applications and vetting all immigrants seeking to enter the U.S. To better understand Al-Nouri's presence in the U.S. and his pending extradition, please provide the following records and information: