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Feds Lost Track of Suspected Terrorists Put in Witness Protection


Sometimes, people misplace things. Keys, loose change, wallets, terrorists. Happens to all of us. The Office of the Inspected General published a report on Thursday, saying that the Department of Justice and other federal authorities didn’t really do the best job keeping track of known or suspected terrorists (KSTs) in the witness protection program.

It’s slightly better news than before. This audit is the follow up to a 2013 report that said two KSTs straight-up flew out of the United States without federal authorities knowing. That’s because their new WITSEC identities were not shared with the FBI’s Terrorist Screening center, which is in charge of the No Fly List.

In a video statement on Wednesday, Inspector General Michael Horowitz said that the DOJ didn’t completely adopt all of the recommendations from the 2013 report.

“As a result, we remain concerned that the Justice Department has not appropriately shared information about known or suspected terrorists with all of the relevant national security stakeholders,” he said.

Officials in charge of monitoring people WITSEC people didn’t always have all the information, and information sharing could be delayed for months. Some important identifying information of KSTs were still not shared with the Terrorist Screening Center. There’s also the matter of when program participants are charged with serious crimes. Horowitz referenced one incident in which a man allegedly sexually assault five people, including three minors, but it took the DOJ nine months from the moment it learned about these claims to kick this person off witness protection.

“We found this delay very troubling,” Horowitz said.

Law Newz reached out to the DOJ for comment.

[Screengrab via Mark Van Scyoc and Shutterstock]

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