Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told Congress today to expect more members of designated foreign terrorist organizations to visit the United States.
“I think you are right in pointing out that as we move forward we are going to continue to have visitors to this country that the State Department and others feel are useful to bring to the country to have discussions moving forward who say they are members of the political party that in the past have been so designated,” Napolitano told House Homeland Security Committee chairman Pete King, R-N.Y. during a committee hearing this morning.
Napolitano was defending the decision to host Hani Nour Eldin — a member of Egyptian parliament elected on the political party platform of the Islamic Group, which the State Department has designated as foreign terrorist organization — at the White House.
“I think we have to add more nuance to that,” she said when King mentioned that Eldin is part of a designated foreign terrorist organization. “We have to know what the group was. Is it now a political party that is running the government of a country that has strong ties to the United States?” She added that he went through three stages of vetting and “everyone who looked at this person felt confident that he was not a security risk to the White House or to the United States.”
King charged the Obama Administration with violating a law in hosting Eldin at the White House. “It appears as if the law was not complied with in that he did not apply for a waiver [and] Congress was not notified, which is also required,” he told Napolitano. “It does not appear that either the letter or the spirit of the law was complied with.”
When King reiterated that complaint about the process by which Eldin was allowed into the country, Napolitano conceded that “on the process, that’s a fair point to make.”