Sunday, August 13, 2017

Proof Wanted

In February, speaking before a joint session of Congress, President Trump declared that: “according to data provided by the Department of Justice, the vast majority of individuals convicted of terrorism and terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country.”

There's a lot of reason to believe this statement is a compound lie—both to believe that the vast majority of individuals convicted of terrorism-related crimes did not come here from elsewhere and to believe that the career men and women of the Department of Justice did not provide any data suggesting otherwise.

"The data Trump cited in his speech to the Joint Session of Congress simply don’t support his claims that a 'vast majority' of individuals on the list came from outside the United States—unless, that is, you include individuals who were forcibly brought to the United States in order to be prosecuted and exclude all domestic terrorism cases."


If we clean up the data to account for the issues described above, instead of accounting for between 63 and 71 percent of terrorism convictions, foreign-born persons would likely account for between only 18 and 21 percent of terrorism convictions.

So I filed a Freedom of Information Act request this spring to find out both whether such data exist and what, if any, communications took place between the Justice Department and the White House in preparation for this presidential statement characterizing Justice Department data.

To date, I have not received any response indicating a search for such records has taken place. So on Friday, represented by the Protect Democracy Project, I filed suit.


  Ben Wittes

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