CNN: Witness protection program loses two former 'known or suspected terrorists'

CNN: Witness protection program loses two former 'known or suspected terrorists'

CNN: Witness protection program loses two former 'known or suspected terrorists'

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by Jake Tapper, CNN Chief Washington Correspondent

WHAS11.com

Posted on May 16, 2013 at 1:41 PM

Updated Thursday, May 16 at 1:44 PM

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNN REPORT) --- The U.S. Marshal Service had been “unable to locate” two former participants in the federal Witness Security Program “identified as known or suspected terrorists,” states the public summary of an interim Justice Department Inspector General’s report obtained by CNN.

The Marshals have concluded that “one individual was and the other individual was believed to be residing outside of the United States.”

Read the public summary here.

The news comes from an audit of the Witness Security Program by the IG’s office, which states that “the Department did not definitively know how many known or suspected terrorists were admitted into the WITSEC program,” among other “significant issues concerning national security.” The report makes 16 recommendations.

The “Interim Report on the Department of Justice’s Handling of Known or Suspected Terrorists Admitted Into the Federal Witness Security Program” notes that while in the midst of an audit of the WITSEC program, the Inspector General felt the need to notify the Justice Department of national security vulnerabilities, and the IG’s office “developed the interim report to help ensure that the Department promptly and sufficiently addressed the deficiencies we found.”

The news comes in the midst of a week of horrible news for the Obama administration, with revelations that the Justice Department secretly collected months of phone records for reporters and editors at The Associated Press; renewed speculation over the White House’s response to the Benghazi attack; and revelations that the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative groups.

The Justice Department issued a statement, saying, "The number of former known or suspected terrorists ever admitted into the WitSec Program represents a fraction of one percent of the total WitSec population, and the vast majority were admitted into the program prior to Sept. 11, 2001.

"To date, the FBI has not identified a national security threat tied to the participation of terrorism-linked witnesses in the WitSec program."

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