The U.S. Marshal Service Has Lost Over 10% Of The Terrorists In The Witness Protection Program

CNN’s Jake Tapper has details on the Obama administration scandal of the day, this one based off of yet another Inspector General 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.”

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.”

From the report (PDF) we learn that there are around 18,300 people who have entered the WitSec program since it was authorized in 1970.


The number of those who are “known or suspected terrorists” is “a fraction of 1%.” Of that “a fraction of 1%,” 40% were admitted to the program after September 11, 2001. In the last six years only two “known or suspected terrorists” were admitted to the program.



I will make an assumption that the two missing “known or suspected terrorists” are from the group admitted to the program after 9/11 because those admitted before 9/11 could easily have left a long time ago. Assuming that the “a fraction of 1%” is one-quarter of one percent we come up with 18 people admitted to the WitSec program after 9/11 [(18,300 X .0025) x .4 = 18.3], of which two were “lost.” That works out to over 10% [(2/18.3) * 100 = 10.9%] of the “known or suspected terrorists” admitted to the WitSec program after 9/11 who have fled the country because their new identity allowed them to easily bypass the post-9/11 No Fly Lists and Terror Watch Lists.

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  • EricSteel

    Unleash Raylan Givens!

  • Brucehenry

    So are you saying that terrorism suspects should not be admitted into this program under any circumstances? What is the upside, and what is the downside, to such a change in policy?

    • EricSteel

      Bruce, would you be so kind as to quote from Doug Johnson’s article where he made such a comment or recommendation?

      • Brucehenry

        I’m asking a question here. From the outraged tone of the headline and the piece, he seems to think that SOMETHING needs to be done. I’m asking if that something is to discontinue the policy of allowing terrorism subjects into the program. If so, what might the consequences, both good and bad, be?

        • SCSIwuzzy

          Yes, something should be done… don’t misplace terrorists that you’ve given new names and paper trails to!

        • jim_m

          The typical criminal that is a target for WITSEC is the kind of person that does not want to die. Terrorists on the other hand are usually not only willing to die but wanting to. The usual incentives for the witness to tell the truth are not reliably in place. WITSEC was not designed to take these sorts of lunatics. We should not expect them to have a high degree of success with terrorists.

          • Brucehenry

            Islamic terrorists are usually willing to die in the commission of their acts. Other terrorists, such as Rudolph, McVeigh, even your favorites Ayers and Dohrn, not so much. We have no indication that these two guys are Islamic terrorists and not the homegrown type.

            Even if they ARE the jihadi type, apparently they cooperated to some extent to get into the program in the first place, indicating the possibility that they, maybe, don’t fit the profile. I assume a judgement call was made by someone who had interacted with them.

            BTW, there is no evidence shown that these two have “fled the country because their new identities” blah blah blah. All we know is that the Marshal Service has lost track of them. It says one of them is “believed to be residing outside the US.”

            It would be interesting to see the loss rate they have on other types of criminals for comparison purposes.

          • jim_m

            Fair enough. Islamic terrorists are willing/wanting to die. There are few of the other kind these days and the desire and/or need for informants lies with the larger threat.

          • Brucehenry

            We’re talking about two guys here, Jim. Two.

            Despite the alarmist tone of the headline, and the laughable assertion that this is the Obama “scandal of the day.”

          • jim_m

            Yeah, the title was somewhat misleading. It really doesn’t compare to the IRS imposing a stasi like police state on people who dissent from the obama admim.

            I was speaking more to the fact that if we are looking to WITSEC to hide former al Qaeda terrorists that we are making a huge mistake as WITSEC was not designed for or intended to handle the kind of people who would use it to gain access to the US under false identities.

          • Brucehenry

            I pretty much agree with your second paragraph, there, Jim. IF.

          • EricSteel

            As I recall two guys were responsible for recent bombings in Boston, and two guys made up the Beltway sniper team.
            Two guys can make a lot of trouble.