Washington: The US Government gave witness protection to known and suspected terrorists and the country’s Marshals Service even lost track of two of those people, according to a report.
The report from the Justice Department’s auditor has exposed the previously hidden side of the witness programme.
According to the Washington Times, the Justice inspector general said that they found that the department did not definitively know how many known or suspected terrorists were admitted into the witness protection programme.
The general said that until it raised concerns, those terrorists were able to board airplanes and were able to ‘evade one of the government’s primary means of identifying and tracking terrorists’ movements and actions’ through the new identities the government provided them, the report said.
It also said that of the two known or suspected terrorists that the federal government lost track of, one was later discovered to be living outside of the US and the other is also likely outside the country.
At one point, one federal agency concluded that someone in the programme was trying to gather sensitive intelligence information, but that was never shared with the FBI.
In a response to the auditors, the Justice Department said that anyone admitted to the witness protection programme underwent an intensive vetting process and only after a federal agency has decided the needs outweigh the risks, the report added.