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Homeland Security’s fast-tracked checks of foreign investors may put U.S. at risk
Light shined on McAuliffe case
The fast track
The whistleblower and a fellow analyst concluded that the business plan was unreasonable and told the agency adjudicator assigned to the case, who nonetheless conveyed orders to approve it on an expedited basis.
Such situations were commonplace with politically connected enterprises, the whistleblower said.
“They’d come to me and say, ‘Ali needs this fast.’ If a politician was involved, it got fast-tracked,” he said.
At a hearing over the summer on his nomination to become deputy homeland security secretary, Mr. Mayorkas denied wrongdoing in overturning an EB-5 visa refusal for an investor in the McAuliffe-Rodham venture. Congressional staff said at the time that a GreenTech investor had been flagged as a possible national security risk.
A November 2012 email to citizenship agency staff obtained by The Times directed them not to respond directly to the inspector general if contacted, but to send draft responses to a supervisor who will then “coordinate our responses before we can send them to the [inspector general].”
Agency officials declined to comment on the investigation, but Mr. Bentley, the press secretary, said “leadership has consistently reinforced a culture of quality and integrity to ensure that every case is decided on the facts and the law, and nothing else.”
The inspector general finally contacted the whistleblower about his complaint in August, after the Mayorkas hearing revelations made national news.
Congressional staff told The Times that other whistleblowers, after learning of the investigation from reports of Mr. Mayorkas‘ hearing, also had come forward.
The EB-5 program has since captured the attention of Congress, as well.
“I have serious concerns about national security and criminal threats associated with the EB-5 program,” said Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican and ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “The program is vulnerable to fraud, and we are not doing nearly enough to ensure that program participants are not a security threat. The administration needs to have a candid conversation with Congress and the American people regarding the program’s problems.”
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About the Author
Shaun Waterman is an award-winning reporter for The Washington Times, covering foreign affairs, defense and cybersecurity. He was a senior editor and correspondent for United Press International for nearly a decade, and has covered the Department of Homeland Security since 2003. His reporting on the Sept. 11 Commission and the tortuous process by which some of its recommendations finally became ...
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