AP FACT CHECK: Trump overstates origin of terror suspects

By The Associated Press | Posted - Feb. 28, 2017 at 9:15 p.m.



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WASHINGTON (AP) — A claim by President Donald Trump from his speech to Congress and how it stacks up with the facts:

TRUMP: "According to data provided by the Department of Justice, the vast majority of individuals convicted for terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country. We have seen the attacks at home — from Boston to San Bernardino to the Pentagon and yes, even the World Trade Center."

THE FACTS: It's unclear what Justice Department data he's citing, but the most recent government information that has come out doesn't back up his claim. Just over half the people Trump talks about were actually born in the United States, according to research from the Department of Homeland Security revealed last week. That report said of 82 people the government determined were inspired by a foreign terrorist group to attempt or carry out an attack in the U.S., just over half were native-born citizens.

Even the attacks Trump singled out weren't entirely the work of foreigners. Syed Rizwan Farook, who along with his Pakistani wife killed 14 people in the deadly 2015 attack in San Bernardino, California, was born in Chicago.

It's true that in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, the FBI's primary concern was with terrorists from overseas feared to be plotting attacks in the United States. But that's no longer the case.

The FBI and the Justice Department have been preoccupied with violent extremists from inside the U.S. who are inspired by the calls to violence and mayhem of Islamic State militants. The Justice Department has prosecuted scores of IS-related cases since 2014, and many of the defendants are U.S. citizens.

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Contributed by Associated Press writer Eric Tucker.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Associated Press

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