Witness Program Loses Track of Terrorist Informants
A witness protection program of the U.S. government lost the whereabouts of two informants with links to terrorist groups. Now both are believed to have left the U.S., revealed a report on Thursday.
The Office of the Inspector General released a summary of its findings that found many deficiencies and vulnerability in national security arising from how the witness protection program was managed.
The program, known by the letters WITSEC, had been a way to shield witnesses in cases of high profile notably the World Trade Center attack of 1993, the Oklahoma City bomb attack of 1995 and the attacks on U.S. embassies in 1998 in East Africa.
However, the report from the OIG found that the office of the U.S. Marshals Service failed to locate two people with ties to known terror groups that were enrolled in WITSEC.
In July of 2012, the Marshals Service stated it could not locate two former participants in WITSEC identified as suspected or known terrorists, the OIG report revealed.
The report added that its investigators had concluded that one of the individuals was living outside the U.S., while the second individual was thought to be living outside the U.S.
The OIG warned that the Department of Justice failed to pass along information about the new identities of the participants in the program, leaving them the ability to fly commercial flights within the U.S. despite their terrorist background.
The report continued by saying the Department of Justice could not say definitively the number of suspected or known terrorists who had been admitted to the WITSEC program.