First on CNN: FBI Director James Comey balks at refugee legislation

Story highlights

  • FBI Director James Comey has deep concerns about pending House legislation that would require him and other top national security officials to personally certify that each refugee from Syria and Iraq isn't a security threat
  • There are always risks in allowing any foreigners into the U.S., Comey told the officials, adding that the FBI believes it has an effective process with intelligence and other agencies to conduct vetting of refugees
  • Comey stance could sway how lawmakers deal with the legislation

Washington (CNN)FBI Director James Comey has deep concerns about pending House legislation that would require him and other top national security officials to personally certify that each refugee from Syria and Iraq isn't a security threat, two U.S. officials tell CNN.

Comey has told administration and congressional officials that the legislation would make it impossible to allow any refugees into the U.S., and could even affect the ability of travelers from about three dozen countries that are allowed easier travel to the U.S. under the visa waiver program, the officials say.
    There are always risks in allowing any foreigners into the U.S., Comey told the officials, adding that the FBI believes it has an effective process with intelligence and other agencies to conduct vetting of refugees.
    Comey's stance, which sway how lawmakers deal with the legislation, which the White House has threatened to veto, echoes remarks from Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.
    He also criticized the House legislation, which was proposed by the chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Republican Rep. Mike McCaul of Texas.
    "This bill that has been posed by Mr. McCaul -- and I like Mr. McCaul -- is a bad bill because it seeks to micromanage the process in a way that is counter productive to national security to our humanitarian obligation and the overall ability to focus on Homeland Security," Johnson said.