LSP says no threats to Louisiana from Syrian refugee
BATON ROUGE - Col. Mike Edmonson took to Facebook Thursday to give a point-by-point breakdown of how the Louisiana State Police responded to last week's terror attacks in France and give people an idea of the threats facing Louisiana.
The short answer: there aren't any, according to Edmonson.
"There currently is no credible information to suggest a terrorist threat is imminent in the state of Louisiana," Edmonson said. "Any reports otherwise with regards to Louisiana's Syrian refugees is wrong."
The state police superintendent said the LSP Fusion Center has been at talking to federal, state, and local authorities since the attacks happened. Edmonson said they learned that one of the Paris attack suspects may have been a Syrian refugee, which led them to ask about any such refugees in Louisiana.
Edmonson said they spoke with Catholic Charities, who has worked with the federal government for more than 45 years to help resettle refugees admitted into the U. S., and found out the sole refugee who came to Baton Rouge two months ago moved through official channels to Washington D. C.
Catholic Charities said on Tuesday they started receiving threats after word got out they had helped resettle the refugee. Edmonson said LSP identified the person who made those threats, but investigators determined that person didn't actually represent a credible threat to the organization and so they weren't arrested.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attacks which killed more than 100 people in Paris and injured hundreds more this past Friday. Investigations and counter-terror operations across the European Union led to multiple arrests connected to the bombings, including a 7-hour police raid in a Paris suburb during which the suspected mastermind of the attack was killed.
The initial report about the attackers' connections to Syrian refugees came from a passport found near the body of one of the original Paris attackers. French authorities said the passport was a fake, and there has been a history of migrants in Europe using fake Syrian passports to gain passage and sanctuary in Europe as refugees of the civil war.
Germany's interior minister Thomas de Maiziere also suggested Tuesday that fake Syrian passports could have been carried by the attackers as part of an Islamic State goal of demonizing refugees, which IS organizers previously stated is one of their goals.
More than 30 U. S. governors, the majority Republican and including Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, told the White House they did not want Syrian refugees resettled in their states after the Paris attacks. Jindal also issued an executive order directing state agencies not to provide assistance to Syrian refugees. The U. S. House passed a bill Thursday that would halt the U. S. resettlement of refugees, despite a veto threat by President Barack Obama who said turning away refugees would be a betrayal of America's values.
Col. Edmonson said the LSP Fusion Center would work to get "more transparency" from the U. S. State Department about refugees resettled in Louisiana. He said citizens in Louisiana can do their part to keep the public safe by reporting any tips of suspicious activity through the "See Something, Say Something" app or by calling the Fusion Center directly at (800) 434-8007.
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