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Ernst, Grassley Query How Alleged al Qaeda Cop Killer Became U.S. Citizen

The Iowa senators request a briefing from defense and security officials on the wanted terrorist who is now in custody

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) are seeking answers on how a suspected al Qaeda leader wanted for murdering two Iraqi police officers was able to receive refugee status in the United States and later become a U.S. citizen.

Ali Yousif Ahmed Al-Nouri was admitted as a refugee in 2008 and ultimately obtained full U.S. citizenship. Ahmed Al-Nouri was recently arrested after a federal magistrate judge issued an arrest warrant based on an extradition request from the government of Iraq on charges of killing two Iraqi police officers in 2006.

In a letter to the State Department, FBI and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Ernst and Grassley requested a full briefing to better understand the circumstances surrounding Ahmed Al-Nouri’s entrance under the guise of a refugee, and the serious national security implications of allowing a member of a designated foreign terrorist organization to enter the U.S. and gain full citizenship.

Full text of the letter can be found HERE or below.

February 13, 2020

The Honorable Mike Pompeo


U.S. Department of State

Washington, D.C. 20520


The Honorable Christopher Wray


Federal Bureau of Investigations

Washington, DC 20535


The Honorable Mark Koumans                                                  

Acting Director                                                                                      

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services                                      

Washington, D.C. 20529                                                             


Dear Secretary Pompeo, Director Wray, and Acting Director Koumans:

            The Department of Justice recently announced the arrest of Iraqi national Ali Yousif Ahmed Al-Nouri.[1] An Iraqi judge issued an arrest warrant for Ahmed Al-Nouri, and a U.S. federal magistrate judge subsequently issued an arrest warrant based on a request by the Government of Iraq for his extradition.[2]   

The Government of Iraq has alleged that Ahmed Al-Nouri murdered a Fallujah Police Directorate first lieutenant in June 2006 and another police officer of the same directorate in October 2006.[3] Ahmed Al-Nouri is also alleged to be a leader of al-Qaeda in Al-Fallujah, Iraq.[4] 

According to news reports, Ahmed Al-Nouri entered the United States as a refugee in 2008.[5]  He then became a lawful permanent resident of the United States. One news report goes on to say that Ahmed Al-Nouri became a naturalized United States citizen about two years ago.[6] 

To better understand the circumstances surrounding Ahmed Al-Nouri’s application for refugee status and the national security implications of allowing a member of a designated foreign terrorist organization into our country as a refugee, please provide a briefing on this case addressing the questions outlined below no later than February 27, 2020:

U.S. Department of State

  1. Please explain the vetting process through which Ali Yousif Ahmed Al-Nouri received a refugee visa.
  1. Was Ahmed Al-Nouri ever subjected to additional screening associated with the refugee visa application? Was Ahmed Al-Nouri vetted through the Visa Security Program and was a Security Advisory Opinion ever requested and/or issued? 
  1. Did Ahmed Al-Nouri ever apply for any other U.S. visa before being granted a refugee visa? Did Ahmed Al-Nouri apply for visas using any aliases?

Federal Bureau of Investigations

  1. When did Ahmed Al-Nouri come to the attention of the FBI and U.S. law enforcement?
  1. Did the FBI know about Al-Nouri’s alleged ties to al-Qaeda before the request for extradition from the Government of Iraq? 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

  1. Please provide the background on Ahmed Al-Nouri regarding his immigration history, including his refugee visa, adjustment of status to a lawful permanent resident, and naturalization as a United States citizen. 
  1. Was there any indication during the applications processes that Ahmed Al-Nouri was or may have been a member of al-Qaeda?

Thank you for your attention to this matter.  If you have any questions, please contact Drew Robinson of Senator Grassley’s staff or Corey Becker of Senator Ernst’s staff at (202) 224-5225.