Johnson Seeks Information from DHS and State Department on NYC Terrorist

WASHINGTON  U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, sent letters Monday to Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Elaine Duke and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson seeking information on New York City Terrorist Sayfullo Saipov, who hit and killed eight people with a rented truck in an ISIS-inspired attack Oct. 31.

Johnson specifically is seeking information on Saipov’s admission to the United States through the Diversity Visa Program.  He also requested information on the reported 23 associates that used Saipov as a point of contact to travel or immigrate to the United States.

The letter to DHS can be found here and below. A similar letter to the State Department can be found here.

November 6, 2017


The Honorable Elaine Duke  

Acting Secretary  

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Washington, D.C. 20528


Dear Acting Secretary Duke:

The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs is continuing to examine the new phase in our nation’s generational war on terror.  On October 31, 2017, Sayfullo Saipov, an Uzbek national, converted a rental truck into a weapon by driving it down a bike path in Lower Manhattan, killing eight and injuring eleven people, in an ISIS-inspired terrorist attack.  Mr. Saipov reportedly entered the United States in 2010 legally under the Diversity Visa Lottery Program.       

Even though the end of the physical ISIS caliphate is in sight, ISIS-inspired attacks have continued.  Congress must understand and evaluate the Department’s efforts to address this new phase in the war on terror.  Accordingly, I respectfully request the following information and material:

  1. Please produce Mr. Saipov’s Alien File. 
  2. Please provide all documents relating to any foreign travel conducted by Mr. Saipov. 
  3. Please provide all documents relating to any visa or Green Card application for Mr. Saipov.
  4. Please provide all documents relating to any citizenship application or proceedings for Mr. Saipov. 
  5. The Diversity Visa Program allows recipients’ spouses and dependent children to accompany them to the United States as “derivatives.”  Please explain how Department of Homeland Security (DHS) components process “derivatives” in the Diversity Visa Program.  
  6. According to State Department data, the United States issued 617,752 immigrant visas at foreign service posts in FY 2016.  Of that total, the United States issued 215,498 visas to individuals who qualified under the Family-Sponsored Preference.   
    1. Please explain how individuals admitted under the Family-Sponsored Preference are assessed for potential threats to national security prior to admission to the United States.
    2. Please explain how DHS components coordinate with the State Department to assess potential threats to national security within chain migration populations.
  7. According to news reports, Mr. Saipov served as the “point of contact” for 23 individuals to travel or immigrate to the United States.  Please explain how Mr. Saipov assisted or facilitated the admission of these 23 individuals into the country, and how the Department evaluated whether any of these 23 individuals posed a threat to national security.

Please provide a response as soon as possible, but by no later than 5:00 p.m. on November 20, 2017.  Any classified information provided in response to this letter should be provided under separate cover through the Office of Senate Security. 

The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs is authorized by Rule XXV of the Standing Rules of the Senate to investigate “the efficiency, economy, and effectiveness of all agencies and departments of the Government.”  Additionally, S. Res. 62 (115th Congress) authorizes the Committee to examine “the efficiency and economy of operations of all branches and functions of Government with particular references to (i) the effectiveness of present national security methods, staffing, and processes . . . .”

If you have any questions regarding this letter, please ask your staff to contact Kyle Brosnan or Brian Downey of my staff at (202) 224-4751.  For purposes of this request, please refer to the definitions and instructions in the enclosure.  Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. 



Ron Johnson                                                                   



cc:          The Honorable Claire McCaskill

                Ranking Member