OTR Interviews

Are more welfare recipients on the terror watch list?

Both Boston bombing suspects received public assistance from state of Massachusetts. Are more welfare recipients on the terror watch list?


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," April 29, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: We now know that both accused bombers received welfare benefits from the state of Massachusetts. But what about other welfare recipients? Any other welfare recipients on the terror watch list? Tonight, Massachusetts lawmakers are demanding answers from Governor Deval Patrick's administration. Should we be doing that in every state?

Former congressman Allen West joins us. Good evening, sir.

ALLEN WEST, FORMER FLORIDA CONGRESSMAN: Good evening. How are you doing, Greta?

VAN SUSTEREN: I'm doing well. All right, so we know that they were receiving benefits and at least two of them, the -- the -- Tamerlan and maybe his mother -- I don't know if she's -- if she received benefits, but she was on the watch list. How -- how much are we looking at these watch lists to see whether or not they're sort of double dipping, your on a terror list and you're getting welfare benefits?

WEST: Well, absolutely. We should look at the terrorist list and we should do all types of cross-checks. One of the things we have to be concerned about is the incredible explosion of food stamp recipients in the United States of America over the last five years.

And when you look at that expansion, you have to start asking yourself, you know, Are these people that are legitimately on these programs? If you talk to the Agriculture Committee chairman over in the House, Frank Lucas from Oklahoma, he will tell you that 75 to 80 percent of the farm bill that they have now is nothing more than the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the SNAP program, food stamps.

So I believe that one of the things that we need to start looking at is, do we have people that are here illegally? Do we have people that are here on a terrorist watch list that are not receiving these benefits -- that are receiving these benefits that they shouldn't receive?

And then, also, Greta, let's be honest. There's a little bit of a theocratic, ideological aspect to this. There's a Muslim cleric over in the U.K. by the name of Anjim Chundari, and he basically said that they should come to these Western countries, as he is doing in the U.K. and receiving social welfare benefits to the tune of $39,000 himself because that is a jihad seeker's allowance. They call that jija tax, and they believe that non-Muslims, or kafirs, as they call us, are entitled to pay them this jija tax.

So we need to be very careful and understand the effects that this has on our budget and our debt, but also understand the theocratic ideological aspect of it, as well.

VAN SUSTEREN: But there -- there actually -- and this -- I mean, it seems to me there are really sort of two issues. One is the fact that Tamerlan was out of the country for about six months, and under Massachusetts state law, you're ineligible to receive benefits...

WEST: Yes, not supposed to be.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... if you're out of the state for more than two months. And you can go out for more than two months if it's for education, medical and I think family is another reason. So he's gone six months. I don't know if he's getting benefits during the six months. That's one issue.

But the other issue that is particularly troubling and we're sort of trying to dig into this and trying to get the facts, is whether or not we're paying terrorists so they can be home -- instead of working, they can be home putting together these pressure cooker bombs that have -- you know, that kill people and maim them and do all these horrible things. And what -- you know, what in the world is wrong with our computer systems when we can't sort of cross-list our welfare recipients with our watch lists?

WEST: Well, it's amazing enough that Governor Deval Patrick was one of the first people to say we don't need to rush to judgment. And now that we know that Tamerlan was on welfare benefits, he's saying that he's not going to provide any information because he has to protect his privacy. I don't think the privacy of this dead terrorist is an issue anymore.

And we need to know about how did he get these benefits, who was checking up on him, how was he able to go away for six months, and as you just stated, was he still continually receiving those benefits, which means that someone in the state of Massachusetts has dropped the ball.

So I think one of the key things that we should be doing is something that the Agriculture Committee there in the House should launch an investigation, making sure that we are scrubbing that terrorist watch list against social welfare food stamp benefits.

VAN SUSTEREN: And I don't know why we can't. I mean, I can -- I can be in the United Arab Emirates and use my money card and draw out $100 and they can figure it out to take it out of my bank statement here in the States. For the life of me, I can't figure out why we can't take a watch list and cross-reference it with a welfare recipient, or even any of these lists, you know, so -- and we don't learn about this until after there's been something catastrophic, that no one's been thinking.

But Congressman, I have 30 seconds left. I'll give you the last word.

WEST: Well, I think it has to do with once again inefficiency and also I believe it has to do something with recalcitrance and reticence to really get to the root cause of this. Somewhere, we are dropping the ball as far as tracking this terrorist watch list and tracking these people that are transiting freely, coming into the United States and out of the United States.

Once again, I talk about Carlos Bledsoe, who shot two soldiers at a Little Rock, Arkansas, recruiting station. He left the United States, went to Somalia and Yemen, re-entered the country. No one -- no red flags went up whatsoever. We got a problem.

VAN SUSTEREN: Indeed, we do. Congressman, thank you, sir.

WEST: Always a pleasure, Greta.