Dumb and Dangerous: America's Fast Pass for Saudi Arabia
It's business as usual in the post-9/11 world. Your federal government is back to pandering to wealthy travelers from Saudi Arabia. In the eyes of our massive homeland security apparatus, the comfort of Saudis is a higher priority than the safety of American citizens.
And thanks to reckless, feckless bureaucrats who fear being labeled "racists," "xenophobes" and "Islamophobes," political correctness remains the handmaiden of terror.
According to a new report released this week by the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), President Obama's Department of Homeland Security plans to bestow "trusted traveler" status to travelers from Saudi Arabia. Yes, the home of 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers will soon enjoy the exclusive privilege of new entry shortcuts into the U.S.
Fox News points out: "Only an exclusive handful of countries enjoy inclusion in the Global Entry program: Canada, Mexico, South Korea and the Netherlands. According to the IPT, some officials are questioning why Saudi Arabia gets to reap the benefits of the program, when key U.S. allies like Germany and France are not enrolled."
Saudi suck-up Janet Napolitano, head of the Department of Homeland Security, hailed "the bond between the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia" and pledged to work with the government to facilitate "legitimate trade and travel."
This foolish move is astonishing but not unprecedented. As I noted in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration had created its own fast-pass system for Saudi elites called "Visa Express." Thanks to this GOP idiocy, three of the 9/11 hijackers skipped the usual consular interview process and bypassed long lines in the hot Saudi sun.
Throughout the jihadist-coddling Saudi kingdom, applicants could simply file their visa paperwork through travel agencies and courier companies for a small fee — without having to appear in person or submit to extensive background checks. The U.S. embassy in Riyadh bragged before 9/11: "Applicants will no longer have to take time off from work, no longer have to wait in long lines under the hot sun and in crowded waiting rooms, and no longer be limited by any time constraints."
Investigative reporter Joel Mowbray obtained the shocking, shoddy applications filed by the hijackers — whose omissions about where, when and what they planned to do when they arrived in the U.S. should have raised blood-red flags. But after the Saudi-dominated 9/11 jihad crew murdered nearly 3,000 innocent men, women and children on our soil, Bush administration officials bent over backward to assure touchy Saudis that no changes would be made "in determining visa eligibility as a result of the (9/11) attacks." Visa Express was expanded.
Moreover, State Department employees were banned from communicating with foreign governments about their citizens' visa applications, making it virtually impossible to verify vital information. The Bush State Department official in charge of implementing the "Visa Express" program that helped enable 9/11 hijackers and their colleagues was not punished. Instead, she received "cash prizes for 'outstanding performance in the 12 months from April 16, 2001, to April 15, 2002' — a period during which at least five of the 9/11 terrorists received visas that should have been denied according to the law," as Mowbray noted, "and during which September 11 happened."
Since that time, consular screening has remained an abject joke. There is still no operational tracking system to detect and deport hundreds of thousands of visa overstayers, including untold numbers of illegal aliens from jihad-friendly Middle Eastern countries. Law enforcement training for consular officials is scant. And Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., stated the obvious about Obama's Fast Pass 2.0: "I think you have radical Wahhabism in certain elements in Saudi Arabia, and I think to be more lenient there than in other places would be a mistake."
Twelve years after a Saudi-dominated cabal of young male Muslims committed mass murder in the skies and brought down the Twin Towers, your government refuses to do the unapologetic national security profiling necessary to prevent another domestic attack by foreign jihadis. Instead, they're searching your grandma's knitting bag, your Marine's prosthetic limbs and your toddler's bags packed for Disneyland — while waving Saudi "trusted travelers" through the fast lane. Deadly deja vu.