Limitations in the vetting process endanger national security.
The nearly all-consuming fixation on the lack of border security along the U.S./Mexican border ignore the many other elements of what should be a cohesive and coordinated immigration system.
Contrary to the claims made by the open borders, immigration anarchists, the purpose of the border wall is not to prevent the entry of aliens and/or cargo into the United States, but to make certain that all who enter the United States are properly vetted and records of their entry are created.
However, not enough attention is paid to the vetting process itself upon which the integrity of the immigration system depends.
The issue of border security must include the process by which visas are issued and by which aliens are screened at ports of entry.
The great majority of foreign terrorists who have attacked our nation have actually entered the United States through ports of entry either with visas that were obtained by concealing the backgrounds and true identities of the aliens in question, or by making bogus claims to political asylum, getting released and then disappearing.
The issue of the vetting of aliens has made it to the front page of newspapers and the “A block” of television news program because of the deadly shooting at the Pensacola Air Naval Station by a 21 year old member of the Saudi military, Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, a second lieutenant in the Saudi Air Force as reported in the New York Times on December 6, 2019, Trainee on Military Base Mounts Deadly Attack.
It has been reported that Alshamrani had posted virulently anti-American remarks in social media. The immediate obvious question is whether or not the vetting process including appropriate searches of social media accounts that might have disclosed his hatred of America before he was granted his visa.
The ability to effectively vet applicants is limited. Searches delve into possible criminal histories, but when applicants have no criminal histories and no known ties to criminal or terrorist organizations, such vetting process may fail.
Apparently there are two purposes behind the training of foreign pilots by the U.S. military: to protect U.S. national security interests and encourage the sale of military aircraft and other equipment by U.S. military suppliers.
Justifiably, a number of political leaders, and other have called for the suspension of this program so that the vetting process can be evaluated. To this point, on December 8, 2019 the New York Post reported, Lindsey Graham wants training program suspended after Pensacola shooting.
That report included this excerpt:
US Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican who represents the base, said on ABC’s “This Week” that the incident “has to inform our ongoing relationship with Saudi Arabia.”
“We should not be taking new incoming Saudi students until we’re absolutely confident in our vetting process,” Gaetz said.
There are currently more than 850 Saudis in the US for various training activities — among about 5,000 foreigners from 153 countries in the country undergoing some form of military training.
There has been a string of incidents that include foreign military students going missing in the United States in the past. There have also been worrying reports about foreign students enrolled in other U.S. schools going missing, including some who are citizens of countries that have a nexus to terrorism. Yet with only about 6,000 ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents for the entire United States and with more than half of them engaged in the investigation of non-immigration issues, there are precious few agents available to enforce the immigration laws. “Sanctuary” policies of a growing number of cities and states exacerbate the crisis.
One of the most astonishing incidents involving a failure of the vetting process occurred six months after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 when it was discovered that two of the dead terrorists had been granted authorization to attend a civilian flight school in March 2002, six months after they participated in the terror attacks of 9/11.
On March 19, 2001 the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims conducted a hearing into that fiasco on the topic, INS’s March 2002 Notification Of Approval Of Change Of Status For Pilot Training For Terrorist Hijackers Mohammed Atta And Marwan Al-Shehhi. The video of that hearing is worth watching.
I was called as an expert witness at that hearing.
For all of the beast-beating and complaints of the members of that subcommittee and other members of congress, measures to prevent such failures have been outweighed by the demands of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a veritable laundry list of corporations and special interest groups that our immigration laws not be enforced and our borders be allowed to remain wide open by those who know the price of everything and the value of nothing- even when lives and national security are on the line!
Today we are focused on aliens being given the best possible military flight training in America’s latest fighter planes. The possibilities of what such a highly-trained pilot could do in the seat of such as aircraft is mind-numbing.
In the wake of the shooting at the Pensacola Air Naval Station information had been circulated that the alleged shooter had visited New York City days before the attack, possibly in the company of other classmates. This immediately gave rise the concern that he, and possibly others, might have been scoping out potential targets for terror attacks.
The mainstream media, in a moment of rare candor raised that possibility. Yet no one had thought to a Department of Justice press release published just days earlier.
On December 3, 2019 the DOJ reported, Hizballah Operative Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison for Covert Terrorist Activities on Behalf of Hizballah’s Islamic Jihad Organization; Ali Kourani Was Trained by Hizballah’s External Terrorist Operations Component and Gathered Intelligence in New York City in Support of Attack-Planning Efforts.
You will notice in this excerpt from the earlier DOJ press release that announced Kourani’s conviction that immigration law violations were among the crimes that he committed:
Yesterday, a jury returned a guilty verdict against Ali Kourani, a.k.a. “Ali Mohamad Kourani,” a.k.a. “Jacob Lewis,” a.k.a. “Daniel,” on all eight counts in the Indictment, which charged him with terrorism, sanctions and immigration offenses for his illicit work as an operative for Hizballah’s external attack-planning component. Kourani is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 27, 2019…
My recent article, Alleged Hezbollah “Sleeper” Arrested In NYC By Joint Terrorism Task Force included this paragraph:
On September 19, 2019 the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York issued a press release that announced, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Indictment Of New Jersey Man For Terrorist Activities On Behalf Of Hizballah’s Islamic Jihad Organization. The subtitle of that press release provides more disturbing information, Alexei Saab Allegedly Was Trained by Hizballah’s External Terrorist Operations Component in Bomb-Making and Conducted Intelligence-Gathering in New York City and Washington, D.C., and Elsewhere in Support of Hizballah’s Attack-Planning Efforts.
On August 2, 2019 the Justice Department posted thus extremely this worrying news release, Afghanistan National and Former U.S. Military Interpreter Charged for Role in Human Smuggling Conspiracy.
On August 20, 2018 the Department of Justice issued a press release, Two Individuals Charged for Acting as Illegal Agents of the Government of Iran.
My piece written in February 2018, Saudi Graduate Of Al Qaeda Terror Training Camp Arrested In Oklahoma – Alleged classmate of 9/11 hijackers attended US flight school in 2016 included a link to the DOJ press release, Saudi Citizen Charged in Oklahoma With Concealing Attendance at Al Qaeda Training Camp.
There is a clear nexus between immigration and national security yet, for decades, the immigration system has abjectly lacked the resources it needs to imbue this important mission with the resources essential to enhancing the integrity of this vital system. Furthermore, the radical Left have demanded the dismantling of immigration law enforcement altogether, in essence ordering “Shields down” in a truly perilous era.
How many more innocent victims must be slaughtered before our nation comes to its senses?