Independent Christian Voice

Sunday

A security shield with gaping holes

Poster fpc at Daily Kos comments on an apparent U.S. policy of giving Saudis a waiver to avoid a key border security program.
In a story on the Department of Homeland Security's US-VISIT program written by Congressional Quarterly today (subscription only, no link), this anecdote is worthy of further circulation:
Several Border Patrol officers said they are worried the exemptions may leave airports and land borders open to terrorist infiltration. One Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent at Dulles International Airport said he was recently told to waive the US-VISIT requirement for about 70 people arriving from Saudi Arabia who were affiliated with the Saudi royal family. "People coming from known terrorist countries [are] to be fingerprinted and photographed for a reason," said the CBP officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "When you start making exceptions, you start losing the credibility of the program."
This boggles the mind. We know that 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were citizens of Saudi Arabia. US taxpayers are spending billions of dollars per year on homeland security. And yet, they're making exceptions for Saudis who are 'affiliated with the royal family'? These aren't diplomats for whom they're allowing this exception; that descriptor - 'affiliated with the royal family' - could apply to literally tens of thousands of Saudis, and there's no way that the government can be certain that any single one of them is unconnected to al-Qaeda. This seems too reminiscent of the Saudi getaway flights in the days after 9/11. Perhaps some of you would dispute the value of spending all this money on homeland security, but if we're going to make these investments, then they need to be used and applied consistently. The question then becomes: who authorized this? And why does this administration so often seem more loyal to "Bandar Bush" than to the security of American citizens?
The answer to the last question is that financial interests triumph over national interests. There is no other rational explanation. Saudi Arabia is one of the worst offenders of human rights and we do nothing. They are a highly restrictive society, especially toward woman; we do nothing. Their country has been the biggest source of funds for terrorists, especially al-Qaeda; we do nothing. Interesting that they didn't make the cut for Axis of Evil even though, as was pointed out above, most of the hijackers came from that country. Could Bush family financial ties to the country have anything to do with that? I wonder.

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