JULY 18, 2011
It may seem inconceivable but nearly a decade after the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history the government has yet to develop or implement an adequate security program to keep foreign extremists from carrying out a sequel.Two recent reports illustrate this astounding failure by the government to protect the nation from a catastrophe similar to September 11, 2001. Several of the Middle Eastern terrorists who carried out that horrific foray entered the U.S. legally and remained in the country with expired visas while they planned their sophisticated plots.With that in mind, Congress allocated huge chunks of money to develop a reliable security system that would prevent a repeat. Incredibly, as the tenth anniversary of 9/11 approaches, critical gaps in the program allow terrorists to continue entering the U.S. It’s as if no lesson has been learned from the tragedies that violently ended the lives of thousands of innocent Americans.The lapse was brought to light recently after authorities discovered that two Iraqi nationals with terrorist ties had been living in Kentucky for several years. The men were granted visas to enter the U.S. despite having fingerprints that linked them to roadside bombs in Iraq. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul called for an investigation and last week the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee held a hearing to look into the matter.After the hearing Paul said he remains “deeply concerned” that the U.S. continues issuing visas despite a backlog that hinders the screening process and allows potential terrorists to enter the country. “If our screening process is broken because of a backlog, then let’s fix it,” Paul suggested. “By continuing to allow people into the country without having all relevant information, we put ourselves in grave danger.”A separate federal audit made public on the same day of the senate hearing reveals that four “gaps” cripple the security program that’s supposed to prevent terrorists from entering theUnited States. Keep in mind that multiple federal agencies have joined forces and spent millions of taxpayer dollars over the last decade to perfect the failing system.Whether it’s bureaucracy, incompetence or a combination of both, it’s not effective and terrorists continue to enter the U.S. with government-approved visas like the 9/11 hijackers. Why? Because the U.S. doesn’t share information about known and suspected terrorists with foreign governments, doesn’t address the use of fraudulent travel documents—including easily counterfeited or doctored low-quality passports—and fails to combat corruption among immigration officials that allow terrorists to pass through checkpoints.Those who refuse to believe that their government can be so negligent need only read the summary of the 44-page report issued by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress. It offers appalling details and examples of the seriousness of the matter. Agencies mentioned in the in the report include the departments of State, Defense, Justice and Homeland Security.
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