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Judicial Watch • State Dept. IG Reveals How U.S. Let Terrorist Sheik In

State Dept. IG Reveals How U.S. Let Terrorist Sheik In

State Dept. IG Reveals How U.S. Let Terrorist Sheik In

Judicial Watch

Daunting systematic failures within the U.S. government permitted the jihadist Muslim cleric who masterminded the 1993 World Trade Center bombing to enter the country and receive legal residency despite his well-documented terrorist ties.

A long-awaited State Department Inspector General report details the agency’s incomprehensible negligence involving Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, Osama bin Laden’s spiritual leader and role model. Serving a life sentence for planning a series of U.S. bombings, Rahman is perhaps best known for the 1993 World Trade Center explosions that killed six and injured more than 1,000.

Although his name appeared on the U.S. terrorist list, Rahman entered the country with a tourist visa and was subsequently granted permanent residency as a religious leader. The blind Egyptian cleric preached in support of jihad (Muslim holy war) at several mosques in the New York area and recruited like-minded personnel to carry out domestic terrorist attacks.

For more than a decade Americans have wondered how exactly this renowned Middle Eastern terrorist entered the country with the blessing of the U.S. government. The answers, documented in the inspector general’s lengthy audit, are sure to enrage many. In a nutshell, investigators determined that an “inadequate system of control and inadequate implementation of immigration laws, regulations and guidelines” were responsible. They also found “sloppiness” and “poor performance” by government officers who repeatedly approved Rahman’s visas.

State Department officials issued multiple visas —in Cairo and Khartoum—that allowed the jihadist cleric to come and go as he pleased because no one bothered putting him on a “lookout” system, despite a 1981 arrest. Why? “The embassy had “higher priority concerns” and “it was believed that the sheik would not want to travel to the United States,” according to investigators.

It gets better. Even when Rahman’s name was finally added to the foreign embassy “lookout” system after six years, no one bothered to check the list and Rahman was issued yet another visa to enter the U.S. A few weeks later, the “oversight” was discovered but the State Department didn’t bother notifying immigration officials until six months later to begin the visa revocation process.

The report includes a number of other anecdotes that illustrate the government’s unacceptable failures in this case for those who have the stomach to read the entire thing. As if to appease the public, investigators assure that no individual employed by the U.S. government intentionally violated or circumvented immigration laws and regulations in order to help the radical sheik gain entry to the United States. Evidently, it was mere incompetence.


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