Eight of KSM?s 27 handpicked operatives were prevented from entering the United States because of 214(b). Yet the same law that kept out almost one-third of the original 9/11 cell was not applied in Saudi Arabia?and it still isn?t today.
If State wanted to get tough on Saudi visa applicants, they would have unfettered discretion to do so. Denials made by a consular officer are not appealable, which means a visa could be denied simply because a Saudi is young, single, and unemployed?the profile of the person least likely to qualify under 214(b) and the most likely to be a terrorist.
State, however, has shown no willingness to put security first. It vehemently opposed Congressional attempts to tighten Saudis? access to visas, and it only closed Visa Express under duress. Late last year?as originally reported here this January?the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh sent a cable to Washington advocating a re-loosening of restrictions on Saudi visas.
With 15 of the 19 hijackers and continued al Qaeda bombings and beheadings, the question must be asked: what additional evidence does State need before deciding to enforce the law?
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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