By now you've heard about the Nigerian citizen, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who was overwhelmed by other passengers while attempting a terrorist attack on a Northwest Airlines flight about to land in Detroit.
Why did Abdulmutallab possess a visa allowing him to enter the U.S., despite appearing in at least one U.S. database which one would hope would result in automatic disqualification?
The sources told CNN that the suspect flew into Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam on a KLM flight from Lagos, Nigeria, and is not believed to be on any "no fly" list, although his name does appear in a U.S. database of people with suspect connections. He did not undergo secondary security screening in Amsterdam, an administration official said.
Pardon my crudeness, but screw the "no fly" list. Why, in the name of God, would we grant a visa to someone with "suspect connections," especially one whose behavior has been so strange as to cause his own father to report him to the local U.S. embassy.
Another government official said Abdulmutallab's father went to the embassy in Abuja with his concerns, but did not have any specific information that would put him on the "no-fly list" or on the list for additional security checks at the airport.
Neither was the information sufficient to revoke his visa to visit the United States. His visa had been granted June 2008 and was valid through June 2010.
No "specific information." "Insufficient information."
I am reeling under the weight of that bit of bureaucratic ineptitude.
His foreboding was so great, the elder Abdulmutallab took the extraordinary step of visiting the U.S. embassy to report his son. Most parents wouldn't take such an action in the absence of grave concerns; even then only after much soul-searching and with great anguish. What kind of simpleton would fail to recognize the significance of that act?
We don't owe entry into the United States to any foreign national. Decisions as to who is or isn't granted a visa should be based solely on the best interests and safety of the United States. I prefer that our officials err on the side of caution and if that occasionally results in someone wrongly being denied entry...yeah, whatever.
Cross posted at It's Only Words.