9/11 Shows Powell Endorsement Is Worthless

Colin Powell has

endorsed Obama
for president. The value of the
endorsement rests on the public`s faith that Powell is a
man of skill, competence and experience who can
distinguish those public officials who are able to guard
the
security of the United States
from those who are
inept. At least as important is the public`s belief that
Powell is a man of absolute integrity. However, Powell`s
record as Secretary of State in the wake of the
9/11 attacks
proves the exact opposite.

The nineteen 9/11 hijackers were
given
visas
to enter the w:st="on">United States
even though they precisely fitted the terrorist profile.
The
9/11 Commission
named the three State Department
officials who were directly responsible:  



  • Mary Ryan,
    Chief of Consular Affairs, appointed
    to that position in 1993;

     

  • Maura Harty, Deputy Chief of Consular Affairs,
    appointed 1999;

     


  • Thomas Furey,
    Consul General in the US Embassy
    in w:st="on">Riyadh, appointed 2000.

These Keystone onsuls also gave
visas to the 9/11 plot`s
"mastermind,"
Khalid Sheik Mohammed, and to other plotters who did not
participate in the actual hijackings.

The Commission concluded that in
every case these officials had violated the federal law
governing issuance of visas.

That law, the Immigration and
Naturalization Act (INA),
explicitly imposes on consular officials
the
obligation not to issue visas to applicants if
"it appears to
the consular officer, from statements in the
application, or in the papers submitted therewith, that
such alien is

ineligible to receive a visa
[under this],
or any other provision of law, the application fails to
comply with the provisions of this chapter, or the
regulations issued thereunder."

The INA goes on to describe many
other bases for which State Department officials must
deny visas. But you get the idea: if there`s any basis
for "reasonable"
doubt, the visa

must, by law, be denied.

The Commission
found
that
"All 19 of the…hijacker
[visa]
applications were incomplete in some way with a data
field left blank or not answered fully."
In
addition, to the blank spaces, there were many obviously
false and evasive answers.

None of this bothered these three
federal fools.

Mary Ryan, in her position as Chief
of Consular Affairs bureau in
Washington
w:st="on">D.C.
for the eight years prior to September
11 was the
official most responsible for the elimination of
procedures designed to weed out

visa applicants who posed a threat to the United States.
What she did, said the Commission, amounted in
effect to waiving the requirement that Saudis obtain
visas to visit the w:st="on">United States..

The Commission concluded Ryan had
implemented these weak standards without legal authority
and had done so in the face of the "CIA`s analyzed
and reported"
findings about rising

Arab extremism
in

Saudi Arabia
. The Commission noted that the
"reasons for the
State Department`s adoption of these visa policies in
Saudi Arabia the UAE
[United Arab Emirates]
and Germany have never adequately been explained."

Maura Harty, as Deputy Chief of
Consular Affairs, was the chief operating officer of the
consular affairs division in D.C., the direct supervisor
of the
US

Consul General in
Saudi Arabia
and his
subordinates. Along with Ryan, Harty was most
responsible for institutionalizing and formalizing the
negligent and unlawful practices they conceived, the
benefits of which were so well demonstrated on 9/11.

The third member of this team of
lawbreakers: Thomas Furey, Consul General in the US
Embassy in w:st="on">Riyadh who arrived at this post a year to the
day prior to the 2001 attacks.
He did not formulate policy regarding visas, but he
was right there, in w:st="on">Saudi Arabia.
The 9/11 Commission staff interviewed Furey and
stated that


"
Furey was adamant
in his interview with the Commission that he did not
think Saudis were security risks when he arrived in
Riyadh

[on September 11, 2000] or at any time before. . .And according to several sources he was not
reluctant about expressing his desire to give visas to
virtually anyone: among his colleagues he was known for
frequently uttering the phrase:

`people gotta have their visas.
`"

As far as visas were concerned,
Furey certainly acted his beliefs. The rate of approval
of Saudi applicants for US visas was over
ninety eight percent.

Furey`s interpretation of
immigration law turned upside down his duty of care to
his country. Rather than requiring each and every visa
applicant to bear the burden of proof that they were not
a threat to American security, (especially young single
Arab men who, according to their own visa applications,
lived in hotels and who did not know the
names of their wives
, the

schools
they were supposed to attend in the US, or
their US destinations—all of which, incredibly, were
problems in the
9/11 hijackers` paperwork
) ,
he acted as though all applicants
"gotta" be
issued a visa…unless perhaps they stated at the time of
application that they planned to commit terrorist acts
when they got to the USA.

The Commission staff talked to lower
level consular officers in
Saudi Arabia
to find
out if they were as uninformed as their boss.

When they asked State Department
personnel in w:st="on">Saudi Arabia if
they had any reason to believe Saudis were not threats
to w:st="on">US security, one
responded incredulously:
"That`s absurd;
that`s patently ridiculous."

Furey`s staff all knew of the
danger, But Furey, like a character in Gilbert and
Sullivan, claimed he did not.

In a statement oozing with contempt,
the 9/11 staff stated their conclusion:


"It is difficult to understand how the strong views of
the


[lower level]
consular officers in Jeddah about the security risk
posed by Saudi citizens—views informed by growing
intelligence supporting their outlook and by commonsense
conclusions from recent events, such as the East Africa
bombings could apparently be unknown to
[Furey]
the most senior State Department official making visa
policy in Saudi Arabia."

[Monograph on 9/11 and Terrorist
Travel
[PDF]]

However, security concerns did not entirely escape notice by Furey, Harty and Ryan. The Commission
revealed that in the cable traffic which passed between
them they showed a great deal of concern about security
threats—to the State Department officials in the consulates.

The Riyadh Embassy`s Resident
Security Officer told the Commission staff that the
embassy employees realized the large crowds congregating
outside and inside the building waiting to apply for
visa
s posed a security threat and that they
"were very
sensitive to the fact that we were the most targeted
embassy on Earth."

As a result, the three Keystone
Konsuls jointly created a scheme they called
"Visa Express,"
a gimmick, implemented on year="2001" w:st="on">June 1, 2001 that would finally rid the embassy
and consulate grounds of dangerous Saudis. . .
by getting them into the w:st="on">US at a faster rate..

Under Visa Express, much of the
consular staff`s work was outsourced to
private Saudi travel agencies.
They had the
responsibility of working with visa applicants to show
them how to fill in the forms and remind them to provide
answers that would pass muster. Thus if Abdul, a single,
unmarried gentleman who was unemployed, wanted to visit
the US to go to school, or blow up a building, the
travel agent (who would only profit if the visa were
approved and an airplane ticket was actually sold) could
remind Abdul that the Americans prefer that their
visitors appear to have some reason to want to return
home to

Saudi Arabia.
So, before Abdul set pen to paper, he
would understand his chances of getting approved would
be low unless he stated that he was married and
employed, and it would be helpful if he remembered his
wife`s name, his place of employment and his home
address. If he was claiming to be
attending a US university,
it would be helpful also
if he knew the name of the school,

where it was located
and perhaps what he was
studying.

As part of Visa Express, consular
officials were told to ignore the law and treat every
Saudi as being presumptively entitled to a visa. This
meant the visa application process was to be treated as
a mere formality, with officers required not to
challenge incomplete or evasive applications. Thus, if
an applicant still failed to complete the form, the
consular officer was to treat the application as
acceptable unless some clear warning flag arose. (Such
as maybe
shooting
an embassy employee?)

Furey definitely thought Visa
Express was a rousing success. On
June 26, 2001
, twenty five days after
implementation of Visa Express, he emailed Mary Ryan:


"The number of people on the street and coming through
the gates should be only 15 percent of what it was last
summer. The RSO


[Resident Security Officer]
is happy, the public loves the service (no more

long lines
and they can go to the travel agencies in
the evening and not take time off from work), we love it
(no more crowd control stress and reduced work for the
[embassy employees]
and now this afternoon
[we]
discovered the most amazing thing—the Saudi Government
loves it."
)

On
September 11, 2001
the work done by Ryan,
Harty and Furey resulted in the deaths of almost 3000
innocent people—including
my son.

In June 2002, the State Department`s
own Office of Inspector General condemned the policies
of Ryan Harty and Furey. In its report. entitled
"Program
Performance Report Fiscal Year 2001"
[PDF],
the OIG stated:
"Until the events of September 11, the visa process was
seldom considered a major element of national security.
This was so despite the fact that after the
first
attack on the World Trade Center
[in 1993]
Congress mandated
[that visa applicants` names be
run through various terrorist watch lists].”

In evaluating the Department`s goals
and the degree of success in attaining them the OIG
report, concluded that in regard to
"Countering
Terrorism"
the Department`s performance was
"Unsuccessful,
considering the events of September 11 that caused more
than 3,000 deaths
[sic]
in well-planned attacks that evaded detection by United
States and foreign security services.”

As to the Department`s goal of "Identification of terrorist
threats and prevention of terrorist attacks. Reduction
in number, lethality of attacks”
,
The OIG
concluded "Evaluation: "Unsuccessful.

So how did that great man, the great
judge of competence, Secretary of State Colin Powell
respond to the mass murder that his Department had
facilitated? Did he demand that Ryan, Harty and Furey
resign?

On the
contrary
. He approved
cash bonuses
to both Ryan and Harty for
"Outstanding Performance in 2001."

In the case of the chief culprit,
Mary Ryan, Powell refused to respond to the public
condemnation of her visa policies. He kept her on in
charge of Consular Affairs until late in 2002. Only
then, when presented with the threat that Congress would
transfer responsibility for granting visas to the
soon-to-be created Department of Homeland Security, and
only in order to avoid being the guy responsible for a
historic rebuke to his Department, did Powell get rid of
Ryan by
forcing her retirement.
(She died in

2006
.)

To replace her as head of Consular
Affairs Powell, the Great Evaluator nominated…Maura
Harty.
At Harty`s Senate hearings in October 2002 as
if to confirm her monumental incompetence and contempt
for those for whose murders she was partly responsible,
she admitted that she had
still not gone
back to review the applications of the 19 terrorists.

Nevertheless, Powell stuck by her.
And Congress, in a lame duck session after the November
elections,
confirmed
her. She stayed on

until 2007.

Likewise, Powell refused to punish
or even acknowledge the charges against Thomas Furey. (Furey
is now

 Deputy Chief of
Mission
in the American Embassy in
Nigeria
.)

What could possibly have motivated
the three Keystone Konsuls and their boss, Colin Powell,
to ignore the law? What could have motivated them to
ignore the clear and present danger that Arabs,

Muslims
, Saudis in particular, personified?

There are several possibilities.

We know that the
travel industry has a massive lobbying army
in
Washington which
"educates"
Congress, Presidential appointees and
other bureaucrats in the State Department and DHS about
the importance of allowing foreigners into the US with
the fewest possible formalities. That lobby recently
succeeded in getting an expansion of the
Visa Waiver Program
from the former 27 eligible
countries to an unlimited number. The result is that
more aliens than ever before can visit our tall
buildings without ever having to obtain a visa.).

Of course, the more foreign tourists
who visit, the more the industry can sell plane tickets,
hotel rooms, rental cars and theme park tickets. Dead
Americans are, to Marriott, Disney, American Airlines,
et al., just a cost of doing business.

For example, the 9/11 Commission
described the plight of a
US Customs Agent in Orlando
who was

reluctant to hold Saudis for secondary, more intense
scrutiny
, because he feared retribution from his
superiors who in turn had been hammered by the Disney
Company. The Disney Company did not want Saudis
subjected to any obstacles, said the Commission, because
Saudis

spent lots of money at Disney World.

Thus, it`s possible that Powell and
company were simply dupes. But there is another, more
sinister possibility. Some bureaucrats, after retiring
from federal
"service"
in the State Department, military,
Congress or as presidential appointees, have gone on to
lucrative careers working for entities controlled by
Saudi interests or in lobbying firms which collect large
fees from the Saudis. Human nature being what it is, it
is inevitable that some officials, while involved in
developing or implementing policy on Saudi Arabia, have
been more concerned about getting highly paid
post-retirement careers in Saudi-controlled non-profits
than in their obligation to protect the people of the
United States.

Colin Powell commands a speaker`s
fee of over $100,000 per performance. Has Saudi money
paid for any of this valuable advice after he left
government service? (For more on the purchasing of
former federal officials by foreign governments, see the
essays of former FBI employee and whistleblower Sibel
Edmonds. [The
Highjacking of a Nation Part 2:



The Auctioning of Former Statesmen & Dime a Dozen
Generals
]

Barack Obama touts Powell`s
endorsement as evidence that he,
Obama, is qualified for the presidency.
But Powell
has shown that is incapable of recognizing incompetence
in government officials, no matter how severe the
national security consequences of their negligence. He
rewarded and promoted those whose actions violated
federal law and resulted in American loss of life. He
cannot be regarded as a man of integrity. His

endorsement
is worthless.


Peter Gadiel (email
him) is president of

9/11 Families
for a Secure America
.
His son, 9/11 World Trade Center victim James
Gadiel (North Tower, 103rd floor),
was 23 at the time of his murder.