Thursday, December 6, 2007

Harty's downfall

by Joel Mowbray from The Washington Times (US: Washington DC)

As head of consular affairs at the State Department, Maura Harty oversaw passports, administration of embassies and consulates, and, most important, visas. It was in visa policy where she continued the path blazed by her predecessor, Mary Ryan, who had made it easier than ever in countries around the world for foreigners to receive visas — often in contravention of the law. Though visa policy receives little congressional scrutiny, it is a critical component of border security. All 19 of the September 11 terrorists came here on valid temporary visas — despite the fact that at least 15 of the terrorists did not qualify for one under the law. The terrorists didn't acquire visas through skill or fraud; they simply took advantage of a system rigged to approve almost every Saudi national who wished to come to the United States — a practice that plainly violated the law. Congress years ago required that all applicants be presumed ineligible until they prove their own eligibility — an intentionally high bar to clear. This provision, however, was turned on its head by Mrs. Ryan, then by Miss Harty ... Rather than tighten visa procedures, Miss Harty oversaw a relaxing of the rules in countries such as Egypt and Pakistan. Even Saudi Arabiaapproval rates for visa applicants remained stunningly high.

1 comment:

Abu Daoud said...

Good grief, Pakistan is one of the most fundamentalist and violent societies in the world.