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The “Dots” Were Connected Years Before The Terror Attacks of 9/11

Michael W. Cutler, Senior Special Agent, INS (Ret.)

Last week I promised that I would provide you with clear evidence that our nation’s leaders were aware of the nexus between immigration failures.  Today I will make good on that promise.

My commentary today is much longer than usual, but I seek to provide you with clear and unequivocal information about an issue that goes to the heart of national security and public safety.

Immediately after the terror attacks of 9/11 there was no shortage of politicians who publicly demanded to know why no one had “connected the dots” so that the terror attacks could have been prevented.

However, because there had been a number of terror attacks prior to 9/11, some of the “dots” had been connected years earlier.

In 1993 the United States suffered two deadly terror attacks conducted entirely by radical Islamist aliens who had managed to enter the United States thus enabling them to carry out those deadly attacks.

In January 1993 Mir Aimal Kansi, a citizen of Pakistan stood outside CIA Headquarters with an AK-47 and opened fire on the vehicles of CIA officials reporting for work. He killed two CIA officers and seriously wounded three others.

Kansi fled the United States and was ultimately brought back to stand trial.  He was found guilty and executed for his crimes.  He had applied for political asylum.

Just one month later, on February 26, 1993 a bomb-laden truck was parked in the garage under the World Trade Center complex and detonated. The blast nearly brought one of the 110 story towers down sideways. As a result of the explosion, 6 innocent people were killed, over one thousand people were injured and an estimated one half billion dollars in damages were inflicted on that iconic complex of buildings.

That attack was also carried out by alien terrorists who managed to not only game the visa process in order to enter the United States and get past the inspections process at ports of entry, but game the immigration benefits program as well.  This enabled them to remain in the United States and embed themselves as they went about their preparations to attack the United States and cause massive casualties.

On May 20, 1997 the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims conducted a hearing that was predicated on those attacks.  The title of the hearing was, Visa Fraud And Immigration Benefits Application Fraud.”  I participated in that hearing.

On February 24, 1998 The Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism, and Government Information conducted a hearing on the topic, Foreign Terrorists In America: Five Years After The World Trade Center.

Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein participated in that hearing and provided a prepared statement in which she discussed a number of the deficiencies in the immigration system that undermine national security.  Among the issues she addressed included the Visa Waiver Program, political asylum fraud, the issuance of visas to aliens who are citizens of countries that are associated with terrorism and the fact that alien students from countries that are engaged in terrorism were being provided with student visas that enabled them to receive degrees in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) disciplines that could enable terrorists and citizens of adversarial nations to receive training in the United States that could enable them to create weapons of mass destruction or build up the military capabilities of our enemies.

Yet her warnings were ignored.

Here are a few excerpts from her statement for that hearing in 1998, more than three years before the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 – I urge you to read each and every word from Feinsteins’s statement, they may well shock you:

There are also a number of glaring loopholes in our immigration laws. As I serve on the Immigration Subcommittee, I just wanted to spend my time touching on some of them.

I have some reservation regarding the practice of issuing visas to terrorist-supporting countries and INS’ inability to track those who come into the country either using a student visa or using fraudulent documents, as you pointed out, through the Visa Waiver Pilot Program.

The Richmond Times recently reported that the mastermind of Saddam Hussein’s germ warfare arsenal, Rihab Taha, studied in England on a student visa. And England is one of the participating countries in the Visa Waiver Pilot Program, which means, if she could have gotten a fraudulent passport, she could have come and gone without a visa in the United States.

The article also says that Rihab Taha, also known as “Dr. Germ,” that her professors at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, speculate that she may have been sent to the West specifically to gain knowledge on biological weaponry.

What is even more disturbing is that this is happening in our own backyard.

The Washington Post reported on October 31, 1991, that U.N. weapons inspectors in Iraq discovered documents detailing an Iraqi Government strategy to send students to the United States and other countries to specifically study nuclear-related subjects to develop their own program. Samir AJ-Araji was one of the students who received his doctorate in nuclear engineering from Michigan State University, and then returned to Iraq to head its nuclear weapons program.

Yet the State Department often does not do in-depth background checks on the students, and once they are in the United States, the INS has no ability to track the students to make certain they actually study the subjects they claim to study and to attend the schools they said they would attend.

Between 1991 and 1996, the State Department has issued about 9,700 student visas to students from terrorist-supporting states such as Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, and Syria to attend undergraduate and graduate studies in the United States.

Senator Feinstein went on to note:

The defendants of the World Trade Center bombing are also an example of those coming in through nonimmigrant or employment-based visas or abusing our political asylum process and then committing crimes.

For instance, Nidal Ayyad, one of the defendants in this case, used his position as a chemical engineer for Allied Signal to obtain the chemicals used in the World Trade Center bombing.

There is Gazi Abu Mezer, who was arrested in a suspected terrorist plot to detonate bombs in Brooklyn last year. He came in illegally across the Canadian border to Washington State and attempted to seek asylum, but withdrew his application and agreed to leave the country. Once he was released on voluntary departure, he fled Washington to Brooklyn, NY, where he was arrested for plotting suicide-bomb attacks in Brooklyn.

Finally, consider this excerpt:

Mr. Chairman, under the 1996 Immigration Act, Congress requires the INS to create a pilot project to track information on foreign students — where they are, what they are studying, if they commit any crimes, and if they are studying the subjects they planned to study. The act requires INS to submit a report by 2001. The act also tightens up the asylum process by making it harder for aliens to claim asylum fraudulently, and section 110 of the Immigration Act requires an entry/exit system at all ports of entry by September 1998.

As you know, there is a move on this very committee to essentially remove that.

I know there are concerns over the implementation of international student tracking systems and the entry/exit system required by the 1996 law. And I realize it takes time to build the automation systems and the infrastructure necessary to make the requirements work. However, I cannot stress enough the importance of having the ability to track international students, particularly those from terrorist-supporting countries and having an entry/exit system ability so we know who is coming in and out of the country.

In 1998 Feinstein certainly “connected the dots” and supported them with irrefutable facts that point to the clear nexus between failures of the immigration system and vulnerability to terror attacks.

The 9/11 Commission Report and the companion report, 9/11 and  Terrorist Travel identified and connected still more “dots.”

In point of fact, the 9/11 Commission was crystal clear on the fundamental facts that the terror attacks of 9/11 and other such attacks the preceded 9/11 were only possible because of multiple failures of the immigration system.

Yet, unbelievably, the Democrats have created “Sanctuary Cities,” refuse to fund the construction of a border wall and incredibly demand that ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) be dismantled.

Meanwhile, the leaders of the Republican party have also failed to fund the border wall or hire an adequate number of ICE agents.

If there is collusion to be found, it is the collision between the leaders of the Democratic and Republican parties to make certain that our immigration system fail because to them our immigration system is a delivery system that delivers an unlimited supply of cheap and exportable labor, and unlimited supply of foreign students, foreign tourists and, for the immigration attorneys, an unlimited supply of clients for immigration law firms.

I addressed this outrageous betrayal in an extensive article I wrote awhile back, Sanctuary Country – Immigration Failures By Design

We must make those elected officials, on all levels of government, who purport to represent us to truly represent the best interests of our nation and our citizens.

Democracy is not a spectator sport!

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