The Airline Bomb Plot & the Visa Waiver Program
By Michael Cutler
ABC Nightline aired a news story last night about the conviction of the British citizens who were involved in a conspiracy to carry out terrorist attacks to bring liquid explosives on board a number of airliners that were destined to arrive in the United States. This plot is the reason that we are restricted to bring no more than 3 ounce bottles of shampoo and other fluids on airliners. It is the reason that so many seemingly bizarre measures have been taken by TSA officials, such as when nursing women were reportedly required to drink their own breast milk brought to feed their infant children.
The timing of this news story is coincidental but it is certainly worth remembering that this week our nation will mark the seventh anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. What is, in my judgement, utterly unacceptable is that fact that even with all of these concerns about potential future devastating terrorist attacks, our nation still permits aliens from some 27 countries to seek to enter the United States without first applying for and receiving a visa.
Those British terrorists, not unlike Richard Reid, the so-called "Shoe Bomber," would not require visas in order to board an airliner destined for the United States. The point is that while far from perfect, the visa requirement could well have kept Richard Reid off the airliner he had planned to destroy by detonating explosives secreted in his shoes. The point is that these British terrorists could have sought to board an airliner they were intent on destroying without first securing visas. The visa requirement also provides other significant benefits to law enforcement and hence, represent a vital, additional layer of security that is being ignored by our government, even as the administration pushes forward with plans to expand the Visa Waiver Program to include additional countries.
Last year I was interviewed by Mike Ahlers of CNN for a news report he was writing about the Visa Waiver Program and the fact that the executives of the travel and hospitality industries advocating that our government expand the Visa Waiver Program. As you read these articles and my commentaries you should be asking yourself, "Are we safer today than we were on September 10, 2001?" Our government is supposed to represent the best interests of We the People and the best interests of our nation. That our government would ratchet up security at airport and other vulnerable venues makes good sense, if those measures are truly effective and enhance our safety and the security of our nation. These measures must make a "real world" difference and not simply create an illusion of addressing vital national security issues.
September 9, 2008 01:34 PM Link http://counterterrorismblog.org/