Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spot On

My analysis of the issue of the Christmas Day Bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab has been confirmed. (h/t The Skeptical Bureaucrat)

The money quote:

"Officials said the consulate supervisor who authorized Abdulmutallab's visa concluded that he had strong ties to Nigeria and no derogatory information in his background and that his inaccurate answer about having been denied a visa might have been based on a misunderstanding.

'When that judgment was reviewed, the supervisor concluded that this was not a willful misrepresentation and that he had the intent of returning home after visiting the United States,' one official explained.

The official said a key factor in the supervisor's reversal was that the student came from a prominent and trusted family in Nigeria and had no record of wrongdoing."

Which brings us to the discussion of the issue in the diploblogs. The apologists are emphasizing that Abdulmutallab was not making a "material" false statement when he denied ever being denied a U.S. visa in their defense of the indefensible.

From the WaPo story:

"Abdulmutallab first applied for a U.S. visa in Lome, Togo, but was told that he needed to apply closer to his place of residence in Nigeria. He returned to Lagos and filed an application that stated incorrectly that he had never been denied a visa, leading a consular official to deny him one."

The apologists are saying that the lie, yes a lie, was not "material" because the lie was discovered by the computerized tracking of his visa applications. (Interesting in itself as the apologists are claiming that "variations" on the spelling of his name are the reason that the Consular Officer in Lagos was unable to discover that he had a visa issued from London when his father reported that he might be a terrorist. But let us not quibble with the apologists.) So, why ask the question if the Department of State already knows the answer? Well, because honesty is something we expect from visa applicants. It is in the law and the applicants are warned on the form that a lie will result in a denial and possible criminal prosecution.

In fact, the initial denial from Lome, Togo was highly material. First, it was material in that for some reason this citizen and resident of Nigeria applied in Togo. No reason for this, unless he was a permanent resident of Togo, which he was not. The reason he applied in Togo was that he thought he would receive less scrutiny in Togo for some reason. Most likely because he was already radicalized and feared exposure by applying in Nigeria. Unfortunately it appears that neither his father or the Nigerian intelligence and police officials knew about his radicalization, most likely because his father was himself a Muslim who supports radical causes and the incompetence of Nigerian intelligence officials. The apologists are emphasizing that he returned after his 2008 trip to Houston. However, that trip was to participate in a radical Sunni Islamist meeting. Since he got the visa in 2004, if he was an innocent traveller why didn't he come before then? Clearly he was radicalized much sooner than during his studies in London.

Second, it was material because it was both an obvious untruth, with there being no reason to lie about it other than believing that to tell the truth would result in another denial, which is most likely, and it reflects on his character and undermine any other statement on the visa application. Giving visas to liars is not the job of Consular Officers. Why, because liars are likely to lie about their intent in the U.S. This lie made Abdulmutallab subject to denial for fraud. It also made his deniable for being unable to overcome the presumption that he was an intending immigrant, like so many other Nigerians who overstay their visas.

The most important aspect of the "materiality" issue is that a similar question is asked of Visa Waiver Program applicants for admission to the U.S. On the CBP Form I-94W Admission Departure Record a question is asked about whether you have applied for a visa and been denied. If you answer in the affirmative, you will be denied entry into the United States. So, as we see, the "materiality" issue is a smokescreen for the appologists.

We find the real reason at the end of the WaPo story, a great surprise for this propaganda organ. The money quote:

"The official said a key factor in the supervisor's reversal was that the student came from a prominent and trusted family in Nigeria and had no record of wrongdoing." (Emphasis mine!)

There it is, in black and white, because he was from a rich and powerful family he was issued a visa. If he had not been from a rich or powerful family, then he would have been denied. The apologists are going to kill us, sooner or later.


Consul-At-Arms said...

I object to being labeled an apologist, when my intent is to explain the rules which consular officers are required to implement and uphold.

Ommission of information about a prior visa application and/or refusal isn't sufficient for a consular officer to apply a visa ineligibility for Misrepresentation under INA Sec. 212(a)(6)(C)(i), for the reason which have been explained. But other ineligibilities may apply, such as INA Sec. 214(b).

In hindsight that obviously doesn't mean he was a "good" issuance, certainly not in light of his subsequent actions as well as information which surfaced prior to his airliner attack.

There's been some recent new guidance in applying the INA Sec. 214(b) ineligibility to allow adjudicators to be a bit tighter in its use.

Federale said...

I was actually refering to the person who commented on The Skeptical Bureaucrat blog named deparker2001 who is an apologist for the issuance of the visa.