September 11, 2001 is a day that most Americans will never forget. A total of 19 Islamic terrorists commandeered four commercial airlines full of passengers and aimed them at American targets.
I remember that morning I was at work when my boss called me and told me that an airliner had crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers in New York City. We had a television that I turned on the news just in time to see the second airliner crash into the second tower of the World Trade Center. That was the realization that America was under attack.
The federal government tightened up security and travel requirements to and from the United States. At one time we could travel to places like Barbados without having to get a passport if our stay was less than 30 days. Likewise, family in Barbados could travel here to the United States with just their driver’s license as sufficient ID. But all that changed after 9/11.
It didn’t take long for federal investigators to identify most of the terrorists involved. Of the 19 terrorists 15 were from Saudi Arabia. Since that time the United States has taken special steps to screen and vet all Saudi nationals planning to travel to the United States. It was then up to our government whether or not to grant them visas.
Eleven years have passed since the attacks on US soil. Now it seems that some of our government officials have forgotten the lessons from 9/11 or who carried out the attacks. After meeting with Saudi officials in January, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has decided to give trusted traveler status to supposedly low risk airline passengers from Saudi Arabia.
Basically what this means is that Saudi Arabia officials will now be conducting part of the screening and vetting of Saudi nationals wanting to travel to the United States. US officials will still have some say in the process but it appears they may be relying heavily upon the Saudi vetting process to expedite the screening here. Once a Saudi national has been approved through this new vetting system all they have to do to enter the US is provide their passport and fingerprints and they can bypass the rest of the customs procedures that everyone else must go through. This status last for five years.
This places Saudi Arabia in an elite group of nations that are included in the Global Entry program. Other nations granted the same status include Canada, Mexico, South Korea and the Netherlands. It figures that it was Obama that placed Mexico on that list. Some of our closest allies such as Great Britain Germany and France are not given the same privilege status as is now being extended to Saudi Arabia.
Napolitano indicated that this move is to improve the bond between the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, saying:
“By enhancing collaboration with the government of Saudi Arabia, we reaffirm our commitment to more effectively secure our two countries against the evolving threats while facilitating legitimate trade and travel.”
The news of the DHS decision to include Saudi Arabia in the Global Entry program is causing concern among a number of people including the families that lost loved ones during the 9/11 attack. Some members of Congress have also expressed concern and believe that this is a mistake and should not be allowed. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) is one of those it expressed concern saying:
“I think you have radical Wahhabism in certain elements in Saudi Arabia, and I think to be more lenient there than in other places would be a mistake. There were 15 [hijackers] from that country, and there is a lot taking place in that region.”
I share Wolf’s concerns about extending free passes to Saudi nationals. Currently the nation of Saudi Arabia is on the verge of an internal civil war between the Sunni and Shiite Muslim populations in the country. Although the Sunni Muslims control the government and account for most of the population, the vast majority Saudi oil is found in the Eastern Province which is predominantly Shiite territory.
With civil unrest on the near horizon one has to question the effectiveness of the Saudi vetting program. It is also widely known that a number of Saudi officials and members of the royal family, like most Muslims, consider America an enemy filled with infidels and would like nothing more than to see us destroyed. If these are the people in control of the vetting process, then one has to wonder who they are clearing to send our way.
At a time when most Americans are pushing to be energy free and self-reliant on our own oil supplies, one has to question the motives behind this decision. Is it an attempt to get cheaper oil from Saudi Arabia or is it just opening another avenue for President Obama’s Muslim buddies to enter our country and facilitate their desired Islamization of America?