During testimony delivered before the House Committee on Homeland Security, Chaired by Peter King [R-NY], Janet Napolitano, the Secretary of the Dept. of Homeland Security, made the startling suggestion that the present administration could allow an untold number of members of Foreign Terrorist Organizations [FTOs] to travel to the United States upon the suspicion that their presence here might be “useful,” under a set of guidelines which are ill defined.
There are currently 51 organizations designated as FTOs by the State Dept., one of which is Gama’a al-Islamiyya [the Islamic Group], currently #12 on the State Department’s list and recognized one of Egypt’s most violent jihadist groups.
What brought this issue into public view at this moment is that a month ago a member of Gama’a al-Islamiyya, Hani Nour Eldin, was allowed to enter the country through the combined efforts of State and DHS..
It has become apparent that neither DHS nor State followed the standard protocol for vetting this type of individual and the appropriate members of Congress were not informed.
Considering his affiliation with an FTO, Eldin is in a de-facto sense a declared enemy of the United States, yet he was allowed to set foot on American soil and incredibly, granted an audience with “senior WH officials.” Though Secret Service checked him out to their own satisfaction we doubt that was as thorough a search as was warranted. .
Eldin used his time with Obama’s inner circle to plead for the release of terror kingpin Omar Abdel Rahman [the Blind Sheikh] who is now serving a life sentence [thank you Andy McCarthy] because of his role in numerous terror plots including one to blow up prominent New York landmarks. Rahman reportedly issued the fatwa which justified, under the Shari’a, the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993.
Rahman is a Islamic scholar, originally from Egypt where he led Gama’a al-Islamiyya. He is the party responsible for also having issued the fatwa permitting the murder of Anwar Sadat and spent time in jail for that act, though it was never “proven” in court. Rahman was forced to leave the country because of his subversive activities and somehow allowed to easily immigrate to the United States, apparently not even raising a blip on the feds national security monitoring system, such as it was then and apparently still is.
Regarding Eldin, the question arises, if he is not a threat then why is he asking for a key terrorist with a proven record of mayhem to be released so that Rahman can triumphantly re-enter Egypt where he will no doubt be greeted with great enthusiasm by Egypt’s new Muslim Brotherhood president, Mohammed Morsi [who has also called for Rahman's release] and then once again join the global jihad?
Concern over this issue accounted for Secretary Napolitano’s appearance before the King Committee.
The relevant portion of Ms. Napolitano’s statement was defiant, “We are going to continue to have visitors to this country that the State Department and others feel are useful to bring to the country…who say they’re members of a political party that in the past has been so designated…[as foreign terrorist organizations]…”
Note: In some sense, all 51 FTOs were “designated” “in the past,” though the list is periodically updated. This means that if Gama’a al-Islamiyya has been determined to no longer represent a terrorist threat then it could have simply been removed.
The point here is that this typical DHS-speak, parsing to cloud the issue. In DHS’ skewed perspective, FTOs can simply morph into “political parties,” problem solved. It seems then that Secretary Napolitano is advancing the argument that foreign political parties which employ religiously condoned violence to implement the establishment of Shari’a do not represent a threat to the U.S. as opposed to their FTO brethren.
King and other members of the committee wanted to probe DHS’ thinking regarding the prospect of large numbers of FTO associates being given essentially carte blanche entry to the U.S., including high ranking officials in both the WH and Congress, by State and/or DHS, upon the supposition that talking with these people may prove beneficial.
Considering how ineffective talking has been historically in changing the behavior of committed Islamists [for example Iran] it’s easy to question State’s thinking on this approach.
Seeking some clarification on the matter, we contacted Shane Wolfe, Mr. King’s press aide, he provided the following:
“In the Eldin case, the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department failed to follow the law. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, anyone who belongs to a designated foreign terrorist organization, before receiving a visa, must receive a waiver from the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security. If you are part of an FTO, you cannot come into the country without getting a waiver. Eldin, according to his own Facebook page, is a member of the Islamic Group, which is a designated foreign terrorist organization. Yet he was given a visa, never applied for a waiver, no waiver was given. When he arrived at Kennedy airport, he did not go through any secondary inspection. The Department of Homeland Security and the State Department failed to comply with either the letter or the spirit of the law.”
This incident is more serious than it appears, which explains why the State Department has not told the truth regarding the details involved in allowing Eldin to enter the U.S. That dissembling has led to at least three different versions of what State has proffered as the truth.
At first DHS and the Dept. of State claimed ignorance of Eldin’s Facebook declaration, “But investigators from the State and Homeland Security Departments either ignored Hani’s own Facebook page or didn’t check it at all.”
After it became apparent that State’s dodge wasn’t working, as we noted in State Department Stonewalls Press Inquiry Over Allowing a Member of a Terrorist Group to Meet with Senior Administration National Security Officials its spokesman at a June 25 presser engaged in enough flim-flam and obfuscation to test the patience of even seasoned DC reporters, finally claiming that while an internal investigation had been conducted, the details of just how Mr. Eldin was handled are entirely too sensitive to disclose, at one point making the absurd observation that such a disclosure would harm Eldin’s “right to privacy.”
Under this logic, Eldin’s “rights” as a terrorist non-citizen trump reasonable press inquiries as to what exactly happened here.
That attempt at a cover-up, fishy on its face, quickly collapsed, requiring Ms. Napolitano, certainly one of the most incompetent national security officials in an administration wallowing in them, to appear before Mr. King’s Committee, where she suggested that the spirit of the protocol was followed, though the letter of the law may have gotten a little bent in the process.
The broad lesson we draw from this dog-and-pony show is that Team Obama has decided to simply ignore some of the most important basic considerations regarding national security.
It has gone completely rogue on the issue.
Another consideration; if this policy becomes common practice by State and DHS what will be the disposition of the FTOs whose members have received waivers or visas? Will they be removed from the listing? If not questions of selective enforcement naturally come to the fore. The difficulty would take the form of making decisions as to which members of let’s say Hamas, would be allowed into the U.S. and which ones wouldn’t. How would anyone know then how to distinguish between a “good” and a “bad” terrorist?
It’s easy to see how such a multi-tiered system would generate a level of uncertainty among those charged with riding herd on these matters. In short it would create a bureaucratic nightmare, though given the dysfunctional manner in which Hillary Clinton and Janet Napolitano have run their respective agencies, it might be difficult to tell the difference from standard operating procedure.
For whatever reason, “engagement” with people who are avowed and long standing enemies of the U.S. will apparently continue at an expanded pace, given the “Arab Spring,” and the law be damned.