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Trusted-Travel Status for Country that Produced Most of the 9/11 Hijackers

Global Entry agreement with Saudi Arabia speeds forward with little information on key security concerns available to Congress.

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

April 2, 2013 - 6:51 pm
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Lawmakers are livid that the Obama administration quietly added Saudi Arabia to the short list of countries in the Global Entry program to expedite screening for pre-approved travelers deemed to be a low security risk.

Currently, the trusted traveler program is open to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, Dutch citizens, South Korean citizens and Mexican nationals. Canadians can join through the NEXUS program. Travelers check in at a kiosk where they’re either allowed to breeze into the country or are flagged for a normal entry interview.

The Obama administration forged the agreement with the Saudi government in Washington this January, but Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s meeting with Saudi Arabian Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef largely flew under the radar on Capitol Hill.

“I am proud of the bond between the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and today’s meeting marks another major step forward in our partnership,” Napolitano said. “By enhancing collaboration with the Government of Saudi Arabia, we reaffirm our commitment to more effectively secure our two countries against evolving threats while facilitating legitimate trade and travel.”

The agreement allowed for U.S. Customs and Border Protection to begin implementing the program that fast-tracks prescreened travelers through security lines in Saudi Arabia, and “initiate discussions to establish a reciprocal program,” according to DHS.

Napolitano and the prince released a joint statement calling the “security and economic prosperity” agreement an “effort to reaffirm the extraordinary bond between [the U.S. and Saudi Arabia] and advance this partnership.”

“The trusted traveler programs will facilitate trade and travel between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States of America and will help authorities from MOI and DHS more effectively identify potential threats to keep their borders and countries secure,” the statement continued. “The objective will be to start implementation within the next six months with full operations starting in 2014.”

The pair also announced new agreements on cybersecurity, infrastructure protection and maritime security.

Napolitano signed a Global Entry agreement with Israel in May 2012, but it hasn’t moved forward to implementation.

Fifteen out of the 19 hijackers on Sept. 11, 2001, were Saudi citizens. The ultraconservative kingdom calls terrorists “deviants” and now runs a generously funded, luxe “rehabilitation” program for extremists that includes Islamic education, a wife and wedding paid for by the government, and a job.

“It’s difficult to understand the administration’s decision-making process to place Saudi Arabia as the next country to receive the status of ‘trusted traveler,’” Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) said today. “The administration needs to explain how it came to this decision and what steps it and DHS are taking to ensure our nation’s security will be safeguarded against any potential terrorist attack from those who would seek to take advantage of this upgrade in status. It also needs to explain why it has chosen Saudi Arabia to be ‘rewarded’ with such a status and placed on this list before many of our other, more trusted allies.”

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All Comments   (8)
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More stupidity from the politicians. It is our relationship with Saudi Arabia that earned us our hatred from Al Queda and Bin Laden. Think for just a minute.
What ideology is it that says 'We will destroy your culture with Jihad in it's many forms and install a Islamic culture in its place'?
Have any of our politicians ever read the Koran do you think? Of all of the Nations in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia is the most radical form of Islam today. Are we all completely stupid, will we never learn anything about those who claim to be our sworn enemies? We keep trying to love them as if they are our closest friends. They keep telling us who they really are and we refuse to listen. Ben Laden told us for years and in every way possible and still we thought it was all just a misunderstanding of symantics.
NO it is not, they really hate us and our society of freedom.... They really plan on killing each and every one of us or converting us to Islam and Shariah. WAKE UP!!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Meanwhile grandma and a veteran in a wheelchair are strip searched while in line for a flight to Orlando.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Our lawmakers can't even protect American citizens, who don't fit the profile, against being searched without cause at the airports. They haven't done anything in a long time to protect the privacy of American citizens. We now have drones, illegal wiretapping, collection of private information into databases, etc. Nothing is being done about it. They only have time to force citizens to buy health insurance, disarm American citizens (including military veterans), and squabble over pet causes for small segments of the population.

It appears they were one of the intended targets on 9/11, and I'm confident they won't even do anything to protect themselves in this situation. That's how ineffective and useless they have become. Maybe O doesn't care if the lawmakers are in danger, because their approval rating is so low.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Of what possible benefit is this to us? The State Department knows that they fund terrorists. The entire Obama Administration is filled with incompetent idiots and America haters.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Which Countries "Fast Track" US citizens ?? This is appalling and another example of the mindless people running this Country
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
DaOne bowed to the keeper of the Kaabba where allah, or my god lives. That might have something to do with it.

BLT Marxism, and Islam go hand in hand.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
According to U.S. Trade Relations website we imported $47.bil in Saudi goods - $46 bil of which was oil in 2011. How do you put a dollar value on Wahhabism?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It would make more sense to give Iran or North Korea trusted travel status as zero of the 9/11 mass murders came from there.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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