Author: U.S. Official Who Issued Visas to 9/11 Hijackers Still Works for State Department
The State Department official who issued visas to many of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorists is still employed by the federal government, according to J. Michael Springmann, the author of Visas for al-Qaeda: CIA Handouts That Rocked the World.
Springmann, former head of the visa section at the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, told PJM that Shayna Steinger approved 11 of the visas granted to the 19 9/11 hijackers. Fifteen received their visas at the Jeddah consulate.
Page 7 of the 9/11 Commission report states that “one consular officer issued visas to 11 of the 19 hijackers.” Those visas were reportedly approved between the years 1999 and 2001.
Springmann, an attorney who no longer works for the federal government, learned the State Department commissioned Steinger as a class four foreign service officer in 1999, which he said is “a high rank for someone hired just out of Columbia University with no prior experience.”
“Despite her issuing visas to terrorists and giving equivocal answers to the 9/11 Commission, Steinger is still an FSO,” Springmann wrote in his book.
She was appointed and confirmed by the Senate under the Clinton administration in 1999 as Shayna Steinger Singh in the Congressional Record, Volume 145.
Springmann said he was never given an official reason why he was fired by the State Department in 1991. He requested the documentation used to support the government’s decision but says he never received anything. To this day, he believes he was fired because he denied visas to individuals in Jeddah, Saudia Arabia, who submitted applications from 1987-1989 that raised red flags.
“The reason, to the best of my knowledge and belief, was that I had refused visas to unqualified applicants,” he told PJM. “I also questioned orders to approve them and had complained about this to officials in Riyadh at the embassy and again in Washington at the Bureau of Consular Affairs.”
According to Steinger’s LinkedIn page, she currently works for the State Department’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation as a foreign service officer. The page indicates that she earned her master’s degree at Columbia University and that she speaks Arabic.
Tom Countryman, assistant secretary for the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation at the U.S. Department of State, said the bureau’s “primary mission is to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems, destabilizing conventional weapons, and related technologies. It’s hard to pick up a newspaper and not see some issue where the bureau has a role.”
PJM was unable to reach Steinger but a family member confirmed that she is currently working for the State Department overseas.
Joel Mowbray of the National Review had obtained some of the visa applications of the 9/11 hijackers in 2002 and concluded that each one contained red flags that should have resulted in a denial, such as missing destination addresses in the U.S. and listing no occupation.
For example, Abdulaziz al-Omari left the name of the school blank on his application and Wail al-Shehri claimed his occupation was “teater.”
“Khalid Al Mihdhar, who helped crash the plane into the Pentagon, simply listed ‘Hotel’ as his U.S. destination — no name, no city, no state — but no problem getting a visa,” said an ABC News report about the State Department lapses that helped the hijackers enter the U.S.