House GOP to DHS: We’re partnering on easy travel access with … Saudi Arabia?

posted at 12:11 pm on March 29, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Less than twelve years ago, 19 al-Qaeda terrorists infiltrated the US, hijacked four planes, and killed nearly 3,000 people in attacks on New York City and Washington, DC. Fifteen of those Islamist terrorists came from one country — Saudi Arabia.  In response, the US tightened up its security profile in immigration and air travel, imposing a regime of inconvenience (and occasionally assault) on American travelers inside the US and outside as well.

Later, the Department of Homeland Security developed a program called Global Entry to allow for easier access to the US for travelers from trusted nations.  In January, DHS announced that it had signed an agreement to expand Global Entry to Saudi Arabia — and House Republicans want to know why:

House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Texas) is pressing for answers about why the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has begun talks to allow air travelers from Saudi Arabia to use a pre-screening system to fly to the U.S.

In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, McCaul and nine other Republicans on the committee asked for more details about what steps the department is taking to guard against potential terrorists using the Global Entry to enter the United States.

The lawmakers pointed to the 15 hijackers involved in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks who were from Saudi Arabia as a key reason to be concerned.

“As members of the House Committee on Homeland Security, we seek assurances from the department that passengers from countries added to the program will receive the appropriate screening,” they wrote.

Maybe we’ve managed to expand the program with our regular allies to such an extent that we can handle the extraordinary security issues that will arise with Saudi Arabia.  How did the Global Entry system work when we partnered with nations that present a lower risk profile, like the UK, Germany, and France?  We must have seen considerable success with those long-standing allies before looking elsewhere, right?

Er … not exactly:

The addition of Saudi Arabia to the trusted traveler program has received increased attention in recent days following a report from the Investigative Project on Terrorism. That report highlighted concerns about giving travelers from the repressive monarchy [easier] access than is given to citizens of many close U.S. allies. Only a few other countries are currently a part of the program — Canada, Mexico, South Korea and the Netherlands. Meanwhile American friends of long standing — including France, Great Britain and Germany — have not been included, and an agreement with Israel has yet to be implemented.

Excuse me? Israel has some of the toughest security measures on air travel in place, if not the toughest. If we can’t partner with Israel on our system to ease the process for their citizens to enter the US, then this system cannot possibly be ready to deal with an influx of Saudis, a few of whom might possibly be looking to do serious harm to Americans.  And what exactly does it say about the seriousness and credibility of our security program that we’re looking to accelerate access to the US not among our closest friends, but with the nation whose lax standards helped terrorists infiltrate the US and stage the worst terrorist attack we’ve ever suffered?

Let’s stick with the Europeans and the Israelis first. When the Israelis say we’re ready for prime time, then we can open discussions with the Saudis.


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Speaking of Israel … Saudi Arabia doesn’t allow anyone into their country whose passport shows they’ve visited Israel. So we choose Saudi Arabia over Israel? As SNL’s Seth Myers would say … “Really?!”.

Paul-Cincy on March 29, 2013 at 12:15 PM

We spent $3.5 trillion in 2013 and all we got was this lousy government…

Oil Can on March 29, 2013 at 12:15 PM

Let’s stick with the Europeans and the Israelis first. When the Israelis say we’re ready for prime time, then we can open discussions with the Saudis.

Ed, and you wonder why minorities and people of color will never feel welcomed in your party.

HotAirLib on March 29, 2013 at 12:17 PM

So who’s next on the list of “trusted nations” Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen? Why not add Iran to the list?

rbj on March 29, 2013 at 12:21 PM

Unstinkingbelievable

cmsinaz on March 29, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Ed, and you wonder why minorities and people of color will never feel welcomed in your party.

HotAirLib on March 29, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Fifteen of those Islamist terrorists came from one country — Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of those Islamist terrorists came from one country — Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of those Islamist terrorists came from one country — Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of those Islamist terrorists came from one country — Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of those Islamist terrorists came from one country — Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of those Islamist terrorists came from one country — Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of those Islamist terrorists came from one country — Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of those Islamist terrorists came from one country — Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of those Islamist terrorists came from one country — Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of those Islamist terrorists came from one country — Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of those Islamist terrorists came from one country — Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of those Islamist terrorists came from one country — Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of those Islamist terrorists came from one country — Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of those Islamist terrorists came from one country — Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of those Islamist terrorists came from one country — Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of those Islamist terrorists came from one country — Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of those Islamist terrorists came from one country — Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of those Islamist terrorists came from one country — Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of those Islamist terrorists came from one country — Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of those Islamist terrorists came from one country — Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of those Islamist terrorists came from one country — Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of those Islamist terrorists came from one country — Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of those Islamist terrorists came from one country — Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of those Islamist terrorists came from one country — Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of those Islamist terrorists came from one country — Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of those Islamist terrorists came from one country — Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of those Islamist terrorists came from one country — Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of those Islamist terrorists came from one country — Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of those Islamist terrorists came from one country — Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of those Islamist terrorists came from one country — Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of those Islamist terrorists came from one country — Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of those Islamist terrorists came from one country — Saudi Arabia.

SWalker on March 29, 2013 at 12:25 PM

Actually, why would we want to extend the program to the French? You know, the home of annual yout’ violence in the banlieus? And, why Germany? Remember where all these terrorists met prior to 9/11? A place called Hamburg? And England? Really? Or would we exclude those from Londonistan? Heck, I don’t think Canada or Mexico ought to be on that list either. (They are entry points for terrorists, already.) Probably not the Netherlands, either, though I think they’ve changed some of their attitutdes.

I agree about Israel: if we can’t partner with them in this, then we shouldn’t partner with anyone.

GWB on March 29, 2013 at 12:26 PM

Ed, and you wonder why minorities and people of color will never feel welcomed in your party.

HotAirLib on March 29, 2013 at 12:17 PM

I think you just called “minorities and people of color” stupid. Isn’t that racist?

GWB on March 29, 2013 at 12:28 PM

Barry is obviously concerned that he’s running out of time to ruin the country, so he’s fast-tracking everything on his list.

ConservativeinCO on March 29, 2013 at 12:28 PM

Don’t even know why we are still even granting VISAs to them- or a number of other countries in the region. (Hardly a RACE issue- a COMMON SENSE issue.)

Instead of the ‘trusted’ list, they should be on the ‘Free strip search and prostate exam with every airport visit’ list.

michaelo on March 29, 2013 at 12:30 PM

Wonder if these on the ‘trusted list’ will also be given ‘free’ flying lessons? It sure wouldn’t surprise me with the way bho/team is doing things?
L

letget on March 29, 2013 at 12:35 PM

Aaaand Attention Troll gets attention.

Wonderful. HA is nothing if not consistent.

chimney sweep on March 29, 2013 at 12:35 PM

This is lunacy

workingclass artist on March 29, 2013 at 12:36 PM

Ed, and you wonder why minorities and people of color will never feel welcomed in your party.

HotAirLib on March 29, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Ever heard of NATO?

steebo77 on March 29, 2013 at 12:36 PM

My theory is Obama went to the Saudis early in 2012 and said “Hey I have an election coming up and the price of gas is really high. If a Republican wins they are going to facilitate a huge expansion in oil drilling which will hurt the Kingdom’s revenue stream. I would appreciate it if you would export as much oil as possible up to the election to help me out.” The Saudis said “What will you give us in return?” Obama said “Ah uh how about expedited travel to the US for your citizens?” and the deal was struck.

Saudi oil output was at a 30 year high in 2012. In early December 2012 after the election they announced oil production would be slashed.

Wigglesworth on March 29, 2013 at 12:36 PM

Less than twelve years ago, 19 al-Qaeda terrorists infiltrated the US, hijacked four planes, and killed nearly 3,000 people in attacks on New York City and Washington, DC.

Obama is the 20th hijacker.

portlandon on March 29, 2013 at 12:39 PM

Ed, and you wonder why minorities and people of color will never feel welcomed in your party.

HotAirLib on March 29, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Ban Hammer! Ban Hammer! Ban Hammer!

Three posts in and we get this? Truly ban worthy!!!

Happy Nomad on March 29, 2013 at 12:40 PM

Less than twelve years ago, 19 al-Qaeda terrorists infiltrated the US, hijacked four planes, and killed nearly 3,000 people in attacks on New York City and Washington, DC. Fifteen of those Islamist terrorists came from one country — Saudi Arabia.

So did their leader. You might have heard of him. His name was Osama Bin Ladin. He swims with the fishes.

Happy Nomad on March 29, 2013 at 12:42 PM

This is why I always laugh at the “the jihadist are going to cross the Mexican border” argument. Not true all they have to do is fly in from the Magic Kingdom just like the 9-11 folks did. They all got here legally!

People always run around screaming about the Jewish lobby, the real danger is the Arabian lobby which includes such diverse people like the Bush family, Colin Powell, Dick Chaney, The Clinton Family, Obama, and in general a bunch of people from both political parties.

How else can you explain the Arabians getting this special treatment and the British and other allies do not? Money and payoffs….

William Eaton on March 29, 2013 at 12:43 PM

Ed, and you wonder why minorities and people of color will never feel welcomed in your party.

HotAirLib on March 29, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Because there are no Israeli or European “people of color”.

And to think you actually get paid for these comments.

Bishop on March 29, 2013 at 12:44 PM

Ed, and you wonder why minorities and people of color will never feel welcomed in your party.

HotAirLib on March 29, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Stupid is as stupid says.

Bitter Clinger on March 29, 2013 at 12:47 PM

Just another example of “Smart Diplomacy”.

GarandFan on March 29, 2013 at 12:48 PM

Ed, and you wonder why minorities and people of color will never feel welcomed in your party.

HotAirLib on March 29, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Let’s see:
NATO allies
Historic relationships and economic relationships
Common sense
Learning from past mistakes

Meh, if any minority or person of color can’t think critically and understand that security decisions need to be made based on risk instead of what “feels good” then they are welcome to embrace the Party of Depression.

smfic on March 29, 2013 at 12:49 PM

Ed, and you wonder why minorities and people of color will never feel welcomed in your party.

HotAirLib on March 29, 2013 at 12:17 PM

I think you just called “minorities and people of color” stupid. Isn’t that racist?

GWB on March 29, 2013 at 12:28 PM

HAL is too dumb or too snotty to realize his biases.

Schadenfreude on March 29, 2013 at 12:49 PM

Much though it pains me to admit it, Germany, France and the UK probably all ought to be considered high risk partners as all three countries have large, volatile, violent immigrant communities. The mainland European countries also have open borders. However, I would have thought the Netherlands also ought to be high risk (for the same reasons), so it would be interesting to know why they are considered lower risk than their bordering neighbours — different airport security regimes, perhaps?

YiZhangZhe on March 29, 2013 at 12:49 PM

Ed, and you wonder why minorities and people of color will never feel welcomed in your party.

HotAirLib on March 29, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Axelturd is wasting his dough on you today. You are and embarrassment to gray matter.

Schadenfreude on March 29, 2013 at 12:50 PM

HAL is the direct result of equivalence.

Obama is the ultimate sample.

Schadenfreude on March 29, 2013 at 12:51 PM

Mini-Moocher Udate:

Obama girls have left the Bahamas. They are now in Sun Valley. Wonder how much that is costing us.

Happy Nomad on March 29, 2013 at 12:51 PM

Ed, and you wonder why minorities and people of color will never feel welcomed in your party.

HotAirLib on March 29, 2013 at 12:17 PM

More welcome than I would be in the New Black Panthers or even MS-13.

More welcome than you would be in any club I controlled.

I admit it. My “Kill the B*stards” program is dead. But, if it ever happens, it anticipates help from numerous people of color.

Further, I pledge that, if I ever send out a survey on the new DPMS Recon Rifle, many people of color will get it.

IlikedAUH2O on March 29, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Don’t forget that the Obama administration just lifted the restriction on bringing small knives, bats, golf clubs, etc, on planes, too.

Sooooo, the next pressing question of the day is:

Will Obamacare cover Saudi students in case their boxcutters accidentally fall out of their pockets and cut their “joy-stick fingers” while they are attending flight schools in the US to learn how to fly planes, but not takeoff or land them?

#SinceTheFirst911WasSoMuchFunLetsRepeatIt

Resist We Much on March 29, 2013 at 1:06 PM

OK, second comment eaten by HotAir. Is there something forbidden about posting a link to the latest Miss Israel? It’s not a naughty pic site or anything, so far as I know. Heaven knows that if I can get to it through this firewall, it is probably safe for posting on HotAir!

GWB on March 29, 2013 at 1:07 PM

Ed, and you wonder why minorities and people of color will never feel welcomed in your party.

HotAirLib on March 29, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Are you *really* this f*cking stupid? Because for some reason, you just passed the bar on what was, before, considered beyond credulity in terms of abjectly, manifestly, unmitigated idiocy.

Go play in traffic, please.

Midas on March 29, 2013 at 1:10 PM

Are you *really* this f*cking stupid?

Midas on March 29, 2013 at 1:10 PM

Please don’t talk like that. I’ll think you are addressing me. That is how I am usually questioned.

IlikedAUH2O on March 29, 2013 at 1:12 PM

GWB on March 29, 2013 at 1:07 PM

I’m sure going to look at your lady.

For the conservatives here, here is fantasy fodder to watch when the trolls upset you. From Minnesota.

GWB on March 29, 2013 at 1:07 PM

IlikedAUH2O on March 29, 2013 at 1:14 PM

Troll Mental Mylanta.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H58TyZ0ISPo

IlikedAUH2O on March 29, 2013 at 1:15 PM

Lets not be so hard on DHS and Obama. It’s not like the Saudis are pro-life NRA libertarians or anything.

JellyToast on March 29, 2013 at 1:16 PM

Perhaps if the Saudis offered a five minute finger painting therapy course on all flights it would deradicalize any would be grievance mongers.

Saudi Arabia own many interests in America and also own many influential Americans. So this seems easy to understand.

BL@KBIRD on March 29, 2013 at 1:21 PM

We’re partnering on easy travel access with … Saudi Arabia?

Whats the problem? We should be encouraging easy travel access to everyone and every nation. Come one, come all. This can also include easy citizenship access too.

It should all be available to do on the internet for real easy access as well.

/s

hawkeye54 on March 29, 2013 at 1:23 PM

Lets not be so hard on DHS and Obama. It’s not like the Saudis are pro-life NRA libertarians or anything.

JellyToast on March 29, 2013 at 1:16 PM

Nah! They just beheaded and then crucified somebody for sodomy followed by murder (presumably to hide the sodomy) but they definitely are not Tea Party or Libertarian.

That’s right the gays here are whining about benefits and their feelings. Yet, a nation that would do this gets easy access to the United States. Wonder what the gays feel about that.

Happy Nomad on March 29, 2013 at 1:32 PM

Are you *really* this f*cking stupid?

Midas on March 29, 2013 at 1:10 PM

Yes. Yes, he is. In fact, he’s So Stupid, It Makes My Hair Hurt!

lol

Resist We Much on March 29, 2013 at 1:35 PM

Midas on March 29, 2013 at 1:10 PM

Yes. Yes, he is. In fact, he’s So Stupid, It Makes My Hair Hurt!

lol

Resist We Much on March 29, 2013 at 1:35 PM

Sigh… I love that picture… ;)

SWalker on March 29, 2013 at 1:37 PM

I travel to SA quite frequently (trying to bring back some of those petrol dollars). I have never been given a quick pass to get into the country. Normally, that entails a thorough search of everything I have including my pants pockets and a total emptying of my carry on computer. At least 10 questions ensue even though the same guy I saw at the counter last time remembers me.

We are thinking of fast tracking these people into the US? I have global entry and get in without much problem at all coming home, but do we really want to let any of these people in without at least a cursory going over?

Our entire State Department is a freaking mess, from the top down to the little azzholes who mess with our day to day travel, Homeland Security is even worse, don’t get me started, these sub-humans make travel almost intolerable. Ok, rant off.

Don’t give the Saudi’s a pass!

hip shot on March 29, 2013 at 1:49 PM

Sigh… I love that picture… ;)

SWalker on March 29, 2013 at 1:37 PM

It’s one of my absolute faves.

Resist We Much on March 29, 2013 at 1:49 PM

I’ll bet you DHS hasn’t partnered with Israel because some DHS eggheads think Israel’s airline security is too good, i.e. it discriminates against Muslims.

Socratease on March 29, 2013 at 1:57 PM

Is this part of their job search for a skilled beheading swordsman?

tom daschle concerned on March 29, 2013 at 2:03 PM

Just another example of “Smart Diplomacy”.

GarandFan on March 29, 2013 at 12:48 PM

MORE like “Diplomacy which is likely to Smart”!!

landlines on March 29, 2013 at 2:09 PM

I’m absolutely sure that this has nothing to do with the fact that obama is a muslim.

Pork-Chop on March 29, 2013 at 2:18 PM

The House GOP are going to fix their mouth to claim that the U.S.A’s cozy relationship with Saudi Arabia started with the Obama Administration? How dumb do they think the American people are?

libfreeordie on March 29, 2013 at 2:36 PM

Ed, and you wonder why minorities and people of color will never feel welcomed in your party.

HotAirLib on March 29, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Uh, What? I think most ‘minorities and people of color’- whoever that is – know a threat when they see one, and don’t give them a pass just to ward off criticism from race-obsessed tyrants. That’s what stupid white leftists do.

RadClown on March 29, 2013 at 2:39 PM

The House GOP are going to fix their mouth to claim that the U.S.A’s cozy relationship with Saudi Arabia started with the Obama Administration?

libfreeordie on March 29, 2013 at 2:36 PM

Er, who is saying that? The point is we are supposed to learn from our mistakes, not repeat them. Of course, that only applies to the sane amongst us.

After 09.11.01, we tightened restrictions. We did so for a reason…one that I remember quite vividly considering the fact that I was there.

How dumb do they think the American people are?

“Better to remain silent – or refrain from striking the enter key – and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

- President Abraham Lincoln

Resist We Much on March 29, 2013 at 2:49 PM

There had been a bit of a divergence over Egypt, but it seems after the first wave of the Arab Spring, rolled around they were copacetic running point in Syria.

narciso on March 29, 2013 at 3:07 PM

So Congress wrote a letter to DHS asking why? DHS will ignore this request as have other Obama Administration Departments; and then Congress will just let this slip into Never-Never Land.
Congress needs to grow a pair.

OccamsRazor on March 29, 2013 at 3:19 PM

Meanwhile US military service members get to endure strip searches.

antipc on March 29, 2013 at 3:57 PM

We are being ruled by the criminally insane.

VorDaj on March 29, 2013 at 5:04 PM

It just keeps getting easier and easier to believe the fringies who claim Obama is really a secret Muslim.

{^_^}

herself on March 30, 2013 at 5:42 AM

Obama fast tracking Terror.

Traitor-In-Chief.

profitsbeard on March 31, 2013 at 1:32 AM