CBS: State blew two chances to flag Abdulmutallab's visa

The video report from Armen Keteyian doesn’t mention it, but the accompanying news story does. State had two opportunities to match Umar Abdulmutallab’s visa with the derogatory information that should have kept him out of the US. Both times, within 24 hours of each other, State failed to make the connection:

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According to a law enforcement source, the first failure came on Nov. 19, 2009, the very same day Abdulmutallab father’s, Dr. Umaru Mutallab, a prominent banking official in Nigeria, expressed deep concern to officials at the U.S. Embassy in Abjua, Nigeria, that his 23-year-old son had fallen under the influence of “religious extremists” in Yemen.

The second failure to flag an active visa belonging to Abdulmuttalab occurred the very next day in Washington, after Mutallab’s concerns were forwarded to officials there. It was only after the Christmas Day terror attack in Detroit that U.S. officials learned that Abdulmuttalab had been issued a visa by the U.S. Embassy in London valid from June 16, 2008, through June 12, 2010.

This has nothing to do with watch list rules put in place in 2006. This came from a failure of State Department personnel to double-check the derogatory information against visas issued by our embassies. No one bothered to check whether a man whose father accused him of being dangerous to the US had valid paperwork to enter the country — and we’re lucky that no one lost their lives from that failure.

This is not a political failure as much as it is a bureaucratic failure. I doubt seriously that the Obama administration discouraged people from checking visas against derogatory information. But the administration has to fix the problem, and that won’t happen as long as Janet Napolitano and the White House keeps talking about rules from 2006 and how the system “worked” to save lives.