Worse still, after officials caught their mistake and revoked the visas after the fact, they lost track of the visa holders. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, pressed Michele Thoren Bond, assistant secretary for the Bureau of Consular Affairs, to explain what had happened to the 9,500. She replied: “I don’t know.”
We don’t know where these 9,500 individuals are, or how many of them — if any — are in the United States today.
That’s bad enough. But the story gets worse.
An examination of State Department records by American Enterprise Institute researcher Justin Lang found that since 2001, the State Department had denied visas to just 2,231 individuals because the applicant was suspected of terrorist ties or activity. Yet during that same period, the State Department granted U.S. visas to 9,500 people who it later figured out posed a terrorist threat — and had to go back and retroactively revoke those individuals’ visas.