It’s still so easy for terrorists to get into the US, and other countries aren’t helping. From KRT, :
CARACAS, Venezuela – (KRT) – Julian runs a small office supply shop in downtown Caracas, but his main income comes from the dilapidated government immigration offices nearby.
Julian readily admits that he moonlights as a purveyor of fraudulent Venezuelan passports and national identity cards, and an expediter of real ones.
And he gladly ticks off the prices he offers, usually to illegal immigrants: about $260 for a fake passport and $80 for a fake national identity card known as a cedula. It’s a lot more for real ones, depending on how fast his clients want them.
In the post-Sept. 11 era, Venezuela’s trade in false documents has alarmed U.S. officials, in light of allegations that leftist President Hugo Chavez’s government has issued fake IDs to leftist guerrillas in neighboring Colombia, Arabs with suspicious backgrounds and Cuban intelligence agents.
The trade is indeed widespread and at times worrisome, a month-long Miami Herald review of the allegations found.
Two Venezuelan Muslims – one who attended two of the same U.S. aviation schools as one of the Sept. 11 hijackers, another arrested with a grenade in London – may have false documents, the former head of Venezuelan immigration told The Herald.
But the trade has been going on for decades, mainly linked to corrupt employees in the immigration department, known by its Spanish acronym DIEX, and apparently has not increased significantly under Chavez, the Herald also found. Chavez has denied the allegations.
“I’ve been doing this long before Chavez became president,” said Julian, who asked that his last name not be published. “It’s a traditional, historic practice in our country.
U.S. officials said their main fear is that Islamic radicals, hiding their true identities with Venezuelan documents, could slip into the United States, past terrorist “watch lists,” and stage another Sept. 11-style attack.
“The sale of cedulas and passports … did not start with Chavez. But we are more concerned now because terrorists can exploit a corrupt system to hurt us,” said a top U.S. government official familiar with Venezuela.
Washington already has taken action. In recent months, the U.S. Consulate in Caracas has denied visas to Venezuelans carrying flimsy “temporary” passports or regular passports that were renewed multiple times after the initial expiration date of five years.