Dhimmitude at DHS, where political correctness seems to have trumped the evidence — evidence that keeps on being confirmed, as with the Lodi arrests recently. “Service Before Security,” from Paul Sperry in FrontPage, with thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist:
The good news is U.S. airport traffic is returning to pre-9/11 levels. The bad news is, so are security priorities at international terminals, where some of the 9/11 hijackers entered the U.S. illegally.
New internal memos I’ve obtained show the Homeland Security Department seems more worried about getting foreign travelers to their destinations on time than screening them for terror ties.
In fact, I’ve learned the department has formed a so-called Airport Wait Time working group, which met for the first time in December to come up with a national strategy to clock federal inspectors processing foreign travelers entering the U.S. at major international airports. Those who take too long are written up.
Airport immigration inspectors are our first line of defense against terrorists entering the country. They check fingerprints and photographs against terror watchlists and question suspicious foreign passengers.
Yet they are under new pressure to clear planes in response to complaints from airlines about security related delays.
“Flight times are now much more important than catching terrorists, drugs or illegals,” a Customs and Border Protection supervisor at a major international airport told me. “We are always pressured to clear passengers in under 60 minutes, no matter what — even though Congress lifted that mandate after 9/11.”…
To reduce flight delays at these airports, DHS exempts a number of passengers from US-VISIT security screening if necessary, including teens, elderly, families, foreign pilots and religious workers such as imams, according to memo dated Jan. 2, 2004, and marked “LAW ENFORCEMENT SENSITIVE.”
Foreign air crews are exempt even though a number of Saudi and other foreign Muslim airline pilots have been linked to terrorism.
So are Muslim clerics staying in the U.S. on R-1 and R-2 visas. Such foreign religious workers have been ranked the “lowest threat” among the 10 visa classifications (I’ve redacted the specific rankings, from highest threat to lowest, for obvious reasons). Yet hundreds of Muslim clerics have been linked to terrorism, many of whom still preach in the U.S.
Just last week, federal authorities arrested two Pakistani imams in connection with a terror case involving a possible al-Qaeda cell in the sleepy farming community of Lodi, Calif. The men allegedly violated the terms of their religious worker visas.
The leniency DHS gives such visiting clerics alarms GOP U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, chairman of the House Immigration Reform Caucus, since many are “calling for the violent overthrow of the nation” from mosque pulpits.
“They enter into this country, they are assigned to mosques. And most of the mosques in the United States are being built with Saudi money, most of them are Wahhabi. And these people, many of them, preach essentially sedition,” Tancredo asserted in a recent hearing on border security held by the House International Relations Committee. “What these imams have said even outside the mosque would under any other situation, if anybody else would say these things, be considered to be seditious, and even charges would be brought on that basis.”
He says putting them at the top of the list for exemption from fingerprinting and terror monitoring is the height of naivetÃ©, and he’s right. Many Muslim clerics use their religiosity simply as cover to carry out terror-related activities, such as recently convicted imam Ali al-Timimi, who encouraged young Virginia Muslims to kill Americans abroad.