As the TSA continues to make headlines — and trouble — for Americans in strollers and wheelchairs, a new report suggests that Department of Homeland Security has plans to relax the rules … for travelers from Saudi Arabia.
The report, by the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), notes that this “U.S. ally” is “one of a handful of countries whose travelers can bypass normal passport controls at major U.S. airports.”
Other countries so honored include Canada, Mexico, South Korea, and the Netherlands. France and Germany need not apply.
But back to Saudi Arabia. That’s the same Saudi Arabia that was the birth place of Osama bin Laden and 15 of the 19 flunkies he recruited to fly jetliners filled with Americans into buildings filled with Americans on 9/11. And now its citizens are being granted “trusted traveler” status through the Global Entry program, which is designed to allow “expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States.”
Writing at RightWingNews, Michelle Malkin reminds readers that this move, while foolish and astonishing, is not without precedent. The Bush administration (which, N.B., created the DHS) had its own EZ-Pass system for Saudi elites. Called “Visa Express,” it permitted Saudis to obtain U.S. visas without being photographed or having to apply in person. It was the vehicle by which three of the 9/11 hijackers gained entry to the U.S.
But now, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano seems eager to repeat history. She announced the agreement with little fanfare in January in a statement that read:
I am proud of the bond between the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and today’s meeting marks another major step forward in our partnership. By enhancing collaboration with the Government of Saudi Arabia, we reaffirm our commitment to more effectively secure our two countries against evolving threats while facilitating legitimate trade and travel.
The only reason the U.S. keeps up the pretext that Saudi Arabia is a trusted ally, rather than just another repressive regime in the Middle East, is that we depend on the Saudis for 16 percent of the crude oil we import. Approving the Keystone XL pipeline would free America of that dependence. But that’s another story — and another outrage.