The Public Interest

How the terrorists get in

Steven A. Camarota

Fall 2002

IN the aftermath of September 11, a host of federal agencies have come under intense scrutiny. The Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Central Intelligence Agency have all been charged with responsibility for failures leading up to the attacks. In each case, the culture within the agency, as well as its mission, policies, and procedures, has been examined in a variety of public forums. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) has also been excoriated for several spectacular gaffs—most infamously, for sending notification to a Florida flight school that two of the hijackers had been approved as students six months after their deaths. But there has been no comparable effort to examine the failures of our immigration system. For example, all of the September 11 hijackers were issued visas, but there have been no extensive congressional hearings or investigations by the General Accounting Office or the Office of the Inspector General to determine whether the State Department, which issued the visas, erred in any way.

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