Spin Cycle

News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics.

Sent out by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer today:

"U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer revealed Wednesday that the foiled Christmas Day terrorist plot could have been avoided if not for a tourist visa that allowed the would-be bomber unlimited entry to the United States in spite of countless signs that he was a security threat.

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"To fix this, Schumer announced that he would propose strict limits on the type of open-ended visa that allowed the suspect to board a U.S.-bound plane. Schumer’s plan would require, for the first time, citizens of 14 countries identified as security threats by the Obama administration to apply for permission each time they wish to visit the United States rather than enter at will by virtue of so-called “revolving door” visas that stay valid for years at a time.
 
“These tourist visas, when they fall into the wrong hands, provide terrorists with open-ended invitations to enter our country,” Schumer said. “Without this type of visa, the Christmas bomber might never have been able to board the plane headed for Detroit. Many of the 9/11 hijackers exploited this same security breach to enter the country. We must close this revolving door once and for all or else we risk providing those who mean us harm with nearly unlimited access to the United States.”
 
"Earlier this month, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab of Nigeria was indicted in federal court for attempting to detonate a bomb aboard a Detroit-bound jetliner. Abdulmutallab was able to board the plane in Amsterdam because of a U.S. tourist visa that permitted him to make unlimited trips to the U.S. through 2010. The visa remained valid even as U.S. intelligence officials gathered numerous clues that should have raised flags about the Nigerian.
 

"On Wednesday at a Senate hearing, Schumer planned to call the federal government’s failure to revoke Abdulmutallab’s visa, even after the terrorist’s father warned U.S. embassy officials in Nigeria about his son, a colossal intelligence error. But Schumer added that the system itself was flawed since the type of tourist visa held by Abdulmutallab granted him, in effect, an open-ended invitation to come and go from the United States.