National Security is a Farce
I find it annoying that I have to produce a government issued, picture ID just to buy a bottle of liquor or pack of cigarettes. One clerk told me that they card everyone, so that no one will feel they are being picked on. I mean really, I’m 55 and I hardly look like an 18 year old, and I personally resent it that I have to be inconvenienced just to spare the ego/feelings of some 22 year old who looks like 18. All this PC shit has to go. Some people need to grow some skin and realize that at some point in their life they will fit the profile of whatever/whoever. Hell, you can’t even open a bank account without producing a dozen different forms of ID these days, and swearing on your first-born.
It annoys the crap out of me that I have to go through a security line, remove my shoes, place my personal items in a bucket to go through an x-ray machine, that I have to go through an x-ray machine just to board a plane.
I find it equally pathetic, if not downright stupid that lighters were (they changed that rule finally) banned from going beyond the security checkpoint at an airport, but matches were ok (like you can’t start a fire or ignite an explosive with a match?), I can’t bring my own bottle of water with me, but am forced to pay more than I need to IF I get thirsty (and God help the poor person with no spare money) while waiting past the security checkpoint for my delayed flight.
All this bullshit in the name of “National Security” while our borders and ports are wide open and our government does nothing to secure them. Exactly how does harassing citizen travelers make us safe while we do nothing to stop the flow of illegal immigration, or try selling our ports and infrastructure to foreign interests….which usually happen to be from the very same countries that the terrorists come from or hide in?
And now THIS idiocy from the Department of Homeland Security. I now know why they are so worried about terrorists from within…..I had NO idea we had a VISA Waiver program that allowed travelers from certain other countries to travel here without needing a VISA. No wonder the government has NO clue how many illegals are in this country!
I found this interesting piece over at NewsWithViews:
By Michael Cutler
June 23, 2008
The press release that has been issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is yet another example of how our leaders are willing to compromise national security for trade and diplomatic advantages.
It is remarkable that in announcing plans to include Bulgaria in the exclusive Visa Waiver Club, Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff made the following statement:
“We have the ambition to do our common work until hopefully the end of the year, in order to come to the next stage, will be a memoranda. And I must say that we have all of the preconditions. Of course, I can mention that the number of rejections for visa for Bulgarian citizens has been dramatically reduced in the recent years.
When Ambassador Beyrle started his mandate in Sofia, it was about 20 percent. Now it is a little below 14, as I’m aware, which is great progress. And we have to continue these efforts to be successfully accomplished. The Bulgarian government is working also on the new biometrical passports which are an important precondition for the visa waiver program to be implemented for Bulgaria, and we are aware of this.”
Now here is the question we should all be asking, “Has the rejection rate for visas applications filed by citizens of Bulgaria declined because somehow the citizens of Bulgaria are doing something right or is it because the State Department has mandated that their consular officials who decide on whether or not to issue visas have been given different “marching orders” and are being told to be less careful in scrutinizing applications for visas?
This is the same DHS that was formed after the September 11th attacks to help with National Security. This is the same DHS that put those damned security checkpoint regulations in airports in place. The same DHS that wants Real ID implemented to track us. The same DHS that allows the manufacture of our passports to be outsourced.
On May 11, 2006 I testified at a Congressional hearing before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on International on the topic, “VISA OVERSTAYS: CAN WE BAR THE TERRORIST DOOR?”
You can read the transcript of that hearing.
One of the issues I raised at that hearing was my concern about how the Visa Waiver Program adversely impacts the ability of our officials to prevent the entry of terrorists and criminals into the United States.
Are you feeling safe yet?
In my judgement there are five distinct benefits to requiring aliens who seek to enter our country for a temporary period. These benefits are:
1. The visa process is a screening process that would help to keep terrorists off of airliners headed for the United States. (Richard Reid, the so-called “Shoe Bomber” concealed explosives in his shoes and that is the reason that whenever we board airliners we are now required to take our shoes off. While this may help to make us safer, it is important to note that Reid is a citizen of Great Britain and was therefore able to board the airliner he was intent on destroying without first applying for and obtaining a visa. It is entirely possible that had he needed to secure a visa before boarding the airliner, he may have not been granted that visa and therefore might not have had access to that airliner.)
2. The inspectors who work for CBP at ports of entry throughout the United States have only about one minute to make a decision about the admissibility of aliens seeking entry into the United States. The visa application process would help them to make better decisions and help screen out aliens who should not be granted admission into the United States even before they would board an airliner. The job of an inspector is daunting. I speak from experience having begun my career with the former INS as an immigration inspector at JFK International Airport in New York.
3. The application for a visa contains approximately 40 questions that can provide extremely useful information should the alien who applies for a visa ultimately come under investigation for criminal or terrorist activities. The application is extremely helpful in developing leads and intelligence.
4. An alien who lies on a visa application commits a felony. According to the State Department Website, these are the penalties for visa and passport fraud:
Penalties for Passport and Visa Fraud
Passport and visa fraud are federal felonies. Penalties are:
* 10 years (for a first offense if not tied to terrorism or drug trafficking)
* 15 years for fraud with other criminal links
* 20 years for fraud related to drug trafficking
* 25 years for fraud related to international terrorism
5. There are times when it is in the best interest of pursuing an ongoing investigation to arrest a suspected terrorist, drug dealer or other criminal on a charge that does not alert him and his cohorts to the fact that he (and they) are being investigated for terrorism or other criminal-related reasons. In many cases it is far easier to prove that an alien committed visa fraud than to prove he is involved in terrorism. Consequently the charge of visa fraud is often the prosecutorial tool of choice.
Yet, under the Visa Waiver Program, none of these afore-noted critical benefits to national security apply.
In my judgement the elimination of the Visa Waiver Program may impose a bit of an inconvenience to foreign travelers who wish to enter the United States, however, I want you to consider the madness of the current “War on Terror.”
While I’m sure it’s nice some travelers don’t have to go through the hassle of getting a VISA, considering the fear mongering going on about “terrorists” wanting to strike us here again, I find the concept of NOT requiring a VISA to be ridiculous.
Anyone who boards an airliner in the United States has come to expect an ever more intrusive inspection of our baggage and our persons when we enter an airport in preparation for taking an airline flight. We cannot take large bottles of liquids on board airliners such as shampoo or even mother’s milk, because a number of terrorists who were arrested in Great Britain were preparing to board airliners with seemingly innocuous liquids that, when mixed together, created a highly volatile explosive. There have been news reports of nursing mothers who had expressed their milk into bottles for their babies who traveled with them, had to either sip some of their own milk or have it confiscated- in the name of national security!
We have to take our shoes off and have them x-rayed before we board airliners because Richard Reid, the so-called “Shoe Bomber” had concealed explosives in his shoes and attempted to detonate them en route to the United States in midair. Clearly our TSA officials have learned the tactics for concealing explosives in liquids and in shoes. The one lesson our government will not learn, however, is that all of the terrorists involved in the two plots that have had a profound impact on how we are searched and what we may bring on board airliners in this perilous age, is the fact that they were all citizens of Great Britain- this means that they did not need to apply for and receive visas before boarding those airliners.
A French national by the name of Zacarias Moussaoui has been often referred to as the “20th hijacker.” Citizens of France are also exempt the requirement of securing visas before seeking to enter the United States.
So all a terrorist hell-bent on getting here to cause harm has to do is immigrate to one of the countries in the VISA Waiver program and then they can eventually travel here without a VISA!
Are you feeling safe yet?
When I have raised the issue of the Visa Waiver Program to many of my friends on Capitol Hill from both sides of the political aisle, most agree with my concerns but they tell me that the executives of the travel, hospitality and tourism industries have invested incredible sums of money to hire major lobbying organizations to make certain that the Visa Waiver Program not be tampered with!
No surprise here for me. Every industry has a strong lobbying group to make sure that its interests are held high and to hell with the people!
Certainly corporations have the right to have their concerns addressed, but issues relating to national security should not be open to debate by those whose only concern is profit motive.
In order to gear up America to successfully prosecute the Second World War, General Eisenhower essentially created the “Military / Industrial Complex.” In 1960 as President Eisenhower prepared to leave office he warned the people of the United States to beware the same Military Industrial Complex!
To watch as our freedoms are whittled away and our expectations of privacy are reduced in the name of “National security” while the dangerous Visa Waiver Program is being expanded boils my blood!
We the People must make those who purport to represent us in Washington, truly represent us! This is the work all Americans must do! We must make our voices heard to our members of both houses of the Congress!
© 2008 – Michael Cutler – All Rights Reserved
Read the FULL STORY here (that’s right, I didn’t copy and paste the whole thing-just the highlights).
So the next time you hear about “National Security” demand your representative tell you exactly what that means and what he/she/they are doing about REAL National Security and not stupid little “feel good” laws that end up being a royal pain in the ass for everyone, while doing NOTHING for National Security!
If you want our borders and ports wide open, if you want to allow travelers from favored countries to travel here with no VISA requirement, that’s fine, I have NO problem with that……………JUST REMOVE ALL ANNOYING, RESTRAINING, HARASSING REQUIREMENTS AND HOOPS YOU FORCE U.S. CITIZENS TO ENDURE AND JUMP THROUGH JUST TO TRAVEL WITHIN OUR OWN COUNTRY, OR BUY A DRINK OR PACK OF CIGARETTES!!!
It’s not hard, really. We either are open or closed……….there is NO half-way here. Don’t have a dozen sets of rules. Either all follow the rules or NONE have to. Do it one way or the other, but don’t do it half-assed and call it “National Security”. It’s insulting and it insults our intelligence. These days “National Security” is as big an oxymoron as “Military Intelligence”.
WE need to start holding the whole of government accountable to US…..it is after all OUR tax dollars they are paid with and using, that makes them OUR EMPLOYEES, and not our mothers, fathers, nannies, keepers OR bosses!