That, undoubtedly, is the message many of our enemies are (gleefully) taking from the Obama administration’s program to increase greatly the recruitment of non-citizens into the ranks of our Armed Services. Building on initiatives begun by George W. Bush, President Barack Obama is pushing for accelerated citizenship for foreign nationals who respond to the call. As reported here recently, the manpower pinch caused by our far-flung wars and Obama’s plans for big increases in troop deployments to Afghanistan has the Pentagon seeking recruits from unconventional sources, such as residents who are here on temporary visas.
The Defense Department has set a goal of 1,000 of these new recruits this year. However, as the New York Times noted, for the Army alone, the new category of “temporary immigrants” is anticipated to provide as many as 14,000 volunteers a year, or about one in six recruits.
The dangers of the program are obvious. First, it provides a huge incentive magnet to draw even more illegal aliens here in hopes of obtaining quick citizenship. Second, and more serious, is the tremendous risk to national security. Which terrorist group or hostile foreign regime will not see this as a golden opportunity to send its agents to U.S. military service, both for the valuable training and the prize of Trojan Horse citizenship?
How many terrorists like 9/11 hijackers Mohammed Atta, Hani Hanjour, and Khalid al Mihdhar will be recruited into the U.S. military? Eight years after 9/11, visa fraud and immigration fraud are still so rampant that a temporary visa screening provides virtually no security against penetration by our enemies. The cases of Ali Mohamed, Nada Nadim El-Aouar Prouty, and Melek Can Dickerson, are but a few examples of the horrendous consequences of our laxity on internal security screening. In each of these cases, foreign nationals penetrated deep into our national defense and/or intelligence structures, causing untold harm.
*Ali Mohamed — An Egyptian soldier, Ali Mohamed became a military trainer of U.S. Army Special Forces at Ft. Bragg, then went on to work for the CIA and FBI. All the while, he was a top agent for Islamic Jihad and al-Qaeda, training terrorists inside the United States (the 1993 World Trade Center bombers, for example) and serving as Osama bin Laden’s personal trainer and terrorism planner. This is one of the most astounding cases of top U.S. officials repeatedly ignoring multiple red flags and warnings from alert personnel about a blatantly obvious security risk. The hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries from the 1993 WTC attack and the 1998 U.S. Embassy attacks in Kenya and Tanzania are just some of the casualties that can be attributed to Ali Mohamed. (For a detailed report on Ali Mohamed, see “Unleashing a Terrorist,” The New American November 26, 2007.)
*Nada Nadim Prouty — A Lebanese with long-running family ties to the communist Syrian Social Nationalist Party (or SSNP) as well as personal ties the top echelons of Lebanon’s Hezbolla, Prouty came to the United States on a student visa and then illegally overstayed. She obtained citizenship via a paid, fake marriage to an American. She then took a job with the FBI and while in its employ used FBI computers to access the agency’s files on Hezbollah. After 9/11, she went on to work for the CIA. Any serious security check should have turned up numerous felonies and warning signs. After media publicity (minor as it was) gave this case some public attention, the Bush administration was more anxious to cover it up than to get to the bottom of this serious breach of national security. Prouty was given a minor wrist slapping: a 6-12 month prison sentence. (The Nada Nadim Prouty story is told in “Hezbollah Supporter Sentenced,” The New American October 15, 2008.)
*Melek Can Dickerson — This important case was brought to public attention by courageous whistle-blower and former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds. From her translating of secret surveillance tapes, Edmonds, a naturalized Turkish American, learned of top-level U.S. officials, in Congress and the administration, accepting bribes from, and selling U.S. military secrets and influence to, foreign powers. She also witnessed fellow translators, falsifying translations to protect the guilty. Melek Can Dickerson, a Turkish woman married to an American, was one of them. The Dickersons tried to recruit Sibel Edmonds and her husband to join their espionage and treason network. Instead of exposing and prosecuting the spy network, the Bush administration fired Edmonds, put a “national security” gag order on her, shielded the Dickersons, and quashed the investigation. (See “Shooting the Messenger” The New American July 7, 2008.)
Then, of course, we have the examples of the 9/11 hijackers, all of whom entered the United States — some of them multiple times — on temporary visas. Some of their visa applications were so ludicrous — for glaring failures to provide information required by law, as well as for ridiculous entries — they should never have been accepted by consular officials. Some of them committed immigration fraud after coming to the United States that should have been detected and should have resulted in their prosecution and expulsion, but they proceeded unhindered.
A March 2006 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) noted that of “94 foreign-born terrorists known to operate in the United States between the early 1990s and 2004, 59 or two-thirds committed immigration fraud, including 6 of the September 11th hijackers.”
But that was before 9/11; surely our visitor visa system has been fixed now, right? Many Americans, no doubt comfort themselves with that thought. Unfortunately, that is a false — and dangerous — assurance. Remember, the Prouty and Sibel Edmonds cases are very recent. And the millions of aliens awaiting processing inside the United States, together with the enormous incidence of fraud, the limited number of immigration investigators and adjudicators, and the pressure to fill military recruitment goals virtually assures that many security risks will soon be inside our defense system.
Army Cpt. Mitchell Gray, who recently returned from duty at Camp Bucca, Iraq, notes that concerns about security must be paramount. "There are many outstanding soldiers in the U.S. Military who were not born in America,” Cpt. Gray told The New American. “I have met many of whom I’m proud and consider great patriots. But it is also true that terror groups desire infiltration of the Services and Ali Mohamed is but one prime example. In addition to that, terror groups would love to recruit service members. The Military and Intelligence services would be well advised to use all legal means available to carefully vet and screen potential recruits with this in mind. No system will be perfect but a lax attitide or an overly political correct mentality could be quite costly in terms or lives lost and intelligence compromised.”
Michael Cutler, a 30-year veteran of the Immigration and Naturalization Service and a national media commentator on immigration issues, believes the move to expand and accelerate recruitment of foreign nationals into the military is a perilous policy decision. “My concern is that we have millions of illegal aliens currently living in the United States whose identities, backgrounds, affiliations and intentions are unknown and unknowable,” Cutler wrote in a recent column.
It is imperative that we not take the enlistment of soldiers into the various branches of our military services lightly. Enlistees are given training into weapons and tactics. They are given the "play book" for our military. This is one of the ways that the Zetas, the members of the Mexican military and law enforcement who are challenging the powerful drug cartels for supremacy gained their knowledge — we trained them when they claimed that they would assist the United States in the interdiction of drugs flowing across our border with Mexico.??Additionally, members of the military are given access to military bases and other secure strategic installations. The security badges and access to facilities truly represent the "Keys to the Kingdom!"
Photo: AP Images