Effective Screening of Foreign Students Drives Terrorists Away From America

I have provide you with a copy of the press release that the United States Department of Justice issued earlier today to announce the arrest of Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, a young man described as a 20 year old citizen of of Saudi Arabia and a resident of Lubbock, Texas.

There is nothing remarkable about his appearance. If you passed him on the street you probably would not have paid him any attention.

Yet according to the FBI and the Department of Justice, he entered the United States two years ago, at the age of 18, determined to carry out a terrorist attack in our nation that would maximize the number of casualties.

Under criminal law, the issue of “premeditation” is a major issue. Did the criminal plan to commit a crime in advance or did things just happen spontaneously? In the case of Mr. Aldawsari I want you to consider this passage from the DOJ press release:

FBI agents also found a notebook at Aldawsari’s residence that appeared to be a diary or journal. According to the affidavit, excerpts from the journal indicate that Aldawsari had been planning to commit a terrorist attack in the United States for years. One entry describes how Aldawsari sought and obtained a particular scholarship because it allowed him to come directly to the United State and helped him financially, which he said “will help tremendously in providing me with the support I need for Jihad.” The entry continues: “And now, after mastering the English language, learning how to build explosives and continuous planning to target the infidel Americans, it is time for Jihad.”

Isn’t it interesting that he was provided with a scholarship? I would love to know why he was provided with a scholarship and who provided it. If it was provided by an individual or agency in his country or some other country, then I would want to know if they had any idea about his true intentions. If the scholarship funding came from the United States I would also like to know why a foreign student was provided with a scholarship when so many bright and motivated American students are finding it increasingly difficult to pay for their college educations.

What is also worth considering is the fact that Aldawsari apparently committed visa fraud. He had to have lied on his application for the student visa he used to enter the United States. Although he is relatively young, he clearly understood how to create a false identity for himself and how to game the visa process. Among the other questions that I am all but certain that the FBI and that the prosecutors have to be concerned with is to determine who may have providing coaching to this alleged terrorist.

While the press release has not mentioned all of the potential charges that can and may be ultimately brought against him, it would certainly appear that it would be entirely appropriate for him to be charged with visa fraud in support of terrorism. Under the laws of our country, anyone who commits visa fraud (provides false information about a material fact on an application for a visa) is committing a felony.

Here is a quick course in visa fraud as it appears on the website of the United States Department of State website:

1 [image: Machine Readable Visa]Visa Fraud

What is a visa? The U.S. visa is a document, obtained at any U.S. embassy or consulate, granting a non-U.S. traveler permission to apply for admission into the United States at a port of entry. It is not a guarantee of entry into the United States. Department of Homeland Security inspectors determine if, and for how long, an alien is admitted. To learn more about applying for a U.S. visa, visit Destination USA. There are two basic types of visas:

Immigrant visa (IV) – Immigrant visas are for people who intend to live permanently in the United States, as provided by the Immigration and Nationality Act

Nonimmigrant visa (NIV) – Nonimmigrant visas are for people who wish to visit the United States temporarily-for tourism, medical treatment, business, temporary work, or study. Some applicants intend to abuse their nonimmigrant visas by remaining in the United States illegally*.*

What are typical types of visa fraud?

The sale, provision, or transfer of otherwise legitimate visas Misrepresentation of reasons for traveling Forgery or alteration of a visa

Who commits visa fraud and why?

Unlawful immigrants for a variety of reasons, most commonly including: Economic considerations, Flight from prosecution Facilitation of narcotics and terrorist operations, Brokers and smugglers in the furtherance of other crimes, Federal employees, usually for monetary gain.

It has been estimated that there are a minimum of 5 million foreign nationals (aliens) in our country who have violated the terms of their admission into the United States. They may have overstayed their authorized period of admission, they may have obtained unlawful employment, they may have failed to show up to attend a school they were admitted to attend or failed to report for a job they were admitted to work at. A number of terrorists who were previously identified as having entered the United States and then violated the terms of their admission. Yet in order to seek to locate and arrest these visa violators, the DHS (Department of Homeland Surrender) has purportedly assigned fewer than 300 special agents of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to deal with this massive number of illegal aliens who live and work in communities throughout the United States.

Several months ago I was interviewed by Casey Wian of CNN when he did a report entitled, “Tracking Down Visa Violators.”

Here is a link to this excellent report:


On May 10, 2010 I was interviewed by Daniel Gonzalez, a reporter for the Arizona Republic for an article he wrote for his newspaper that was entitled, U.S. not cracking down on immigrants with expired visas.” You can read this news report at:


On May 11, 2006 I was called to provide testimony before a Congressional hearing that was conducted by the House Committee on International Relations, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

The title of that hearing was:


Here is a link to the transcript of that hearing in its entirety:


Clearly the effective enforcement of the immigration laws and the effective screening of foreign students and others intending to enter our country must be a component of our nation’s much ballyhooed “War on Terror.”

However, ICE and the DHS were not even mentioned in the DOJ press release about the arrest of the alleged terrorist who was assembling chemicals and equipment to launch what might well have been a devastating attack on our nation.

My dad used to tell me that there are no mistakes in life, only lessons if we learn from those things that go wrong.

Time and again international terrorists are arrested by our officials as they are in the midst of planning to carry out an attack or after an attack failed. Yet the visa process is apparently flawed and their is no integrity to the immigration system. The attack that is the focus of this case was not thwarted by brilliant police work or by our intelligence agencies doing what they are paid to do. This attack was thwarted by someone at a freight forwarding company notifying the police about suspicious materials being ordered by the suspect in this case. Once alerted by the sharp employee at that company, the federal agencies of the JTTF which, undoubtedly included ICE special agents, an investigation was launched and the plot was unraveled and thwarted.

Once again it was a bit of luck and the willingness of a civilian to alert authorities that protected our nation and our citizens.

The alleged terrorist had compiled a list of potential targets that were scattered around the United States- again to quote from the press release:

According to the affidavit, Aldawsari conducted research on various targets and e-mailed himself information on these locations and people. One of the documents he sent himself, with the subject line listed as “Targets,” allegedly contained the names and home addresses of three American citizens who had previously served in the U.S. military and had been stationed for a time at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

In another e-mail titled “NICE TARGETS 01,” Aldawsari allegedly sent himself the names of 12 reservoir dams in Colorado and California. In another e-mail to himself, titled “NICE TARGETS,” he listed two categories of targets: hydroelectric dams and nuclear power plants. On Feb. 6, 2011, the affidavit alleges, Aldawsari sent himself an e-mail titled “Tyrant’s House,” in which he listed the Dallas address for former President George W. Bush. The affidavit also alleges that Aldawsari conducted research that could indicate his consideration of the use of infant dolls to conceal explosives and possible targeting of a nightclub with an explosive concealed in a backpack.

The affidavit also alleges that Aldawsari created a blog in which he posted extremist messages. In one posting, he expressed dissatisfaction with current conditions of Muslims and vowed jihad and martyrdom. “You who created mankind….grant me martyrdom for Your sake and make jihad easy for me only in Your path,” he wrote.

A final thought- if you consider how Aldawsari planned to obtain driver’s licenses in false names and even procure a counterfeit United States birth certificate, you realize how much identity documents need to be considered an integral part of national security but still are not being addressed the way that they need to be.

Here is that passage from the press release:

In another entry, Aldawsari allegedly wrote that he was near to reaching his goal and near to getting weapons to use against infidels and their helpers. He also listed a “synopsis of important steps” that included obtaining a forged U.S. birth certificate; renting a car; using different driver’s licenses for each car rented; putting bombs in cars and taking them to different places during rush hour; and leaving the city for a safe place.

The various law enforcement officers who have been involved in this case have much to be proud of. They have certainly earned our gratitude, but clearly, the “All Clear” has not sounded, nor is it likely to sound for some time to come.

Each time a vulnerability is discovered as counterterrorism investigations are conducted, our leaders need to find ways of trying to make certain that history does not repeat itself. We need to turn these discoveries into lessons, the way my dad would have advised me.

Because or the long standing failures to secure our borders and create an immigration system that has integrity our nation and our citizens remain exposed to serious threats.

This must stop!

Nothing less than the survival of our nation and our citizens hang in the balance!

A country without secure borders can no more stand than can a house without walls!

If our country is to survive and if our children and their children are to get their share of the “American Dream” the citizens of this nation must take their citizenship seriously!

We the People must be the best citizens we can be, citizens who are worthy of the gallantry demonstrated by our valiant men and women in the military, law enforcement and firefighters, who routinely go in harm’s way in defense of this nation and our citizens.

My goal in writing this and other commentaries is to point out our nations many failings before more victims pay the ultimate price for the incompetence and ineptitude of our government.

The first step in problem-solving is to first identify the problems and vulnerabilities and then devise strategies to overcome them.

If you find yourself to be in agreement with this commentary, I ask that you forward it to as many of your friends and family members as possible and encourage them to do the same. We need to create a “Bucket Brigade of Truth!”

The practice of good citizenship does not end in the voting booth, it only begins there.

The large scale apathy demonstrated by citizens of this nation has emboldened elected representatives to all but ignore the needs of the average American citizen in a quest for massive campaign funds and the promises of votes to be ostensibly delivered by special interest groups. There is much that we cannot do but there is one thing that We the People absolutely must do- we must stop sitting on the sidelines!

The collective failure of We the People to get involved in make our concerns known to our politicians have nearly made the concerns of the great majority of the citizens of this nation all but irrelevant to the politicians. I implore you to resolve this year to get involved!

I believe our nation’s is greatly benefited by the rich diversity of our people which is why I could never imagine living anywhere except New York City, arguably the most diverse city in our nation if not, in fact, the world. However, my idea of diversity most certainly does not include members of MS-13, the Mexican drug cartels or members of other transnational gangs or members of al-Qaeda!

If this situation concerns you or especially if it angers you, I ask you to call your Senators and Congressional “Representative. This is not only your right- it is your obligation!

All I ask is that you make it clear to our politicians that we are not as dumb as they hope we are!

We live in a perilous world and in a perilous era. The survival of our nation and the lives of our citizens hang in the balance.

This is neither a Conservative issue, nor is it a Liberal issue- simply stated, this is most certainly an AMERICAN issue!

You are either part of the solution or you are a part of the problem!

Democracy is not a spectator sport!

Lead, follow or get out of the way!