Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Sin Concealed – The Visas for Terrorists Program

“The CIA forced me to allow terrorists into the US.”

By J. Michael Springmann, former US Consulate Visa Officer in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Between 1987 and 1989, I had been assigned to what I call the CIA’s Consulate General at Jeddah, principal city of the Hejaz, Saudi Arabia’s western province. While nominally the officer in charge of the consulate’s visa section, I found that, out of some 20 Americans at the consulate, there were only three people (including myself) whom I knew for a certainty to have no ties, professional or familial, to any of the US intelligence services (chiefly, the National Security Agency (NSA) – the communications-intercepting and cipher-breaking arm of the US government – and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) – the American organization whose covert operations include spying on and overthrowing lawfully elected governments or, if need be, assassinating their leaders at the behest of US politicians).


by J. Michael Springmann

The U.S. government claims to be chasing the "terrorists" who flew planes into the World Trade Towers, but it still protects its employees who set the whole program in motion. CIA Clandestine Service Officers and a few State Department officials still draw fat pensions and substantial salaries for running a Visas for Terrorists Program out of the U.S. Consulate General in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the U.S. government entity that provided visas to 15 of the 19 alleged hijackers of September 11, 2001.

Originally set up to recruit and train fighters for Zbigniew Brzezinsky and Jimmy Carter's war of choice in Afghanistan, the Send a Killer to Kabul Caper used CIA resources and assets, such as Osama bin Laden and the State Department, to bring terrorists to the U.S. for training. Once they became adept at shooting things down and blowing things up, the American government sent them on to Afghanistan to kill Russian soldiers. When that war was over, enterprising boys in the CIA's Clandestine Service evidently found other jobs for them, such as inciting clashes between Sunni and Shii in Iraq and in Lebanon.

Strange as it may seem, after so many years and so many deaths, no crusading Mr. Smith has gone to Washington and demanded explanations for what was done and why. The perpetrators of the program aren't hiding. They're in plain sight (or half-heartedly concealed by the State Department).

Jay Philip Freres, the driving force behind the program and a graduate of the CIA Station at Kabul (1960, 1980), is retired and living in Clearwater, Florida. He's appeared on Fox News (ca. 2002 with Edward S. Walker, Jr., deputy ambassador to Saudi Arabia in 1987), opining about terrorism.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

9/11 Terrorist Visa Applications

National Review obtained copies of the visa applications submitted by the hijackers.

Click on the names or the images for larger versions.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

NRO : Visas that Should Have Been Denied

Visas that Should Have Been Denied

A look at 9/11 terrorists’ visa applications.

Joel Mowbray | October 9, 2002

The cover story in National Review's October 28th issue (out Friday) details how at least 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers should have been denied visas — an assessment based on expert analyses of 15 of the terrorists' visa-application forms, obtained exclusively by NR.

In the year after 9/11, the hand-wringing mostly centered on the FBI and CIA's failure to "connect the dots." But that would not have been a fatal blow if the "dots" had not been here in the first place. If the U.S. State Department had followed the law, at least 15 of the 19 "dots" should have been denied visas — and they likely wouldn't have been in the United States on September 11, 2001.

According to expert analyses of the visa-application forms of 15 of the 9/11 terrorists (the other four applications could not be obtained), all the applicants among the 15 reviewed should have been denied visas under then-existing law. Six separate experts who analyzed the simple, two-page forms came to the same conclusion: All of the visa applications they reviewed should have been denied on their face.

Even to the untrained eye, it is easy to see why many of the visas should have been denied. Consider, for example, the U.S. destinations most of them listed. Only one of the 15 provided an actual address — and that was only because his first application was refused — and the rest listed only general locations — including "California," "New York," "Hotel D.C.," and "Hotel." One terrorist amazingly listed his U.S. destination as simply "No." Even more amazingly, he got a visa.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Springmann: Consul General Filled Out Visa Applications For Pakistanis With Forged Passports

From an article by Margie Burns in The Progressive Populist:
Panelist J. Michael Springmann, former chief of the visa section in the US Embassy in Saudi Arabia, narrated some of his experiences in the Jedda office.

Instances of procedural failures included seeing the then-Consul General in Jedda, in his office, "filling out visa applications for Pakistanis who had forged passports."

He describes US strategy at the time as "people being rounded up to come to the US for training" against the Soviet Union during its invasion of Afghanistan.

As the man in charge of visas in Jedda, "there I issued visas to terrorists recruited by the CIA."

In one anecdote, "two Pakistanis came to me one day" to apply for visas, presenting forged documents in the application. Springmann denied the application, but his superior "reversed me" after a phone call, "issued the visas, then they took off."

Now in private law practice in Maryland and D.C., Springmann mentioned attempting to publicize the problem after returning to the US but, he said, "Nobody in Washington, D.C., wants to hear about this."

Sunday, December 9, 2007

WaPo : Hijackers Got Visas With Little Scrutiny, GAO Reports

Hijackers Got Visas With Little Scrutiny, GAO Reports

By Dan Eggen | Washington Post Staff Writer | October 22, 2002

At least 13 of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers were never interviewed by U.S. consular officials before being granted visas to enter the United States, according to a congressional report issued yesterday. The finding contradicts previous assurances from the State Department that most of them had been thoroughly screened.

The General Accounting Office also found that, for 15 hijackers whose applications could be found, none had filled in the documents properly. Overall, few applicants from Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates were required to submit to interviews.

Online Journal : Our Man in Jeddah

Our Man in Jeddah

By Margie Burns | Online Journal Contributing Writer | July 31, 2004

J. Michael Springmann, Esq., was Our Man in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in the Reagan and former Bush administrations, September 1987 through March 1989. In the American consulate in Jeddah, Springmann was chief of the Visa Section.

Twenty-twenty hindsight has revealed to Springmann that he himself was, involuntarily, one of the no-name functionaries admitting terrorists into the United States. He talks colorfully about his Graham Greene-like experience as a consular official in Saudi Arabia.

The situation was dominated by the CIA. Springmann's key allegation is that he often refused to issue visas to foreign nationals, mostly Saudis, whom he wanted to keep out of the United States—and was frequently overruled by superiors, State Department personnel connected with the CIA, who ordered the visas issued anyway. He has aired this central allegation in several open forums and in private interviews.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Michael Springmann : Email Spying and Attorney Client Privilege: US Government Reads All About It

Email Spying and Attorney Client Privilege: US Government Reads All About It

By J. MICHAEL SPRINGMANN, Esq. | Counterpunch | March 29, 2004

Once upon a time in a country very different from today's, sending an E-mail was like making a telephone call or mailing a first-class letter: the sender had a reasonable expectation of privacy in his message. Today, with terrorists under every bed and a government vowing to search them out and destroy them, no matter the consequences, E-mail users have no expectation of privacy whatsoever. Under the so-called USA Patriot Act, passed but not read by a corrupt, incompetent, and illegitimate Congress, the federal government can and does read all about E-mail messages, including their authors, their contents, and their addressees.

I know this for a certainty. In April 2003, the U.S. Justice Department seized and read the contents of my personal and professional E-mail accounts at America On Line (AOL).

Friday, December 7, 2007

Interview with Alex Jones

Interview of Michael Springmann, Former Consulate officer in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Where 15 of the 19 Terrorist Hijackers Obtained Visas

Alex Jones Radio Show | May 1, 2002 | Partial Transcript [edited for clarity] | original version posted at

AJ: I’m reading from a transcript from the BBC Newsnight report with out good friend, Greg Palast. Let me just read two paragraphs from this then we will go to our guest.
PALAST: Newsnight has uncovered a long history of shadowy connections between the State Department, the CIA and the Saudis. The former head of the American visa bureau in Jeddah is Michael Springmann.

MICHAEL SPRINGMANN: In Saudi Arabia I was repeatedly ordered by high level State Dept officials to issue visas to unqualified applicants. These were, essentially, people who had no ties either to Saudi Arabia or to their own country. I complained bitterly at the time there. I returned to the US, I complained to the State Dept here, to the General Accounting Office, to the Bureau of Diplomatic Security and to the Inspector General's office. I was met with silence.

PALAST: By now, Bush Sr, once CIA director, was in the White House. Springmann was shocked to find this wasn't visa fraud. Rather, State and CIA were playing "the Great Game".
Joining us for this newsmaker interview this evening is Michael Springmann.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Springmann on CBC Radio

From 911 Review's wiki, a transcript of Springmann's interview with CBC Radio's Rick MacInnes-Rae, broadcast July 3, 2002:


Springmann: Well it began in Jeddah when I was repeatedly told to issue visas to unqualified applicants. This went on for quite some time, during most of my tour there.

CBC: When you say unqualified applicants, what kind of qualifications didn't they have?

Springmann: Under the American immigration laws, you need to demonstrate that you are going to the United States for a specific purpose, and typically in such a situation you are going to sign a business deal, or you're going to go as a tourist to see the Grand Canyon, or you're going as a student to study a particular course of study. And these were people that had no job; in one instance he was a Sudanese, who was unemployed in Saudi Arabia, and a refugee from the Sudan. But he got a visa for National Security purposes, after it was taken out of my hands by the chief of the consular section. The King's barber's secretary apparently got a visa. There were other people in similar situations that really demonstrated no clear idea of what they were going to do.

CBC: All right, King's barber's aside, to be the Devil's advocate your superior from time to time overruled your findings. Why is that unusual?

Springmann: Well it's unusual because in State department practice, you are supposed to have new concrete and substantive information that was not available to the fellow who adjudicated the visa at the beginning. And this was never done.