America’s Innovative New Terrorist “Waiver” Program

Posted by John Rosenthal

According to a UPI report from last Friday, Khaled Al-Masri has been granted a visa for the United States. The report cites an unnamed state department official as follows: “Khaled el-Masri was found inadmissible to the United States on the basis of … terrorist activities, and issued a visa on the basis of a waiver from the Department of Homeland Security.”

This statement boggles the mind in more ways than one. Regular Trans-Int readers will know Al-Masri as the German citizen of Lebanese descent who has become a sort of poster boy for the campaign against America’s use of “extraordinary renditions” in its war with Islamist terror organizations. After hearing for two years how Al-Masri was supposed to be an “innocent man” who had been mistaken for a different “Al-Masri” by bumbling American agents, the State Department statement now confirms that this Al-Masri, not any other, is indeed on US Homeland Security’s watch list of known or suspected terrorists. It confirms this, however, only in order to announce that the State Department has, nonetheless, seen fit to grant him a visa.

As I noted in my recent article on World Politics Watch, “Is Khaled Al-Masri Lying?”, only three weeks ago the German weekly der Spiegel reported that German police had identified Masri as “a follower of Bin Laden” by September 26, 2001. The Spiegel article, citing confidential German police files on the 9/11 plot, continues:

Masri is supposed already before September 11 to have whispered that one “is going to hear something soon” and in conversation said that one “must inflict as much pain on the Americans as they would inflict on people of the Islamic faith.”

(Note: Most American media lend credence to the “mistaken identity” scenario by using an alternative transliteration – “El-Masri” not “Al-Masri” – to render Masri’s name in the Latin alphabet. “Khaled El-Masri” is supposed to have been mistaken for “Khaled Al-Masri”. “Al” and “El” are, however, just alternate transliterations of the Arabic definite article.)

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