9/11 Working-level Employee

Office of Inspector General Memorandum of Conversation
Issuance of NTVs to 9/11/2001 Hijackers Subject
KSA Official

US Consulate General, Jeddah. KSA Office

January 23.2003 Date Poue Ellice Inspector

'arrived at Jeddah in August 2000 and worked time\s previous assignment had been asf

much of that

He told rtie that post policy, pre-9/11, was to interview all Third-Country National (TCN) \^ but few Saudis. Once in a very great while, he told me, a Saudi's application for a business or tourist visa Would have something so strange on it that the applicant would be asked to come in for a personal appearance, but that was unusual. Saudi applicants for student visas, oji the other hand, w,ere routinely interviewed. The post did not use travel agencies or any drop boxes to channel applications to the section; applications were submitted in person, usually by the applicant. An FJSN would pie-screen the application and, if the applicant were a Saudi seeking a B-l or Btv2; send them away. i§as\; One change that occurred when Visas Express was introduced was that most Saudi students were . no longer interviewed.1 [stated: "If you had a pulse, and a green (Saudi) passport, you got the visa," He clarified one thing for me\s high refusal rate. He said that, as the only Arabic-speaking officer, he tended to get aj.1 the T-Ctf applicants who did not speak English. Many of these were indigent Somalia and Sudianese, pr workers from other third-world countries who had never \d elsewhere previously. "These were our worst cases, and those least-likely to be issued." on the other hand, processescl all those Saudis who did not need an interview, so she y the dozen. "That's hpw she got into all this," he said, referring to the issuance of visas to terrorists, ''and how I did not; There but for fortune...." Former CG Baltimore and former Consul] Imet regularlyj related, and there was no visiblefrictionbetween them about refusalrates.| I is not aware of any times when Baltimore urged! "Tto alter section policy. He did fault Baltimore by stating that "I never saw Baltimore visit the consular section." I lalso related a story about a particularly poor referral Baltimore once made - a Class A referral for the maid of the former (even then) mayor of Jeddah. His own high refusal rate in and of itself is not what got him into trouble he said, but his refusal of Saudis. The "trouble" he referred to was being rebuked by management for


9/11 Working-level Employes

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denying top many Saudi applicants. He told me how to locate a colleague from that time if OIG needed confirWfion. Personal or Domestic Servants (PODS) of the Saudi royal family were another problem category, according td[ I [believed that it Was improper for me missions in Saudi Arabia to issue nonimmigrant visas to applicant who, if they were| {applying at his previous post with the same personal and economic circumstances, would be denied. "We were issuing visas to people who, if you just covered the "nationality block on the application form with your thumb, we would deny in any other country,1' according to| | He describedi las unwilling to disagree with Consul General Baltimore about visas.

phinks it is bad to have consuls supervised (and rated) by the very front office to which they ought to "stand up" about bad visas. He said he hoped OIG would recommend that consular \n chiefs be rated by their Regional Consular Officer instead, to protect them from pressure. I jsaid Ambassador Fowler threw his weight around on bad visa cases and pointed me towards a memo to thefilewritten bj bredecessor. | after a particularly egregious case. (OIG has obtained a copy). |


Doug Ellice

"•'bnemcon david el-hinn.doc