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9/11 Working-level Employee

DEPARTMENT

OF STATE

BROADCASTING BOARD OF GOVERNORS

Visas for 9/1 1

Subject

Official

Office of Inspector General

Memorandum of Conversation

Embassy Berlin

Office

BertKrieg

Inspector

1/27/03

Date

Arriving at pmbassy Berlin in July 2001, Jim Levy had just completed an assignment in China at lEmb^ssy Beijing. He has subsequently interviewed by the FBI and the GAO regarding the visas issued to the ieirorist hijackers Mohamed Atta on May 18,2000 and Ziad Jarrah on May 25, ^000. Those visas were issued bv two American visa adjudicators who are no longer at post.

other One of (tne |hem Jarrah (theAtta visa) wasA visftlwasy

la Foreiai Service Officer currently/^

I The

[ \s was a Consular Associate at the time he issued the visa, and was the dependent

spouse on

vas a teroprament \o has since been divorced from his wife.

uaa n

land considered to be a "tough" visa adjudicator. His

Jusing the website www.switchboard.com.

consered to be a "tough" visa adjudicator.

father recently attempted to locate him after er vears years nf of separation, c<»«!M-<>*«''»~ and —ii.L-w the FSNs " at post believe

they have traced him td

In M|iy 2000 Brian Flora was the embassy's Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs, Dennis

Imwdldj^asJifiirhieImwdldj^asJifiirhieff ooff ththee ConsulaConsularr g«tiog«^ti n ChiefF J was the Visa Chief, and]

nifcnn t »

ars,

enn

thi» American Citizen Services [vas a Consular Associate worki orking

in t

The visa applications of both terrorists were destroyed in accordance with the Department's document destruction policies in effect at that time. Once every month Consular Section Berlin destroyed all applications of visa cases that had been issued 12 months earlier. Berlin stored such applications in envelopes marked with the month/year of issuance to simplify retention and destruction. A review of the computer records of their visa cases at the post suggests that neither terrorist was interviewed or had previous refusals.

The post's visa policies in May 2000 regarding third country applicants (TCNs) were apparently unwritten although general visa procedures were published on their website Cwww.usembassv.de). Liz Wolfson, the current American Citizen Services chief, was at post in that capacity in May 2000, recalled that all TCN applications were submitted to the visa adjudicator either through the actually mail or through interviewed. publically accessible "drop boxes" at the embassy. Very few applicants were

SENSITIVE BUT

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

In 2000, the post considered that TCN students in Berlin, particularly medical students, had a stake in returning to Germany after a visit to the U.S. The visa officers' view then was that German was a difficult language for most TCNs and enrolment in a German university a major accomplishment. TCNs therefore had a real investment in Germany and an incentive to return. The post was quite liberal with its visa issuances and didn't differentiate between TCNs coming from western countnes with well established economies and so-called difficult countries such as China and Nigeria, The prevalent belief was that successful studies in Germany were indicative of sufficient ties here and, therefore, such students were unlikely to overstay their visits in the U.S. This policy changed in July 2001 because Jim Levy's experiences in China convinced him that certain groups of TCN student and other visa applicants were "poor risks" who were indeed likely to overstay their visits and work in the U.S.

Mr. Levy was proud of the fact that in July 2000, Embassy Berlin refused the visa applications of potential terrorists Escabar, who was apparently considered to be one of the hijackers who planned to be in the aircraft that crashed in Pennsylvania on September 11th, and Binal Shibh.

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED