14 August 2006
Michael Springman:"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. " [Springman and the State Dept]
radio interview with Springman
Great read of the 20 best LIHOP suspects: see No.19 Abdullah Noman
9/11 hijackers, Atta and Alshehhi both received I-20 "Vocational" visas from Huffman Aviation.
Some questions that arise:
Why did the INS certify Huffman aviation as a full time vocational school when in fact, it did not qualify?
Lack of certification would have prevented it from accepting foreign students here on student visas. Why wasn’t an onsite review conducted at Huffman aviation, as required?
33. Embodying and exemplifying the failure of U.S. intelligence is the experience of Michael Springman, a State Department officer in Saudi Arabia who had “red-flagged” visa applicants to the United States, only to have his decisions overruled by superiors. “An American consular officer in Saudi Arabia discovered first hand that the CIA was allowing Afghan ‘freedom fighters’ to get visas to come to the United States during and after the Afghan War. Michael Springman, now a lawyer in Washington, D.C., was then an officer in the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah. Springman repeatedly confronted his bosses about their approval of questionable visa applications. At first, Springman suspected that one of his bosses was corrupt and was selling visas to people who would never normally be admitted to the United States. Springman pushed so hard for answers that he was eventually warned to do what he was told. ‘In Saudi Arabia, I was repeatedly ordered by high-level State Department officials to issue visas to unqualified applicants. . . . I complained bitterly at the time. . . . I returned to the U.S. I complained to the State Department here, to the General Accounting Office, to the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, and to the Inspector General’s office. I was met with silence.’” (Ibid.; pp. 342-343.)
34. “As Springman kept pushing for an explanation, his fitness evaluations became more critical of him and he was eventually dismissed. It took him years to find out that Jeddah was the center of the GID/CIA recruiting operation. Springman said he should have been suspicious even before he was first sent to Jeddah: ‘I had gotten some strange questions before I went out to Jeddah from the then-ambassador, Walter Cutler, who kept talking about visa problems. He said how I should do my best to make sure that everything ran smoothly. Once I got there, I found I was being ordered to issue visas to people who really should not have gotten a visa. I’ll give you just one example. There were two Pakistanis who wanted to go to an American trade show in the United States. They claimed they were going with a Commerce Department-sponsored trade mission. These guys couldn’t name the trade show and they couldn’t name the city in which it was being held. When I refused the visa after a couple minutes of questioning, I got an almost immediate call from a CIA case officer, hidden in the commercial section [of the consulate], that I should reverse myself and grant these guys a visa. I told, ‘No.’ Not long afterwards, he went to the Chief of the Consular section and got my decision reversed.’ This was exactly contrary to normal operating procedures. ‘Essentially, in the State Department, the guy doing the interviewing has the first, last, and usually the only word regarding visa issuances. He can be reversed if it was done not according to regulation, for example. If somebody comes up with additional information that’s material, you can push for a change in the petition. But this was one of a pattern. . . . Week after week after week, and they got more brazen and blatant about it. And I was told on occasion, ‘Well, you know, if you want a job in the State Department in the future, you will change your mind.’ And other people would simply say, ‘You can change your mind now or wait until the Consul General reverses you.’ I learned later it was basically the CIA that had Osama bin Laden recruiting people for the Afghan War and taking them to the U.S. for terrorist training.’” (Ibid.; pp. 343-344.)
From a former GROUND ZERO Forum article, released at Scoop:
"...about 50 to 100 visas were improperly issued by Noman..." (ABC NEWS November 2001) Abdullah Noman was working for the US Consulate in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia -->), where he filed 10-15 visas for the Sep11th-hijackers in the so called visa express program. Noman was later arrested in a sting by the FBI in Las Vegas in November 2001. Michael Springman, the former chief of the visa section at the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah already confirmed in various international interviews (incl. Greg Palast/BBC), that Jeddah is a CIA connected consulate. He protested about superiors who ordered him to issue visas to unqualified applicants and later resigned from this position. http://www.straightgoods.ca/ViewMediaFile.cfm? http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/events/newsnight/newsid_1645000/1645527.stm It looks now that the CIA okayed the visas for most of the 911-hijackers and used employee Abdullah Noman to file visas for: Abdulaziz Alomari, Banihammad Fayez, Ahmed al-Ghamdi, Hamza al-Ghamdi, Saaed al-Ghamdi, Salem al-Hamzi, Ahmed al-Haznawi, Majed Moqed, Ahmed al-Nami, Waled al-Shehri, Wail al-Shehri, Mohald al-Shehri, and Satam al-Suqami...."
None of them was pilot of any of the four Sept 11th-planes. Two more hijackers (which brings us to a total of 15) may have received their visas from Jeddah as well: "...Abdul Alomari, on Flight 11...listing his address as Jeddah , Saudi Arabia, according to FAA records... ...In December 2000, (Hanjour,Hani) obtained a visa from the American consulate in Jeddah and arrived in the United States, according to US officials..." http://www.boston.com/news/packages/underattack/news/driving_a_wedge/part1.shtml
Cannistraro,Vince, former head of the CIA's counter-terrorism office and deputy station chief in Jeddah from the mid-to late-1970s, said that the Southwest was the nexus of recruitment for the Saudi hijackers. Why Noman's story didn't make more news play, is pretty unclear. It could be the Saudi-Arabian connection, the CIA-connection or both. Springman gave various interviews and confirmed his statements on a press conference in the National Press Office in Washington, organised by http://unansweredquestions.org http://unansweredquestions.org http://unansweredquestions.org 06/10/02: "...I used to be in charge of the Visa Section at the CIA's consulate at Jeddah, the principle city of the Hejahs in Western Saudi Arabia. There, for a year and a half, I issued visas to terrorists recruited by the CIA and its asset, Osama Bin Laden. At the time I thought it was basically visa fraud. Somebody was paying $2500 bribes to State Department officials. I was ordered by these same high State Department officials to issue the visas, to shut up, to do my job and ask no questions... ...I asked a few more questions and I said, "No. Visa denied. You haven't proved to me that you're going to come to the United States, accomplish your business and then return home." Well a few minutes later I had a phone call from a CIA case officer assigned to the commercial section. "Issue the visas." I said, "No." He said, "Well, it's important they get a visa." And I said, "No." And a few minutes later he was over talking to the chief of the consular section, reversed me, issued the visas and these guys took off. And this was typical.... ....this went on for a year and a half. I had people, not every day perhaps, but every week. And I estimate as many as 100 people got visas through me getting overruled on my analysis of their ability to go to the United states and then return. ....And I protested this. I protested to the Counsel for Consular Affairs in Riad. I protested to the Bureau of Consular Affairs in Washington ( http://travel.state.gov/index.html ). I protested to the State Department's Inspector General. ( http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/ http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/ ) ( I protested to the State Department's Office of Diplomatic Security. http://ds.state.gov/ http://ds.state.gov/http://ds.state.gov/ ) I talked about this to the FBI, to the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility ( http://www.usdoj.gov/opr/index.html ) , and I went to a couple of Congressional Committees. And by and large I was told, "Shut up. You don't know what you're talking about. This is a difference of opinion. You don't know what you're doing...." Some information about some of the offices Springman contacted. The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is headed by Glenn A. Fine since since August 2000 ( http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/ http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/). In testimony of October 2001 he confirmed, that "Historically, the OIG has played an important role in attempting to combat one aspect of immigration fraud". He mentions the Visa Waiver progam but ignored the Visa Express Program from Jeddah. In a conclusion, he urged, "the INS and the FBI to ensure that their databases share information, both with each other and with other government agencies." http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/ts102001b.htm The same Glenn A Fine later testified on the INS-investigation of Mohamed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi, who didn't get their visas from Jeddah. His only conclusion was to support a new student tracking system called Student & Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). http://www.ins.usdoj.gov/sevis http://www.ins.usdoj.gov/sevis http://www.ins.usdoj.gov/sevis
The OIG work strongly together with the Department of Justice under John Ashcroft (->). Glenn Fine reported on the FBI's handling of documents related to Timothy McVeigh on request of Attorney General John Ashcroft. http://www.usdoj.gov/opa/pr/2002/March/02_ag_158.htm In another testimony of June 20th, 2001, Fine pointed out, that the "Congress gave the Attorney General the authority to readjust the jurisdiction of the OIG" (See § 9(a)(2) of the IG Act) http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/ts062001.htm Fine explains the problems: "Under this Order, the OIG may undertake investigations in the FBI and the DEA only when the Attorney General or Deputy Attorney General specifically authorizes us to do so in a particular case". Fine was invited to the 911 hearings in June 2002. The content is classified. http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/nation/ny-usterr042731168jun04.story?coll=ny-nationalnews-print The Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) reports directly to the Attorney General John Ashcroft (under Clinton it was Janet Reno, who now tries to run for governor of Florida). http://www.usdoj.gov/opr/index.html FOIA (Freedom of Information Act ) Robert B. Lyon, Jr., Counsel for Professional Responsibility, DOJ. is H. Marshall Jarrett. He has former served as Criminal Chief, US Attorney's Office, DC; Deputy Chief of the Public Integrity Section, Criminal Division, DOJ In July 2002 the express visa program was finally stopped without explaining the deeper reasons. http://www.sunspot.net/news/custom/attack/bal-te.visas21jul21.story?coll=bal%2Dhome%2Dheadlines
The first complaints can be find here (incl. criticism of State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher): http://www.nationalreview.com/mowbray/mowbray071802.asp From November 14th-17th, 2001 Abdullah Noman was a participant at the International Association of Amusement Parks in Atlanta, GA, organised by the U.S. Department of Commerce who work on various trade shows held by Saudi Arabia in the United States. We can assume that the FBI used this chance to try to get in touch with Noman: http://www.us-saudi-business.org/shows.htm "...Industry Theme: SPT, TOY Dates of Event: November 14 - 17, 2001 Type of Event: IBP Post Recruiter/Control Officer: Jeddah - Abdullah Noman (966 2) 606-2479 x 205..." He worked the last few years at these trade shows, another confirmation about 1998 you can find here: http://www.state.gov/www/about_state/business/com_guides/1999/nea/saudi99_12.html "...Dates of Event: November 17-21, 1998 Type of Event: Reverse Trade Mission Post Recruiter/Control Officer: Jeddah - Abdullah Noman, (966 2) 698-3779 x 205..." It looks as if Noman was arrested before he was able to arrive in Atlanta: November 30th, 2001 - "...he was arrested on Nov. 1, said Assistant U. S. Attorney Lee Vilker.." http://www.miraserve.com/pressrev/EN30Nov01.htm http://www.miraserve.com/pressrev/EN30Nov01.htm http://www.miraserve.com/pressrev/EN30Nov01.htm
But Las Vegas Review claims, it was on a Sunday, which was Nov 4th: "....The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports a U.S. Dept. of Commerce employee Abdulla Noman was arrested Sunday in Las Vegas, NV..." http://www.letsgojeffs.com/article/articleview/835/1/9/> - 11/06/2001 But they wrote in another article that Noman was "arrested Thursday in a Las Vegas Strip hotel room" (=November 1st) http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2001/11/5/82710.shtml There are a couple of other articles about the arrestment of Noman in Las Vegas, for instance freelance editor Michelle Malkin mentioned it at: http://www.capitalismmagazine.com/2001/november/mm_terrorist_visas.htm http://www.usbc.org/profiles/1101visasforsale.htm http://www.usbc.org/profiles/1101visasforsale.htmhttp://www.usbc.org/profiles/1101visasforsale.htm (U.S. Border Control) or http://www.jewishworldreview.com/michelle/malkin051902.asp ABC News wrote that "about 50 to 100 visas were improperly issued by Noman from September 1996 until last November (2001)". Noman said he got bribes worth thousands of dollars for making it appear. http://abcnews.go.com/sections/us/DailyNews/homefront020521.html Noman is being held in a secluded cell at the Passaic County Jail (New Jersey) after being attacked by inmates during his confinement in Las Vegas. His attorney is Kim Otis of Princeton, New Jersey. Nomans indictment is at: http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/terrorism/usnomancc110201.pdf Noman was arrested with the help of FBI agent Henry Falkowsky. About the FBI-"plot": According to the criminal complaint against Noman, an informant allegedly paid Noman 12,000 riyals (about $3,100) for a visa in 1998. Agents in Newark later recorded several phone calls between the two that led to Noman's arrest in a Las Vegas hotel after he allegedly accepted half-payment of $4,000 for a second visa, the complaint said. http://www.onlineathens.com/stories/110701/new_1107010071.shtml Tuesday, November 6th 2001 - "...Assistant U.S. Attorney Howard Zlotnick told U.S. Magistrate Robert Johnston that the FBI has tape-recorded and videotaped evidence that the consulate employee, Abdulla Noman, arranged the sale of visas to people entering the United States from Saudi Arabia..." In which 'strip' hotel Noman was arrested and on which day (November 1st or 4th)? Is there any connection to Atta,Mohammads trip to Las Vegas from June 29 to July 1 (2001), according to a registration slip at the Econo Lodge, an inexpensive motel on the Las Vegas Strip? And what about the story about him in a "meeting" with Nawaq Alhamzi and Hanjour,Hani? Was this story true? http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-092201probe.story Or was the Las Vegas connection based on misinformation? And who leaked this information in the same week that Noman was arrested?
November 6th, 2001 - "...Since the first reports that five terrorists visited Las Vegas earlier this year, there has been speculation that the group was in the valley to complete plans for the Sept. 11 East Coast attacks. Abdulla Noman, 52, was moved on November 30th 2001 from Nevada to New Jersey , `where the FBI recorded calls in which he allegedly demanded $8,000 from an informant to arrange a U.S. visa for a Saudi citizen'. http://www.lvrj.com/lvrj_home/2001/Nov-06-Tue-2001/news/17385913.html The visa consulate-website in Jeddah is located at http://usembassy.state.gov/posts/sa1/wwwhj1.htmlhttp://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0208/S00068.htm#s