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Mary Ryan -- Draft Questions for the January 26, 2004 hearing

Visa processing

Ambassador Ryan, the Department of State in general, and the Bureau of Consular
Affairs in particular, was criticized heavily after September 11 for creating a so-called
"courtesy culture" in which - it was alleged — the interests of foreign travelers were
favored over the national security interests of the United States. Why do you think some
people have this perception, and why are they wrong?

The Foreign Affairs Manual before September 11 stated: "it is the policy of the U.S.
government to give the [visa] applicant every reasonable opportunity to establish
eligibility." Who wrote this policy, and did anyone in any branch of the USG question it
as sound policy before September 11, 2001?

What role did Vice President Gore's Reinventing Government initiative have on the
approach to customer service taken by the Bureau of Consular Affairs?

The GAO in their report (p. 18) noted that none of the visa applications of the hijackers
were filled out completely. Why did the State Department accept applications like this
before September 11, 2001?

Interviewing Rate

The GAO, in their report, concluded that the interview rate for Saudi Arabian citizen visa
applicants was approximately 2 %. Why was the interview rate for visa applicants who
were Saudi Arabian citizens so low before September 11, 2001?

In retrospect, do you think it was a mistake to not have interviewed more visa applicants
from Saudi Arabia and elsewhere before 9-11?

Visa Express

The GAO found that the Visa Express Program "did not affect the likelihood that Saudi
visa applicants would be interviewed." (p. 19, m. 29) To your knowledge, did Visa
Express do anything to increase the chances that a Saudi applicant's visa would be

Were TAR programs designed, in part, to improve security around embassies and

Congress and Budget issues

As the Assistant Secretary in charge of Consular Affairs, I am sure you dealt frequently
with members of Congress. Tell us, how many letters and phone calls do you think you
got from members of Congress before September 11 complaining about the fact that you
had issued a particular visa?

Did you ever get the impression during your tenure in the 1990s that the budget situation
for CA would improve, and there would be significant new resources devoted to hiring
consular officers?

What was the effect on your budget from the fact that C A was an entirely domestic
bureau and the regional bureaus controlled the overseas consular officers?

Post 9-11 response by CA

CA was criticized for not performing an after-action inquiry on the visas issued to the 9-
11 hijackers. For many people involved, the first time they were interviewed formally
was by the GAO or the State Inspector General in 2002. Why didn't CA perform such an
after-action review when it was clear the pivotal role they played in the 9-11 chain of

The law


Did overseas consular officials receive - in a systematic manner - any information from
the INS before September 11, 2001? In other words, did consular officials get data they
could use to reliably inform themselves about the visa overstay rates of visa applicants
from their country?


What information on criminals or terrorists in the possession of the FBI did the State
Department try and include in its watch list before September 11?

What efforts did State make to get this information, and what did the FBI respond when
these requests were made?

When and how did the State Department get access to NCIC data?