9/11 and Terrorist Travel: Staff Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States Page: 7
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just as the United States experienced the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993.
We reviewed information available on terrorist travel practices in the 1990s and
identified numerous entry and embedding tactics, unknown at the time of these earlier
attacks in the United States owing to the lack of analysis. No government agency
systematically would analyze terrorists' travel patterns until after 9/11, thus missing
critical opportunities to disrupt their plans.
Chapter 4, "Immigration and Border Security Evolve, 1993 to 2001," provides an
overview of counterterrorism activities as they relate to border security in the Intelligence
Community, the State Department, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Here
we explore the evolution of the terrorist watchlist and explain the process of applying for
a visa and for gaining entry into the United States. The reader is introduced to the Bureau
of Consular Affairs in the State Department and visa policy in general. The various INS
units working on counterterrorism are discussed, along with enforcement of immigration
law and the immigration benefits system.
Chapter 5, "Planning and Executing Entry for the 9/11 Plot," discusses visa issuance and
admission into the United States as it specifically applied to the hijackers. Thus, visa
policy in Berlin, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia, where the hijackers
received their visas, is explored in depth. Similarly, we review aspects of the admission
of the hijackers in detail, noting the immigration violations they committed. On both
topics, visas and entry, we include excerpts of interviews with consular, immigration, and
customs officials involved in the admission of the hijackers. We conclude with an
assessment of how well the State Department and the INS performed in the period prior
"Crisis Management and Response Post-September 11," chapter 6, reports on actions
taken by the intelligence community, the departments of State and Justice, and the INS
following the attacks, up to the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security.
Particular attention is paid to programs implemented by the Justice Department, in some
cases as part of the interagency process, including the Interview Project, Visa Condor, the
Absconder Apprehension Initiative, and NSEERS, the National Security Exit and Entry
Appendix A contains graphics relevant to the 9/11 plot. In Appendix B, "The Saudi
Flights," we examine the facts and circumstances surrounding the departure of Saudi
nationals from the United States in the days after the 9/11 attack. The procedure followed
for each flight, including the inspection of passengers and their belongings, is covered in
detail. Finally, in Appendix C, we describe the immigration histories of certain terrorists.
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Eldridge, Thomas R.; Ginsburg, Susan; Hempel, Walter T., II; Kephart, Janice L. & Moore, Kelly. 9/11 and Terrorist Travel: Staff Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, report, August 21, 2004; Washington D.C.. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1213676/m1/7/?q=cornerstone: accessed June 25, 2021), University of North Texas Libraries, UNT Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.