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April 16, 2013 10:59 am

Why the Bombing in Boston Just Sent Shivers Down Janet Napolitano’s Spine

avatar by Joseph Raskas

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Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Photo: wiki commons.

According to at least one media report, a 20 year-old Saudi citizen who is currently visiting the United States on a student visa is a suspect in yesterday’s horrific Boston Marathon bombing. The New York Post reported that the suspect has been questioned by authorities. The attack must have sent shivers down the spine of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who recently led efforts to ease travel restrictions for students between the United States and Saudi Arabia.

Indeed, in January Napolitano officially added Saudi Arabia to the list of countries approved for Global Entry, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) travel program that allows approved travelers to skip Customs and Border Protection lines and enter the country after providing their passports and fingerprints at a kiosk. The accord was struck during the visit of Saudi Interior Minister Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef and is set to take full effect in 2014.

According to the signed statement, the program “will facilitate trade and travel between Saudi Arabia and the United States and will help authorities from the MoI and DHS more effectively identity potential threats to keep their borders and countries secure.”

Almost immediately after the accord, Republican lawmakers in Congress warned Napolitano about the potential dangers of opening up the Global Entry Program to Saudi Arabia. Yet, in typical Cassandra fashion, Napolitano ignored the warnings. Only, now, the GOP’s contentions about the program have proven to be prescient.

Representative Frank Wolf (R-Va.) was the first of many GOP lawmakers to call the pact a bad idea. “I think you have radical Wahhabism in certain elements in Saudi Arabia, and I think to be more lenient there than in other places would be a mistake,” Wolf said. “There were 15 [hijackers] from that country, and there is a lot taking place in that region. Some of the people who went back to Saudi Arabia through Guantanamo – we find that they are in battlefields in Afghanistan or some other place, so I don’t think it’s a good idea.”

Two months later, on March 29, Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul and the panel’s subcommittee chairmen asked Napolitano to explain why the Department of Homeland Security extended a trusted traveler program to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

In a subsequent letter to Napolitano, seven GOP lawmakers expressed deep concerns about “potential risks” associated with expanding Global Entry to Saudi Arabia. “Of the 19 individuals who hijacked American planes on September 11, 2001 – 15 were from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the letter stated. “More recently, following the plot to blow up an international flight over Detroit on Christmas Day 2009, the Department saw fit to increase the scrutiny of passengers from countries like Saudi Arabia. This must be a factor in determining who to admit into the Global Entry Program.”

“This Committee is supportive of the Department’s efforts to expand trade and increase travel to the United States. However, we remain vigilant for vulnerabilities that our enemies can exploit to gain access to the Homeland. Expanding Global Entry to high-risk countries may represent such a risk,” the GOP lawmakers concluded.

However, instead of acknowledging the dangers associated with opening up the program to Saudi Arabia, Napolitano noted that “the accord marks another major step forward in our partnership. By enhancing collaboration with the Government of Saudi Arabia, we reaffirm our commitment to more effectively secure our two countries against evolving threats while facilitating legitimate trade and travel.”

It is clear from yesterday’s horrific bombing in Boston the depths to which Napolitano’s words now ring false. Republican lawmakers must be fuming. And President Obama – if he hasn’t already – should certainly take note.

Mr. Raskas served in the Israel Defense Forces and is a research analyst for

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  • GAON

    Random musings and pondering.. who does Janet actually work for? Who does the FBI work for?
    And how can I get a Saudi passport so that I can fly again without being sexually molested?

    Everything happening in the good old USA is surreal, as is everthing happening in the Charedi world.

    Not trying to draw a connection, but getting up in the morning and hearing or reading the news both domestic and orthodox Jewish (the corruption du jour, be it financial, kosher meat scandals, child abuse scandals, petty new rabbinic prohibitions) well it is getting more and more difficult to turn on the news or the internet. Luvox is the only SSRI (a class of anti-depressants) which is approved for OCD. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I think it should be mandatory in the water system in all Charedi neighborhoods.

  • Yet, in typical Cassandra fashion, Napolitano ignored the warnings. Only, now, the GOP’s contentions about the program have proven to be prescient.
    the author greatly insults Cassandra. She was the Prophetess who alone warned the Trojans that the Greek Horse was a ruse. All the others accepted the horse and brought it into the walls of Troy. She and her followers committed suicide rather than becoming slaves to the Greeks. She was like the defenders of Masada. Glory to Cassandra about whom Berlioz wrote a great opera.

  • jerry hersch

    About 45-50 years ago I was part of a miniscule program that GLANCED at applications from students and scholars from overseas…basically to note questionable areas of study..and apply some type of profile.
    I remember a spate of applicants from a nation whose social and industrial infrastructure was at the dawn of modernization ..and yet their government was willing to foot the bill for research in Unique areas of biological research.
    This small ~12 member team -each with knowledge of at least half a dozen academic disciplines..innumerable languages and intimate knowledge of most of the worlds areas was hand picked..worked as a fine working machine and could together work through perceived problems.
    It was as diverse as any of the most evolved “Bletchley Park” teams.
    America has lost its ability to discern and decipher.

  • Why are American lawmakers so stupid? What law-abiding citizen objects to sensible, reasonable checks at airports, border crossings, and ports. Thanks, Janet: let all the assholes who hate us, run loose in the USA, kill and maim Americans, all in the name of de–MOCK-RACY! RESTRICTIONS? PRECAUTIONS? WHYYYYY? Let ’em ALL in! DON’T WORRY, JANET…AS A BIG DEAL IN THE GOVERNMENT YOU WILL BE PROTECTED BY THE SECRET SERVICE. And as for the rest of us: who cares? YOU certainly don’t!!

    Thanks a lot, Janet. And while you’re reading this, Janet, GET LOST!!

  • Bernard Ross

    Furthermore, the US is allied with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who are using al qaeda and salafi jihadis, against assad. therefore, the US is allied with Jihadis.

  • Jon

    You folks are paranoid. There’s been not an iota of evidence at this point that the perpetrator is a Saudi national.

    The Global Entry program allows fast-track entry only for those travelers who have been pre-vetted. The Saudi population is one matter; but keep in mind that the Saudi government has even less tolerance for terrorism than we do. You could ask your senators and representatives for more data, but I suspect that this is in practice largely covers frequent-traveling oil executives and engineers more than students.


  • Pam Green

    Janet Napolitano should be forced to resign. She has spent her time attacking American citizens, giving preferential treatment to enemies of America, and doing absolutely none of the things the DHS was created to do. Where was the security at the marathon? Where were the bomb-sniffing dogs before the race? Apparently, Obama took it upon himself to reduce the budget of the domestic bomb-preventative program from $20 million to $11 million – and even $20 million is a paltry sum compared to the billions we spend on the same program in Afghanistan.

    I hope a few bold Republican congresspersons will call for the immediate resignation of this incompetent and arrogant appointee., and a radical overhaul of the budget that favors our enemies over our own protection.

  • Napolitano — what a failure! DHS, ditto. As with our recent Secretaries of State, it seems we’ve been packing our security positions with EOE appointees like Napolitano, duds (like Ridge) or evil people (Chertoff).

    Saudi Arabia — approved for Global Entry? Is this some sercet training program for our trauma medics?

    When will we ever learn?

  • Leah Gaon

    Astonishing, and I a 64 yr old *female*, American born, Jewish who refused to be bodily abused, spent five hours at an northeastern US airport, because my breast prosthesis had set off the ‘anomaly” signal, and I politely refused to have anyone touch my body, And, the kicker was that the guy in the X-ray booth, is not allowed to leave, go home, at the end of his shift, if he has seen naked body outline of sometime still in airport loading area.
    A night to be remembered. OH, the 27 year old child, who was supposed to “feel me up” , said and this is an exact quote “I’ve never met anyone before who had breast cancer.,” This was the TSA employee who was supposed to have full access to my body.
    I refused for five hours, and we finally agreed on a “compromise”. In the meantime, after bringing in head of security, they brought in TEN TEN Mass. Highway Patrol cops., Amazons, what kind of water do they give them there?
    I offered to leave, stay in hotel, and take train in morning,. No, not allowed, once you set off the signal you cannot leave.
    They are sure Fn set up to catch terrorists, the level of protection is awe inspiring.

    Months later, I found on TSA site, that examination of breast cancer survivors prostheses was forbidden. I called to verify this, The rep got very flustered, guess he was afraid the call was being taped, and finally said, “we can keep anyone from flying for any reason we want”. hey, he got out of it.
    it was a long traumatic night but i got home, unscathed, i.e. untouched by “virgin hands”. I will never ever try to fly again. maybe i will go naked with no breast, wonder what alarm that will set off. Janet take note.

    • Leah Gaon

      I would just like to add, if the website allows for this, that the TSA site, deleted the exclusion of breast cancer survivors., that many months later. How many terrorists has TSA caught since 9/11. at airports???????? how many terrorist acts have there been, which have not been detected?.
      A travesty, and i will never fly again, and I hope that more and more Americans will boycott the airlines.
      And why has the DHS bought billions of rounds of hollow core shells, enough for 5 bullets for each citizen. Hollow core are NOT used for training, they are they worst kind, they explode inside the body, destroying from the inside out. So that in a nutshell is the protection granted by the TSA, a fn farce, and the serious threat liingering from the DHS. I invite any govt official to explain the huge amt of money spent on catastrophic ammunition in this country, could it be for getting the illegal aliens crossing the border, oh, give me a break, I am not brain dead.

  • Mel

    It appears the two greatest dangers to Homeland Security are the Secretary of Homeland Security and her stuporvisor.

  • Warren E Davis, Sr.

    Janet N. has made many bad decisions. Perhaps, she should take more time to heed GOP warnings and stop the influx of Muslim extremists into our country.

  • richard sherman

    Janet and her pal Obama wlll find a way to call the muslim slaughter in Boston “workplace violance”…just like they did at Fort Hood.

  • richard sherman

    Saudi Arabia produces jihadists( people whose purpose in lufe is to kill Jews and Christians) the way rabbits produce babies…WAKE UP JANET!