OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author’s opinion
A former FBI counterterrorism agent says the Biden administration distributed blank visa applications throughout Afghanistan which will make it easier for militants and terrorists to get aboard a flight back to the United States as the evacuation nears completion.
“The threat of having Islamic State or al Qaeda come into the country is not increased through the southwest border,” Kenneth Gray, a senior lecturer in the Fire Science and Emergency Management Department at the University of New Haven in Connecticut, said, according to the Washington Examiner.
“It’s the entry of al Qaeda and Islamic State in the groups of refugees that are being taken out of Afghanistan and possibly to the United States because of the lack of vetting procedures that would normally go on to expedite getting all of these people out of Afghanistan,” he said.
American citizen David Fox, who is stranded in the Afghan capital of Kabul, said last week he managed to obtain what the Examiner described as “a lookalike visa paper from the State Department,” the same kind of which was also distributed to thousands of other citizens and Afghanis who may or may not qualify for the Special Immigrant Visa.
He described it as a blank form with no name, bar code, or serial number.
“What do you think happened when these people received a document like this that has no name? Of course, they printed out a thousand copies,” Fox said.
“You have tens of thousands of Afghans who now have this kind of ridiculous, bogus document that the State Department created,” he added.
The purpose behind the document wasn’t immediately clear. But because there is no specific information on the form as well as a number that can be tracked, U.S. officials won’t be able to tell if the bearer of the document should have gotten it in the first place or it if was photocopied.
“When you provide blank visas without specific names already on them and without going through the vetting process, don’t be surprised when you end up with ISIS or al Qaeda showing up with those visas in hand,” said Gray, noting further that it made little sense for terrorists to try and sneak in the southwestern U.S. border if they could use a fake visa document and come in the front door instead.
That said, other experts are not convinced that “thousands” of terrorists from Afghanistan will find their way into the U.S. as part of the massive airlift that ends Tuesday when the deadline arrives.
“I don’t think the top echelon of al Qaeda or ISIS is going to be strolling down Central Park in New York City,” Dr. Gary Ackerman, a professor at the University at Albany in New York, told the Examiner.
“I don’t think it’s a huge threat of somebody saying, ‘I know what the visa papers look like — I’m going to do Photoshop and do it and come to the U.S.’,” Ackerman, a professor at the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security, and Cybersecurity who consults with federal agencies, added.
Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told Fox News host Jeanine Pirro on Saturday he believes the Biden administration’s hasty, chaotic pullout from Afghanistan is creating the conditions for another 9/11-style attack.
“We’re leaving thousands of Afghan allies behind who fought bravely with us,” he told the host. “We’re going to leave hundreds of American citizens behind. The chance of another 9/11 just went through the roof.
“The number of ISIS fighters have doubled,” he claimed. “We’ve turned our back on our allies who’s going to help us in the future. And we set the conditions for another 9/11. I’ve never been more worried about an attack on our homeland than I am right now.
“And we did not end this war. President Biden said that he wanted to take Afghanistan off the plate for future presidents. He’s done the exact opposite,” Graham said.
“For the next 20 years, American presidents will be dealing with this catastrophe in Afghanistan. This war has not ended. We’ve entered into a new deadly chapter. Terrorists are now in charge of Afghanistan.”