Tracking ID UA-126977798-1
Last week an armed shooter planned, carried out, killed and had his nefarious actions filmed on a major US Military base. He was stalled by unarmed military members and finally by law enforcement. He met the end he hoped for...death as a "martyr". This shooter was supposedly a "vetted" i.e. thoroughly checked foreign national from a country with strict Sharia law. A Saudi Arabian Air Force member who had an all expense paid few years to learn in the United States of America. In theory, he was to return to his homeland, Saudi Arabia, to use the knowledge and skills in aviation for his own nation and his own military unit. But why is the USA Department of Defense hosting thousands of military members from other countries, many of which are not "official allies", in fact are from countries where US military are still fighting against their fellow citizens?
When you read reports from main stream media that the foreign nationals are "vetted"-what exactly does that mean? Is there a "standard" for "vetting" from countries which have a significant percentage of their population involved in violent extremism and terrorism? Are universities (public and private) vetting prospective students from adversarial nations such as China, Pakistan, Iraq and Iran? From first hand experience, the answer is a definite "No".
According to a recent investigative report: "U.S. officials rushed to assure the public that none of these men posed a security threat. The Pentagon said “they were vetted” by the State Department through its so-called “Leahy vetting process.” This so-called process has been under fire for years because of shoddy or unavailable records, as well as inconsistency across programs and agencies. “We generally don’t know who we are training. We have little reliable information,” one U.S. official told RAND Corp. researchers. Their study “found significant problems with current U.S. vetting practices in relation to security assistance.” According to ICE, limited biographical and background information can make it difficult to locate trainees once they have gone AWOL.
The United States has been/is risking "trojan horses", sleeper cells, insurgents, jihadi returnees, communist party members through immigration, education (student visas) and formal training programs. This is mostly at US taxpayer expense although military "Train, Advise, Assist Command"/TAAC programs, universities which are part of the Fulbright and other US government scholarship/exchange programs, and 'refugee assist' programs, do collect a portion of their funds from other sources including religious organizations, non-governmental organizations, corporation sponsorship as well as other governments (host countries) paying to have their military or "students" trained and educated in the US. Governments which have paid for selected citizens to be "educated" in the USA include: China, Libya, Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Denmark, Russia, Turkey and India. globaledge.msu.edu/blog/post/55638/why-governments-sponsor-students-to-study-abroad
There are steps to the process of obtaining a "student visa" and scholarship from the USA government-Fulbright fellowships, MENA scholarships, Humphrey Fellowships, AAUW grants, etc. However, these are not as difficult to obtain as one may assume. Did you know that an "in person interview" is not required for A-2 visa applicants. The requirement can be and is often, waived.
It is statistically more difficult for an American student, from what is considered to be a "middle class, middle income family" to obtain a scholarship in her/his own country-the USA.
The education/training sectors in the USA for students over eighteen are profit driven. There is more scrutiny in terms of a prospective student meeting financial obligations than actual checking into their political activities, criminal background, known personal and family associations, literacy foundation including an accurate assessment of their abilities in reading, writing, speaking and understanding English at an academic/higher education level.
There is little coordination with foreign law enforcement especially in "non-western" countries. While social media accounts were randomly perused, accounts could easily be doubled so the US government programs were given one Facebook account (required by some programs as a way to check in) but in their own language they had their "real" social media accounts.
Documentation is easily forged, references faked, exam results altered and documents incorrectly transcribed and translated. Bribes are the "fee" for "getting on the list" for sponsorship, for visas, and for enrollment in certain universities. Corruption works on both ends-from the host national country and from corrupt US government officials in country, and in the USA.
I have seen this first hand in programs sponsored by the US DOS, USAID and DOD. When I reported cheating on entrance/language exams, suspected criminal and terrorist activities and associations, mental health/medical conditions not noted on applications...I was the one told to "stand down", "mind my own business" or told "it has already been arranged". This happened in Pakistan, Ukraine, Afghanistan and Iraq.
This happened for medical students - I saw unqualified, suspect students put at the top of the list and some of the best students cut from the list to go to the USA. For DOD programs for Afghan Air force students, for prospective Education/Pedagogical students and teacher exchanges from Pakistan-the same injustices; and Assyrian/Chaldean Christian students were deliberately taken off the list and Iraqi and Kurdish Muslim students substituted for the MENA scholarships to America, by US DOS foreign service personnel in country. (Kurdistan/Iraq)
I listened first hand to accounts from prospective, deserving students who were being squeezed for money to "keep their place" they had already earned. Under the table (off the books/illegal) money in cash would be demanded from students and families who were already impoverished. SIVs (Special Immigrant Visas) could be bought in Kabul in 2015 (for example) for a minimum of $10,000 USD cash. A corrupt US foreign service officer working at the desk/visa section could make quite a tidy sum of extra money with her/his "side business" with virtually no consequences or investigation, and then "rotate out" of country. It did happen. Those complicit in these rackets only hired those who would participate and found a way to edge out those staff who would not collaborate, or who tried to report corruption, fraud and/or abuse of the processes.
US policy makers and US taxpayers should be demanding accountability and results from "training/education" programs which have been in place for decades. Many countries, especially "conflict zones" or "fragile states" i.e. Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq or those who are considered "pivotal" such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, South Korea - have been sending military members and "students" in higher education over to the USA for over twenty years, and trainers/educators were sent to their countries for over twenty years. More than 60% of the costs are funded by the US taxpayer through US government funding channels:
"Eligible foreign governments or international organizations may purchase training with their national funds through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. They may also obtain training using USG funds provided by Security Assistance (SA) appropriations such as the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program, Foreign Military Financing (FMF), and Peacekeeping Operations (PKO). SA Programs are further defined in Section C18.104.22.168."
C10.1.5.1. Eligible foreign governments or international organizations may also receive training through Security Cooperation (SC) programs authorized in Title 10 of the USC and funded through Defense appropriations, such as the Combating Terrorism Fellowship Program (CTFP) or other Building Partner Capacity (BPC) programs. SC Programs are further defined in Section C22.214.171.124. See Chapter 15 for more detailed information on individual programs."
There should be enough nationals of their own countries trained by 2020. If not, evidently those training programs were not effective or sustainable. Why continue them? Why "contract out" on US military bases when military personnel could gain practical experience doing the training themselves, assessing and vetting (CI, CT units) as well as observing the candidates, instead of leaving it to profit motivated business? What is the incentive for large defense contracting companies to train effectively, making the training programs by US personnel no longer necessary? I think you know the answer.
Why have large corporations such as: Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grummond, Dyncorp, Academi, Raytheon, Leidos, BAE, L3, CACI-producing military equipment, weapons, surveillance systems and training programs-hiring American citizens, local nationals and other foreign nationals, gaining huge government contracts year after year and making enormous profits - not been held accountable for:
Here is one program which just recently was discontinued but only after years of reported "problems". www.airforcetimes.com/news/your-air-force/2019/05/02/afghan-pilot-training-ends-after-almost-half-went-awol-in-america/
Here are statistics that should cause us to ask what is happening to our security on our military bases and in these training programs:
"Of the 320 total foreign trainees who abandoned their U.S. posts, 27 were from Yemen; 16 came from Turkey; 9 from Saudi Arabia; and 22 were from Iraq. Another 94 came from other countries, including Burundi, Ethiopia, and Tunisia. 83 Afghans who went AWOL still unaccounted for.
These foreign military soldiers, pilots, and other personnel are granted special A-2 visas to receive training on American soil. There are currently (2019) more than 5,100 foreign military personnel here on Pentagon-sponsored security cooperation training programs, including 852 from Saudi Arabia." michellemalkin.com/2019/12/08/where-are-all-the-awol-muslim-military-trainees/
Sadly, because of young Americans dying there is a fluster by the media and shock interest by politicians who publicly call for "review" of the military training programs for foreign nationals. Let's pray there are significant changes as a result.
“Today, I’m calling for a full review of the U.S. military programs to train foreign nationals on American soil. There is no reason we should be providing state-of-the-art military training to people who wish us harm,” Florida Republican Senator Scott said in his statement.
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said in a statement released Friday evening that he had spoken with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, the Navy secretary and Deputy Secretary David Norquist, and said that he was “considering several steps to ensure the security of our military installations and the safety of our service members and their families.”
There are a number of grieving families who have had loved ones harmed or killed because of the slackness of the US "vetting" systems. It is better to err on the side of caution, in this realm.
Closing this week with "Hymn to the Fallen" by John Williams. This past weekend was also the anniversary of attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.
May those who grieve be comforted...wherever you are,