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The White House's Visas-for-Terrorists Program
by Michael Volpe
A new Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) report raises more questions than answers regarding the circumstances behind the approval of a visa for a known member of a group identified by the State Department as being a member of a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
In June 2012, Egyptian Hani Nour Eldin visited the United States as a member of an Egyptian parliamentary delegation to meet with U.S. government officials and business leaders. During the course of those meetings, Eldin raised with then Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough the issue of the release of Omar Abdel Rahman, the Blind Sheikh, from federal prison for humanitarian reasons.
Eldin's presence at all these meetings is peculiar because in 1993 he admitted to being a member of Gama'a al-Islamiyya. Gama'a al-Islamiyya is an Egyptian Islamist group first designated by the State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 1997. Gama'a al-Islamiyya has been linked, though indirectly, to the assassination of Anwar Sadat. In the 1990s, the group was linked to a string of terrorist acts, including the murder of Egypt's speaker of parliament and a 1995 attempted assassination of Hosni Mubarrak.
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