King Calls on Secretary Napolitano for Explanation about Granting of Visa to Hani Nour Eldin, Member of Designated Terrorist Organization

Jun 24, 2012 Issues: Counterterrorism

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, has called on Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to explain why a visa to visit the United States was granted to Hani Nour Eldin, a member of a designated foreign terrorist organization, Gama’a al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group).
 
In a letter to Napolitano, King wrote: “Mr. Eldin’s membership in the Islamic Group is a matter of public record, and reportedly even disclosed on his Facebook page.  Nonetheless, Eldin met with senior Department of State and National Security Staff officials during the past week, and as reflected in media reports requested the transfer of the jailed leader of his terrorist group, Omar Abdel Rahman, to Egyptian custody.”

The signed letter to Napolitano is available HERE.

The text of the letter follows:

June 24, 2012

The Honorable Janet Napolitano
Secretary
Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC  20528

Dear Secretary Napolitano:

I write as Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security to inquire as to the circumstances under which a visa to visit the United States was granted to Hani Nour Eldin, a member of a designated foreign terrorist organization, Gama’a al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group).

Mr. Eldin’s membership in the Islamic Group is a matter of public record, and reportedly even disclosed on his Facebook page.  Nonetheless, Eldin met with senior Department of State and National Security Staff officials during the past week, and as reflected in media reports requested the transfer of the jailed leader of his terrorist group, Omar Abdel Rahman, to Egyptian custody. 

I am aware that there may be legitimate diplomatic reasons to grant a member of a designated foreign terrorist organization a visa to visit the United States, such as for example in furtherance of peace negotiations.  However, the nature of Eldin’s visit suggests an absence of full vetting rather than a policy choice, or perhaps a break-down in the screening missions of and coordination among our Federal agencies.

Accordingly, pursuant to Rule X, Clauses 2(a) and 3(g)(1), and Rule XI, Clause 1(b)(1) of the House of Representatives, I request answers to the following questions.

1.      What U.S. Government department or agency sponsored Eldin’s visa application, and for what reason?

2.      What steps did that department or agency take to trace Eldin’s background?  Was it aware of his membership in the Islamic Group, or not?

3.      What information, if any, did the department or agency sponsoring Eldin’s visit share with the Department of Homeland Security regarding Eldin’s membership in a designated terrorist organization and his pending visit to the United States?

4.      What rationale did Customs and Border Protection apply to allow Eldin’s admittance into the United States?  And, when entering the country, did Eldin undergo secondary inspection?

5.      What information, if any, was relayed to the United States Secret Service (USSS) in advance of this Islamic Group member’s appointment at the White House?  Did the USSS express any security concerns about the location of this meeting?

6.      During his visit to the United States, did Eldin engage in any activities which might constitute material support for terrorism under 18 U.S.C. § 2339B?

7.      What policies and procedures are in place regarding interagency notifications of visits of members of designated terrorist organizations to the United States?

8.      What is the position of the Department of Homeland Security regarding any potential custodial transfer, or release, of Omar Abdel Rahman?

In light of the serious national security questions raised by Eldin’s visit and meetings, I request your written response to this inquiry by no later than Tuesday, July 3, 2012.  If you have any questions regarding this inquiry, please contact me directly, or have your staff contact Kevin Carroll of my Committee staff at (202) 226-8417.

Thank you for your time and personal attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

PETER T. KING
Chairman

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