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Visa Fraud
State Dept. Workers Suspected of Illegally Selling U.S. Travel Documents

WASHINGTON, July 10 - Two State Department workers are suspected of selling U.S. visas to dozens of Middle Eastern nationals, including men who roomed with two Sept. 11 hijackers, ABCNEWS has learned.  
The investigation is focused on two former employees of the U.S. Embassy in Doha, Qatar, in the Persian Gulf region, where, U.S. government sources say, at least 70 Middle Eastern nationals illegally obtained U.S. visas in exchange for bribes of as much as $13,000.
Diplomatic security agents on Monday confronted one of the two employees who processed visa applications in Qatar from April 2000 to July 2001, sources said. He is a U.S. citizen now residing in Virginia. The employee has hired a lawyer and is not talking.

Report Says Terrorists Exploit Canada’s Immigration System

Police search an apartment in the east end of Montreal on Dec. 21. The home is believed to be connected with Ahmed Rassam, an Algerian man who was arrested on charges of trying to enter the United States with bomb-making materials.

Jan. 14 - International terrorist groups are exploiting Canada’s immigration system, using the country as a safe haven and a base to raise money for activities abroad, according to a confidential report by the country’s intelligence service.
“Canada’s immigration system, because it is both open and accessible, is vulnerable to exploitation and abuse,” says the Canadian Security Intelligence Service report, which was written in July 1999 and obtained by via a freedom of information request. “This is of chief concern for Canada’s national security.”

Among the more than 50 terrorist groups believed to be operating in Canada are the Algerian Armed Islamic Group, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the Tamil Tigers, Sikh extremists, the Kurdistan Workers Party, Hezbollah and extremist Irish groups, according to the report.

Terrorists Are ‘Free and Easy’
Canada is well-known among terrorists around the world as one of the easiest countries to enter undetected, says Alan Bell, president of Globe Risk Holdings, an international security consulting firm based in Toronto. The Immigration Department is understaffed and thus unable to thoroughly background every potential immigrant and refugee, Bell says. Moreover, the naturalization process is so long that it often takes years to complete. During that time, Bell said, terrorists simply stop reporting to immigration officials and disappear.
“Then they’re free and easy, they’re in Canada, and they can do what the hell they like,” Bell says. “Once a bad guy has dropped out of the immigration system or the refugee system, the chances of picking this guy up are very slim, unless they do something very stupid or wrong.
“So you’ve effectively got someone who’s in the country, who’s not being monitored, and after a year or two he starts doing what he was originally sent here to do in the first place, which is either collect financing for a terrorist organization in his home country; act as a halfway house; do training and operational planning; or become a mule for terrorist groups to move equipment and weapons and manpower in and out of the U.S.”