-Caveat Lector-


October 23, 2002
Employee whose office let hijackers in U.S. gets bonus
By Tom Carter

     The State Department official who was forced to retire because
her office allowed most of the September 11 hijackers into the
United States has won an "outstanding performance" award of

     The bonus to Mary Ryan, the former head of the State
Department's consular service, was awarded for the period
beginning April 16, 2001 — nearly five months before the suicide
attacks — and ending April 15, 2002.

      "The performance of people is examined very carefully by
committees, and they determine who gets the pay benefits," State
Department spokesman Richard Boucher said yesterday.

     "People get these performance awards based on things that
they've done and how they've performed in their jobs and met the
needs of the service.  It's a sign that they performed well in terms of
serving their country and their government," Mr. Boucher said.

     The congressional General Accounting Office said in a report this
week that 13 of the 19 hijackers were given visas without ever
seeing a U.S. consular official.

     The report also warned that continued weaknesses in visa
procedures limit the effectiveness of the process as an anti-
terrorism tool.

     Last summer, reports of lax visa rules for Saudis — who could
apply for visas over the Internet with no questions asked —
prompted Secretary of State Colin L. Powell to force Miss Ryan to

     Miss Ryan's last day, after 36 years at the department, was Sept.
30, according to a State Department official who asked not to be

     According to State Department cable No. 206262, which was
sent out Oct. 18, Miss Ryan is among more than 200 State
Department employees being honored.

     Thomas Furey, who was consul-general in the U.S. Embassy in
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and helped establish the "Visa Express," also
received a bonus.

     Fifteen of the 19 September 11 hijackers were Saudi nationals. It
is not clear how many received their visas through Visa Express,
which allowed all Saudis to apply through travel agents or over the
Internet and routinely granted visas with no interviews.

     Mr. Boucher, when asked whether the bonus was appropriate,
accused the reporter of "attacking friends of mine, people who
dedicate their lives to their government and their country — my

     Mr. Boucher, who also received a bonus, refused to comment on
the individual merits of each bonus.

     The awards list was compiled this summer by the 2002 Senior
Foreign Service Selection Board. The State Department official
would not describe the criteria on which the awards were made.

     Miss Ryan was appointed by President Clinton to the position of
assistant secretary of state for consular affairs, a position roughly
equivalent to a four-star general in the military.

     Under Mr. Clinton, she was awarded two presidential
Distinguished Service awards.

     While Miss Ryan headed the consular affairs office, the U.S.
Consulate in Doha, Qatar, was also accused of selling at least 71
visas for $10,000 each.

     Even after September 11, Mrs. Ryan ordered that procedures for
the "Visa Express" program be maintained, even as the name was
quietly dropped.

     "In keeping with the spirit of American justice and fairness [pre-
September 11 rules] must be followed," she directed.

     New procedures have since been put in place, requiring Saudi
men in a particular age group to be interviewed.


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A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it
cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is
less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly.
But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his
sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very
halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor;
he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their
face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep
in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works
secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the
city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist.
A murderer is less to fear. ~~ Marcus Tullius Cicero (42B.C)

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