Posted: Dec. 19, 2002


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Fully supporting the findings and recommendations of the Joint Inquiry released last week in relation to the September 11th terrorist attacks, Delaware Congressman Mike Castle, Chairman of the House Technical and Tactical Intelligence Subcommittee released his addendum to the report, saying there needs to be more of a focus on the nation's visa programs and improved technological and analytic capabilities at the National Security Agency. 

Castle expressed concern regarding the National Security's Agency past performance and future role in the global war on terrorism, saying that solutions must be put forward to meet the NSA's technological challenges and to fully integrate NSA, CIA and FBI intelligence collection and analysis.  Castle also expressed concern over the nation's visa program. 

"I am very concerned that significant reforms need to be implemented immediately with respect to the management, coordination and oversight of our nation's visa programs," Castle wrote.  "The State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs and the Justice Department's Immigration and Naturalization Service have joint responsibility for the management of our visa program, yet this program's administration has been characterized by poor management practices, uneven enforcement policies and inadequate coordination between these agencies and other elements of the U.S. intelligence and law enforcement communities." 

Castle cited problems with decisions made and errors committed by State Department and Justice Department officers, especially during the interview process, as well as the inability to properly account for foreign nationals who overstay the authorized periods of their visas as reasons to continue to study this area. 

"The proper handling of visa issuance, in accordance with the laws in place at that time, might have prevented the particular perpetrators from coming into this country to carry out the 9-11 attacks," Castle said.  Castle urged in a letter to the Governor Kean and Representative Hamilton that their Commission look into these problems.   

Castle has long been a proponent of securing the nation's visa system and authored legislation, which was included in the overall USA Patriot Act, to expedite implementation of the integrated entry and exit data system to track visa holders to determine their legal status in real-time.  Castle believes a particular focus should be paid to developing tamper-resistant visas with biometric technology to provide highest degree of positive identification possible to federal and local law enforcement officials.

Castle was a member of the House-Senate Joint-Inquiry into the September 11th terrorist attacks, which released their findings and recommendations on Wednesday, December 11, 2002.