U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, made the following statement regarding the decision by the Department of Homeland Security to extend the Global Entry trusted traveler program to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"It's difficult to understand the Administration's decision making process to place Saudi Arabia as the next country to receive the status of "trusted traveler.' The Administration needs to explain how it came to this decision and what steps it and DHS are taking to ensure our nation's security will be safeguarded against any potential terrorist attack from those who would seek to take advantage of this upgrade in status. It also needs to explain why it has chosen Saudi Arabia to be "rewarded' with such a status and placed on this list before many of our other, more trusted allies."
"I join several of my Congressional colleagues in exercising vigilance and expressing opposition to the vetting process and security protocols Saudi Arabian and DHS officials will use to judge Saudi applicants' eligibility for this program. As we are all unfortunately aware, 15 out of the 19 terrorists involved in the September 11 terrorist attacks were Saudi citizens, and as recently as 2010, the Obama Administration singled out Saudi Arabia as one of the 14 nations whose citizens would be subjected to indefinite enhanced airport security screenings. This is a stark turn around that at the very least deserves some answers."
"This is an Administration that has consistently overpromised and under delivered on transparency. For an Administration that claims that transparency is one of its top priorities, this is a perfect opportunity for it to show the American people how it came to this decision, and what it will do to ensure that our national security is its utmost concern."