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Thursday, Mar 06, 2003

laden ladens

"Still, we are left with the question of why both Bush Jr. and Clinton would hold back disclosure of Saudi funding of terror. I got the first glimpse of an answer from Michael Springmann, who headed up the U.S. State Department's visa bureau in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, during the Reagan-Bush Sr. years. "In Saudi Arabia I was repeatedly ordered by high-level State Department officials to issue visas to unqualified applicants. These were, essentially, people who had no ties either to Saudi Arabia or to their own country. I complained bitterly at the time there." That was Springmann's mistake. He was one of those conscientious midlevel bureaucrats who did not realize that when he filed reports about rules violations he was jeopardizing the cover for a huge multicontinental intelligence operation aimed at the Soviets. Springmann assumed petty thievery: someone was taking bribes, selling visas; so he couldn't understand why his complaints about rule-breakers were "met with silence" at the Bureau of Diplomatic Security."