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9/11 Working-level Employee

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

DEPARTMENT OF STATE
UNITED STATES INFORMATION AGENCY

Office of Inspector General

Memorandum of Conversation

Visas for the 9/11 Hijackers Foreign Service Institute 2/5/03


Subject Office Date

| | FS-03 Bert Kriee and Kevin Hrvnkow

Official Inspector

Mr. Krieg stated that the purpose of the interview was to respond to a congressional inquiry
requesting that OIG report on visa issuances to 9/11 hijackers. He added that OIG's response
would not identify specific visa adjudicators.

Mr. Henry Sizer, Grievance Attorney of the American Foreign Service Association,
accompanied! I at the latter's request.{~ [answered the questions for the visa
adjudicators as follows.

1. For the record, please tell me your name, present rank and position.

2. Were you the officer (or consular associate) who issued nonimmigrant visas to (names of
\) on (dates) at (name of post)?

j ^examined the computerized consolidated consular database visa files of Mohamed


Atta who was issued an NTV on May 18,2000 at Embassy Berlin.)

Yes.

3. Is this a copy of the application?

No, it must be an electronic reproduction because those applications were shredded after one
year according to our standard destruction schedule for storage efficiency. We had very little
storage space at Embassy Berlin.

If no application is available, then why is it not available?

(See above)

4. Did you check the CLASS lookout system for his name, and what were the results?

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED


SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

14. If you interviewed this individual, what details can you recall?

N/A

15. Did he present any documents in support of his application?

He would have had a passport, some form of residency status from the local German police
district in Hamburg where he lived and source of income documents. I do not recall the specific
documents.

16. If so, can you recall any details of the documents that were presented?

No.

.17. What specific elements obtained from the interview or the application convinced you that
this applicant was entitled to a visa?

I do not recall the specifics of this case. Looking at it now, Atta was a longtime resident of
Germany, he was not an intending immigrant, and there were no "hits" on CLASS.

18. Did you have sufficient time to conduct the interview or review the application to your
satisfaction? If not, how much time would you have preferred?

No. There was never enough time to interview the more than 25,000 applicants processed
through Embassy Berlin each year. However, time was not the issue in this case. The questions
on the interview form were not always the most useful in eliciting information about whether
someone was a terrorist or not. We only had two officers that conducted interviews at that time
and we could have used more. We needed not only more time but also better visa application
forms with more useful details for the applicants to fill out.

19. If there were sufficient consular officers at post to conduct personal interviews of every visa
applicant, would there have been sufficient interview windows, work space and support
staff?

No. Embassy Berlin covered a vast region of Germany including Hamburg, and we did not have
enough space or resources to handle the long lines that would develop outside. Applying for
visas was a real problem for applicants residing in distant parts of the consular district.

20. What other elements would have helped you make a better decision regarding the applicant's
eligibility for a visa and why?

Maybe better cooperation between the German police and other agencies at post would have
helped. We needed better information. An FSN to investigate TCN visa application claims
would have been useful At the time, I felt I made a good decision.

21. Did your superiors ever discuss the post's NTV refusal rates in general with you?

Yes, Berlin had about a 10-12 % refusal rate.

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SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

22. Did your superiors ever counsel you to raise or lower your own refusal rate?
No. No pressure either way.

23. Did you or anyone in the consular section conduct NTV return validation studies? If not, why
not?

Yes, they were done more or less ad-hoc. An FSN would telephone TCN applicants to follow-up
on their return to Germany.

24. How well did you speak and read Arabic?

Not at all. It was not an issue since I spoke and read German.

25. Did the Department train you in this language? ~ ~ ~ ~

I have no Arabic, but am proficient in German.

26. Do you consider that the training you received in the Department to carry out your visa
adjudication responsibilities was adequate?

Not really. It would be much better if the Department would allow new consular officers go to a
real post somewhere close by, like Mexico, for a week or two to get actual hands-on experience
before going to their first overseas post.

27. If not, what additional training would have enabled you to do a better job?

Consular officers need more practical application training for carrying out visa procedures.

28. What other comments would you like to make at this time regarding this visa case?

I have really lost a lot of sleep over this whole thing... | pvas quite visibly shaken.)

9/11 Working-level
Employee

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED