Database snafu allowed 105 on terror watch list to get visas

The U.S. Department of State granted visas to 105 foreign men whose names appear on terrorism watch lists because of a backlog in a name-checking system used by federal agencies, according to published reports this week.

The system, called Visas Condor, was developed in November 2001 to process visa applications and automatically check those filed from certain nationalities against possible terrorist names in FBI and CIA databases. However, an investigation by the General Accounting Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress, found that by April 2002, the FBI had a backlog of approximately 8,000 unchecked names from the State Department.

Of the 38,000 Condor applications subsequently processed through Aug. 1, 2002, roughly 280 names turned up on the antiterrorism lists. GAO officials said that because of misspelled or duplicate names, visas were issued to about 105 of those individuals, according to The Associated Press.

In September, State Department officials touted the agency's effort to boost integration of its IT systems with the intelligence community as part of a larger plan to become what one official called "the largest influence in the secret [intelligence] space in the next two to three years”.

But as this case shows, that's easier said than done.

"Up to a year ago, many [foreign service officers] didn't even know they had the capability to share classified data" via the Secret Internet Protocol Routing Network, said Gerald Galucci, a career foreign service officer at the State Department, speaking in September at a homeland security conference in Philadelphia. "Right now, we're still using the telegram system to send messages to and from overseas."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Dan Verton

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

PC World Evaluation Team Review - MSI GT75 TITAN

"I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it."

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?