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SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

DEPARTMENT

OF STATE

BROADCASTING BOARD OF GOVERNORS

Office of Inspector General Memorandum of Conversation

Visas for the 9/11 Hijackers

Subject

Consulate Jeddah

Office

Miguel Ordonez. Consular Sect. Chief

Official

Bert Krieg and Doug Ellice

Inspector

1/23/03

Date

Miguel Ordonez arrived at Jeddah on August 18,2001 and expects to be posted here until August 2004. He speaks Arabic and he replaced Art Mills as consular section chief, the latter having departed post in July 2001. Mr. Ordonez stated that there was a clear visa policy in Jeddah from the nineties until the September 11,2001 hijackings. That policy was to consider Saudi visa applicants to be drop box eligible. That is, Saudi nationals were permitted to drop off their visa applications at the consulate. An American officer or consular associate who would either issue the visa or call the individual into the consulate for an interview then reviewed those applications. Only unusual cases such as medical students were interviewed, less than five percent. Saudi Arabia was actually eligible to participate in the Visa Waiver Program, but since the Kingdom refused to waive visas for visiting Americans, the Saudis could not actually participate. Mr. Ordonez provided the inspectors with visa statistics for Jeddah which record the numbers and percentages of visas issued and refused for the pre and post September 11,2001 periods.

Mr. Ordonez considered!

implimented the visa policies that were in place. She was irritated at the timing of the Visas Express program which occured in May and June 2001. This was during the post's busiest time of year and she Wasobliged to take time off from visa adjudication in order to train the new

travel agents. Visas

Express, which was virtually the privatization of visa data input by selected

travel agencies, also required the additional work of reviewing all documentation submitted by visa applicants.

|to be a good, hard working officer officer who

Visa FSNs Ms. Maha Adra and Mr. Azzam Yahya later confirmed all the above statements made by Mr. Ordonez.

9/11 Working-level Employee

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED