Wednesday, April 30, 2008

New Bill Introduced to Limit Travel of Diplomats from State Sponsors of Terror

On April 24, Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) introduced H.R. 5886, a bill designed “to restrict the diplomatic travel of officials and representatives of state sponsors of terrorism.” The bill has 15 co-sponsors and a cutesy title, “Limiting the Intrusive Miles of International Terrorist Sponsors Act of 2008” or the “LIMITS Act of 2008.”

Essentially, H.R. 5886 seeks to limit the ability of diplomatic and official representatives of “state sponsors of terror” from receiving visas to travel to the U.S., with the exception of travel to and from John F. Kennedy and La Guardia airports to the United Nations in New York “in connection with official business at the United Nations headquarters complex” without any stops along the way. Delegates and representatives would not be allowed to move outside of the half-mile radius of the United Nations. Currently, they are permitted to travel up to 25 miles for UN activities.

The bill specifically highlights Iran, North Korea, Cuba and Syria. H.R. 5886 cites that “between 2002 and 2007, the Department of State issued, with full diplomatic immunity, 1823 visas to delegates and representatives from Cuba, 2782 visas to delegates and representatives from Iran, 132 visas to delegates and representatives from North Korea, 1242 visas to delegates and representatives from Sudan, and 706 visas to delegates and representatives from Syria.” Sponsors of the bills argue that mobility should be restricted because these visas create a security vulnerability within the U.S.

3 comments:

Plutonium Page said...

Talk about isolationist foreign policy! Way to go, Broun et al.

I assume the bill has the implicit support of the Bush administration?

Finally, where is the logic in this?

"Sponsors of the bills argue that mobility should be restricted because these visas create a security vulnerability within the U.S."

These are diplomats and officials. How on earth would high profile representatives of these so-called "sponsors of terror" pose a risk? What high profile diplomat would be stupid enough to do anything "shady" (for lack of a better word)?

Whatever happened to worrying about actual security risks? Their entire argument since 9/11 has been to catch "evildoers"... but they sure aren't going about it the right way. Oh, except they fingerprint my Dutch husband every time he enters the US.

Sorry for the spammy comment. This is just such a stupid bill, IMO.

Carah Ong said...

Apparently they're a security risk because some Iranian diplomats were "caught" videotaping and photographing the New York subway and other popular NY landmarks in June 2002, November 2003, and June 2004. I guess if you're a diplomat, you're not allowed to be a tourist.

Plutonium Page said...

Oh yes, I'd forgotten about that shocking story! (Heh, pardon the snark, I'm just really amazed at how some of our representatives waste their time and our tax dollars...)