Diplomatic Hot Potato Continues to Unravel

Chip Cummins of the Wall Street Journal Online writes about Dubai police suspects who travelled to the US on “fraudulently issued passports.” (See   Two Dubai Suspects Traveled to U.S. | March 1, 2010):

DUBAI—At least two of the 26 suspects sought by Dubai police for the alleged killing of a top Hamas leader appear to have entered the U.S. shortly after his death, according to people familiar with the situation.
Records shared between international investigators show that one of the suspects entered the U.S. on Feb. 14, carrying a British passport, according to a person familiar with the situation. The other suspect, carrying an Irish passport, entered the U.S. on Jan. 21, according to this person. Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh’s body was found in a Dubai hotel room on Jan. 20.
There aren’t records of either man leaving the U.S., though investigators can’t be sure the two are still in the country, according to this person. Since the two were traveling with what investigators believe to be fraudulently issued passports, they may have traveled back out of the U.S. with different, bogus travel documents.
The suspected U.S. travel broadens to American shores the international manhunt triggered by Dubai’s investigation into the death of Mr. Mabhouh. Dubai police have already identified two U.S. financial companies they believe issued and distributed several credit cards used by 14 of the suspects in the alleged killing.
A U.S. State Department spokesman declined to comment.
Read the whole thing here.
Although the State Department declined to comment The Cable’s Josh Rogin reported yesterday that  according to a US official “the U.S. government does not believe that two of the 26 alleged Mossad assassins responsible for the killing of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai came to the United States following the murder, a top Obama administration official said Wednesday.”   Excerpt from the report:

Rand Beers, the under secretary of homeland security for the National Protection and Programs Directorate, told a roundtable at the Heritage Foundation Wednesday that Monday’s Wall Street Journal report, which claimed that “at least two” of the Dubai assassination suspects had entered the U.S., was flatly inaccurate.

“We have no indication and they would have had to have shown that passport and that travel documentation with it to enter this country,” Beers said, addressing the Journal story directly. “So we would know if they had entered with that passport and that name and that picture.”

Beers acknowledged that the official U.S. government position was not to comment on the Journalreport, but confirmed twice he believed the report to be inaccurate.
Asked if the U.S. was vulnerable to infiltration using such forged passports, which appeared to be issued by visa waiver countries Britain, Ireland, France, and Germany, Beers said he just didn’t know.

O. Read the whole thing here.