I've often blogged about high profile individuals denied entry to the US - reporters, movie stars, scientists coming for conferences, etc. But it's not so easy to cover the everyday humiliations faced by would be tourists at consulates around the world and airports throughout the US. Perhaps the Pakistani IOC official who grilled President Obama on why Olympic officials should not trust the President's promise of a friendly welcome actually did this country a favor. Most Americans are not even aware of just how unfriendly US immigration officials are to people who want to spend billions of dollars in our country and spread the word in their home countries regarding how wonderful a country the US is. Perhaps now they will begin waking up to this problem and members of Congress from states that depend on tourism will start asking tough questions of Secretary Clinton (she's in charge of US consulates abroad) and Secretary Napolitano (she's in charge of CBP officials at our airports) about what they intend to do to repair the massive damage to our tourist industry as a result of the hostile culture that has developed at these two agencies.
We can't just blame 9/11 for this. The problems were developing for many years and 9/11 just provided additional cover for those who were so inclined to be abusive in their daily interaction with would be visitors. For many, the bad experience with a US consular officer or a CBP official at an airport will be their only interaction with a representative of the US. And that negative experience can come back to haunt us as we've just seen. I wonder how many IOC officials have had unpleasant experiences coming in to the US? I'll be a few people cast no votes with a smile on their faces as they paid back a surly US consular or airport official for an experience they or a friend or family member faced.