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Daily Press Briefing
Sean McCormack, Spokesman
Washington, DC
September 26, 2006

[ ... ]

QUESTION: The State was briefly into this business of an academic, a Muslim academic whose visa was --

MR. MCCORMACK: This is Tariq Ramadan?

QUESTION: Yeah, Ramadan, whose visa was not granted. Is he being denied a visa for his actions or for his views? Could you get into it a little bit?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, there's -- as with any visa case, Barry, there's a limited amount of information that we can provide. But he was denied a visa under Section 212(a)(3)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act for providing material support to a terrorist organization. It's a little bit of history that we can go through to explain to you how we got to a visa denial. He was originally -- Dr. Ramadan was originally issued an H-1B work visa to teach in the U.S. in 2004. The State Department revoked this visa in July 2004 to allow the U.S. Government to follow up on information that came to light after that H-1B visa was issued. He subsequently applied for a B1-B2 visa, business and tourism visa in the fall of 2005. New information was evaluated in his most -- that new information which led to the revocation of the H-1B visa was evaluated in light of the fall 2005 visa application and that ultimately lead to a finding of inadmissibility.

Now, just so you know, there's a -- just for your information, the "to provide material support" clause here refers to a section of the Immigration and Nationality Act. And what this does is it established inadmissibility for committing, "an act that the actor knows or reasonably should know affords material support, including a safe house, transportation, communications, funds, transfer of funds or other material financial benefit, false documentation or identification, weapons, including chemical, biological or radiological weapons, explosives or training… to a terrorist organization." So that's just a little bit of background information for you.

QUESTION: Is that (inaudible) the argument that the group that he is said to have contributed to was not then listed as a terrorist organization?

MR. MCCORMACK: Barry, this is -- people went through this exhaustively. I know there were a lot of discussions about this. People looked at it very carefully the facts. Rack that up against the existing law and this is the decision that we came out with.

QUESTION: Sean, can you just make clear what did he actually do to violate that particular provision?

MR. MCCORMACK: Not something I can get into.

QUESTION: So in answering Barry's question, you didn't mean to implicitly say that, yeah, it was in fact contributing funds to a group.

MR. MCCORMACK: No. I just went through that list just for your background and just for your information -- save you the trouble of flipping through the Immigration and Nationality Act. I know it's what you probably like to do after the briefing.

QUESTION: Yeah. I did it yesterday. (Laughter.) But here's the next question. He -- Mr. Ramadan gave an interview yesterday in which he accused the United States of essentially rejecting his visa on ideological grounds that this had to do with his viewpoints. Can you address that?

MR. MCCORMACK: Not true. It was -- again, I can't get into the reasons behind it. You will find that, as you know with any questions about visa applications that we just don’t get into the decision-making process. We try to outline for you the law and regulations under which a visa was either denied or revoked or granted and then give a general description of some of what went into our thinking. But in terms of the details of it, it's just as a matter of practice, we don't get into it.

QUESTION: Right. But it has nothing to do with his point -- with his sort of, you know, intellectual points of view?

MR. MCCORMACK: That's certainly not part of that -- that part of the statute of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

[ ... ]

[ End ]