by Rep. Paul Broun (GA)
Iran’s despotic dictator, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived on U.S. soil yesterday. By law, the United States is required to allow foreign personnel to travel to the U.N. complex and its surrounding vicinity. Disturbingly, there is not a consistent standard of permissible access to Manhattan for diplomats and personnel from state sponsors of terrorism.
This dangerous practice burdens our intelligence community. The FBI is responsible for protecting the United States against foreign intelligence operations and espionage, a difficult job for an organization of 30,000 people. That job is complicated further by the influx of foreign personnel with diplomatic immunity stationed at the United Nations in New York.
To help make it easier for our intelligence community to monitor these diplomats and personnel, I joined Congressman Dan Boren yesterday to introduce our Limiting the Intrusive Miles of International Terrorist Sponsors Act (LIMITS Act). Our bipartisan bill to limit personnel from state sponsors of terrorism to half a mile radius of the United Nations complex will level the playing field by providing one consistent standard.
We must not forget that in 2002, 2003, and 2004, personnel from the Iranian Mission to the United Nations were caught photographing and videotaping the New York City subway and other popular landmarks. Consequently, some of these individuals were expelled by the State Department for spying or "engaging in activities not consistent with their duties." Iran is not the only country designated as a state sponsor of terrorism that is engaged in intelligence collection - and other activities counter to our national and economic security - on U.S. soil.
Unless action is taken, history is bound to repeat itself.