The transcript from Monday’s State Department News Briefing is fascinating reading…and frankly, a little scary.  I encourage everyone to read the whole thing.  But I find this back and forth particularly interesting–the conversation is between a reporter and State Department Spokesman Ian Kelly who is trying to explain why the State Department failed to revoke Christmas terrorist Abdullmutallab’s visa:

QUESTION: Are you saying that the State Department doesn’t have authority to revoke someone’s visa because –

MR. KELLY: It absolutely has the authority to revoke —

QUESTION: Well, then why didn’t you do it?

MR. KELLY: Because it’s not our responsibility.

QUESTION: Well, I don’t care if it’s not your responsibility.

MR. KELLY:It’s an interagency decision.

QUESTION: What’s the right thing to do?

MR. KELLY:It’s an interagency decision.

QUESTION: But you can do it on your own if you want.

MR. KELLY: We can, but we – it’s – this has to be done in consultation with other agencies.

QUESTION: But you just said that —

QUESTION: But how do you know there was insufficient evidence?

QUESTION: You just said that it didn’t. You can do it on your own.

MR. KELLY: We can do it on our own for other – for other issues. Like with Honduras, we revoked visas.

QUESTION: Exactly. 

MR. KELLY: Those were foreign policy, diplomatic reasons to revoke these visas.

I particularly love how Kelly mentions the State Department’s brave actions in revoking the visas of Honduran diplomats after the ouster of former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya from office yet they seem squeamish to make visa decisions on terrorists. 

Another proud moment at the State Department.