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Cablegate: Ident Review Raises Concerns About Senegalese Passport

VZCZCXRO6536
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHDK #2417/01 3541036
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 201036Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY DAKAR
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9783
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1092
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 0167
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 0718

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DAKAR 002417

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CVIS KCRM KFRD XY SG GA
SUBJECT: IDENT REVIEW RAISES CONCERNS ABOUT SENEGALESE PASSPORT
APPLICATION SECURITY

-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. (U) Embassy Dakar recently reviewed the cases of refused
Non-Immigrant Visa (NIV) applicants whose IDENT hits revealed mala
fide identity changes. This review identified several instances
when legitimate Senegalese documents were obtained using fraudulent
information. Two patterns of identity change are especially
apparent: refused applicants from Banjul have changed their identity
and reapplied - without luck - in Dakar as Senegalese applicants,
and a number of Senegalese applied for asylum or to adjust status in
the U.S. using a different identity than in their visa applications.
This cable aims to share our findings and these trends.

----------------
THE SENEGAMBIANS
----------------

2. (SBU) A review of IDENT and Facial Recognition (FR) "hits" from
the last two years shows at least seven applicants with Senegalese
passports who were previously refused under Gambian identities. Of
these, five of the applicants were women, and the alleged age of all
seven applicants ranges from 25 to 38 years. In Dakar the
applicants spoke either Wolof - a local language common to both
countries - or insisted on interviewing in English. (Few
Senegalese, even students with good English, request to interview in
English.) Interestingly, most of the applicants changed their names
only slightly, from the Gambian English to the Senegalese French
spelling of the same family name. For instance, Gambian "Rohey
Gibba" became Senegalese "Rokhayatou Djiba," and "Alassan Demba Joll
Ceesay" (DPOB: 15-Aug-1970, Banjul) became Alassane Demba Diol (DOB:
10-Aug-1970, Pikine, Senegal).

3. (SBU) In the latter case, the applicant went to creative - if
futile - lengths to explain the fingerprint match, returning to the
consulate with a man he claimed was his fraternal twin. They
insisted that their mother had given birth to Mr. Diol in Pikine, a
Dakar suburb, making him a Senegalese citizen, before she traveled
many hours overland to The Gambia to give birth to his twin brother,
Alassan Ceesay, in Banjul five days later.

--------------------------------
THE SENEGALESE IDENTITY CHANGERS
--------------------------------

4. (SBU) While at least seven applicants changed from Gambian to
Senegalese, there are only four NIV applicants we know of with
Senegalese passports under two different identities. None of these
applicants applied with compelling stories under either identity,
and the officers refused the applicants under section 214(b) before
receiving the IDENT results. Only one applicant retained a similar
name, but changed his date of birth by ten years. Others changed
their biographical information dramatically. For example, Fatou
Diouf (DOB: 20-Jan-1982) became Diariatou Sakho (DOB: 19-Sep-1984).
Three of the four applicants actually changed their date of birth to
make them as much as ten years younger in their second application -
something which may reveal misguided "wisdom on the street" of how
to improve one's chances on the visa line.

--------------------------------------
THE ASYLUM SEEKERS AND STATUS CHANGERS
--------------------------------------

5. (SBU) IDENT also exposed at least eight Senegalese (all men) who
applied for asylum or to change status in the United States using
one name and/or date of birth while consistently using a different
identity in all other visa applications In these cases, no CCD
record exists for the names and dates of birth provided to the
Citizenship and Immigration Services officer. In their post-asylum
claim NIV interviews, Consular Officers' notes indicate some of
these applicants also insisted on interviews in English, and none of
them admitted to prolonged stays in their NIV interviews. The
timing of the IDENT hits indicates that these individuals filed new
visa applications almost as soon as they returned to Senegal. The
fastest re-application we know of is Ibrahima Taha (DOB:
03-Jan-1978) who told us on June 26, 2006 that he was going to buy
goods in the U.S. and had only been there once, in 2001. In this
and a later interview in 2007, the officers noted that he did not
appear to be a legitimate trader and appeared evasive. After the
interview, IDENT revealed that he had applied for CIS services just
six weeks earlier on May 7, 2006 as Ousmane Sangare (DOB:
23-Dec-1965).

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THE OTHERS
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DAKAR 00002417 002 OF 002


6. (U) IDENT shows other individuals with Senegalese passports who
were previously refused as Guinean, Mauritanian, or Tunisian NIV
applicants. We also found two cases of recent Visa 92 (asylee
follow-to-join) applicants (one applying as a Gambian and one as a
Senegalese) in their early thirties who changed their identities
after being refused a diversity visa and an NIV, respectively.
(Before 207, Visa 92 applicants were not fingerprinted or ru
through FR. Now that they are processed in theNIV software, we
anticipate finding further FR o IDENT matches and identity
changes.)

-------
Comment
-------

7. (SBU) Despite the effortsthese applicants made to change their
identity, hey did not, apparently, invest the same time and ffort
in polishing their stories - all but one wre refused 214(b) upon
the initial interview, andin several cases the interviewing officer
noted fundamental inconsistencies in the applicant's story or
excessively nervous behavior on the applicant's part. Nor did they
attempt to dramatically change the "qualifications" -- i.e.,
economic and social profiles - which had earned them a refusal in
their original identity. This unpolished approach to fraud leads us
to believe that these cases do not represent the efforts of
organized or sophisticated groups.

8. (SBU) We are surprised at the high incidence of Gambians
perpetrating identity fraud here - 10 of our 18 IDENT cases involved
an applicant holding at least one Gambian passport, despite the
fact that Gambians account for less than one percent of our NIV
applicants. As the processing post for Gambian immigrant visa
applicants, we have long known that Gambian civil documents are
easily faked or fraudulently obtained. The IDENT results reviewed
here have heightened our awareness that Senegal, as well, has
exploitable weaknesses in the production of its passports or
"founding" identity documents. Post raised the issue of
vulnerabilities in the Senegalese passport application process with
Ministry of Interior officials in the summer of 2006, when the first
of these cases came to our attention. We will seek future
opportunities to reiterate the message.

PIAZZA

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