July 22, 2003
Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs
Department of State
Dear Ms. Harty:
It was interesting to meet with you in Washington, D.C. at the Government Reform Committee hearing room prior to the July 9, 2003 hearing, “Internationnal Child Abduction: The Absence of Rights for American Citizens in Saudi Arabia.”As you know, I had expressed many concerns about your nomination to the position of assistant secretary of State for consular affairs but I had sincerely hoped that once you entered that office, you would genuinely work for the return of not only my daughters but of America’s children taken abroad.
Prior to your confirmation last year you had woed members of Congress and the press as “an agent of change” after your predecessor, Mary Ryan was fired mostly because her extreme case of “clientitis” towards the Saudis. As we know, she refused to shut down the Visa Express program even after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 occurred.
It was brought to my attention prior to the Government Reform hearings last year after subpoenaed documents from the Department of State were made public, that Mary Ryan, even though she had refused to help bring my daughters home, continually wrote memos containing derogatory statements about me and attached them to my file. I know you and Ms. Ryan worked very closely for many years and I had hoped that you would somehow, have a different attitude.
When you introduced yourself to me prior to the hearing, I politely asked if you would be willing to open a dialog with the Saudi government concerning my American citizen daughters who have been held in Saudi Arabia for almost twenty years to come home to America. Instead of agreeing to work with me on this and offering me and my family a closure to this tragedy, you reiterated the Saudi position that was taken last year after they abused my daughters and forced them to disavow their country and mother in a hotel room in London.
Adel Jubeir had asked for the cooperation of the State Department in this Stalinist show trial after I had gone to Mr. Burton and the intense pressure of the hearings had caused a great light to be shone on the collaboration between the U.S. State Department, the Saudi government and the PR firms that the Saudis hire.
The Department of State knew the girls were going to be taken out of Saudi Arabia and flown to England – their first time ever out of Saudi Arabia since they were kidnapped from me as little girls. Yet no one informed me that my daughters would be in England and they just happened to be “on vacation” in London during the same weekend a Congressional delegation was in Saudi Arabia to ask the Saudi princes for their release.
You told me in that hearing room that my daughters do not want to come home to America or see their mother. You repeated the Saudi position – that of Prince Bandar, Prince Saud bin Faisal and Adel Jubeir – that they could speak freely in that Saudi controlled, PR controlled “hothouse” in a London hotel. What you should have said was, “Ms. Roush, I will do everything I can to bring your daughters and their children to America to see you in the U.S. I am truly sorry for all the pain and suffering you and your family have had to endure all these years.” If you were really an “agent of change” you would have taken that opportunity to really make a difference. Instead you took the Saudi line and refused to sit down with me and work out the details of an amicable arrangement to bring my daughters home.
I have no knowledge of the whereabouts of my daughters. I have no knowledge of any details about their lives. I don’t know how many children they have or who married them. I have no pictures of them – none for almost twenty years. What changes have occurred since you took office? None. And your statement only shows that you don’t intend to change.
What kind of power over peoples’ lives do you possess, Ms. Harty? Is there no way to hold you responsible for your obligation to fulfill your responsibilities to the American people? It made me quite uneasy at the hearing when you portrayed yourself as a “public servant for twenty-three years.”
At the hearing you stated, “Not a day goes by that we don’t think about these cases.” When Mr. Burton asked you about my case you replied, “There are few things I would like more than to see that happen. I have raised it on several trips to Saudi Arabia and will continue to raise it.”
Is it not a bit hypocritical to have one conversation with me prior to the hearing and then to answer Mr. Burton’s question with another totally opposite point of view? I truly wonder how you cope with yourself at night when the lights are off and how when your earthly life is ended and you stand face to face with the Most High, what fate will await you.
You and the Saudis have an excellent opportunity now to bring my family home to America. If my daughters truly don’t want to stay here or be with their American family, then they can get on a plane and go back to Saudi Arabia. We don’t hold people in this country against their will. Ask Sarah Saga. Tell your Saudi friends that bringing my daughters home would bring them more goodwill with the American people than any PR stunt they pay millions for.
Very truly yours,