Re “Democratic congressional candidate’s ad could lead to false impressions” (Online, May 15): Reporter Emily Cadei’s opinion that Regina Bateson’s two-year experience as a visa officer in Guatemala is no basis for a claim to national security expertise is, in my view, wrong.
I served as U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala, 2003-05. The national security establishment, encompassing the Embassy in Guatemala, was concerned in these early post 9-11 years that terrorists might enter the U.S. from Guatemala. Though not a base of Islamic terrorism, Guatemala did have a sophisticated black market in false documents, which appeared frequently in the visa applications of nationals and transients.
We depended upon the alertness, discernment and judgment of Regina and her colleagues in the consular section to thwart fraudulent applications and to ensure that never again would terrorists enter the U.S. with valid visas. This close-to-ground experience complements Regina’s academic research well and gives her considerable national security expertise. I wish every incoming member of Congress had similarly relevant experience.
John R. Hamilton, Davis