wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy  Privacy
IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07ASHGABAT1059 2007-10-01 11:33:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Ashgabat
Cable title:  

ASHGABAT RESPONSE TO CALL FOR INFORMATION-HOST

Tags:   PGOV PREL PTER PINR KVPR KHLS CVIS ASEC TX 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXYZ0012
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHAH #1059/01 2741133
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 011133Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9470
INFO RUEHFT/AMCONSUL FRANKFURT 3405
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHMCSUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC
					  UNCLAS ASHGABAT 001059 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR S/CT KEN MCCUNE
PASS NCTC
PASS TO DHS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PTER PINR KVPR KHLS CVIS ASEC TX
SUBJECT: ASHGABAT RESPONSE TO CALL FOR INFORMATION-HOST
GOVERNMENT DATA COLLECTION PROCESSES

REF: STATE 133921



1. (U) Sensitive but unclassified. Not for public Internet.



2. (SBU) Please find below post's responses to the
information requested reftel. Watchlisting - The government
of Turkmenistan maintains a law enforcement-based watch list
against which the names of incoming Turkmen citizen
passengers are checked at the port-of-entry (POE). Agencies
contributing to this list are the Ministry of Interior,
Ministry of National Security (MNB), and the Agency for the
Registration of Foreign Citizens. Prior to traveling to
Turkmenistan, foreign citizens are subjected to a rigorous
visa application/letter of invitation process through the
Agency for the Registration of Foreign Citizens, during which
time their names are vetted against this list.



3. (SBU) Traveler Information Collection - Passports are
required for all passengers in Turkmenistan, including those
on domestic flights. Some areas of Turkmenistan,
particularly the border regions, are restricted and require
additional permission from the government before a foreign
citizen may travel there. Information is collected on
travelers by the Border Police on both domestic and
international flights, and in the case of foreign citizens,
by the Agency for the Registration of Foreign Citizens. The
central law enforcement database described in paragraph one
is available to immigration officers at the port of entry, in
electronic form at the Ashgabat airport and in printouts at
other border crossings. The government maintains strict
controls on entry for foreign nationals, the government has
ample opportunity to evaluate names of foreign citizens
traveling to Turkmenistan well in advance of the individual's
arrival. Information collected is not shared with foreign
governments and information sharing is limited within the
Turkmenistan government, although it is believed that the
Agency for Registration of Foreign Citizens shares
information extensively with the MNB.



4. (SBU) Biometric systems - There are no biometric systems
in use for passenger data collection in Turkmenistan and no
plans to install such equipment or collect such data at this
time.



5. (SBU) Passports - Turkmenistan issues a machine readable
passport with a digital photograph to every citizen when he
or she turns 16 years old. There are no biometric data
included in the passport, which, uniquely, has no expiration
date. Replacement passports are issued with full validity,
and lost or stolen passports are canceled in a database that
is available electronically at Ashgabat airport and in
printouts at other border crossings. As the passport is used
by the Turkmenistan government as the primary form of
identification and as an internal residence permit within
Turkmenistan for all Turkmen citizens, replacements are very
difficult to obtain. To obtain a replacement, a Turkmen
citizen must apply for a replacement at a Ministry of
Interior passport office and prove his or her own existence
with a long list of difficult-to-obtain civil registry
documents, school, work and police certificates, tax
documentation and real estate transaction records, and
affidavits from neighbors and coworkers stating that the
person lives and works where he or she claims. Replacement
passports are believed to be issued out of the same number
series as all regular passport issuances. Post has
encountered one case in the past year of an applicant
changing his date of birth on his passport in what appears to
have been an attempt to defeat CLASS name checks on past
non-immigrant visa refusals. It is believed that he changed
his original birth certificate obtained through legal
channels an entire new set of civil documents in order to do
so. Post has not seen any increase in the use of replacement
passports.



6. (SBU) Fraud Prevention - Fraud prevention efforts at
passport offices are not robust, but the sheer number of
regulations and difficulty obtaining replacement passports is
believed to defeat many attempts to fraudulently procure new
passports. The passport agency has access to "Form Number
One," a civil registry document maintained by the Ministry of
Interior, which is created at the required registration of a
Turkmen citizen with authorities at his or her 16th birthday.
This form registers the personal data of that citizen, to
include a lifetime of residency and changes of residency,
marriages, divorces, crimes, military service, tax

information and real estate transactions, and includes photos
of the citizen that are taken by law every 10 years. When an
individual loses a passport, he or she must gather and submit
again all the documentation listed in paragraph five, which
is checked against the data in "Form Number One."



7. (SBU) Privacy and Data Security - As the process to obtain
a visa or letter of invitation (LOI) to Turkmenistan is
rigorous, detentions at the point of entry are rare. Post is
aware of one instance in which a U.S. citizen arrived at the
airport in Ashgabat without a visa or LOI. The individual
was detained for nearly 12 hours before the government
decided to grant that person entry to the country. See
paragraph 11 for more information regarding detentions.



8. (SBU) Data Collection at POEs - Turkmenistan's Agency for
the Registration of Foreign Citizens uses its own software to
collect information on foreign citizens. This software is
available at all border crossings, each of which has a
satellite uplink. The database is updated every three days.



9. (SBU) Watchlist system in use - The Turkmenistan
government uses a law enforcement-based internal watch list
referred to in paragraph two. It is unclear if international
watch list data are included on the internal list, which is
not shared with other countries, or with other government
ministries/agencies.



10. (SBU) Identifying Partners - The secretive nature of the
Turkmenistan government, as well as political realities in
Turkmenistan, are unlikely to make the country a suitable
partner for entering into a biometric data-sharing agreement
with the USG at this time. Turkmenistan passed a law
defining terrorism and establishing mandatory prison
sentences for those found to be engaging in such acts after
an alleged assassination plot against then-President Niyazov
in November 2002. One of those arrested in the plot was a
U.S. citizen; post was given no notification of the arrest by
the Turkmenistan government. Instead, post learned about the
arrest nearly a week after the fact form family members of
the individual. Post was then denied consular access for
nearly six weeks after the arrest occurred.
HOAGLAND