December 31, 2009
Posted: 06:07 PM ET
Washington (CNN) - The State Department on Thursday is directing its embassies around the world to include information on whether a person has a U.S. visa when they send special cables to Washington containing information on potentially suspect individuals, CNN has learned.
The order comes in the wake of a failed Christmas Day attempt to blow up a U.S.-bound jetliner. The change was prompted by preliminary reviews ordered by President Obama of the terror attack.
The reviews are due to the president by Thursday.
A State Department official told CNN the information to be included in so-called "Visas VIPER cables" currently is not required by department guidelines. In the case of the attempted December 25 bombing, crucial information that the suspect - 23-year-old Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab - had a two-year multiple-entry visa was not relayed in the cables.
Although other government departments could have accessed that information if they wanted to search State Department databases, they were not required to do so.
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