Aviation Security

Prosecutors in U.K. air terror case show ‘martyr’ video

ABC News reports:

Allah “loves us to die and kill in his path” says a man who is accused of plotting to blow up passenger jets as part of an al Qaeda plot. The martyrdom video was shown to jurors in the United Kingdom today in the conspiracy trial of eight alleged plotters who hoped to use liquid explosives to blow up airplanes in the summer of 2006. The 19-minute video features 29-year-old Umar Islam speaking in English with a British accent as he praises Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar. A shorter four-minute version was released to the public by British authorities, while jurors watched the full-length video.

Islam said no British citizen would be safe so long as the country is at war in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Most of you are too busy, you know, watching “Home and Away” and “Eastenders,” complaining about the World Cup, drinking your alcohol, to even care about anything,” Islam says. [Watch video.] The video was played on about a dozen large monitors throughout the courtoom. A BBC News reporter who was in the court when the video was played said the jurors and others in court appeared transfixed by the videos. At one point, Islam is asked by someone off-camera if he is brainwashed. His answer, yes: “I would. Yes, my brain has been washed, and it has been washed by the clean and cleansing water of Islam,” he says.

Here is ABC’s online report, complete with related article.

No Lessons Learned After 9/11: Annie Jacobsen

What flight school did the Transportation Security Administration allow your murderer to attend long after 9/11?

Do not worry. While you will not be around to hear the answers, the next post-attack commission will surely ask the TSA some tough questions.

At Pajamas Media, Annie Jacobsen writes:

Most remember the shocking revelation.

Six months after Mohamed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi piloted hijacked planes into the World Trade Center, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) notified a Venice, Florida flight school that the men had been approved for visas.

The two terrorists were already dead, and so were the nearly 3,000 people they’d killed. The INS was caught with its pants down. There was no way for the unpopular agency to explain itself out of its horrific and embarrassing failure. Yet INS spokesman Russ Bergeron certainly tried when he said, “It does serve to illustrate what we have been saying since 1995 — that the current system for collecting information and tracking foreign students is antiquated, outdated, inaccurate and untimely.”

The INS unit was disbanded and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) took its place in regard to monitoring foreign nationals for flight school eligibility. In September 2004 the Alien Flight Student Program went into effect, with TSA in charge.

Last week, in one of the most damaging reports on the TSA to date, ABC News revealed that in the program’s first year under TSA control, there were “some 8,000 foreign students in the FAA database who got their pilot licenses without ever being approved by the TSA.”

I do not want to steal Annie Jacobsen’s loud thunder, yet you need to read the rest before someone ends up needing to read your obituary.

Consider this.

The Transportation Security Administration first denied it let thousands of aliens attend flight schools without a security check before admitting, during 2005 alone, that only857” aliens attended without first being checked. The TSA now says that after their training, it determined that none of them was a threat. The TSA also has said that “60 to 70 percent” of all flight school attendees never complete the training yet the TSA allows them to start training 30 days after applicants send in their fingerprints and their $130 application fee.

The “business” and “tourist” 9/11 hijacker pilots never fully completed their training, yet learned enough to murder 3,000 people.

The TSA, as always, wants to investigate itself and Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) has called for an audit. Annie Jacobsen reports that Debra Burlingame thinks a TSA audit is not enough:

“The situation is serious enough that an audit is not sufficient,” Burlingame told Pajamas Media. “One of TSA’s own flight school program overseers, Rick Horn, was concerned enough to go to the media, clearly because his own agency was unresponsive. This security breach is too serious to let the TSA investigate itself. The TSA’s track record doesn’t instill confidence that it is competent to investigate itself.” Burlingame, whose articles and op-ed pieces on aviation security and public policy appear frequently in the Wall Street Journal, believes Senator Schumer should demand an immediate independent investigation.

Burlingame raised another important question, this one involving the players in TSA’s newest security failure. The memo obtained by Pajamas Media was addressed to Security Operations Assistant Administrator Mike Restovich — the same individual involved in a highly public TSA security cheating scandal last fall. Restovich is the TSA official who was caught tipping off airport security directors about undercover bomb tests, essentially encouraging TSA airport directors to cheat. Associated Press reporter Eileen Sullivan broke the story, which resulted in Congressional hearings on the matter. Chief Kip Hawley and Mike Restovich were ordered to testify, but only Hawley showed up. “Kip Hawley refused to explain the details of that incident to members of Congress,” Burlingame reminded this reporter when questioned about Restovich’s actions. She added: “Hawley told them TSA was investigating the matter. We’re still waiting for answers.”

We are also still waiting for Mike Restovich to stop hiding at his cushy new DHS job in England. Perhaps the next commission will remind him that the four 9/11 hijacker pilots were not on our government’s terrorist watchlist and Mr. Restovich will explain to your children why, when he was the TSA’s Assistant Administrator for Security Operations, he let thousands of alien business and tourist visa holders continue to attend U.S. certified flight schools despite the lessons of 9/11.

Like I said, you need to read the rest.