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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Who is screening the screeners? Muslim airport employees pose major threat to airport security

Who is screening the screeners? Muslim airport employees pose major threat to airport security

Press conference with head of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff and TSA officials
August 16, 2006

As Islamic Fascist Attacks Focus On Airline Traffic - Who Is Screening The Screeners?

Muslim airport employees pose huge and neglected threat

By Beila Rabinowitz

August 17, 2006 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - The thwarted UK terror plot to blow up 12 airlines with liquid explosives prompted discussions centering on all-out war and global jihad - with President Bush weighing in to declare that "that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists."

British Homeland Security adviser Frances Townsend announced that the attacks were intended "to be another September 11th" adding "It's a frightening example of multiple, simultaneous attacks for explosions of planes that would have caused the death of thousands."

As a result, the main UK airport - Heathrow - was locked down and everyone within it then eyed as potential terrorists, including pilots and crewmembers.

For the first time the profiling of Muslims was openly discussed among the English, a people browbeaten into multicultural affectations.

While everyone agrees that airline security has to adapt to threats, one question remains. Why are airline passengers being treated as potential terrorists while Muslim security personal - who arguably pose a much greater risk - are being allowed to continue in their jobs without extreme scrutiny even after it was revealed that one of the London bomb plotters was a Heathrow airport employee with an "all area access" pass?

Who is screening the screeners?

This is by no means the first time that Muslim airline employees have been linked to terrorism, as Dr. Daniel Pipes notes:

1. In 1990 Egypt Air flight 990 left JFK for Cairo and cruised along smoothly before suddenly plummeting to into the ocean over Nantucket killing all 217 passengers aboard. A recovery of the flight recorder showed that pilot Jamil Al Batuti had shouted "In Allah I trust" minutes before the plane went down. It was widely believed that Al Batuti had deliberately crashed the plane as a suicide action.

2. In 2004 the body of former California's Ontario International airport pedicab driver Jordanian Raed Mansour Al Banna [an attorney who had been as a guy "who loved partying and the US"] was identified by a hand chained to the steering wheel of a suicide car bomb at the Hillah, Iraq medical clinic which killed 132 people. Prior to the attack Al banna had been denied reentry to the United States by an alert security official.

3. A day after the thwarted London attacks, two Muslim University students from Dearborn were arrested in Ohio at the beginning of what appeared to be a jihad road trip. Osama Sabhi Abulhassan, 20, and Ali Houssaiky, 20, both of the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, were being held at the Washington County jail on $200,000 bond each, which could be raised at a Thursday afternoon court hearing. Each was charged Wednesday with money laundering in support of terrorism. Deputies stopped the two on a traffic violation Tuesday and found the flight documents along with $11,000 cash and 12 phones in their car, Sheriff Larry Mincks said.

Ray Smith, the Washington County public defender who represents Abulhassan, pooh-poohed the significance of the flight documents. "The car belonged to [Houssaiky's] mother," Smith said. "She works for the airport, I think."

Pipes' account of the 2005 terror case nipped in the bud with the arrest and conviction of a Muslim airport screener, underscores the need to rethink airport policy on Muslim security screeners, as even those who were admitted to the military could be potential jihadis:

"Sadeq Naji Ahmed, 25, a Yemeni immigrant living in Dearborn, Michigan, was discharged early from the U.S. Air Force in September 2001 when his superiors became alarmed about statements he made at Eglin Air Force Base after 1999, and questioned his loyalty.

Ahmed was said to have made statements in support of bin Laden, to have expressed indifference about the 911 attacks and to have stated say that the United States deserved to be attacked.

He declared he wouldn't fight if the U.S. military took action in Iraq and that he wished U.S. aircraft flying over Iraq would crash.

After his early discharge, Ahmed got a job in December 2001 as a baggage screener for a private contractor at Detroit's Metro Airport. He was conditionally appointed in October 2002 to a security screener job with the Transportation Security Administration, contingent upon passing a background check. The TSA terminated him in August 2003, on learning that he hid the fact of his early discharge on the TSA background questionnaire he filled out. If convicted of making false statements on that questionnaire, Ahmed faces up to 5 years in prison on each count and a $250,000 fine."

Martin Chulov and Jonathan Porter report in the Australian that 10 per cent of Australian security screeners have criminal convictions, making them easily subject to being compromised and an official government report states work as airport security screeners is highly sought after "particularly by Muslim groups.".

One must begin asking the question at what point racial, religious and ideological profiling should become an accepted part of risk assessment.

Take the case of former Quantas baggage handler, Bilal Khazal who will stand trial on the charge of knowingly collecting or making documents connected with terrorism. Khazal had compiled a terrorist manual by collecting articles he found on the internet, calling it "Provisions on the Rules of Jihad and written under a pseudonym and dedicated to the "martyrs of Islam."

The terror manual stresses "wit and a quick mind...a terrorist psychology...[and],,,high physical fitness." It also explains how to set up hit squads and tells how jihad fighters can protect themselves from the CIA and Mossad.

Underlining Khazal's violent potential, he had been previously convicted - with his brother Maher - of financing a terror bombing of a McDonald's restaurant in Beirut in 2003.

One additional notorious case involves the Argenbright security company, who fired several Muslim women employees who insisted to be allowed to wear their hijabs, which the company said could be used to hide razor blades and box cutters.

Argenbright was forced to reinstate them and let them retain their head scarves despite the obvious security risk .

Possibly more troubling, the fired-then-rehired women came from countries which were on a US government list of terror supporting nations. That the company was forced to let the Muslimas wear their hijabs demonstrates how the Islamists use the faηade of "civil rights" to undermines the ability of non-Muslims to protect themselves against terrorism.

The involvement airport employees with terrorism calls for urgent measures, it's an obscene travesty to subject millions of passengers to unnecessary screening in order to avoid offending Muslim sensibilities by singling them out as potential terrorists. Any passenger confronted by a hijab wearing screener should demand a supervisor indicate that the screener herself does not pose a threat. If enough passengers complain airlines could be, at the very least, forced to implement a no hijab rule.

This would serve a double purpose since those women who did not want to comply for religious reasons, are very likely fundamentalists and have no purpose working in these high security jobs.

With survival being uppermost in everyone's minds and the post 911 complacency replaced with the knowledge that we are at war - screening thousands of passengers will be meaningless, unless Muslim sensitivities are ignored and all Muslim airport personal are put on leave - regarded as potential saboteurs - until fully cleared - in the interests of everyone's security.

©1999-2006 Beila Rabinowitz/PipeLineNews.org, all rights reserved.



Secretary Chertoff's Briefing: Highlights

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff Alex Wong

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff speaks during a news conference in Washington on Thursday. Getty Images

Thursday morning, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff briefed the media about a suspected British terror plot, in which 21 suspects have been arrested in Great Britain. Some of the main points in Secretary Chertoff's remarks:

• The plot's operatives planned to bring liquid explosives and detonators, disguised as beverages, electronic devices or other common objects, on board flights to the United States.

• There is currently no indication of any plotting within the United States.

• The threat level for commercial flights from Britain to the United States is at red, or severe, the highest level of alert.

• The threat level for all other domestic and international flights in the United States is raised to orange, or high alert.

• Any liquids or gels have to be checked as part of baggage to go into the hold. There will be exceptions for baby formula and medicines

• Travelers are asked to pack as lightly as possible and minimize clutter to help speed the security screening process.

• Federal air marshals are being sent to the United Kingdom to provide expanded mission coverage for flights to the United States.

• In international arrival areas, U.S. customs officials will increase the use of advanced targeting tools, as well as baggage and aircraft search teams using K-9 units and detection technology.

• Travelers should expect delays, but they do not need to change their travel plans.

• Homeland Security asks Americans to be aware and vigilant, and to report any activity they think is suspicious to law-enforcement authorities.

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