Amb. R. James Woolsey, Chairman of FDD Leadership Council
Disclosures by French air safety investigators in Egypt, following review of flight data recordings from the catastrophe that downed Metrojet Flight 9268 killing 224 passengers and crew, make it probable that a bomb may have been secreted on board. Given US and UK electronic intercepts, it may ultimately confirm assertions made by ISIS operatives that their affiliates in the Sinai perpetrated the terrorist bombing. In the wake of this evident Islamic terrorist plot by ISIS, rebuking Russia’s intervention in the Syrian conflict, there is global concern about security screenings of airport personnel on the tarmac handling baggage, catering and cleaning of aircraft. Those procedures, which heretofore have been reported as lax, may have to be tightened by TSA, especially here in the US.
We posted Thursday on the Metrojet disaster that security was lax not only at Sharm el-Sheik airport in Egypt at the tip of the Sinai Peninsula, but also here in the US. In March 2014, the Lisa Benson Radio show revealed concerns by a Southwest Flight Captain regarding Somali cleaners aboard an aircraft. Further investigations revealed that the Somali refugees at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor airport were hired by a Danish international airport maintenance contractor, ISS Worldwide A/S and its US subsidiary ISS Facility Services, Inc. (ISS). ISS that has won major airport authority contracts in the US employing mainly low wage refugees under the H1B Visa worker program of the State Department. My colleague Lisa Benson of the eponymous Radio Show on National Security subsequently commissioned a study of ISS and similar airport maintenance contactors in 13 cities across the US. That revealed award of contracts to ISS as the high bidder who relied heavily on employment of refugees under the H1B program. Both Wall Street Journal and CNN investigative reports earlier in 2015 revealed lax screenings of these airport tarmac personnel, which may give cause for the TSA/ DHS to significantly revise security arrangements.
Yesterday, ex-CIA director, Ambassador R. James Woolsey, Chairman of the Leadership Council of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, in a Fox News interview about the probable ISIS involvement in the Metrojet flight bombing in Egypt citing the Lisa Benson NSTFA investigation drew attention to a similar possible risk here in the US and the lax screenings of airport tarmac personnel. The major take away from the Fox News interview with Woolsey, is the issue of airport maintenance contractors hiring foreign workers, not subject to adequate TSA security screenings, might be the subject of Congressional hearings. Woolsey will have more to say about this on Sunday’s Lisa Benson National Security Radio Show that airs at 3PM EST on KKNT960ThePatriot.
Watch the FoxNews interview on US airport insecurity with Amb. Woolsey:
We raised airport security concerns arising from the reported death in September 2014 of a US Somali Émigré ISIS Fighter in Syria who had been an aircraft cleaner at the Twin Cities airport in Minneapolis St-Paul, 29 year old, Abdirahmaan Muhumed.
Muhumed had unfettered access to jetliners at the airport, which handles 90,000 passengers a day. He also had access to the tarmac and special security clearance to other parts of the airport. Muhumed had no criminal record in the United States that would have prevented him from getting a job at the airport. This revelation following the death of Somali émigré ISIS fighter Muhumed, should raise the concerns of both the TSA and Homeland Security regarding screening of airport and aircraft maintenance personnel at US airports. Many have contracts with groups like ISS and Delta Global Services, Inc. in Minneapolis. St. Paul Twin Cities airport. Moreover, without active community policing programs in the major US cities recruitment of Muhumed and other ISIS recruits could not have been detected. Thus, the downing of the Metrojet in Egypt by alleged ISIS perpetrators reverberates here in the US. FBI Director James Combey has warned that ISIS jihadis lurk among us in all 50 states. Currently, the FBI has more than 900 investigations on-going into ISIS influenced persons of interest in the US.
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