Illegal Aliens Get Their Wings

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A new report by the Government Accountability Office shows that eleven years after 9/11, the US government is allowing illegal foreign nationals to train at American flight schools.

The GAO’s findings were delivered before the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security in a hearing that focused on the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) inability to thoroughly screen potential foreign security threats from receiving flight training at American schools.

In particular, the security failure was laid at the doorstep of the TSA’s Alien Flight Student Program (AFSP), a screening program created after 9/11 for non-citizens or permanent residents attempting to enroll at American flight schools.

To that end, foreign applicants undergo a “security threat assessment” to determine whether they pose a known or suspected threat to “transportation or national security; airline or passenger security; or civil aviation security.”

Once applicants are cleared for flight training by AFSP, they can then obtain a pilot’s license or certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration, which relies on the TSA for conducting criminal and immigration background checks on foreign national student pilots.

Yet, in many instances, it was found that AFSP had not bothered to screen applicants against the Terrorist Screening Database until after the foreign nationals had completed flight training, an omission the GAO called a “weakness” in the system.

That security “weakness,” according to the GAO’s Stephen Lord, means that “foreign nationals obtaining flight training with the intent to do harm…could have already obtained the training needed to operate an aircraft before they received any type of vetting.”

Moreover, AFSP’s lack of scrutiny in examining the criminal background of foreign applicants included a failure to regularly examine their immigration status as well, an oversight that has led to AFSP approving a number of illegal foreign nationals for flight training.

Those AFSP vetting failures include approving flight training for 25 illegal aliens at a Boson-area flight school in 2010, eight of whom were in the country illegally and 17 who had expired visas.

It should be noted that five of the 9/11 hijackers had expired visas and, according to the GAO, 36 of the roughly 400 people convicted of terrorism-related charges by the United States since 9/11 overstayed their visas.

Equally disturbing was that the owner of the Boston flight school was himself an illegal alien, who despite not being approved by the TSA for flight training had, nevertheless, been issued two pilot licenses by the FAA.

Not surprisingly, the news of the TSA’s administrative failings led the committee chairman, Republican Representative Mike Rogers, to note that despite “weaknesses in our security controls that were supposed to be fixed a decade ago…there are still foreign nationals in the United States trained to fly just like Mohammed Atta and the other 9/11 hijackers.”

Yet Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, whose agency oversees TSA, responded to the GAO allegations by claiming that the entire matter was a case of misunderstanding by the GAO.

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  • ★FALCON★

    If this isn't the story of the year – I don't know what is. Aren't we where we are because of 9-11 and foreign nationals hijacking airplanes? I have not heard this mentioned anywhere – not Rush, not Hannity, not anywhere.

    At one time I thought the 9-11 kooks were insane deranged, now I'm not so sure. Has the TSA Goons caught one terrorist? All I know is that they molest kids, show up at proms, block highways with illegals searches, show-up at bus and train stations – what have they done beside erode our rights?

    Americans are more than ready to dump this entire government from the top to the bottom – and they know it – that's why they bought 750 million rounds of ammo, bullet proof checkpoint booths, and activated the FEMA camps.

    If this story doesn't illustrate the maniacal idiots running the show – nothing will.

  • ★FALCON★

    One additional point – we should feel real safe with an illegal foreign national at the controls of America and drones flying over your house.

    What the hell kind of country is this?

    • you dickhead

      Shut up, queer.

  • Delaware Bob

    Who's paying for this training of the illegal aliens? Don't tell me the American taxpayers.

  • Spider

    How long do you think it will take untill the following scenario unfolds:
    1) an Iranian agent comes across the porous Mexican border illegally
    2) He applies for and completes flight training for small planes. (he will get free touitionin California)
    3) Iranian agent takes shipment of an Iranian and Russian made nuke smuggled across the mexican border by paid
    cartel operatives.
    4) Iranian agent rents a small plane and flies to a location where the nuke can be loaded on the plane
    5) Iranian agent flies the nuke laden plane under the Raydar to reach New York City undetected.
    6) Iranian agent ascends to 1000 feet and detonates the nuke right above the Empire State building.

    And what will our so called leaders say? We didn't connect the dots!

  • Ghostwriter

    Why doesn't ICE do background checks on foreign nationals who want to fly at our nation's flight schools? That way,we can be sure if the person doing so isn't some criminal or terrorist. But,that wouldn't be PC,wouldn't it?

    • jose

      The feds are nothing more than a foreign government occupying D.C..

  • jose

    A government at war with its own people. Only americans are blocked from special status in america. Repeat after me my country tis of the….sweet land of other peeps.