Lessons from the L.A. Airport Terrorist Plot

The hit film Argo recalls the 1980 “Canadian Caper” that helped Americans escape Iran. The Algerian terrorist Ahmed Ressam, sentenced to 37 years in prison on October 24, recalls the ineptitude and indifference that allowed the terrorist, also known as Benni Noris, to escape detection in Canada, facilitating his plot to blow up Los Angeles International Airport.

According to an investigation by PBS’s Frontline, Ressam became a militant Islamist in the early 1990s after an Islamist party won the Algerian elections. Ressam left for France where he lived illegally for four years before departing for Montreal with a bogus French passport Canadian officials easily spotted, but which did not prevent him from remaining in Canada. Ressam requested political asylum and Canadian officials accepted his story without checking with France, Algeria, or Interpol.

In Montreal Ressam augmented his welfare payments by robbing tourists. He was arrested four times but convicted only once and, incredibly enough, served no jail time. In Montreal, Ressam also linked up with the Osama bin Laden network and the Algeria-based Armed Islamic Group (GIA), which hijacked an Air France plane and attempted to crash the Eiffel Tower. The GIA also bombed the Paris Metro and attempted to murder European leaders at a G-7 meeting.

A car bomb case near Roubaix gave French police evidence that led to Ressam’s Montreal apartment. French authorities asked Canada for a search warrant but Canada took six months to process the request. When Canadian authorities did attempt to deport Ressam, he adopted the alias of Benni Noris and easily eluded them.

Ressam left Canada for Afghanistan in 1998 and there Al Qaeda, according to Frontline, gave him “training in light arms – including machine guns and rocket propelled grenades – the use of explosives and poison gas, methods for assassination, sabotage, and urban warfare.” And consider the ease of travel outlined in the Frontline story:

Ressam traveled alone – on the Canadian passport under the name of Benni Noris – back to Montreal. He says that he brought with him chemicals and directions for making explosives. He flew from Pakistan to Seoul, South Korea, and then on to Los Angeles International Airport. It was this visit to the Los Angeles airport that provided him with the inspiration for his bombing target. He thought he could place a bomb, hidden in a suitcase, in the passenger waiting area. After surveilling the airport and calculating how long it would take security guards to check abandoned luggage, he caught a flight to Canada. Back in Montreal, under the name of Benni Noris, he signed a lease on an apartment and obtained a driver’s license. CSIS [Canadian Security Intelligence Service] officials say during this period they were actively looking for Ahmed Ressam and were unaware of his alias.

Ahmad Ressam should not have been allowed to remain in Canada and should have been deported after his first robbery. His lenient treatment was not one of Canada’s plus brillants exploits but U.S. immigration officials also proved inept. They accepted Ressam’s fake Canadian passport, and failed to inspect the rented Chrysler in which Ressam had stashed 100 pounds of explosives in the wheel well. In Port Angeles, Washington, customs inspector Dan Clem searched the Chrysler and found the explosives. Ressam fled on foot but customs inspector Mike Chapman helped chase him down and police arrested the Algerian bomber.

In custody Ressam cooperated and his information helped convict a Bin Laden associate. But Ressam recanted all his cooperation when he did not get the deal he wanted, less than 27 years in prison. The Justice Department wanted life in prison for Ressam, who gets 37 years – nearly 13 years after his attempt at mass murder. In that time the Algerian terrorist has become fluent in political correctness, claiming in a letter to the court to be “against killing innocent people of any gender, color or religion.” Now who would do a thing like that?

“Look truthfully at yourselves,” Ressam’s letter said, “you will see how many innocent people you have killed under the guise of various slogans.”

Ahmed Ressam may be out of circulation but it is certainly possible that other Islamic militants are targeting Los Angeles. That city remains home to the U.S. movie industry. Islamists want the U.S. government to take away filmmakers’ free-speech rights and punish the producer of “Innocence of Muslims.” So a sequel to Ressam’s attempt could well be in the works.

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  • R.C.

    Terrorists–should and need to be executed–anything less is unacceptable!

    • Drifter

      Agreed!!! But it should be at high noon, tied to a post at a major intersection and put on TV-live! And the bullets should be coated with pig grease. it worked in Tripoli in the 1850's and it worked for 50 years.

  • agherva

    I think that the Israelies should fire as many rockets in to Gaza as they receive. And I bet you Israel can aim them much more accurate.

  • BS77

    KSM, director of the 9/11 attacks is still drawing oxygen down at Guantanamo….eating ice cream, reading the newspaper and lounging during the sunny afternoons…., it's 11 years since 3000 were murdered and this POS is still being "brought to justice" What justice?

    • jacob

      Would it have been up to me, the Guantanamo "guests" wouldn't be having ice cream but would be
      used as live bait to fish sharks in the Caribbean Sea…..

  • Ricky Michael

    The only thing the Muslim mind understands is "Strength." When we look weak, act weak, or bow down before them (aka Mr.B.O.), they will always take advantge. Like candy from a baby in their minds.

    Put a piglet in every plane, boat, train, need I say more???

  • riverboatbill

    Eyes wide shut,borders wide open.

  • Walt

    I believe there is a solution to terrorism in this country, if only we will be strong enough to carry it out.
    1. Deny ALL persons from Islamic countries from entering our country for ANY reason.
    2. When any Muslim commits an act of terrorism, he goes to jail for life and his family PLUS 50 other random Muslim families in the U.S. will be immediately deported to their country of origin without the privilege of appeal and with confiscation of all assets turned over to the State gov't where they reside.
    3. No more mosques will be allowed to be built in the U.S. and all enclaves of more than 20 Muslim families will be broken up and involuntarily dispersed throughout the country as dictated by authorities. Alternative is self-deportation.
    Steps along these lines would be harsh/cruel/whatever – but it is also what is needed to show the world we are tired to bending over and taking it.


    • jacob

      Not while the DEMOCRAPS are in power and even any other administration abides by the rotten

  • kenny b

    I had a dream last night – President Obama flew to Tokyo on Dec. 8, 1941 to ask Hirohito what America had done to anger the Japanese and could the issues not be resolved diplomatically?

    • jacob

      You were not dreaming, Kenny b….

      If my memory doesn't betray me, I remember having read somewhere that a Democrap senator
      from Alabama proposed the same right after Pearl Harbor……

      What I would like is for this President who doesn't remember how many states there are in the
      Union, to explain to the American people what are those misdeeds to the Muslim world he so
      profusely apologized for at the Cairo conference……
      Likewise, to explain to us the people, in what consists his statement of the United States been indebted to Muslims for its independence……

  • Jenais

    As a young boy groing up in Algeria, it was commonplace for most humans to have to kill the insane monsters, the islamists, by all people who wished to have a quiet neighborhood. I dispatched at least 200 of the rapist psychos before I gave up on hoping for the republican regime to stabilize, and moved back to my grandfathers home in Paris where I'm afraid the leftists have started the process AGAIN !

  • Jenais

    Apologies for the previous incomplete quote – the previous comment was an excerpt by the main executioner of the French forces who used the guilliotine on jihadists in the 50's and 60's upon being asked if he had any advice for the current regime that lost over 300,000 civilian casualties to the muslim gangs that glorified and highlighted their rape of muslims who were not "jihadist" enough.