Aug 3 2011
The Transportation Security Administration cannot determine the real identities of thousands of the people to whom the Federal Aviation Administration has issued licenses as pilots and aircraft mechanics, but has located an additional 27 who should not have held them because of terrorist connections, according to an internal report by the Department of Homeland Security.
Family Security Matters(H/T Rose) -New York Times report entitled: “27 Deemed to Be Threats Held Aviation Licenses” stated that that the FAA has no meaningful handle on those to whom that agency has issued pilots’ licenses. This news article was based on a report (pdf document) issued by the Inspector General (Internal Affairs) that has oversight responsibility for the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration).
Over the past ten years our nation has spent huge sums of money, and we have witnessed such an erosion of our expectations of privacy and a curtailment in our rights that the Fourth Amendment is truly a shadow of its former self. This has been attributed to our nation’s “War on Terror.”
As a former INS Senior Special Agent who has conducted investigations into international terrorists and transnational criminals whose tactics are nearly indistinguishable from those employed by terrorists, it is utterly unfathomable that the FAA has no meaningful handle on those to whom that agency has issued pilots’ licenses.
The magnitude of the incompetence of the FAA is nothing short of insane – just consider this excerpt from the New York Times news report:
The new report, by the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, found that the F.A.A. had Social Security numbers of only about 750,000 people out of the 1.3 million names in its Airmen Registry, and that among those for whom it had numbers, more than 15,000 of them did not match the Social Security database for name, sex or date of birth. By law, the F.A.A. cannot require a Social Security number, the report noted, and as a result, “T.S.A. may not identify U.S. citizens who have provided false biographic information to receive an airman certificate.”.Not all of the discrepancies represent a potential security threat; the report said that more extensive study over the past few years found that 8,000 of the license holders were dead. The report offers no details about the 27 individuals whose certificates were canceled, but does indicate the poor state of federal records, almost a decade after the Sept. 11 attacks. An initial computer scan found about 29,000 certificates that matched names on the government’s Terrorist Screening Database, but further study found that 28,500 of the matches were invalid; 506 were turned over for closer scrutiny, yielding the 27 names..