"Security slip" let suspect on plane, near takeoff
2010-05-05 0:00

By Eileen Sullivan and Matt Apuzzo | YahooNews.com

The no-fly list failed to keep the Times Square suspect off the plane. Faisal Shahzad had boarded a jetliner bound for the United Arab Emirates Monday night before federal authorities pulled him back.

The nightís events, gradually coming to light, underscored the flaws in the nationís aviation security system, which despite its technologies, lists and information sharing, often comes down to someone making a right call.


Faisal Shahzad.Source

As federal agents closed in, Faisal Shahzad was aboard Emirates Flight 202. He reserved a ticket on the way to John F. Kennedy International Airport, paid cash on arrival and walked through security without being stopped. By the time Customs and Border Protection officials spotted Shahzadís name on the passenger list and recognized him as the bombing suspect they were looking for, he was in his seat and the plane was preparing to leave the gate.

But it didnít. At the last minute, the pilot was notified, the jetlinerís door was opened and Shahzad was taken into custody.

After authorities pulled Shahzad off the plane, he admitted he was behind the crude Times Square car bomb, officials said. He also claimed to have been trained at a terror camp in Pakistanís lawless tribal region of Waziristan, according to court documents. That raised increased concern that the bombing was an international terror plot.

Shahzad, a Pakistani-born U.S. citizen, was charged Tuesday with terrorism and attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction in Saturday eveningís failed Times Square bombing. According to a federal complaint, he confessed to buying an SUV, rigging it with a homemade bomb and driving it into the busy area where he tried to detonate it.

The Obama administration played down the fact that Shahzad, a U.S. citizen born in Pakistan, had made it aboard the plane. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano wouldnít talk about it, other than to say Customs officials prevented the plane from taking off. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the security system has fallback procedures in place for times like this, and they worked.

And Attorney General Eric Holder said he "was never in any fear that we were in danger of losing him."

But it seemed clear the airline either never saw or ignored key information that would kept Shahzad off the plane, a fact that dampened what was otherwise hailed as a fast, successful law enforcement operation.

The no-fly list is supposed to mean just that. And Shahzadís name was added to the list early Monday afternoon as a result of breaking developments in the investigation, according to a law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

But when Emirates sold the ticket, it was working off an outdated list. Airline officials would have had to check a Web forum where updates are sent if it were to flag him. Because they didnít, law enforcement officials were not aware of his travel plans until they received the passenger list 30 minutes before takeoff, the official said.

By that time, passengers are usually on board.

Gibbs blamed the airline but emphasized a more positive bottom line: U.S. authorities did get Shahzad on the no-fly list and he never took off.

"Thereís a series of built-in redundancies, this being one of them," Gibbs said. "If thereís a mistake by a carrier, it can be double-checked."

The list is only as good as the nationís intelligence and the experts who analyze it. If a lead is not shared, or if an analyst is unable to connect one piece of information to another, a terrorist could slip onto an airplane because his name is not on the watch list.

Officials allege thatís just what took place ahead of the attempted Christmas Day attack on a Detroit-bound jet. In the case of the Times Square suspect, the intelligence process worked: Shahzadís name was on the list, but the airlines didnít check it when he bought his ticket.

Shahzad went through normal airport security before he boarded the plane. He was unarmed and had no explosive material on him when he was arrested.

Emirates did not return repeated calls for comments. Earlier in the day, the company issued a general statement saying it was cooperating with investigators and takes every precaution to ensure its passengersí safety.

The reliance on airlines to check government lists has been a known problem for years. The government has long planned to take over the responsibility for matching passengers to watch lists, but the transition has taken longer than expected. The new program is still in the test phase for domestic airlines and is still months away from beginning with international carriers.


Article from: news.yahoo.com



Related Articles
Adam Gadahn, Catch and Release - Mistaken Identity or Intelligence Blunder?
US Govít knew íUnderwear Bomberí, allowed him to board anyway - Webster Tarpley (Video)
The Sharp Dressed Man Who Aided Abdulmutallab Onto Flight 253
Major Hasan Of Fort Hood: A Patsy In A Drill Gone Live?
KSM: The Ultimate Patsy "Confesses"
MOST WANTED TERRORIST American Charged With Treason
Al-Qaida Suspect Arrested in Pakistan Not Gadahn
Times Square case: Who is Faisal Shahzad?
Documents offer clues to bomb suspectís life:Faisal Shahzad lived in the U.S. for much of the past decade
How was bomb suspect able to board airliner?: Under surveillance, eluded investigators


Latest News from our Front Page

Anglo-Saxon Sword and Helmet from Staffordshire Hoard Reconstructed
2015-05-29 0:49
Thousands of metal fragments from the Staffordshire Hoard have been reconstructed into two "significant" new 7th Century objects. Researchers have pieced together parts of a silver helmet and a previously unseen form of sword pommel. The hoard, which is valued at £3.2m, was found in a field near Burntwood, Staffordshire in July 2009. Both items have been put on display at Birmingham's Museum ...
ALEC corruption: Legislators and corporate lobbyists meet in secret at Savannah resort
2015-05-28 23:59
The Georgia Legislature has a message for voters: don't ask us about our meetings with corporate lobbyists behind closed doors. The 11Alive Investigators tracked lawmakers to a resort hotel in Savannah last week, where we observed state legislators and lobbyists mingling in the hotel bar the night before they gathered in private rooms to decide what new laws would best serve ...
Swedish politician: US is the true cause of the masses of refugees from the Middle East
2015-05-28 20:13
Editors Note: And who controls US foreign policy? Listen to Jeff Gates. The present Swedish debate about war refugees from the Middle East is an example of peer restricted expression. In the name of political correctness or perceived decency, any questioning of maximum generosity in opening Swedish borders for the refugees is indignantly rejected by the official mainstream. We have a ...
Even if Patriot Act Expires, Government Will Keep Spying on All Americans
2015-05-28 19:52
Government Will Use "Secret Interpretations" to Get Around Legal Prohibitions Mass surveillance under the Patriot Act is so awful that even its author says that the NSA has gone far beyond what the Act intended (and that the intelligence chiefs who said Americans aren't being spied on should be prosecuted for perjury). Specifically, the government is using a "secret interpretation" of the ...
The TPP, Monsanto, Rockefeller, Trilateral Commission, Brzezinski
2015-05-28 19:18
All hands on deck for global, economic, corporate dictatorship There are dots to connect here. They're real, and they're spectacular. Let me begin with a brief exchange from a 1978 interview, conducted by reporter Jeremiah Novak. He was speaking with two American members of the Trilateral Commission (TC), a group founded in 1973 by David Rockefeller and his intellectual flunkey, Zbigniew Brzezinski. NOVAK: ...
More News »