October 25, 2011
By Melanie Eversley
“Nice going TSA. No wonder why nobody likes to fly. Keep up the great work.” — Chris KTRN
Despite all the extra airport security measures installed since the 2001 terror attacks, federal security officials at Los Angeles International Airport, or LAX, missed a loaded gun inside a checked bag on Sunday, the Los Angeles Times and other news organizations are reporting.
The .38-caliber handgun fell out of a duffel bag as a luggage ramp crew was loading it onto an Alaska Airlines flight to Portland, Ore., the Times reports.
The gun was turned over to police and police temporarily detained the gun owner, who took a later flight to Portland.
Guns are allowed to be in locked containers in checked bags but not loaded, according to the Times.
The Transportation Security Administration screens for firearms in carry-on bags, but it is not its responsibility to do so with checked luggage, TSA spokeswoman Lorie Dankers tells the news organization.
But the head of a union representing police officers assigned to LAX says the federal agency should do more.
“Local law enforcement needs to know that TSA is doing their part,” union representative Marshall McClain tells the Times.
September 10, 2010
By: Catherine Herridge
On the eve of Sept. 11, Fox News has learned the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency has attempted to block a book about the tipping point in Afghanistan and a controversial pre-9/11 data mining project called “Able Danger.”
In a letter obtained by Fox News, the DIA says national security could be breached if “Operation Dark Heart” is published in its current form. The agency also attempted to block key portions of the book that claim “Able Danger” successfully identified hijacker Mohammed Atta as a threat to the United States before the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
In a highly unusual move, the Department of Defense is now negotiating with the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, to buy all 10,000 copies of the first printing of the book to keep it off shelves — even after the U.S. Army had cleared the book for release.
Specifically, the DIA wanted references to a meeting between Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer, the book’s author, and the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, Philip Zelikow, removed. In that meeting, which took place in Afghanistan, Shaffer alleges the commission was told about “Able Danger” and the identification of Atta before the attacks. No mention of this was made in the final 9/11 report.
Shaffer, who was undercover at the time, said there was “stunned silence” at the meeting after he told the executive director of the commission and others that Atta was identified as early as 2000 by “Able Danger.”
“Dr. Philip Zelikow approached me in the corner of the room. ‘What you said today is very important. I need you to get in touch with me as soon as you return from your deployment here in Afghanistan’,” Shaffer said.
Once back in the U.S., Shaffer says he contacted the commission. Without explanation, the commission was no longer interested. An inspector general report by the Department of Defense concluded there was no evidence to support the claims of Shaffer and others. But Fox News has obtained an unredacted copy of the IG report containing the names of witnesses, who backed up Shaffer’s story when contacted for comment.
Atta was the alleged ringleader of the Sept. 11 hijackers and piloted American Airlines Flight 11 into the World Trade Center.
Shaffer spoke to Fox News before he was asked by the military not to discuss the book. He confirmed efforts to block the book and other details.
Calling the move “highly unusual,” he explained that the book had already been cleared for release when the DIA stepped in.
“Apparently, Defense Intelligence Agency took exception to the way the Army cleared the book,” he told Fox News.
The documents and exclusive interviews, including an Army data collector on the Able Danger Project, are part of an ongoing investigation by the documentary unit “Fox News Reporting” which uncovered new details about American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and efforts by the FBI to track and recruit him for intelligence purposes after 9/11.
December 29, 2009
By Joanna Sugden
Hundreds of al-Qaeda militants are planning terror attacks from Yemen, the country’s Foreign Minister said today.
Abu Bakr al-Qirbi appealed for more help from the international community to help to train and equip counter-terrorist forces.
His plea came after an al-Qaeda group based in Yemen claimed responsibility for the failed Christmas Day airliner bomb plot.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, alleged to be behind the attempt to blow up an American-bound aircraft, spent time in Yemen with al-Qaeda and was in the country only days before the failed attack.
Dr al-Qirbi said: “Of course there are a number of al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen and some of their leaders. We realise this danger.
“They may actually plan attacks like the one we have just had in Detroit. There are maybe hundreds of them — 200, 300.”
Dr al-Qirbi said it was the “responsibility” of countries with strong intelligence capabilities to warn states such as Yemen about the movements of terror suspects.
The United States, Britain and the European Union could do a lot to improve Yemen’s response to militants on its own soil, he added.
“We have to work in a very joint fashion in partnership to combat terrorism,” he said. “If we do, the problem will be brought under control.
“There is support, but I must say it is inadequate. We need more training, we have to expand our counter-terrorism units and provide them with equipment and transportation like helicopters.”
Mr Abdulmutallab is said to have told US agents that there were more people “just like him” ready to carry out attacks.
An al-Qaeda group based in Yemen claimed responsibility yesterday for the failed attempt to bring down Northwest Airlines Flight 253 over Detroit as US President Barack Obama pledged to hunt down the plotters.
Photographs apparently showing the underpants worn by alleged bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and willed with explosives were broadcast today by ABC News.
The American government pictures show the singed underwear with a six-inch packet of a high explosive called PETN sewn into the crotch, the US network reported.
Mr Abdulmutallab was reported to be carrying about 80g of PETN, more than one-and-a-half times the amount carried by Richard Reid, the “shoe bomber”, in 2001 and enough to blow a hole in the side of an aircraft.
Mr Abdulmutallab’s former tutors at University College London, where he was a student between 2005 and 2008, described him as “well-mannered, quietly spoken, polite and able” and said that he never gave any cause for concern. He was president of the institution’s Islamic society between 2006 and 2007.
Nigerian-born Mr Abdulmutallab is being held at a federal prison in Michigan on a charge of trying to destroy an aircraft.
He apparently wrote of his loneliness and struggle between liberalism and Islamic extremism in a series of postings on Facebook and in Islamic chatrooms, The Washington Post reported today.
In January 2005, when he was attending boarding school, he wrote: “I have no one to speak too. No one to consult, no one to support me and I feel depressed and lonely. I do not know what to do. And then I think this loneliness leads me to other problems.”
Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, said it was unlikely that Mr Abdulmutallab acted alone and revealed that he was banned from entering Britain and placed on a “watch list” this year.
Mr Johnson said that the alleged terrorist was refused a new visa and had been monitored since May after applying for a bogus course.