No Illegal Alien Pilot Left Behind

Chalk up another

Code Red Elmo
moment for the U.S. Department of
Homeland Security. While Islamic terrorists

groom suicide bombers starting in kindergarten
, the
grownups in charge of protecting America can`t seem to
reach an elementary level of competence.

"good" news:
Hindsight-driven bureaucrats at DHS moved to

ban high-risk cargo from Yemen and Somalia
this week
after a global air scare involving makeshift
printer/toner cartridge-bombs.

The bad news: More than nine years
after the

9/11 jihadist attacks
, untold numbers of high-risk
flyers have
been able to board, ride and pilot American planes—some
with Transportation Security Administration approval to

Outside Boston, one shady flight
school provided

single-engine pilot lessons to at least 33 illegal
immigrants from Brazil.
But clear counter-terror
rules ban illegal aliens from enrolling in U.S. flight
schools. Clear counter-terror regulations require TSA to
run foreign flight students` names against a plethora of
terrorism, criminal and immigration databases.

Head-scratching airport security
officials were at a loss last week to explain how dozens
of these illegal alien students eluded their radar
screen when the agency
"performs a
thorough background check on each applicant at the time
of application"
and checks
"for available
disqualifying immigration information,"
Boston Globe reported.[Flight
school students arrested
Concerns raised on antiterror net; 34 immigrants
allegedly illegal
, By Maria Sacchetti, November
5, 2010, ]

A cluebat for the Keystone Kops: No
matter how DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano might spin it,
the "system"
is not "working"
in any sense of either word.

Whistleblowers have warned for
years about the gaping holes in both the TSA`s and the
Federal Aviation Administration`s foreign pilot
screening systems. In 2005, aviation safety inspector
Edward H. Blount of the Alabama Flight Standards
District Office

a letter [PDF]
to the TSA warning of federal policies that were
"fostering illegal flight training by foreign individuals" in the
U.S. on improper visas. Blount reported that he and
another investigator were told by a TSA official that
the agency was "not going to look at the visa status" of pilot applicants.

The next year, TSA issued a
backside-covering memo shirking responsibility and
instead pointing fingers at the Bureau of Immigration
and Customs Enforcement and the Department of State for
neglecting to follow up on rigorous immigration status
checks for foreign pilots.

In 2008, ABC News

that thousands of foreign nationals were
able to enroll in flight schools despite the strict
flight security rules.
"Some of the very
same conditions that allowed the 9-11 tragedy to happen
in the first place are still very much in existence
one regional TSA officer warned.
enforcement is basically nonexistent,"
former FAA
inspector Bill McNease told the network. The matter was
kicked upstairs to DHS higher-ups in Washington. And

there it gathered dust.

Compounding those persistent gaps
are the myriad ways the Open Borders lobby has
undermined secure identification.

Homeland security officials were
warned years ago about the use of bogus Mexican
matricula consular cards by illegal aliens boarding
planes. American banks have pandered to the pro-amnesty
lobby in search of illegal alien customers; the
financial industry championed the use of the

matricula consular
cards as identification despite widespread
fraud, inability to verify validating documents and lack
of any central database. Dozens of municipalities have

consular cards
"valid" ID
for illegal aliens, and three states still issue
driver`s licenses to illegal immigrants.

Open-Borders ideologues

populate every corner of the Obama administration
from DHS to the Department of Justice, where civil
rights division head
has long crusaded for

illegal alien licenses

These comprehensive failures are
partly attributable to incompetence, partly attributable
to industry pressure and partly attributable to the
intentional undermining of the very immigration laws
Congress passed after 9/11—laws specifically designed to
prevent future

alien hijackers
like the 9/11 monsters from so
easily exploiting the
security lapses
that allowed them to live and train
here for years unencumbered even after their temporary
visas had expired.


I reported
in the aftermath of the would-be

Christmas Day bomber
fiasco last year, data are only
as good as the people entrusted to collect, process and
use the information to protect national security.
Without the ability to share and access the information
across numerous agencies, the data are useless.

There is still no functional
interoperability among an alphabet soup of national
security and criminal databases—including NAILS, TECS,

The Senate raised questions about
understaffed efforts to modernize some of these
databases last spring. They`re still waiting for

As usual, the homeland security
moppets under fire stress that they found no links to
terrorism among the immigration law-breaking flight
students outside Boston. This misses the gobsmackingly
obvious point that, despite billions of dollars and
years of bureaucratic expansion, our homeland security
infrastructure cannot yet provide adequate protection
against unauthorized, unscreened, undocumented and
unwanted intruders—terror-related or not.

That is not a consolation. That is
an indictment.



Michelle Malkin

is the author of

Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists,
Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our


for Peter Brimelow`s review. Click


for Michelle Malkin`s website. Michelle Malkin
is also author of

Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild

and the just-released
Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies.