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Some "suspected or known terrorists" on the TSA's No Fly list were able to board commercial flights in and over the United States for years, according to a new internal report from the Department of Justice.
The report, released this month and cited by Breaking Travel News, focused on the U.S. Marshals Service and another office's handling of terrorists in the federal witness security program (WITSEC), commonly called the witness protection program. It concluded that those authorities were not communicating with "national security stakeholders," such as the FBI, before admitting terrorists into the program and giving them a new identity. Part of the problem was that the new names didn't make it onto the Terrorist Screening Center's watch list or the TSA's No Fly list, creating a serious and surprising loophole:
We found that WITSEC Program participants include individuals known or suspected by the government to be involved in terrorism. This includes individuals trained in areas such as aviation and explosives, involved in plotting bombing attacks, and guilty of serious offenses such as conspiracy to murder U.S. nationals.
We identified some WITSEC Program participants who were on the TSA's No Fly list yet were allowed to fly on commercial flights with WITSEC Program officials' knowledge and approval. Moreover, these individuals, on their own accord, could have flown without WITSEC Program officials' knowledge and approval.
But that's not even the worst revelation in the report. This is:
"Had a few minutes of free time, so I thought I would take a moment and update everyone as to what is happening on the other side of the Atlantic!
I had been working as a pilot for the Royal Family in Abu Dhabi. However, one of their financial interests, Afriqiyah Airways, located in Libya had a very bad crash in May. I am not [sic? now?] the Director of Training there. Interesting would be an understatement to say the least. But, I spend about 2 weeks in Tripoli and then I am back in the UK.
As I write this email, I am sitting in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo."
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