Home > Anything Else, Radical Islam > GAO Report: US Flight Schools May Still Be Unknowingly Training ‘Foreign’ Terrorists

GAO Report: US Flight Schools May Still Be Unknowingly Training ‘Foreign’ Terrorists


By LEE FERRAN and JASON RYAN, ABC News – “More than a decade after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 Americans, some foreign flight students are still not subject to terror database screening until after they’ve completed pilot training, according to a new report from the government’s watchdog.

‘Thus, foreign nationals obtaining flight training with the intent to do harm, such as three of the pilots and leaders of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, could have already obtained the training needed to operate an aircraft before they received any type of vetting,’ says report, published today by the Government Accountability Office.

In the Sept. 11 attacks, 19 foreign nationals hijacked four commercial airliners and used the planes as weapons to hit the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in the nation’s capital. Several of the hijackers attended more than a dozen American flight schools in the weeks before the attacks to learn how to fly the jets.

After the attacks, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) established the Alien Flight Student Program (AFSP), which is designed to prevent flight schools regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration from “providing flight training to a foreign student unless the Secretary of Homeland Security first determines that the student does not pose a threat to aviation or national security.”

But the new GAO report says that the AFSP database is woefully behind and some of the more than 25,000 foreign nationals who were in the FAA airmen registry were not found in the AFSP database, ‘indicating that these individuals had not applied to the AFSP or been vetted by the TSA before taking flight training and receiving an FAA airman certificate.’

‘It is disturbing to learn we could still be vulnerable to the same actions the 9/11 hijackers took over a decade ago,’ said Rep. Mike Rogers (R.-Alabama), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee Subcommittee on Transportation Security.” Read more.

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