Sunday, December 20, 2009

Terrorists, Crooks Allowed to Keep FAA Pilot's Licenses

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators has asked the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Inspector General to investigate why suspect individuals - including terrorists and drug kingpins - have been able to retain their Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) pilot's licenses. In a letter to DHS Inspector General Richard Skinner, the senators cited media reports, including an ABC News investigation, that questioned the ability of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to purge the FAA's aviation list of individuals posing a threat to transportation security. In one high-profile case reported by the Blotter, a well-known drug boss named Fernando Zevallos Gonzalez was able to keep his U.S. aviation license despite being on a "black list" of foreign drug kingpins since 2004. The Blotter also reported the names of two other men tied to drug trafficking and two convicted arms traffickers who still had their licenses as of Oct. The New York Times revealed that individuals charged or convicted of terrorism-related crimes were also able to retain their FAA licenses. While some of the individuals named in the ABC News and Times reports have since been stripped of their licenses, others have not, according to Safe Banking Systems (SBS), the New York computer security firm that first uncovered the suspect more

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