April 29, 2005

Saudi Pilots Visiting Mexico

Somehow I had missed this news item until I read it in the new dead tree edition of National Review:

A couple of weeks ago, Flight KLM 685 took off from Amsterdam, headed for Mexico City with 278 passengers on board. It was a direct flight, Holland to Mexico, but because it was scheduled to cross U.S. airspace, the Mexican authorities forwarded the flight manifest to our Department of Homeland Security. It turned out that two of the passengers, both from Saudi Arabia, raised a number of red flags on Homeland Security databases. Both of them had attended the same Arizona flight school as 9/11 hijacker Hani Hanjour. Taking a break from bureaucratic infighting to safeguard the U.S. public for once, Homeland Security denied the plane overfly rights. The Canadians, told of the situation, denied landing rights, so KLM 685 had to turn in mid-Atlantic and head back to Amsterdam. Now, why would two (possible) Qaedists want to go to Mexico City? Claimed the suspects: To visit their sick father, an ex-Saudi diplomat, who lives there. This claim is fishy. And we do not know whether, supposing the two men had reached Mexico, they might shortly thereafter have shown up in the U.S. Given the state of our southern border, there would have been very little to stop them.

Posted by dan at April 29, 2005 3:01 AM