In 2008, ABC News discovered 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 today," one regional TSA officer warned. "TSA's 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 incorporated consular cards as "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 Thomas Perez 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 homeland security lapses that allowed them to live and train here for years unencumbered even after their temporary visas had expired.
As 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, CLASS, VISAS VIPER, TUSCAN, TIPPIX, IBIS, CIS, APIS, SAVE, IDENT, DACS, AFIS, ENFORCE and the NCIC. The Senate raised questions about understaffed efforts to modernize some of these databases last spring. They're still waiting for answers.
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.