Exclusive: Passport To Terror
http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/global.php?id=827775Adrian MorganAuthor: Exclusive: Passport To Terror Adrian MorganSource: The Family Security Foundation, Inc.Date: March 23, 2007
John Pistole - FBI
There is so much passport fraud among terrorists in both America and the UK, it is literally mind-boggling. FSM Contributing Editor Adrian Morgan reveals only parts of it in this eye-popping, astonishing article that will make you want to move to the North Pole.
Passport To Terror
By Adrian Morgan
On May 14, 2002, in the wake of 9/11, the US passed into law the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002. Section 603 of this law required a study to be made within one year detailing how countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) could be encouraged to introduce electronic data systems for passports, which could be machine-readable by the governments of the US and VWP participant nations.
The study which was produced required that all VWP nations should be issuing biometric passports by October 26, 2004. On August 9, 2004, H.R. 4417 was signed by President Bush which extended this deadline to October 26, 2005.
The US deadline to require the 27 VWP countries to employ biometric passports or "e-Passports" was met by all participants except three - Brunei, Andorra and Lichenstein. The passports contain a chip, known as a radio frequency identification chip (RFID). In the United States, these e-Passports have been issued since August 14, 2006.
In Britain, the standard 32-page e-Passport began to be issued last year, a scheme which has cost an estimated £415 million ($814 million). The e-Passport has its RFID chip placed on page 31, and it contains fingerprint data and digital imaging data. The US version has only imaging data stored within. A standard 32-page e-Passport costs £66 ($130) for an adult, but to require one to be issued urgently, the cost raises to £108 ($212). A child's passport will cost £45 ($88) or £85 ($169) if rushed.
This month, a "jumbo" British e-Passport became available, with 16 additional pages to allow visa/entry stamps for "frequent fliers". The 48-page e-Passport will cost £77 ($151).
The issue of terrorists using fraudulent passports has been a matter of concern for some time. In 1996, Hussein Makdad, a senior member of terrorist group Hezbollah entered Israel from Switzerland, using a stolen British passport. Originally from Lebanon, Makdad was a naturalized German citizen, and thus had no right to a UK passport. While Makdad was preparing RDX explosives in a hotel room in East Jerusalem, they ignited, leading to him being injured and placed under arrest. In January 2001 another Lebanese Hezbollah terrorist, Jihad Shuman, was arrested while entering Israel on a fraudulent UK passport. In June 2002, a Lebanese-Canadian Hezbollah operative named Fawzi Ayub was arrested in Hebron. He was found to possess a forged US passport which he had obtained in Europe.
Terrorist Ramzi Yousef masterminded the attack where a truck laden with 1,200 of explosives was driven into the car park beneath the World Trade Center on February 26, 1993. In the ensuing blast, six people died and 1,000 were injured. Yousef had entered the United States at NYC Kennedy Airport on September 1, 1992 with a Palestinian, Ahmed Ajaj. Both had boarded a plane from Pakistan, using fake passports provided by jihadists in the Khaldan terror camp in Afghanistan.
Ramzi Yousef entered the US on a British passport, which bore the name Mohamed Azan. His companion, Ahmed Ajaj, used a Swedish passport in the name of Khurram Khan. These passports had been "photo-subbed", where an authentic stolen passport had its original photograph replaced. Ajaj was arrested at the airport, as his suitcase was found to contain several more fake passports, as well as bomb-making manuals.
On July 27, 2005, a court in Seattle sentenced Algerian terrorist Ahmed Ressam to a 22-year jail term. In 1994, he had gone from France to Montreal on a photo-subbed passport. This fraud was discovered, but he had been released on bail after he claimed political asylum. Ressam had then used forged baptism certification to obtain a Canadian passport in the name of Benni Antoine Noris. He took a car ferry from Vancouver to Port Angeles in the United States on December 14, 1999. Here he was arrested. The trunk of his vehicle contained 50 kilograms of explosives. He had intended to stage a bomb attack upon Los Angeles airport - the "Millennium bomb" campaign.
The passport with which Ressam arrived at Washington State was 100% authentic, despite being obtained fraudulently. If Ressam had escaped, a search for Benni Noris would have yielded no results, as this character did not exist. Ressam had gained his passport from a man named Leo Nkounga, an illegal immigrant from Cameroon who should have been deported from Canada on September 15, 1993. Using the passport obtained via Nkounga, Ressam had traveled to Afghanistan in 1998. Here he had met senior Al Qaeda figure Abu Zubaydah, who had requested six Canadian passports.
On September 28, 2001, Moroccan-born con man Youssef Hmimssa was arrested in Iowa. He had been living in Dearborn Michigan, since entering the US on a forged passport in 1994. This passport, in the name of Patrick Vuillaume, had been discovered in a house in Southwest Detroit on September 17. Federal agents were hunting Al Qaeda suspect Nabil al-Marabh, who was arrested in Chicago four days after the raid on his house, where three men had been apprehended. Hmimssa agreed to assist the authorities, and his evidence was used to convict two members of the "Detroit Sleeper Cell" on June 3, 2002.
On October 1, 2003, John S. Pistole, assistant director of the FBI's Counterterrorism Division, told the House Select Committee on Homeland Security that since 9/11, the FBI had investigated numerous cases of terrorists utilizing false or stolen identification.
Mr Pistole said: "Investigation and interviews of detainees have included the following instances of fraudulent documents and use of false identification related to terrorism matters: 1) A Pakistani detainee who served as a doctor and guard for the Taliban was detained at JFK for attempting to enter the US on a forged passport; 2) An Iraqi detainee purchased a false Moroccan passport for approximately $150.00 in US currency, and used it to enter Turkey where he was arrested; 3) An Algerian detainee requested asylum in Canada after entering that country on a false passport; 4) A Yemeni detainee acquired a false Yemeni passport and was able to get a Pakistani visa; and 5) An Algerian detainee obtained a French passport in an alias name and used it to travel to London. The cost for this false passport was 3,000 French Francs (about $530 US, according to the Council of Economic Advisors)."
Britain, which has more "extremist" Muslims than any other European country, has a sad history of passport abuse. On April 2, 2003, two Algerian illegal immigrants became the first people to be convicted in Britain of raisin funds for Al Qaeda. Brahim Benmerzouga and Baghdad Meziane were given 11 year jail terms at Leicester Crown Court. The pair additionally arranged forged travel documents for jihadists. Meziane admitted possessing a forged passport, with which he had opened a bank account, gained a job, and claimed welfare and housing benefit. He had originally entered Britain in 1997 on a fake passport, issued in the name of Cyril Jacob.
Another illegal immigrant Algerian was found guilty at Belfast Crown Court on November 24, 2005 of possessing material "for a purpose connected with the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism." Abbas Boutrab was using a passport which belonged to Fabio Parenti, an Italian tourist who had the document stolen at Dublin airport on Sept 1, 2001.
Andrew Rowe was a UK citizen of Jamaican descent, who became a convert to Islam in 1990, was convicted of terrorism charges on September 23, 2005 and given a 15-year jail sentence. Rowe had been arrested on a Channel Tunnel train France in 2003. In his possession had been several passports. He had been issued with four passports in seven years. He had traveled extensively, including visiting Bosnia in 1995 to fight as a jihadist, and he repeatedly claimed to have lost or damaged his passports to gain clean, new ones. It appears Rowe's passport shenanigans were an attempt to obliterate evidence of his travel to areas associated with terrorism.
In Britain, issues of homeland security, passport registration and immigration is controlled by various departments within the Home Office. The Home Office is renowned for its incompetence - in April 2006 it was revealed that 1,023 foreign criminals, who should have been deported at the end of their jail sentences, had been released into the community. They consequently disappeared. These included 3 murderers, 9 rapists, 5 pedophiles, 7 serious sex-offenders, along with 57 convicted of crimes of violence and 2 convicted of manslaughter.
Prime Minister Tony Blair decided to sack Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, on May 5, 2006, replacing him with John Reid. Despite heroic statements, Reid has been unable to stem the tide of incompetence at the heart of Home Office policy. Shortly before Clarke's dismissal, a scandal emerged, involving a suspected Islamist terrorist. It was revealed that this young illegal immigrant from East Africa who was jailed for street robbery, had not only never been considered for deportation, but had subsequently been issued with a British passport by the Home Office.
The department of the Home Office which deals with passports is the Identity and Passport Service (IPS). On Tuesday, (March 20) this week, some staggering admissions were made by Home Office minister Joan Ryan.
She said that in the 12 months leading up to September 2006, 16,500 fraudulent passport applications had been made to the IPS. Of these claims, less than half were picked up. This led to fraudulent passports being issued to 10,000 individuals. Short of a birth certificate, a passport is the nearest thing to a "proof of citizenship" that a person can have.
6.6 million passports were issued in this period, accounting for 10% of the total population. Joan Ryan tried to soften the blow by stating that in future, passport applicants will have to have face-to-face interviews, a process that will only begin in May.
In February, it was revealed that 1,000 passports had gone missing in the post. And despite the improvement of an RFID chip, even e-Passports are not immune to fraud. Using technology costing only £105 ($206), a consultant from a German security firm was able to hack into the e-Passport's chip to access data. This potentially allows cloned data to be added to a blank chip in a forged passport.
The most damaging revelation from the IPS this week was the news that two terrorists linked to Al Qaeda were issued with passports. The first of these, Moroccan-born Salaheddine Benyaich (alias Abou Moughen), is currently serving an 18 year jail sentence in Morocco. He was jailed for his involvement in plotting the multiple suicide bombings in Casablanca on May 16, 2003. Thirty-three innocent people died in these attacks, along with the 12 suicide bombers. Benyaich was a member of the Moroccan Islamic Combattant Group (GICM). Benyaich had fraudulently obtained a passport using the identity of a Brighton-born British citizen.
The other individual to have gained passports fraudulently was Dhiren Barot. This son of a Hindu banker had converted to Islam and had fought as a jihadist in Kashmir from 1996-1998. In 1999, he had also attended the Hudaybah terror training camp in the Philippines, run by Jemaah Islamiyah. He had plotted to attack targets in Britain and the US. He plotted attacks against the buildings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington, the New York Stock Exchange and Citigroup buildings in New York, and the Prudential building in Newark.
Barot also explored the possibility of detonating a bomb in a tunnel beneath the River Thames in London, and had made plans for a radioactive dirty bomb. He was given a life sentence on November 7, 2006. The judge, Mr Justice Butterfield, ordered that he be sentenced to a minimum of 40 years' incarceration, and told him: "This was no noble cause. Your plans were to bring indiscriminate carnage, bloodshed and butchery first in Washington, New York and Newark, and thereafter the UK on a colossal and unprecedented scale." He added: ""Your intention was not simply to cause damage, panic or fear. Your intention was to murder, but it went further. It was designed to strike at the very heart of democracy and the security of the state. And if successful, would have affected thousands personally, millions indirectly and ultimately the whole nation of the US and the UK."
Barot, it was revealed this week, had been given a total of nine British passports. Seven of these passports had been issued under his real name, and two had been acquired using a bogus identity.
The shadow Home Secretary, Conservative MP David Davis, said: "It is outrageous that this Government managed to issue multiple genuine passports to convicted terrorists under false pretences. What is to say they won't issue genuine ID cards to terrorists or that terrorists will not use fraudulent passports to obtain genuine ID cards? Yet again we see the public continue to be put at risk by the consequences of the Government's failure."
The public in Britain are not the only people to be placed at risk by such shoddy practices. Under the Visa Waiver Program, how many potential terrorists and criminals, issued with bona fide passport documentation, will be traveling to the United States?
On Thursday March 22 this week, police raided 13 addresses in London, and 22 people were arrested. The targets of the raid were illegal passport factories. £40,000 ($78,570) cash, along with false passports, and other documents, were recovered in the raids.
However great the scale of passport fraud in Britain may be, it is certainly large enough to instill alarm in any American citizen who has previously trusted Britain as a reliable ally in the war on terror.
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Adrian Morgan is a British based writer and artist who has written for Western Resistance since its inception. He also writes for Spero News.
He has previously contributed to various publications, including the Guardian and New Scientist and is a former Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Society.
Labels: Homeland Security, jihad, Muslim immigration, muslims, Treason, war on terror