The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up | Manage  Green editions icon Green editions


HeraldNet Headlines
HeraldNet Newsletter Delivered to your inbox each week.
Published: Friday, July 20, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
In our view / Identifying potential threats

Use wide lens on security

News reports Thursday reveal flaws in our post-9/11 life in the United States.
It turns out that U.S. citizens who are considered a terror threat and banned from flying on passenger planes have no restrictions that keep them from taking flying lessons, the Chicago Tribune reported. The "loophole" (more like a black hole in security) came to light during a Wednesday congressional hearing into security lapses at the nation's 935 accredited flight schools.
U.S. citizens are screened against terrorism databases only after flight training, when they apply for a pilot's license. More than 550 Americans are on the no-fly list.
When it was learned after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that the al-Qaida terrorists responsible had attended flight schools in Florida, Arizona and Minnesota, security checks were added for people coming to the United States to enroll in flight schools. But they weren't added for U.S. citizens.
"I'm shocked to hear that someone on the no-fly list can be approved for flight lessons," said Mike Rogers, R-Ala., a member of the House Homeland Security Committee. "It is mind-blowing."
It's shocking that this was uncovered only because security officials launched an investigation in 2010 after a Boston-area aviation school was found to have been training illegal immigrants. Investigators have identified 30 such people who attended flight school. They are under investigation for immigration violations. But not for suspected terrorism.
It was also in 2010 that U.S. citizen and Texas resident Andrew Joseph Stack III flew his plane into the Austin IRS building, killing himself and IRS worker Vernon Hunter, 68, a husband and father and Vietnam veteran. It remains the only successful airborne attack on our shores since 9/11.
It's shocking that Homeland Security and congressional committees didn't direct more attention to our potential home-grown terrorists, despite the evidence.
Meanwhile, a federal judge Wednesday ordered a Tennessee county on to allow a Muslim congregation to open its new mosque after a two-year fight from opponents. Residents sued on the grounds that Islam is not a real religion and that local Muslims intended to overthrow the U.S. Constitution in favor of Islamic religious law. Despite this, a judge upheld the injunction for another reason, (not enough notice), which is why it ended up in federal court. During this time, the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro was subject to acts of vandalism, arson and a bomb threat.
It's difficult to admit when the enemy looks like us, that the enemy can be us, but we can't let it get in the way of our safety and security, and our ability to identify all real threats.

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.


Herald Editorial Board

Jon Bauer, Opinion Editor:

Carol MacPherson, Editorial Writer:

Neal Pattison, Executive Editor:

Josh O'Connor, Publisher:

Have your say

Feel strongly about something? Share it with the community by writing a letter to the editor. Send letters by e-mail to, by fax to 425-339-3458 or mail to The Herald - Letters, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We'll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 250 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it. If your letter is published, please wait 30 days before submitting another. Have a question about letters? Contact Carol MacPherson at or 425-339-3472.

HeraldNet highlights

Looking for a friend?
Looking for a friend?: Animals up for adoption at the Everett shelter (8 new photos)
A new breed of berries
A new breed of berries: Blueberry and raspberry plants that are ideal for Northwest
10 critical plays
10 critical plays: Aside from ‘the interception,’ other events also cost...
A future recreation station
A future recreation station: Skate park, playgrounds coming to Cavelero Hill