For terrorists, a license to drive is a license to kill
What’s the harm in allowing illegal aliens to have driver’s licenses? After all, they’re just all here innocently doing the jobs Americans won’t do, right? And since they’re already here, we might as well let them drive legally, right? We’ll all be safer, right? Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Driver’s licenses are tickets into the American mainstream. They allow residents to establish an identity and foothold into their communities. They help you open bank accounts, enter secure facilities, board planes — and drive tractor-trailers carrying hazardous materials.
But there aren’t any illegal aliens out there who would use fraudulently obtained driver’s licenses to threaten Americans, right? That’s just xenophobic scare-mongering, right? Wrong again. Recently, law enforcement officials arrested an illegal alien enrolled at a Smithfield, R.I., tractor-trailer training school who was trying to obtain a commercial driver’s license and permit to haul hazardous materials. Not many people paid attention. You should. Illegal alien Mohammed Yusef Mullawala, 28, of Jamaica, N.Y., had obtained driver’s licenses from New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island. He was re- portedly in a hurry to get a commercial driver’s license and a permit to haul hazardous cargo.
Because he’s just so passionate about the job, right? Yeah.
A joint investigation was initiated by investigators from the Rhode Island State Fusion Center, the Federal Bureau of Investigation Joint Terrorism Task Force in Rhode Island, New York & New Jersey, and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement after driver’s school officials became concerned about his suspicious behavior. “His behavior was consistent with terrorist-type activity,” Maj. Steve O’Donnell of the Rhode Island state police told the press. “He showed no interest in learning the fine art of driving a tractor-trailer. He had no interest in learning how to back up.” Sort of like learning how to steer a plane, but not take off or land.
As in several other cases since 9/11, it was alert private citizens who notified the Department of Homeland Security of Mr. Mullawala’s suspicious behavior. (They will no doubt be labeled Is- lamophobes and bigots by the usual grievance-mongering mob.)
And once again, it was enforcement of immigration laws that played a critical role in detaining him. Like some of the 9/11 hijackers and several al Qaeda operatives identified in the United States over the past decade, Mr. Mullawala was here on a tempo- rary student visa that he had overstayed.
Must I remind you that the 9/11 hijackers obtained some 364 separate pieces of identification, including driver’s licenses, in order to conduct their murderous business? Hijackers Hani Hanjour and Khalid Almihdhar conspired with illegal alien day la- borers at a Falls Church, Va., 7Eleven to obtain government-issued photo IDs. Three other hijackers obtained IDs at an Arlington, Va., DMV.
Terrorist truck bombs have killed hundreds of Americans in Beirut, at the Khobar Towers, and Iraq. For the operatives behind the wheel, a license to drive is a license to kill. Over the past two years, the FBI has put law enforcement officials on high alert for U.S.-based operatives connected to al Qaeda who may be in possession of commercial driver’s licenses and may be planning to use truck bombs.
In Boston, suspected al Qaeda agent and illegal alien Nabil al- Marabh obtained a license permitting him to drive semi-trucks containing hazardous materials, including explosives and caustic materials.
In Minneapolis, suspected al Qaeda operative Mohamad Elzahabi, who obtained a green card through a fake marriage, was able to obtain a commercial driver’s license to drive a school bus and to haul hazardous materials — despite FBI knowledge that Mr. Elzahabi had been tied to terrorism.
Earlier this year, more than 200 Somalian and Bosnian immigrants illegally obtained Missouri commercial driver’s licenses or certifications to handle hazardous materials through a West Plains truck-driving school that had a contract with the state, according to federal prosecutors. In just a few short weeks, Democrats led by Nancy Pelosi — a staunch opponent of strengthened ID laws and strict immigration enforcement — will reassume power in Washington. An open borders-friendly White House has expressed willingness to deal with them. So we know who supports illegal alien workers and potential terrorist drivers waiting for amnesty. But who will stand up for us?
Michelle Malkin is a nationally syndicated columnist.