For ter­ror­ists, a li­cense to drive is a li­cense to kill

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - Michelle Malkin

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.

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