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FAA-licensed pilots and mechanics found to have terrorist ties

July 29, 2011, 01:00 pm

According to the New York Times, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) isn't able to determine the actual identities of an alarming number of people the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued pilot and aircraft mechanic licenses to. Recently, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reported that the TSA located 27 individuals possessing licenses who have terrorist connections.

Two years ago, New York-based private data analysis company announced that several people with FAA licenses had been identified as having terrorist connections. One was a man convicted of a Pan Am flight bombing over Scotland in 1988, and another was caught attempting to smuggle arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The FAA is not allowed to require Social Security numbers from applicants, and only possesses roughly 750,000 numbers from the 1.3 million individuals in its Airmen Registry. More than 15,000 of the numbers it does have did not match the name, sex or date of birth found in the Social Security database. After September 11, 2001, the FAA and DHS were expected to inspect the lists of licensed flight dispatchers, mechanics and pilots, but have had great difficulty doing so.

While pilot life insurance can't protect aviators from possible terrorist threats, it can protect their families and provide financial restitution should the unthinkable occur. 

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