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Terror Threats From Within – Lessons Unlearned

The arrest of Sami Ibrahim Isa Ardel Hadi

by Douglas J. Hagmann, Director

10 May 2005: It has been well publicized that on May 3, 2005, 39-year-old Sami Ibrahim Isa Ardel Hadi was arrested by Bergen County, NJ police during a traffic stop on Route 46 near Ridgefield Park for tailgating. When the officer called-in the North Carolina plates of Hadi's car, the Bergen County Police report indicates the officer was told HADI was listed on several federal agency terror watch lists, and there was a “stop and hold order” on him – part of a recently implemented, standardized coded system supposedly being used by law enforcement agencies across the U.S. Taken into custody, it was determined after much initial confusion that HADI is indeed on the terror watch lists because (1) his visa had expired, and (2) authorities allegedly could not locate him.

This investigative analyst watched the varied reactions of his arrest by media pundits, civil rights groups and even some members of the law enforcement community with interest. Many appeared to “yawn in unison,” downplaying the significance of the arrest. That collective reactionary trend continued even though it was verified that HADI, despite being in this country illegally, possessed a valid temporary I.D. to work as a painter on the George Washington Bridge – a known target of Islamic terrorists. Investigation verified that HADI is an employee of L & L Painting Company, Inc., on South Oyster Bay Road in Hicksville, New York.

The Real Problem is Misidentified or Overlooked

The fact that HADI was arrested on an immigration violation is not necessarily the real news story here, and the apparent inability of otherwise rational thinking Americans to recognize the real significance of this story is disconcerting but not surprising. As I perused through a number of Internet forums in search of various reactions regarding this incident, I found what I would consider a perfect example of terrorism-related myopia in the posting of a member of the popular Internet forum Free Republic. This poster wrote:

"How ridiculous. Now we are going to call someone a terrorist who overstayed his visa. Get a grip. He should be deported but lets not get carried away with the terrorist stuff."

Correct only in the sense that a visa violation does not make one a terrorist, this poster – and others who adhere to this line of thinking – are missing the much larger issue that should concern all of us. The salient issue is the non-existence of background checks on an alarming number of individuals working on various parts of our infrastructure, despite warnings that our infrastructure is a terrorist target.

Quoting one PBA union official for Port Authority Police:

"What scares us is that workers on the Port Authority's bridges and tunnels have no security background checks."

According to published reports, the failure of administering appropriate background checks for those working at key areas of our infrastructure, including bridges and tunnels that have been named as targets by terrorists has been a contentious issue since the attacks of 9/11. Think about THAT the next time you are crossing the GWB or traveling through the Holland Tunnel, coincidentally, the same landmarks photographed by terrorist Tariq Javid who again coincidentally, was arrested on an immigration violation for allegedly lying on his immigration papers about his terror links.


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