April 5, 2007, - 9:36 am
By Debbie Schlussel
Since I’ve written about the many pro-Bin Laden airport employees– including a Northwest Airlines ticket agent whose husband is an Al-Qaeda terrorist–this latest news out of Chicago is not shocking to me. What is shocking is that the TSA, airports, and airlines continue to give jobs to Muslims without nary a background check into their pasts.
Until he was arrested in 2004, Sami Khoshaba Latchin worked for years as a gate agent at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport–one of the largest and most trafficked airports in the country. But, at the same time, he was also a sleeper cell recruiter for Saddam Hussein. But for documents seized by our soldiers in Iraq in 2003, we’d never know, and he’d continue working at O’Hare. Because, after all, we can’t discriminate against Muslims or Arabs. Or even do a cursory background check, years after 9/11. That would be wrong. Right?
Latchin is now on trial. More from the Chicago Tribune:
Federal prosecutors began laying out their case Tuesday against a Des Plaines man accused of being an officer for the Iraqi Intelligence Service under Saddam Hussein.
Sami Khoshaba Latchin worked for years as a gate agent at O’Hare International Airport, but he was really a “sleeper spy” recruiting operatives to gather information on groups opposing Hussein’s regime from inside the United States, prosecutors said.
Secret documents that fell into American hands after the 2003 invasion of Iraq point to Latchin as an Iraqi operative, first in Greece and then in the Chicago area, Assistant U.S. Atty. James Conway told jurors.
“There’s a spy in this room,” he said.
Before his arrest in 2004, Latchin had been planted in the U.S. as a long-term operative, directing collaborators and awaiting further instructions from Baghdad, Conway said.
He is charged with lying on documents to obtain American citizenship, lying to the FBI, and being an unregistered foreign agent in this country.
He might have remained in his position if the paperwork outing him had not surfaced overseas, Conway said.
And whose fault is that? Oh yeah, ours. Because we’d never have looked into his background. What a joke.
Conway showed . . . documents that refer to a “Sami Khoshaba” and some of his directives. Khoshaba was described as being in “public affairs” for the Iraqi government, which was code for the intelligence service.
“Intelligence”. That’s not really a word one can legitimately use to describe anything having to do with America’s airport security. And this is yet another glorious example. Not the exception.
More from the Chicago Daily Herald:
[Assistant U.S. Attorney Conway] also said phone records will show Latchin communicating with his Iraqi “handlers,” or spies who managed his activities. Several times, phone records show Latchin communicating with handlers and then almost immediately getting on a plane to meet them in foreign lands, Conway said. In one case, Latchin met with a handler in Amman, Jordan, where he received $24,000, even signing a receipt for the money with his code name or symbol “Abu Sarmad” and sending $15,000 of it back to his U.S. account via wire transfer.
This man, Latchin, has been a U.S. citizen since 1993, but he could easily become one, had he applied in 2007. The fact is now, like then–and it’s actually worse now, according to officials who work on this–citizenship applications are being rubberstamped. They are not being checked against terrorism databases or much else.
Saddam may be gone. But there are plenty of others who aren’t. And their spies are here, unfettered, just like Latchin.
Good luck, America. We’ll need a lot of it.
Tags: al-Qaeda, America, Amman, attorney, Baghdad, Chicago, Chicago Daily Herald, Chicago Tribune, citizenship applications, Debbie Schlussel, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Greece, Iraq, Iraqi government, James Conway, Jordan, long-term operative, Northwest Airlines, O'Hare Airport, O'Hare Airport Gate Agent Was Spy for Iraq By, O'Hare International Airport, officer, Saddam Hussein, Sami Khoshaba Latchin, sleeper cell recruiter, sleeper spy, spy, the Chicago Tribune, ticket agent, United States, USD