They’d Never Try It Here, Would They?

This is a connection we hadn’t made, but was pointed out by Mark Steyn in a column linked this morning by Glenn Reynolds. Steyn writes:

Could what happened in Beslan happen in the US? Two months ago, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported on a fellow called Mohamad Kamal Elzahabi, a suspected terrorist who’d fought with his fellow jihadi in Chechnya and somehow wound up in Minnesota, where he’d applied for licences to transport hazardous materials and drive school buses.

Steyn is right; we wrote about the Elzahabi arrest here. The Elzahabi story is an interesting one in several ways. He repeatedly re-entered the United States even though he was supposed to have been deported in 1988. When he was shot fighting in Afghanistan, he returned to the United States for medical treatment at taxpayer expense. I wrote last June:

Is there any connection between a hazardous materials license and a school bus driver’s license? I don’t know why there would be, so I assume he did whatever was necessary to obtain both. Which is scarier, a terrorist driving a load of chemicals or a busload of school children? I’d say the latter.
Also, I don’t understand the claim that the FBI identified Elzahabi as a potential terrorist “well before the Sept. 11 attacks.” Earlier published reports say that he re-entered the United States (after trying to overthrow the government of Lebanon and fighting in Chechnya) in August 2001. If both reports are correct, Elzahabi was allowed into the country even though 1) he was supposed to have been deported in 1988, 2) any account of his whereabouts since he had last been in the U.S. (when he was treated for a gunshot wound he received in Afghanistan) would have been colorful, to say the least, and 3) he was a suspected terrorist.

Notwithstanding what was known, and should have been known, about Elzahabi, he obtained a license to drive a school bus. I very much doubt that this was a random choice of occupation.


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