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Concerns Grow Over Threats at American Airports

Former CIA officials claim that terrorists could once again target American airspace.

A previously high-ranking member of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) claims that Islamic terrorist groups could once again target airports in the United States as a result of destabilization within terrorist organizations. Bloomberg reports that the comments were made by Michael Morrel, former CIA deputy director, during the 2017 U.S. Chamber of Commerce Aviation Summit.

During the event, the now-senior counselor to Beacon Global Strategies noted that the potential threats were due to the focus on fighting terrorists linked to the Islamic State. As a result, decentralized groups affiliated with the al-Qaeda terrorist organization have once again increased recruiting in former strongholds, including Afghanistan and Yemen.

With more potential recruits to these organizations, Morell noted that some may try to enter the United States with the goal of threatening the air transportation infrastructure. During his presentation, the analyst cited information from the FBI, claiming that 80 percent of those arrested on terrorism charges were U.S. residents or citizens.

The comments come as the White House is once again considering a travel ban after their previous attempt was struck down by federal courts. CNBC reports the current draft would prevent citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the United States. However, other countries noted by Morell, including Afghanistan and Pakistan, would not be included on that list.

In response to the potential threats, Morell suggested that airport teams and the Transportation Security Administration prepare and be on the watch for insiders. While “lone wolf” attackers may not be as likely at airports, the ex-official noted that airports were the “center of the target zone” for terrorists.

[Photo: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta]

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kulflyer March 3, 2017

Looks like someone's looking for a new gig in the current administration.