Report: 9/11 Hijacker Bypassed FAA

ByABC News

— -- Report: 9/11 Hijacker Bypassed FAA

D A L L A S, June 13 — A suspected Saudi terrorist believed to havepiloted the plane that crashed into the Pentagon bypassed theFederal Aviation Administration for his flight licenses, accordingto a published report today.

Sources and agency records cited by The Dallas Morning Newsshowed that Hani Saleh Hanjour obtained certification by usingprivate examiners who independently contract with the FAA. Thatcertification allowed him to begin passenger jet training at anArizona flight school despite having what instructors laterdescribed as limited flying skills and an even more limited commandof English.

The jet training enabled the 30-year-old Hanjour to take thecontrols of American Airlines Flight 77 on the morning of Sept. 11and crash it into the Pentagon, killing 188 people including allpassengers aboard.

Certification of Hanjour illustrates a flaw in the federalsystem, one official said.

An FAA inspector in California who spoke on condition ofanonymity told the newspaper a pilot now "could go all the waythrough to become a 747 captain, if you will, having never gonebefore the FAA."

Agency records show that Hanjour was certified as an "AirplaneMulti-Engine Land/Commercial Pilot" on April 15, 1999, by DarylStrong, a designated pilot examiner in Tempe, Ariz. It was the lastof three certifications Hanjour obtained from private examiners.

Strong, 71, said his flight logs confirm that he conducted acheck ride with Mr. Hanjour in 1999 in a twin-engine Piper Apachebut that he remembers nothing remarkable about him. Strong, withmore than 50 years of flying experience that included a commercialcrop duster, said until recently he conducted about 200 such checkrides each year, at $200 per flight.

FAA officials confirm one of their inspectors, John Anthony, wascontacted by Pan Am International Flight Academy in Miami inJanuary and February about Hanjour and, at the request of theschool, checked Hanjour's commercial pilot's license to ensure itwas valid.

"There should have been a stop right then and there," saidMichael Gonzales, an FAA inspector speaking as president of theProfessional Airways Systems Specialists chapter in Scottsdale thatrepresents FAA field inspectors. He said Hanjour should have beenre-examined as a commercial pilot, as required by federal law.

—The Associated Press

Organizations Fined for Not Securing Radioactive Materials

W A S H I N G T O N, June 13 — Security lapses involving radioactive materials have led to scores of enforcement actions againstuniversities, construction companies, hospitals and even the U.S. Army in recent years, according to Nuclear Regulatory Commissionrecords.

In at least 16 cases violators were fined thousands of dollars.

But NRC officials said that the breaches either did not lead to a loss of radioactive material, or involved amounts so small they could not have been useful to terrorists seeking to craft a "dirty bomb."

NRC officials acknowledge they cannot say for certain that no radioactive material has been diverted. Tracking of most of theseindustrial-use materials is left largely to private industry. With 2 million radioactive sources in commerce, there is no certaintyall of it can be accounted for, the officials say.

"The reality is it's a very large volume of material that's out in the community and I can't give you any assurance that [some]material might not have been diverted by now," said Richard Meserve, chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, in aninterview Wednesday.

Meserve said he was reasonably certain that no large radiation sources — such as the foot-long "pencils" of cobalt-60 used toirradiate food, or larger amounts of cesium-137 used in medicine — have been stolen. None has been reported missing, although the NRCgets on average 300 reports of small amounts of radioactive materials — usually material in gauges or other equipment — missing each year. About half eventually is recovered.

As for the larger sources, the materials are highly radioactive and must be heavily shielded. "It is a very difficult [material] for a terrorist to handle without receiving a lethal dose himself," said Meserve. Nevertheless, he said, transporters and users of these materials have been told to boost security.

NRC enforcement records show more than 54 cases requiring "elevated enforcement actions" over the last five years because of security violations involving industrial nuclear materials. Violators facing fines from $2,500 to $15,000 included government agencies, universities, hospitals, military facilities andconstruction and engineering companies.

Three days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, a New Jersey dentistry school was fined $3,000 for "failure to ... maintain constant surveillance" on its nuclear material. Three months later the University of Wisconsin-Madison was fined $3,000 for not securing radioactive material.

The Army was fined $8,000 for not properly securing nuclearmaterials at its Rock Island Arsenal. In 1997, an employee at theDefense Logistics Agency in Pennsylvania was found to have stolenan item containing radioactive material; in 1999, the InteriorDepartment was cited by the NRC for security lapses. Neither ofthose cases involved fines.

Construction and engineering firms in a number of states werecited for not keeping track of moisture gauges that contain smallamounts of cesium-137. Last November alone, three companies werefined $3,000 each for not properly securing portable moisturegauges.

John Hickey, of the NRC office dealing with industrial nuclearmaterials, said the enforcement actions — as well as virtually allthe missing material reports — involved extremely small amounts ofmaterial.

For example, according to the NRC, between 1996 and 2001 a total of 11.3 curies of cesium-137 was reported missing. Most — perhapsall — of that material reflects thefts of gauges used in construction and medicine, each of which would contain a small fraction of a curie of cesium.

While the NRC must license all users of these materials, it does not keep track of the radioactive material, relying largely onself-regulation. Hickey said users are required to inventory the material every six months and report if anything is missing.

MDS Nordion, a supplier of medical isotopes that shipsradioactive material to 80 countries, says it keeps constant checkon where its material is located across the globe.

Referring to its shipments of cobalt-60, company spokeswoman Paula Burchat said, "We know where every `pencil' is. We recycle the cobalt and itcomes back to us.

"We have very tight security."

—The Associated Press

DNA Missing From 9/11 Remains

N E W Y O R K, June 13 — As many as half of the nearly 20,000 pieces of human remains recovered in the World Trade Center ruins have notyielded DNA and are being preserved for future testing, accordingto the city medical examiner.

Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner, wouldnot elaborate on why some tissue has not yielded DNA, whichscientists can use to link remains to people killed in the Sept. 11attack.

Borakove said advances in technology might allow for successfultesting in the future.

DNA expert Victor Weedn, the founder of the Armed Forces DNAIdentification Laboratory in Rockville, N.Y., said many of the bodyparts may never yield usable DNA. The DNA could have been damaged,he said, by decomposition enzymes, bacteria or the extreme heat ofthe fires in the trade center.

Weedn said remains that have a better chance in the future arethose that initially did not yield DNA because a substance — suchas dust from concrete — inhibited the process.

"If we have DNA that's degraded down into very small fragments,there is not going to be a future remedy for that," Weedn said."But certain problems may be undone, and therefore, what can't betyped today could in the future be typed."

Of the 2,823 people lost at the trade center Sept. 11, cityofficials say 1,109 have been identified — about 350 through DNAalone, Borakove said.

Remains that arrive from the trade center have been shipped tolabs for processing if technicians determine that a DNA extractioncan be made. DNA fingerprints are then sent back to New York forcomparison with DNA submitted by victims' families.

The remains that don't produce enough DNA — or any at all — arebeing dried for preservation, Borakove said.

Victims' remains are being kept in 18 refrigerated trailersinside a tent at a lot in Manhattan, bordered by overgrown weeds onone side and the FDR Drive on the other. Families have dubbed it"Memorial Park," and have placed photographs, mementos, newspaperclippings, candles and flowers along the north side.

—The Associated Press

WTC Day Care Workers Honored

A L B A N Y, N.Y., June 13— Shortly before 9 a.m. nine months ago, more than two dozen children arrived for a day of play and learning atthe Discovery Center day care.

This day, though, would be different. The center was inside FiveWorld Trade Center and it was Sept. 11.

Charlene Melville, the day care center's executive director, hadjust finished making her rounds of the classrooms when the firstplane hit Tower One.

She immediately instructed teachers to gather the 28 children,emergency phone numbers and first aid bags. The staff led thechildren out the rear of the building about a block away near St.Paul's Church.

"We were trying to sing songs and keep the children calm andnot let them know what was going on," Melville said. "Honestly, Inever really thought about the events until that night because Ineeded to remain calm and focused."

The building later collapsed, but all the children and staffescaped unharmed.

On Wednesday, Melville along with representatives of nine otherday care centers near the World Trade Center were honored withawards from the governor's office for their actions on Sept. 11. Inall, more than 500 children were evacuated without any injuries.

"I'm aware now of the critical role that child care workersplayed in ensuring the safety of those children," said CarolSaginaw, executive director of the New York State Child CareCoordinating Council, which also handed out "Excellence inLeadership" awards to the workers.

The Discovery Center never reopened because like most of thearea day care centers, more than half of its enrollment werechildren whose parents worked in the World Trade Center or in thefinancial district.

Awards also were presented to the five New York City Child CareResources and Referral Centers that provided information to cityofficials and emergency staff during the disaster. They also helpedfamilies with child care needs in the immediate aftermath and aidedchild care providers in securing resources.

Many honorees don't feel like heroes — they said they were justdoing their jobs that day.

Nadene Geyer-Rosenberg, former director of Trinity ParishPreschool Nursery, said she was driving to the center with her1-year-old daughter when she heard a loud explosion and saw fireenveloping the upper floors of Tower One.

Rubble started hitting the roof of her car. She ran with herchild into the street and reached the center just as the secondplane hit Tower Two.

She entered the building and quickly ordered parents, teachersand students to move to the basement. After the first towercollapsed, smoke and debris forced everyone to flee to the streetwith wet cloths over their faces.

Geyer-Rosenberg said she gave her daughter to her sister, ateacher at the school, while she stayed to assist others still inthe building.

"Imagine having a parent call, saying, 'We have one of yourchildren, but we don't know where the other one is,"' she said.

Several hours later, Geyer-Rosenberg got word from her sisterthat she and her daughter were at a church in Brooklyn, along withthree other staff members and three children. By 7 p.m., all thechildren from the center were reunited with their parents.

"If it wasn't for the children, I think many of us would havefallen apart. But our focus was those kids," she said. "Yourealize you've got to be there for them."

—The Associated Press

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