News & Politics

Vetting? What Vetting? UK Flies Person on No-Fly List Into Britain from Afghanistan

AP Photo/Rahmat Gul

On Monday morning, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby gave strong assurances that the Afghans who are being brought into the United States are being carefully vetted: “We have, uh, intelligence and law enforcement personnel, uh, at these sites, making sure that robust screening is done of these individuals, so that nobody comes into the United States that hasn’t been, uh, screened in a robust manner.”

Terrific. Our allies the British have likewise flung open their doors to thousands of Afghans, and today have given an indication of the unavoidable difficulties involved in this process: Sky News reported that “a person from Afghanistan on the UK’s no-fly list has been flown into Birmingham as part of the British evacuation operation in a potential security breach.”

The British have screening that is just as “robust” as ours. A UK government spokesperson said: “There are people in Afghanistan who represent a serious threat to national security and public safety. That is why thorough checks are taking place by government, our world-class intelligence agencies and others. If someone is assessed as presenting as a risk to our country, we will take action.”

Nonetheless, one person was able to slip through all this world-class vetting: “The individual, who is not being identified by the government, is understood to have reached UK soil on a British military plane, with officials being alerted ‘overnight.’” This person was one of five who made the attempt; he or she was the only one who got through. According to Sky News, “the revelation was made by a senior Border Force official in a call to MPs earlier today. He also said that one more individual was intercepted in Frankfurt, and he was blocked from continuing his journey to the UK though his family were allowed to continue.”

That’s good. After all, his family must be as moderate as the day is long, right? How could it be anything else? What could possibly go wrong?

Oddly, the Sky News report goes on to note that “the government will not say if the individual has been detained.”

That’s even a question? Of course he or she should have been detained, but in Britain today, one never knows. In February 2019, The Times of London reported that “the security orders used to keep the public safe from former jihadists are so expensive that experts fear most of those returning from Syria are being allowed to roam free.” The costs involved did indeed seem exorbitant: “The Home Office has spent nearly £5 million [$6.8 million] keeping 23 suspects under restrictions, The Times can disclose. Annual legal bills have been as high as £1 million [$1.3 million] while accommodation has cost as much as £70,000 [$96,000] a year per person. That figure excludes the cost of tagging and police work.” So some returning jihadis simply walk around loose, to cut costs. Has this no-fly-lister from Afghanistan now joined them? The Home Office did not offer any denial, “robust” or otherwise.

Sky News also pointed out of the people it is now bringing into the country by the thousands that “if they pose a threat, the UK government will not now be able to return them to Afghanistan after Britain suspended flights.” Indeed. Neither Britain nor the United States will be able to return anyone to Afghanistan because Afghanistan is henceforth going to be a hostile nation. Human rights organizations would be enraged, and any officials who contemplated sending anyone who had been discovered to be a jihadi back to Afghanistan would wilt in the heat and drop the idea.

But the need to keep a stiff upper lip and all that has not entirely disappeared from Woke Britannia, so the Boris Johnson government is trying to put the best possible face on this fiasco. “Opposition MPs worry this is a security breach,” says Sky News, “although government sources say that the fact the individual has been identified shows the watchlist is working.” Well, yeah, it was working great, once this possible jihad terrorist had already landed in Britain. And now what?

Even worse, “British officials at the airport in Kabul are warning of a spike in impersonations, forged documents and forged passports.” Anyone could have seen that coming and prepared for it, which likely means that this development has caught both the British and the Americans flat-footed, and they have no idea what to do about it. And as if it couldn’t get any worse than that, “the US does not have any such checks, and people will be processed in the US on arrival.”

Great. And what do we do if we discover a jihad terrorist among them? Can’t send him back to Kabul. Maybe Guantanamo? Old Joe and his handlers would recoil at that idea. Maybe the favored course of action will be to plunk him down in the middle of Lewiston or Dubuque or Minneapolis or Carson City and hope for the best. After all, that has been the procedure for several years now, and all hell hasn’t broken loose yet, right? So here yet again, what could possibly go wrong? Just think about how much American and British diversity will be enhanced!