Yusuf Abdi Ali, a former Somali national army commander, is a pretty famous alleged war criminal, someone who's been profiled on major news media, deported from Canada over a failed claim of refugee status, arrested in the USA for lying about his participation in "genocidal acts" on his visa applications, currently embroiled in a lawsuit with someone who claims Ali tortured and shot him -- and now he works as a private airport security officer at DC's Dulles airport.
Searching on Mr Ali's name turns up all of this and more.
Airport security workers are supposed to go through a "full, federally mandated vetting process" and an FBI background check. Mr Ali was working for the TSA under his own name.
As Kevin Underhill points out, the FBI background check has experienced some pretty high-profile lapses lately: a convicted terrorist was given Precheck clearance and a fugitive with a nationwide arrest warrant was given a job at the DHS.
The CNN team who broke the story about Ali wrote a stomach-churning account of the crimes he stands accused of, which involve torture, ethnic cleansing, mass executions and shallow mass graves, putting towns to the torch, murdering people by dragging them behind vehicles, forcing children to view mass killings and more.
He's been suspended pending an investigation into the matter.
Update: The article has been updated to reflect the fact that Mr Ali worked for a private security firm, not the TSA.
While I might have doubts about a TSA administrator’s ability to do that—on average I’d expect about the same computer literacy as Derek Zoolander—surely an FBI agent could handle it.
But the alternative is that being an alleged war criminal—a charge not yet proven in court, admittedly, but not without supporting evidence—is not necessarily a deal-breaker when it comes to an airport-security job. I suppose his experience with arbitrary detention might be seen as a plus. But any evidence of a past willingness to murder and torture others seems like a good reason to select a different applicant, all else being equal. I’m not an employment lawyer, but I think that’s an OK reason to turn someone away. While Ali is not accused of the kind of terrorism we’re currently super worried about, one might suspect him of a certain, shall we say, moral flexibility that one would not favor in an employee granted free access to secured areas.
He's accused of war crimes in Somalia. Now he works security at a U.S. airport.
[Scott Bronstein, Kyra Phillips and Curt Devine/CNN]
[Kevin Underhill/Lowering the Bar]