News / Asia

    Malaysian Jet's Disappearance Exposes Security Gaps

    Malaysian Jet's Disappearance Exposes Security Gapsi
    X
    Carolyn Presutti
    March 12, 2014 1:09 AM
    The investigation into the Malaysian airliner which disappeared last Saturday has brought up questions about security, especially since two of the plane's passengers were traveling with stolen passports. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look at the data base for passports and why it was not checked by Malaysian officials.
    The investigation into the Malaysian airliner which disappeared last Saturday has brought up questions about security, especially since two of the plane's passengers were traveling with stolen passports.  A data base for passports does exist but it’s not clear why it was not checked by Malaysian officials.
     
    An Italian man’s passport was on the Malaysia Airlines flight, but he was not.
     
    Luigi Maraldi reported his passport stolen two years ago.  The information went into an international database of 40 million stolen or lost passports monitored by Interpol.  But the database was not checked before the flight took off and then disappeared on Saturday. 
     
    In fact, Interpol says passengers worldwide last year were able to board planes one billion times without having their passports checked against the database.
     
    Congressman Adam Schiff, a senior member of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee expressed concern.

    "The fact that two people traveling with fake passports on a flight of this size, and it's not uncommon, reveals a glaring hole in our security," said Schiff.
     
    Two stolen passports and other unknowns are why CIA Director John Brennan has not ruled out terrorism.
     
    “Were these individuals with stolen passports in any way involved?” – he asked.
     
    The database is available to Interpol’s 190 member countries and will be accessible to others.
     
    The United States is one of the largest contributors - with three million records - and does not permit flights to enter or leave the U.S. without checking it.  But, Shawn Dray, Interpol’s Washington director, told VOA in this exclusive interview the database gets limited use from most other countries.
     
    "Sometimes over-classification can get in the way, sometimes diplomacy can be an issue between countries,  political issues can come up. But if you take a look at Interpol and its services that it provides, it’ll just be a matter of increasing those services, and doing what we already do. We will just do it better and we will do more of it.”
     
    Aviation consultant Vahid Motevalli says the size of the database is a problem.
     
    “Sometimes passports are reported stolen and maybe they’re lost and they may be found. “But there is cost and time involved in all of that and that’s perhaps why [the databases] aren’t widely used,” 
     
    The Interpol database was created in 2002, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States. It was hoped that the database would help prevent future attacks. 
     
    But as CIA director Brennan says, there are too many “curious anomalies” to know what really happened to Malaysia Airlines flight 370.

    Carolyn Presutti

    Carolyn Presutti is an Emmy and Silver World Medal award winning television correspondent who works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters. She has also won numerous Associated Press TV, Radio, and Multimedia awards, as well as a Clarion for her TV coverage of The Syrian Medical Crisis, Haiti, The Boston Marathon Bombing, Presidential Politics, The Southern Economy, Google Glass & Other Wearables, and the 9/11 Anniversary.

    You May Like

    US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

    US sends first ambassador to Somalia in 25 years; diplomatic presence and forces pulled out in 1993, after 18 US soldiers were killed when militiamen shot down military helicopter

    Brexit Vote Ripples Across South Asia

    Experts say exit is likely to have far-reaching economic, political and social implications for a region with deep historic ties to Britain

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Ike
    March 12, 2014 11:50 PM
    Incredible that countries do not check the database. Surely however, these advanced countries, could link these airport computers to the Interpol database , so that when the immigration staff swipe the passport through the airport computer, it automatically is scanned through the Interpol computer database at the same time, for authenticity and validity.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapides’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora