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 awards and a Clarion for her coverage of The Syrian Medical Crisis, Haiti, The Boston Marathon Bombing, Presidential Politics, The Southern Economy, and The 9/11 Bombing Anniversary.  In 2013, Carolyn aired exclusive stories on the Asiana plane crash and was named VOA’s chief reporter with Google Glass.

You can follow Carolyn on Twitter at CarolynVOA, on Google Plus and Facebook.

You May Like

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Video Kenyans Lament Al-Shabab's Recruitment of Youths

VOA travels to Isiolo, where residents share their fears, struggles to get loved ones back from Somalia-based militant group More

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

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.
A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensionsi
X
May 26, 2015 11:11 PM
When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs