FBI Hunts For Al-Qaida Pilot “Mole”


A British newspaper says FBI fears that an al-Qaida operative may be working as a pilot for a British airline are behind flight cancellations last week. The Daily Mirror says American investigators will screen all British pilots flying to the U.S. to try and root out the suspected mole. The paper quotes unnamed sources as saying the infiltrator intends to crash a planeload of people into the White House, Pentagon or Capitol building. Brian Doyle, a senior official with the Department of Homeland Security, confirmed the suspicions. “The intelligence is telling us there are some forms of infiltration from al-Qaida. We are looking hard into it.” The worldwide alert has security officials on edge, as passengers on a Paris-bound Air France flight found out on New Year’s Day. They ended up spending three hours in St. John’s, Newfoundland, after a mix-up at Kennedy Airport resulted in an unaccompanied suitcase getting on the plane. A passenger cancelled his flight after being told he’d have to pay for extra baggage and when his luggage was pulled from the plane, one bag was left behind. “It really goes to show what a minor thing can do,” said Rex Ledrew, president of the St. John’s International Airport Authority. Meanwhile, Sweden and New Zealand have so far refused to put armed marshals on flights to the U.S. The Swedes say they’ll cancel flights if there’s a security threat. Italy has banned flights over Rome until Tuesday.