Hijackers Had Social Security Nos.

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

For educational purposes only


Thursday November 1 6:30 PM ET Hijackers Had Social Security Nos. By LEIGH STROPE, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - All 19 terrorist hijackers in the Sept. 11 attacks had Social Security (news - web sites) numbers and 13 obtained them legally, the government says.

The Social Security Administration (news - web sites)'s inspector general told House members Thursday that the government needs to tighten the process it uses to issue the numbers.

``We have learned that the risks inherent in failing to adequately protect the integrity of the Social Security number may have serious consequences,'' said James G. Huse Jr. He has been assisting the FBI (news - web sites) and the Justice Department (news - web sites) with the investigation.

The hijackers' Social Security numbers ``allowed them autonomy, to operate below the radar,'' he told the House Ways and Means subcommittee on Social Security. They could open bank accounts, get credit, obtain driver's licenses and apply to flight schools.

One glaring problem is the need for independent verification of documents that are required to obtain a number, Huse said.

For example, there is no computer link between Social Security and the Immigration and Naturalization Service to check in a reasonable amount of time the validity of visa status or other immigration documents that noncitizens must submit with their applications.

``Having a secure system is critical to preventing future attacks,'' said Rep. Clay E. Shaw, R-Fla., the subcommittee chairman.

Huse noted that in the terrorist investigation, a man whose name appears on an FBI watch list was indicted in Arizona this week on charges that he lied on Social Security and Federal Aviation Administration (news - web sites) forms.

Also, a man held by the British government on suspicion that he trained four of the hijackers had used the Social Security number of a New Jersey woman who has been dead for 10 years.

``The process we have - while well-intentioned - is certainly not as robust as it should be,'' Huse said.

Larry G. Massanari, acting Social Security commissioner, said the number of disaster-related claims has climbed to more than 4,000, and is expected to increase. More than half of those claims are for children who lost parents in the attacks.

The agency has taken claims or determined eligibility for all of the families of the 125 victims who worked at the Pentagon (news - web sites), and for 53 of the 64 passengers on the American Airlines flight that crashed there.

Social Security had requested nearly $50 million to help deal with the attacks, including processing increased claims, rebuilding the office that was near the World Trade Center and strengthening security, Massanari said.

President Bush (news - web sites) has allocated $7.5 million of the $20 billion he proposed in emergency spending for disaster recovery and security needs.

Massanari said the agency will divert money from other areas to meet the recovery needs. But that could mean that a backlog of about 40,000 disability claims to be processed could be delayed further, he said.

Social Security supplemental checks were delayed to recipients in parts of Louisiana, because of a late mail truck, as well as in Arkansas, Texas and New Mexico.

-- K (infosurf@yahoo.com), November 02, 2001


I wonder if any family member has applied for SS death benifits?

-- Joe (CactusJoe001@AOL.com), November 02, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ