Congress moves to close flight training loopholes

Bill leaves loophole for pilots

A bill is being considered in Congress to close one of the security loopholes that allowed the 9/11 attacks to succeed.

However, Team 10 found the bill won't close every loophole, including one that allowed two terrorists to learn to fly in San Diego.

The terrorists who crashed American Airlines flight 77 into the Pentagon learned to fly at Montgomery Field.

It has been more than a decade since they carried out the attack, yet Congress is just now dealing with the security breech that allowed them to get flight training.

"This should have been fixed immediately after 9/11," said San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob.

Jacob and her colleagues lobbied Congress to pass a bill that would force foreign nationals to pass background checks before they could receive flight training.

The bill would force foreign pilots to pass a background check before learning to fly in the United States.

The bill now sits with the congressional homeland security committee.

It includes planes over 12500 pounds.  It doesn't cover the small planes flight schools use at airports across San Diego county.

"Our federal government still has not fixed the problem," Jacob said.

Jacob represents East county, which includes Gillespie Field.

The congressman behind the bill, Mississippi Democrat Bernie Thompson, would not comment for this story.

His spokesman and the spokesman for the House Committee on Homeland Security said they did not feel it was necessary to issue a statement,  but did say small planes were omitted from the bill so it had a chance to pass.

"Anyone that's in a flight school in this country must be thoroughly vetted, must be matched up against a terrorist watch list.  That's not happening," Jacob said.

According to a Government Accountability Report more than 25,000 foreign pilots learned to fly in this the U.S. without background checks since 2006.

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