Report: Federal Officials Were Aware Airport Guard Was Accused War Criminal


Federal agencies knew that a man hired as a security guard at Dulles International Airport outside of Washington, D.C. was an accused Somali war criminal, CNN reported Friday.

Yusuf Abdi Ali, who served as a military commander during the Somali Civil War, has been accused of torturing civilians, burning villages, and conducting mass executions. CNN reported Thursday that Ali passed both FBI and TSA background checks.

Federal officials later confirmed to CNN that several agencies knew about Ali’s past but refused to comment further on his hiring.

The Center for Justice and Accountability, a human rights group, filed the initial lawsuit against Ali in 2006 in a U.S. civil court, calling him a "war criminal" who committed "crimes against humanity." The case is now headed to the Supreme Court.

Ali works for Master Security, which contracts with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority to deliver unarmed security services. Master Security told CNN that Ali had been placed on administrative leave after learning of the allegations. His airport access was also revoked.

The airport authority confirmed Ali had passed a criminal background check along with a TSA threat assessment.

"TSA provided the full results of its security screening to the Airport Authority who is ultimately responsible for issuing a badge for security contract work," the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement. "Based on the results of the security screening, he did not meet the criteria for denial of his application."

The FBI said it only scans applicants’ fingerprints during domestic criminal background checks.

Natalie Johnson

Natalie Johnson   Email Natalie | Full Bio | RSS
Natalie Johnson is a staff writer at the Washington Free Beacon. Prior to joining the Free Beacon, she was a news reporter at the Daily Signal. Johnson’s work has been featured in outlets such as Newsweek, Fox News and Drudge Report. She graduated from James Madison University in 2015 with a B.A. in political science and journalism. She can be reached at Her twitter handle is @nataliejohnsonn.

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