The Merchants of Fear: Israel’s Profiting from Homeland Insecurity

In the wake of the weird Christmas Day “underwear bomber” incident on Northwest Flight 253,1 former Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff, as if on cue, was all over the mainstream media touting whole-body scanners as the answer to America’s airline security problems. Since leaving public office in 2009, Chertoff had co-founded the Chertoff Group, a security and risk-management firm whose clients include a manufacturer of body-imaging screening machines. While some in the media noted this rather commonplace conflict of interest, ignored by all was a far more significant abuse of the American public’s trust.

In a CNN interview, Chertoff cited the Detroit incident as “a very vivid lesson in the value of that machinery.” One lesson that he hasn’t drawn, however, was about the unreliability of the security firm which allowed the young Nigerian Muslim without a passport to “slip through” Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.2

ICTS International N.V., the Dutch-based security firm, was established in 1982 by former members of Israel’s secret police, the Shin Bet, and El Al security. Menachem Atzmon, who holds the controlling shares in the firm, was convicted in 1996 for campaign finance fraud while co-treasurer of the Likud party.3 The other co-treasurer Ehud Olmert, who was acquitted of those charges, resigned as Israeli Prime Minister in 2008 amid multiple corruption charges.

Although the rapid worldwide expansion of ICTS was no doubt helped by the much vaunted reputation of Israeli aviation security, its record abroad is less reassuring. In December 2001, the so-called “shoe bomber” Richard Reid also slipped through ICTS security at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport to board a flight to Miami. And it was an ICTS subsidiary, Huntleigh USA, that shared security duties at Boston’s Logan Airport, where two of the four hijacked planes originated on September 11, 2001.4

Interestingly, Michael Chertoff has close family ties to Israeli aviation. His father, an American rabbi, married Livia Eisen, who was an air hostess for El Al in the 1950s. “There are reports that she was involved in Operation Magic Carpet, which brought Jews to Israel from Yemen,” wrote Jonathan Cook in Israel and the Clash of Civilizations. “It therefore seems possible that Livia Eisen was an Israeli national, and one with possible links to the Mossad.”5

Somehow, nobody thought of asking Michael Chertoff whether his mother had ties to a foreign country’s intelligence service during the Senate confirmation hearing on his appointment as secretary of Homeland Security in 2005. Most likely taking their cue from Senators Charles Schumer and Joseph Lieberman, who endorsed their fellow Jewish Zionist for the DHS job,6 the AIPAC-conscious Senate approved Chertoff by a vote of 98-0.

Normally hypersensitive to even the most tenuous links to Islamic terrorism, Sens. Schumer and Lieberman were apparently unconcerned by Chertoff’s 1998 legal representation of Dr. Magdy Elamir. The FBI had filed a report charging Elamir with skimming money from an Islamic charity to support al-Qaeda and financially supporting the al-Salam mosque, which the “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel-Rahman used as a base of operations for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.7

Moreover, there are suspicions that Chertoff, as head of the Justice Department’s criminal division, may have been behind the deportation for “immigration violations” of the 200 Israelis arrested in 2001 for “suspicious activities” both before and after 9/11. According to a DEA report, these Israeli “art students” had “recently served in the Israeli military, the majority in intelligence, electronic signal intercept, or explosive ordnance units.”8 As editor Justin Raimondo wryly put it in his essential book The Terror Enigma, “the probability that these are graduates of the Mossad School of Art (summa cum laude) is certainly high.”9

But then again, how could one possibly doubt the patriotism of the author of the USA PATRIOT Act? Whatever his other qualities, Chertoff must be a fast writer. The 342-page document was signed into law on October 26, 2001 – a mere 45 days after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Striking oil on 9/11

On October 11, 2001, exactly one month after 9/11, Senator Lieberman introduced S. 1534, a bill to establish a Department of Homeland Security. The bipartisan Department of National Homeland Security Act of 2001 was co-sponsored by Republican Senator Arlen Specter,10 who is, perhaps not coincidentally, also a Jewish Zionist.

The day after 9/11, Benjamin Netanyahu let slip that the deaths of almost 3,000 Americans was “very good” for Israel.11 In particular, the mass murder was very good for an emerging sector of the Israeli economy. In “Laboratory for a Fortressed World,” Naomi Klein detailed the post-9/11 “explosion of Israel’s homeland security sector.”12

“Before 9/11 homeland security barely existed as an industry,” Klein wrote in 2007. “By the end of this year, Israeli exports in the sector will reach $1.2 billion – an increase of 20 percent. The key products and services are high-tech fences, unmanned drones, biometric IDs, video and audio surveillance gear, air passenger profiling and prisoner interrogation systems – precisely the tools and technologies Israel has used to lock in the occupied territories.”

And the Department of Homeland Security, the Lieberman-Specter brainchild then headed by Michael Chertoff, had become one of Israel’s most reliable markets.13

“Israel has struck oil,” as Klein so aptly put it. “The oil is the war on terror, the state of constant fear that creates a bottomless global demand for devices that watch, listen, contain and target ‘suspects.’”

In order to exploit that resource to the full, Israel needed the likes of Chertoff, Lieberman, Schumer and Specter to hype the concept of “homeland security” in the United States. Americans, however, should have been asking a couple of pertinent questions. Which homeland? And whose security?

  1. Justin Raimondo, “The Weird Factor,”, January 11, 2010. []
  2. Yossi Melman, “Israeli firm blasted for letting would-be plane bomber slip through,” Haaretz, January 10, 2010. []
  3. Lauder’s Ties to Bibi Raise Questions,” Jewish Week, January 29, 1999. []
  4. Patrick Martin, “Why is the American press silent on the Israeli role in NW Flight 253?” WSWS, January 16, 2010. []
  5. Jonathan Cook, Israel and the Clash of Civilizations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East, (London: Pluto, 2008), p.180. []
  6. Doug Ireland, “Mike Chertoff’s Dirty Little Secrets,” Common Dreams, January 12, 2005. []
  7. Sidney Blumenthal, “The law is king,” Salon, December 22, 2005. []
  8. Suspicious Activities Involving Israeli Art Students at DEA Facilities,” Drug Enforcement Agency, March 23, 2001. []
  9. Justin Raimondo, The Terror Enigma: 9/11 and the Israeli Connection, (New York: iUniverse, 2003), p.20. []
  10. A Brief Documentary History of the Department of Homeland Security: 2001-2008,” U.S. Department of Homeland Security. []
  11. James Bennet, “Spilled Blood Is Seen as Bond That Draws 2 Nations Closer,” New York Times, September 12, 2001. []
  12. Naomi Klein, “Laboratory for a Fortressed World,” The Nation, June 14, 2007. []
  13. Cook, p.125. []

Maidhc Ó Cathail writes extensively on U.S. foreign policy and the Middle East. Read other articles by Maidhc, or visit Maidhc's website.

4 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Rehmat said on January 21st, 2010 at 5:56pm #

    It was Boston’s Logan Airport from where two of the so-called ‘four hijacked planes’ flew on September 11, 2001. ICTS also provides security at the Newark airport. ICTS’s British subsidary, ICTS UK Ltd. was located in London’s Tavistock Hous South, where the double-decker bus was bombed on July 7, 2005.

    The Zionist entity is certainly the only entity which benefited from 9/11 not only pushing the sole world power to destroy and occupy Muslims countries which Tel Aviv perceived to be a future threat to its existence – but also made huge financial gains from the tragedy. ….

  2. Mulga Mumblebrain said on January 22nd, 2010 at 2:01am #

    Funny how the Zionist Jews, not apparently any longer content with controlling the West through ‘Sabbat Goy’ stooges on the payroll, more and more are inveigling themselves directly into the crucial positions of power. The UK Foreign Ministry and allied Ministries are now operated by Zionist Jews like Miliband and Lewis, and the push for Miliband to replace Brown as PM will surely survive his latest attack of stagefright.The Conservatives are heavily reliant on Jewish money, with various ‘scandals’ barely being repressed in the media, as happened with Blair and ‘Lord’ Levy. It is certainly funny how these machinations can be simply ignored by the well-trained vermin of the Western media, and any who dare suggest that these and many more examples are symptomatic of a not necessarily benign influence by one tiny, exclusionary and intensely supremacist tribe on ‘democracy’, are immediately vilified and abused, and banished from public life.

  3. deceschi said on January 22nd, 2010 at 1:33pm #

    Hallo Mulga,
    you are confusing the Western democratic culture and mind-set, which has its own rules and centrist positions, with your conspirationist ideas about an alleged world domination by that what you contemptuosly consider “one tiny exclusionary and intensely supremacist tribe”, the Jews. This so-called control and domination in Western media and politics doesn’t exist in reality, it’s instead the product of your distorted world view, probably borrowed from anti-Semitic writings like the hoax “The Protocolls of the Elders of Zion” and similar garbage.
    Actually, there is a lot of criticism of Israel in Western media and politics, often biased and one-sided, let alone in the Arab/Muslim media landscape which can often be considered simply anti-Israeli propaganda. But, unlike the latter, here in the West we have luckily also a journalistic code of conduct which demands the journalist to keep a balanced and possibly objective approach in reporting facts, apart from some extreme examples of sensationalist journalism, as we’ve seen in the case of the Swedish Aftonblates and its big unproved hoax put on to libel Israel in the worst manner. Moreover, if you were aware how many websites are full of anti-Israeli comments, if not anti-Semitic, you would not repeat the ridiculous accusation that Israel and the Zionist Jews – those “bad guys” – hold half the world media and who knows what else. The bashing on Israel in the web is Western media too, a phenomenon that – in its ugly manifestations – is even growing.
    In any case, we still enjoy “freedom of speech”, as you should be aware of, this means that you can express your opinion as I can express my opinion, even though our positions are light years away from each other. But I honestly would feel quite uncomfortable if the “mulgamumblebrain-thinking” would take over and dictate the mainstream in our media. It would be time for “aliya” ;-

  4. Mulga Mumblebrain said on January 25th, 2010 at 5:08am #

    All I can say deceschi, is that anyone at all familiar with the Western mainstream media, its extensive ownership by Zionists and its total bias towards Israel in all matters will find your paranoid rantings risible and contemptible. The definition of chutzpah used to be the criminal who after killing his parents throws himself on the court’s mercy as an orphan, but I think it ought these days to be replaced by the Zionist who declares Zionist control of the West to be imaginary, regardless off all the information. I have discovered that, with unfailing precision, the more an individual is informed and knowledgeable concerning the Palestinian question, and leaving aside rank racists and xenophobes (increasingly the Zionists’ last redoubt of unqualified support) the more likely that they are to be anti-Zionists. I have met very, very, few who are anti-Semitic in any way.They are simply decent people who respect the truth, resent being lied to and detest cynical hypocrisy, and who happen to believe, contrary to Judaic law, that all humans are equally valuable and that an ideology of absolute racial supremacism, practised through pitiless and murderous violence, aimed even at children, is detestable.