Alleged Somali War Criminal Worked as Dulles Security Guard Until Recently - NBC4 Washington

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Alleged Somali War Criminal Worked as Dulles Security Guard Until Recently

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    Virginia congresswoman Barbara Comstock (R-10th District) says she wants to know how a man accused of murder and torture in his native Somalia managed to get a job as a security guard at Dulles International Airport. Northern Virginia bureau reporter David Culver has the story. (Published Thursday, June 2, 2016)

    A former Somali colonel who is facing accusations of war crimes in his native country worked as a security guard at Dulles International Airport until recently.

    Yusuf Abdi Ali, who now lives in Alexandria, has been accused of torturing and publicly executing people in Somali.

    Ali was placed on administrative leave from Dulles after a recent CNN investigation highlighting an alleged brutal and violent past. He was not a TSA agent, but he did patrol in the TSA-secured part of the airport. 

    NBC4 has covered the accusations against Ali several times before, dating back to 1998. Eighteen years later, those questions are still being raised of the former colonel, most recently in a federal civil suit.

    A victim alleges that in 1987, "he was beaten, tortured, shot, and ultimately left for dead at the direction of Yusuf Ali...."

    But in February, the federal court said it didn't have jurisdiction to rule.

    Ali's attorney, Joseph Peter Drennan, told News4, "Ali is entitled to immunity as an official, or former official of the Somali government."

    Ali left Somalia before the country's regime collapsed. In reviewing past reporting, NBC4 found video of him working as a security guard in Canada in the early 1990s.

    The court said Ali moved to Canada in 1990, but that Canada deported Ali two years later "for serious human rights abuses." At that point, he came to the United States.

    "The United States began deportation proceedings soon thereafter, but Ali voluntarily left the country in 1994. For reasons not explained in the record, Ali returned to the United States in December 1996 and now resides in Alexandria, Virginia," the court found.

    A CNN investigation found he most recently worked as a security guard at Dulles Airport, contracted out to a third party.

    "My observation is that it's an unfortunate effort, I think, to sensationalize the fact that he works at Dulles Airport," Drennan said. "So what?"

    The Metropolitan Airports Authority says the private security contractor, Master Security, properly vetted Ali.

    Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) called the situation troubling.

    "It was very troubling and it causes a lot of questions to be asked about what type of vetting was done," she said.

    Comstock now wants an in-person briefing from agencies involved.

    "If indeed he did slip through the cracks, how did that happen?" she said.

    Most puzzling to her is his return to the United States.

    "I am certainly troubled that somebody that Canada said couldn't stay there then is able to come here," she said.

    Drennan said Ali is in the United States legally. 

    "He has legal status here in the United States," he said.

    Drennan said Ali's case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.