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

By Maidhc Ó Cathail* | Sabbah Report |

In the wake of the weird Christmas Day "underwear bomber" incident
on Northwest Flight 253, 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.

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. 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.

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."

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, 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.

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." 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

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, 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. 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."

"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.

"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

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?

* Maidhc Ó Cathail is a freelance writer living in Japan. He has
written for Sabbah Report,, Dissident Voice, The Palestine
Chronicle, OpEd News, Media Monitors Network and many other

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