Monday, May 23, 2011

Port Newark Security Breached By Stowaway With Ties To Iraq Insurgency?

The New York Post is reporting on an odd situation at Port Newark. Security at the Port discovered Asem Ellbahnsany Haroon, 26, living within the secure port facility. Haroon claimed that he had stowed aboard an Italian freighter, and made his way to the US and had been camped out in Port Newark for several days.
Authorities are now scrambling to figure out how Haroon managed to elude border checkpoints at the port -- and they are also nervously wondering whether he came here with others who have yet to be caught.

Haroon was arrested Jan. 31 after Port Authority cops found him hunkered down near the waterfront inside a warehouse that has remained unoccupied for about a year.

When Haroon was found, it appeared he had been squatting inside for several days and had set up a makeshift camp.

"When I first saw him, he was so weak," a law-enforcement source said.

"But he might be a terrorist and possibly be a threat because none of the answers he gave ever made any sense."

Haroon told investigators that he was an Iraqi citizen who had arrived at Port Newark two weeks earlier on an unspecified Italian freighter.

It turns out he's an Egyptian who was once denied a visa to enter the United States. Federal authorities told a judge that Haroon "had fought as an insurgent against the American forces in Fallujah."
His name doesn't appear on terror watch lists and wasn't known to be on the radar of any intel agencies. It's not clear how the federal authorities know that he fought US forces in Fallujah though it's possible that Haroon admits to such activities.

What this situation shows is that port security isn't nearly as tight as it could be, and Haroon's intentions are anything but clear. Thus far, there are no other news reports picking up the story.

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Port Newark is an expansive stretch along the New Jersey waterfront along the Newark Bay and is operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The facility handles all manner of cargo, including vehicles, chemicals, and is the principal container handling facility for the New York harbor.

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