A U.S. Customs Agent on
duty when controversial drug pilot and “soldier of fortune” Michael Brassington
attempted to re-enter the US through Fort Lauderdale International Airport in
April of 2004 was instructed by a Supervisor at Immigrations & Customs
Enforcement (ICE) to treat Brassington—a
long-time employee and business associate of Wallace J. Hilliard, owner of the
flight school that taught Mohamed Atta to fly— as a “grave threat to national
The news comes as the
former Guyanese military pilot prepares to go on trial in a Federal Courthouse
in Newark next month for recklessly endangering the lives of passengers, whose
number includes ex-Presidents George Herbert Walker Bush and Bill Clinton as
well as numerous celebrities.
The disclosure, from a soon-to-be-released documentary, “The New American Drug Lords,”
reminder, more than eight years later, of the unfinished nature of the
investigation into the 9/11 attack.
Narcotics record was first revealed in "Welcome to TerrorLand"
James Sanders was a
Customs Agent on late night duty on April 6th 2004 at Fort Lauderdale
International Airport, when he had a memorable encounter with Michael Brassington,
who was attempting to re-enter the U.S. from the Bahamas.
“Brassington went through
Immigration first," explained Sanders. "The Immigration Inspector had
‘top-stamped’ his Customs declaration, which means he needed to be
‘secondary-ed,’ which means given a closer inspection… search his luggage, at
the very least, and ask him more questions,”
“The INS Agent whispered
to me that Brassington had a narcotics record.”
previously been identified, in news articles in this space and in the book
“Welcome to TerrorLand,” as the co-pilot aboard
a Lear Jet belonging to Wally Hilliard on
thirty-nine weekly drug flights
from Venezuela to Fort Lauderdale and Teterboro Airport outside New York City on
After being surrounded on
the tarmac at Orlando Executive Airport by DEA agents with submachine guns, the
plane was busted on July 25, 2000.
Agents found 43 lbs. of
The Orlando Sentinel
called it “the biggest bust of its kind in
Central Florida history.”
The revelation, which is
clearly significant to the story of the 9/11 attack, has been treated to years
of official silence, and ignored in the mainstream media.
"Thirty-nine weekly drug flights:" Irrelevant to story of 9/11 attack?
A notation had been
placed after Brassington’s name on his computer screen, Sanders said.
It provided—at long
last—official confirmation of our reporting.
“Brassington had an "active lookout" for narcotics,” sander explained. “And there was the date, July
25, 2000, that he’d got caught.”
“Come to find out later,
he’d been working for a 9/11 flight school owner named Wally Hilliard. But I
only found that out after I discovered your website,
www.madcowprod.com. Its kind of strange that the whole subject never came
up while I was working down there. And I just couldn't have imagine that this
was all connected to 9/11.”
While Customs Agent
Sanders was examining his narcotics record in the computer Brassington began
brandishing a letter from a top official in the U.S. Dept of Homeland Security.
“I was looking at
Brassington’s narcotics record on the computer,” says Sanders,
still incredulous at the memory, “when he handed me
a letter from Washington!”
ongoing participation in a criminal enterprise, the letter seemed clearly
designed to smooth his re-entry into the U.S.
"A 'get out of jail-free-pass' sometimes isn't enough"
Sanders’ voice rose in
indignation as he read it out loud.
“This is what the Dept of
Homeland Security has to say to somebody that got caught smuggling drugs for a
9/11 flight school owner:
“This is in reference
to your letter of Sept 23 2003 when you expressed concerns you were having
clearing customs when returning to the United States from foreign travel.
”Please let us
apologize for any inconvenience or unpleasantness you may have experienced. On
behalf of the border and Transportation security directorate, let me assure
you it is not our intent to subject the traveling public to unwarranted
traveling public is entitled to and is accorded the utmost courtesy and
facilitation we can offer within the limits of our enforcement
responsibilities. Regrettably our efforts can occasionally cause
"We have reviewed our
records and taken action so you will no longer encounter any automatic special
attention beyond normal probabilities upon future return to the United States
or territories thereof."
The letter is signed by
Gloria Marshall, head of the "Information Disclosure Unit" of the
"Mission Support Division" of the Dept. of Homeland
DEA be damned! De-activate his lookout!
“What that's saying, is
that—at the very least—they were going to de-activate his lookout,”
“But the lookout was
placed by the DEA. It was a DEA record. So Customs is
countermanding a record placed by another Federal Agency, which is illegal.”
“This was a strange
occurrence. So I hesitated. I said, okay wait a second. He has this
official-looking letter that says they're going to take care of his record…
“But he still has an
active record. I felt like a deer in the headlights. I didn’t know what to do.
But I had just enough ‘presence of mind’ to pick up the phone and call
Special Agent Norm Bright, who the record said was Brassington’s 'point
“Point of contact”
is a Customs term, Sanders told us, for an Agent assigned particular
responsibility for a “person of interest” whose movements are being tracked.
“Bright was a local ICE
Agent and I guess he was tracking Brassington,” said Sanders. “So I called him
up, and I told him about the letter.
What every successful drug trafficker needs to know
“He said you can just
disregard the letter, and told me to ignore it. And he described Mike
Brassington to me as a ‘grave threat to national security. He told
me that I needed to check him, search him, and search all his passengers.”
“And that's what I did,”
Sanders explains. “I didn't think of him as a terrorist suspect. I just thought
he was really into drugs, and I needed to check him really close. I had no idea
of the shit-storm I was about to ignite.”
“I searched the luggage
of all his passengers, and then I searched his plane.
“Norm Bright also told me
to try to get a drug dog there. But the problem with that is that on Tuesday
nights, there aren’t any drug dogs available,” explained Sanders.
“Tuesday night is
the drug dogs night off."
While far from the first
hint we’d received that things might not be as ship-shape in the Dept of
Homeland Security as American citizens who have been footing the enormous bill
have been led to believe, the news came as something of a shock.
Apparently it doesn’t
take elaborate radar detection and counter-surveillance electronic gear to
become a successful drug trafficker, as we’d been led to believe…
Anyone with an “in” at
U.S. Customs, like Michael Brassington, is clued-in to the facts about the best
time of the week to enter the U.S. through Fort Lauderdale.
On Tuesday night. While
the drug dogs are out bowling.
NEXT: A SUSPICIOUS
PLANE, A SUSPICIOUS PASSENGER, & A “ROGUE” U.S. CUSTOMS OPERATION THAT NEVER