Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Keeping the World Safe from Cat Stevens

Our intrepid Transportation Security Administration has narrowly averted a national security disaster:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A plane bound for Washington from London was diverted to Maine on Tuesday after passenger Yusuf Islam -- formerly known as pop singer Cat Stevens -- showed up on a U.S. watch list, federal officials said.

United Airlines Flight 919 had already taken off from London en route to Dulles International Airport when the match was made between the passenger and the watch list, said Nico Melendez, a spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration.

The plane was met by federal agents at Maine's Bangor International Airport around 3 p.m. ET, Melendez said.

Federal officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, identified the individual as Islam.

Which was lucky, because apparently his conversion to Islam has led him to some really dark and twisted ideas:

Islam recently condemned the school seizure by militants in Beslan, Russia, earlier this month that left more than 300 dead, nearly half of them children.

In a statement on his Web site, he wrote, "Crimes against innocent bystanders taken hostage in any circumstance have no foundation whatsoever in the life of Islam and the model example of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him."

To be fair to TSA, Stevens/Islam is not entirely innocent of wrongdoing:

Last year he released two songs, including a re-recording of his '70s hit "Peace Train," to express his opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

Now, if only they could have stopped Elton John from re-recording "Candle in the Wind" when Princess Diana died. Apparently, it takes a major breakdown in the system before the government wakes up and sees the threat.

We should have seen it coming, people -- we should have seen it coming.