For months, U.S. lawmakers have expressed serious concerns over the Obama Administration's haste in restoring commercial flights to Cuba, despite the serious security risks they pose.
These security risks are explained here and here.
To distract from these risks, the Transportation Security Administration ("TSA") has misled Congress, while bipartisan delegations from the House Homeland Security and Transportation Committees have been denied visas by the Cuban regime to independently investigate.
As a result, the Cuban Airport Security Act of 2016 was introduced in the House and Senate, and recently marked-up by the House Homeland Security Committee.
This week, we have Exhibit A about why U.S. lawmakers and the American public are right to be concerned.
On October 15th, an Eastern Airlines charter flight at the gate in Havana Airport witnessed how Cuban Customs officials were rummaging and stealing merchandise from luggage being boarded onto a plane in the neighboring gate.
Passengers on the Eastern flight, which was preparing to depart from Havana to Miami, captured cell phone footage of these illicit activities. (Click here to watch -- courtesy of Diario de Cuba.)
The Eastern pilots denounced these illicit activities to the Havana Airport authorities.
But clearly, the Havana Airport authorities were part of the conspiracy. Rather than take corrective actions, they threatened the Eastern pilots who denounced the illicit activities, grounded the plane, sought to confiscate the cell phones with the evidence and tried to force the passengers to disembark.
The passengers feared they would be arrested by the Cuban authorities. However, the Eastern pilots told the passengers to remain on the plane, where they were protected by U.S. law.
Thanks to the wisdom of these Eastern pilots, the Cuban authorities eventually relented and after a 3-hour standoff allowed the plane to depart for Miami.
One of the main concerns posed by U.S. lawmakers is precisely that there are no independent airline or U.S. security personnel and Cuba's airports. Everyone is an employee and subordinate of Castro's regime. In other words, the Obama Administration is outsourcing U.S. flight security to the Castro regime.
This week's events show how such utter lack of transparency and collusion clearly threaten U.S. security.
As Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin wisely wrote this month: "The security situation at Cuban airports is an open invitation for any bad actor who wishes to do harm to the United States to try to board a flight to the United States with whatever dangerous contraband they can carry. If that’s the price of Obama securing his Cuba legacy, it’s not worth it."
Add to this concern, corrupt Cuban Customs and airport officials that can do so.
It's time Obama placed the security interests of the United States over his Cuba "legacy."