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Home >> World
UPDATED: 17:13, June 15, 2006
NZ official grilled on security loophole
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The Immigration Minister has faced a select Parliament committee's intense inquiry Thursday over entry of a Yemeni man having connections with the 9/11 hijackers.

MPs on the Foreign Affairs and Trade Select Committee questioned Immigration Minister David Cunliffe over the case, demanding to know why Rayed Mohammed Abdullah Ali was let into the country and who exactly raised the alarm.

Ali, who had been studying at a flight school in New Zealand, was removed from the country last month due to security concerns.

The US 9/11 Commission says he flatted and trained as a pilot with a man believed to have flown a passenger jet into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

Cunliffe told the committee that he would love to reveal some of the details about the deportation of the Yemeni man, but couldn 't for security reasons.

Cunliffe said that since June last year, 22 people have been stopped from coming to New Zealand because they posed a risk to national security.

Cunliffe conceded that the Ali case had taught the government lessons about its border security.

He also told the Committee that "no border security system could be 100 percent foolproof."

Cunliffe, meanwhile, noted New Zealand is not a terrorism "soft touch."

Source: Xinhua

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