Bilal Abdulla, 29, had been part of a terrorist cell in Iraq, according to counter-terrorism sources, yet was able to work undetected as an NHS doctor. Abdulla came to Britain to open a ânew frontâ in the Islamist jihad through car bombs he tried to detonate outside the âTiger, Tigerâ nightclub and at Glasgow airport. Abdulla is the son of respected physicians who had trained in Britain before returning to Iraq. US sources say that before he arrived in Britain he was known to have associated with a Sunni terrorist cell in Baghdad and played a backroom role, possibly as a quartermaster.
âThis conviction is just the latest example of the gaping holes in current risk management and security practices in the public sector,â said Dr Jonathan Pell, CEO of Datanomic Ltd. âNHS recruitment policies meant that Abdulla was able to hold a âtrusted positionâ as a doctor, treat patients and remain under the radar to his employers, despite the fact that he was detected by MI5 on the periphery of extremist activity when he associated with Muslim radicals, including members of the Hizb ut-Tahrir party, while studying in Cambridge.â
Until now, Client Screening has largely been an automated process in the financial services industry and hasnât seen the same level of interest other sectors. However, large organizations are starting to use the same technology as part of their proactive fraud and risk management strategies, particularly multi-national companies with a global presence, companies with large customer bases, and those with extended supply chains and partnerships. Datanomic terms this practice âEnterprise Screeningâ: screening employees, agents, associates, suppliers, business partners - anyone associated with the enterpriseâs brand.
âThe same philosophy of Know-Your-Customer is expanding to incorporate âKnow-Your- Employee, Know-Your-Supplier, Client, Contractor, Distributor or Partnerâ,â added Dr Pell. âDoing business with individuals and companies that you do not know or have not properly screened can be an expensive, embarrassing or in some instances, catastrophic mistake. We are seeing significant interest in Enterprise Screening from non-financial markets, such as telecommunications, utilities, transport and local government, and expect it to become standard business practice across all major industries within the next three years.â
Adbulla is not the first high profile terrorist to work undetected in the UK public sector. In 2007, London Underground made a highly public security blunder when it emerged that Mohammed Kamel Mostafa, convicted terrorist and son of the jailed Islamic cleric Abu Hamza managed to get a job on the network. Mostafa, 25, who was jailed for three years in Yemen in 1999 for allegedly plotting a bombing campaign, was employed by a subcontractor of the networkâs maintenance company, Tube Lines. Mostafa was granted astonishing access to Londonâs Tube network. Checks were carried out before he took up the post and it is thought he met the employment requirements as he had no criminal convictions in the UK. No screening was done against international sanctions lists or Politically Exposed Person (PEP) lists.
Likewise, in March 2008, MI5 agents identified four officers in the Metropolitan Police suspected of passing secrets from the force. All four are allegedly living in London and are feared to have links with Islamic extremists in Britain and worldwide terrorist organisations. MI5 bosses reportedly fear the moles may have been planted to keep Al Qaida informed of anti-terror raids and may have already accessed sensitive information about ongoing operations.
In the United States, ninety-four percent of alien residents from terrorist-supporting countries who were released from immigration detention were never found again and were never deported. They are presumably still living in the USA â many of them with new IDs, including driver's licenses and Social Security credentials, all available for a price, and many suspected of holding âlegitimateâ jobs.
âWe are seeing increasing demand for Enterprise Screening as a means of mitigating risk and proactively protecting brand reputation,â added Dr. Pell. âThe risks of doing business with individuals and companies that you donât know are simply too high, and the obvious gaps in recruitment practices must be tightened. Datanomic is already the trusted platform of choice in the financial services market to help mitigate risk, avoid multi-million pound fines, and help safeguard the reputations of some of the worldâs most respected companies. We expect to see the same stringent practices of screening become mirrored in the public sector to prevent individuals such as Bilal Abdulla from feigning legitimacy and holding jobs in the public sector.â