From 'No-Fly' list to school bus driver

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Amir Meshal is a paradox. The 31-year-old Bloomington, Minn. man is on Homeland Security’s ‘No-Fly’ list, but on Sept.9 he got his Class A Commercial Drivers License that will allow him to drive semi-trucks and he has an endorsement that will allow him to drive school buses.

Meshal also allegedly preached the virtues of Jihad to the 7 young Minnesota men now in jail on terrorism charges, yet Meshal remains a free man. 

“Who is recruiting our children?" said Sadik Warfa, a Somali community leader who spoke after a federal court hearing where 19-year-old Zacharia Abdurahman, plead guilty to providing material support to ISIS.

“That’s the question,” Warfa said.  “Not talking the small fish.  I’m talking the big fish.”

Federal prosecutors and the US Attorney have declined to say whether Meshal is the subject of the investigation into terror recruiting in Minnesota.

But even Gov. Mark Dayton is puzzled. 

“The situation is obviously very concerning,” Linden Zakula, the governor’s spokesman said in a statement. 

“If someone is not safe to fly on an airplane, should they be considered safe to drive something larger than a car on our roads?” Zakula asked rhetorically.  

Zakula said Governor Dayton will encourage state lawmakers to address the issue when they return to the capitol.

A spokesperson for Minnesota’s Department of Public Safety and Vehicle Services, said there’s nothing in state or federal law that would allow them to deny a Class A Commercial Drivers License to someone on the ’No-Fly’ list.  Meshal has a clean criminal record. 

“Denying a license for this reason would required a change in state or federal law,” the spokesperson said.

Meshal, who has a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security to get off the ‘No-Fly’ list, said in a declaration in his case last month that any evidence against him was coerced.

Meshal said he was captured leaving Somalia in 2007 and held for four months in secret prisons in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia, enduring 30 forced interrogations by FBI agents, who he says threatened him with torture and told him to sign statements when he was denied an attorney.

In the court declaration, Meshal blames the FOX 9 Investigators for losing his job last year as a MN-DOT snow plow driver after only three weeks. Sources tell FOX 9 Meshal was fired during his probation period because he spent too much time on personal phone calls.

Meshal said in the declaration he has also been repeatedly stopped by police, including last May by Pennsylvania State Troopers when he was at a wedding on the East Coast with his wife and seven-month-old baby boy.

“I’m sorry, but it looks like you’re not going to make it to Minnesota on time,” Meshal said the state trooper told him.

And even though Meshal said nothing to the officers about being on the ‘No Fly’ list, one of the troopers said, referring to his wife and son, “Was flying not an option for them, either?”

Meshal recounts that he declined to let officers search his vehicle, so they got a drug sniffing canine.  A male officer also patted down his wife, a devout Muslim, violating her religious beliefs.

“The entire experience left us scared and humiliated,” Meshal said.  “I felt powerless to protect my wife and child.”