AUGUST 11, 2006
A similar terrorist plot to use liquid chemicals to bomb planes was foiled a decade ago, so why did U.S. officials wait until this week’s eminent threat to ban liquids from planes or, more importantly, why haven’t they obtained the proper equipment to assure against such weapons?
In the mid 1990s Operation Bojinka envisioned the simultaneous bombing of a dozen U.S.-bound aircraft flying over the Pacific Ocean after departing Asian airports. The scheme included using liquid chemical bombs because they could not be detected during security checks.
Yet authorities waited until another such plan was on the verge of fruition to ban liquids on planes. One Homeland Security official said he was disgusted with the agency’s practice of putting on a strong show of security at the passenger screening checkpoints while ignoring major holes in the civil aviation system, saying it is “just more eye candy….feel-good stuff.”
Reflective Pundit agrees with that assessment, pointing out that deploying the National Guard and search dogs to airports may calm travelers’ nerves and demonstrate that politicians are doing something, but neither will stop terrorists since they are not running around with arms and explosives that could be detected by either.
The Homeland Security agency in charge of air safety-as well as all transportation–is the Transportation Security Administration, which claims to be vigilant, effective and efficient and has spent $20 billion on aviation security since its creation after the September 11 attacks.
However, it took this latest terrorist plot to address the crucial yet lethal liquid explosive issue. One military web site points out that beverage weapons have always had great potential for terrorists and that we seem to have been lulled into a false sense of security when it comes to carrying food and drink onto an aircraft. Everybody does it.
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