The discovery of several dummy devices apparently being used to test airline security may have convinced even the federal government that the practice exists. To cover their butts, Washington’s issue management professionals have crafted new warnings to airports.
True to their script, however, our see-no-terrorist feds continue to talk out of both sides of their mouth:
“There is no credible, specific threat here,” TSA spokeswoman Ellen Howe said Tuesday. “Don’t panic. We do these things all the time.”
Actually, the things the TSA and kindred agencies do all the time are precisely what cause citizens to worry. The TSA didnâ€™t announce its concerns, which instead were leaked to the media. Further, Washington wheels grind exceeding slow:
The bulletin said the passengers carrying the suspicious items seized since September included men and women and that initial investigation had not linked them with criminal or terrorist organizations.
September would be, um, ten months ago. Perhaps linking will seem more appropriate after a few planes blow up. If connections are indeed made, I doubt we’ll know unless that’s leaked too.
It seems all kinds of dim light bulbs have been flickering on:
The bulletin said a joint FBI-Homeland Security Department assessment found that terrorists have conducted probes, dry runs and dress rehearsals in advance of previous attacks.
It cited various types of rehearsals conducted by terrorists before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon; the July 7, 2005, London subway bombings; the Aug. 2, 2006, London-based plot to blow up trans-Atlantic flights using liquid explosives and the 1994 Bojinka plot in the Philippines to blow up multiple airliners over the Pacific Ocean.
Iâ€™d be more impressed if I hadn’t read (and written) blog posts assessing that a long time ago. Check Flight 327 (below) for an overview of what happened when concerned passengers and flight crew members reported what they suspected was a terrorist dry run.
Then consult Dry Run (below) for the account of how â€œa man with a â€˜Middle Eastern nameâ€™ boarding a plane in Houston was found to be carrying a clock with a 9-volt battery taped to it. The soles of both his shoes had been hollowed out. A report by the federal Transportation Security Administration cites a TSA screener as saying â€˜the shoes had been tampered with and there were all the components of (a bomb) except the explosive itself.â€™â€
Yes, they then let the guy board the plane. $2 sez they haven’t linked him to anyone or anything yet, either.