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TERRORISM: Washington Shown to be Still Vulnerable to Attack by Air

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posted on Jan, 15 2004 @ 03:15 AM
Yesterday, a deported Sudanese national flying from Dulles Airport to London's Heathrow Airport was found to have carried bullets on the trans-Atlantic flight. Today, news is emerging that recent security drills have illustrated shortcomings that would make it possible for a terrorist to strike Washington, DC via air.

In the 28 months following the September 11th attacks, more than 1,700 suspicious flights have been intercepted or diverted in North American airspace. This appears to show increased vigilance and security in our skies, but security drills in December showed that scrambled fighter jets are not likely to reach a potentially hijacked plane in time. Officials determined that the most effective defense is pre-emptive: catching potential terrorists before they board a flight rather than intercepting or shooting down a plane they're already on.
"Our goal is to target the risk long before any passenger goes through security and board an aircraft," Department of Homeland Security spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said.
The cancellation of flights over the holiday season certainly illustrated the efforts of officials to catch a threat before there is a problem, but passengers are still getting on airplanes with ammunition, explosives, and even simulated bombs.
Last week, a flight bound for Chicago's O'Hare Airport was grounded when flight crew found "putty with wires sticking out of it" in the airplane's restroom. Earlier in the week, a Saudi man was found to have carried firecrackers on a flight to Boston's Logan Airport. Neither turned out to be serious threats, but both illustrate more failures in the effort to keep the skies safe.

AP News

[Edited on 15-1-2004 by Banshee]


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