Time for it to investigate the bigger threat.
The public furor over enhanced security screening policies implemented by the Transportation Security Administration has its roots in the September 11 terrorist attacks. On that date, 19 Muslim foreigners who were terrorist sleeper cells boarded four jetliners, overpowered the aircrew, and attempted to use the aircraft as deadly missiles. Three of the four hijacked jetliners reached their destinations of the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. The fourth crashed in rural Pennsylvania as passengers fought to retake control of the plane.
The federal government’s immediate response was to sack all of the private security screeners at the nation’s airports who were diligently following government inspection protocols and replace them with an agency of more than 43,000 employees. TSA has since grown by more than 55% to 67,000 employees.
Washington, D.C. decision-makers obviously believe TSA is doing a great job. Its employees received more than $98 million in bonuses and pay raises in 2008 due to superior performance. Moreover, the percentage of TSA employees receiving bonuses exceeded the average of the entire federal workforce.
As has been well-documented, a number of terrorism-related incidents have occurred since 9/11 that have forced the TSA to increase its invasive security screening of elderly widows in walkers, toddlers traveling on family vacations, servicemen on R&R from Afghanistan, firefighters traveling to weddings, the disabled wearing prosthetic devices, longtime airline crewmembers and anyone else who poses a threat identical to those who have actually attempted or carried-out a terrorist attack. How anyone believes he could differentiate between Great Grandma, three-year old Jimmy, and a Muslim would-be bomber is beyond me.
Major U.S. air travel terrorism attempts since 9/11 include the following.
A British national, Richard Reid was in and out British prison since his teen years for a variety of crimes. Upon the advice of his immigrant father he converted to Islam. One reason was that he would allegedly receive better food in prison than would non-Muslim inmates.
After his conversion Reid aligned himself with Al Qaeda and traveled to Afghanistan where he received terrorism training and a pair of shoes laden with explosives. The plan was to detonate his shoes on a U.S.-bound flight.
In December 2001, Reid failed in his first attempt to board a Miami-destined flight as Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport security screeners thought it odd the scruffy Reid had not checked any luggage for an international flight. Undeterred, Reid boarded a flight the following day and was overpowered by passengers when he attempted to light the fuse protruding from one shoe.
As a result of this overseas-originated terrorism attempt, new U.S. airport rules demand all travelers on flights originating in the U.S. remove their shoes for x-ray screening. This is a security measure that is not employed at foreign airports.
In August 2006, British law enforcement arrested a dozen Muslim men who were in the final stages of a plot to simultaneously blow-up seven U.S. and Canada-bound airliners using explosives contained in sports bottles that were to be carried onboard the flights.
Most of the plotters knew one another from their association with a London Islamic charity. Several of the men had traveled frequently between the UK and Pakistan and some had ongoing contact with Pakistanis under terror surveillance.
British intelligence officials became aware of the plotters about two months before their arrests and began surveillance of their activities. Law enforcement moved in when they thought carrying-out the plot was imminent.
The elaborate plan, concocted overseas, called for adding gel explosives to sports bottles with the explosive material colored orange to appear as a sports drink and to mask the detonating mechanism inserted in each bomb.
As a consequence, the TSA banned all drinks from being transported through the airport screening process. All remaining liquids and gels must be in 3-ounce or smaller containers and collectively all containers must fit into a quart-sized plastic bag that must be screened separately from the rest of carry-on baggage. The hotel industry has yet to report an increase in guests demanding extra miniature bottles of shampoo and conditioner.
Twenty-three-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was a devout Muslim born into a wealthy Nigerian family. He attended college in the UK where he obtained a bachelors degree and also engaged in various Islamic activities. He left the UK after graduation and he was subsequently denied a follow-on visa to return as British authorities became suspicious of him. About the same time, U.S. authorities issued Abdulmutallab a multiple-entry visa to enter America.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?