Terrorist Threat to Inbound U.S. Passenger Flights: Inadequate Government Response
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Commercial civil aviation has been the target of terrorist attacks for decades. Most attacks have been by means of bombs placed on aircraft. In recent years, there have been several attempts to bring explosive devices on board by using suicide terrorists as ticketed passengers. Further, al Qaeda and allied jihadists have tried more than once to destroy, simultaneously, several U.S. aircraft in flight by this method. Their plans were to attack aircraft flying into the United States from abroad, since they have a more active and functional infrastructure in other countries. The Transportation Security Administration appears reluctant to focus on security for these inbound flights, in spite of the significant overseas threat. Countries from which inbound flights depart should be asked to agree to adequate security measures. These should be set to standards that match those applied to domestic flights. One important measure that should be applied would be the use of explosive trace detectors to inspect passengers and their carry-on items.
This article appeared in Homeland Security Affairs (January 2009), v.5 no.1
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