What We Are Up Against

Flying home from California yesterday on United Airlines, I met a really sweet young couple flying to Denmark with their two young children–one child was one and one child was five or six.  They were flying there to spend a few months with the husband’s family–he is Danish and his wife is an American.  I thought of this family when the story broke about the terrorists suspects being arrested in Amsterdam.  I realize that Amsterdam is in a different country, but there were people of all ages on the plane with the arrested terrorists.

Yesterday ABC News reported that two men on a United Airlines flight from Chicago to Amsterdam have been arrested for “preparation of a terrorist attack.”   

According to the article:

“(Ahmed Mohamed Nasser) al Soofi was found to be carrying $7,000 in cash and a check of his luggage found a cell phone taped to a Pepto-Bismol bottle, three cell phones taped together, several watches taped together, a box cutter and three large knives. Officials said there was no indication of explosives and he and his luggage were cleared for the flight from Birmingham to Chicago O’Hare.”

Al Soofi checked his luggage on a flight going to Washington’s Dulles airport for connections on flights to Dubai and then Yemen, but did not board the plane.  Instead, he met Hezem al Murisi and boarded the plane to Amsterdam. 

It is standard practice to remove the luggage on someone who does not board the flight the luggage is going on.  The luggage was removed and inspected.  The mock bomb set-up was discovered.

I have a few questions about this.  Had al Soofi boarded the plane with the luggage, would the fake bomb have been detected?  How good is our luggage screening process?  Are there explosives the terrorists can use that will not be detected?  If so, if they can get a mock bomb through without explosives, all the terrorists need to do is find an explosive that will not be picked up by dogs or sensors.  Also, in this arrest, the terrorists just learned that the terrorists has to be willing to die in the attack–if he does not board the plane with the bomb, the bomb will be taken off.  

The terrorists we are fighting do not hesitate to kill innocent families.  We need to remember that.  The extreme Islamists are at war with any part of civilization that does not adhere to their standard of Islam.  We need to find a way to identify the people who put these plots together and lock them up for the rest of their lives.  Targeting innocent people is not acceptable behavior in any civilized society.