The problem with terrorists is that they are always probing–looking for new ways to create problems for the rest of us. One reason the attacks of 9/11 were so successful is that no one actually believed terrorists would fly planes into a buildings. Now we know that this is not unthinkable. Americans have also learned that terrorists often do practice runs to test our security in various areas. Terrorists also engage in ‘lawfare’ to create court cases that result in changes to security rules and make it easier to attack us in the future. There was an incident on Friday on a flight from Los Angeles to Hawaii that might cause our security people to sleep a little less soundly.
MSN News posted a story this morning stating that on Friday two Air Force fighter jets were scrambled to escort an American Airlines jet into Honolulu International Airport after a disturbance involving a Turkish passenger aboard the plane was reported.
The article reports:
Federal authorities were preparing a criminal complaint to charge Turkish national Anil Uskanil, 25, with interference with a flight crew, Federal Bureau of Investigation special-agent-in charge Paul Delacourt said at a Honolulu news conference.
Delacourt, when asked by a reporter if Uskanil tried to break into the cockpit, said the Turkish man was in the aisle of the plane and it was “unclear what his motivation was”.
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) police said separately that Uskanil had been detained, questioned and released hours earlier after he was caught by security there going through a terminal concourse door leading out to the airfield.
Los Angeles airport police spokesman Rob Pedregon said Uskanil was a ticketed American Airlines passenger with a boarding pass who had cleared security screening but claimed that he lost his way because he was tipsy from drinking.
As he did not appear to meet the criteria for public drunkenness, police let him go with a citation for misdemeanor trespassing, Pedregon said. He was escorted to the street in front of the terminal when released, Pedregon said.
Because the LAX incident occurred at about 2:45 a.m. Pacific time, nearly three hours before the first flights of the day, he would have had ample time to get through security again and catch a plane to Hawaii as scheduled.
This is how someone could probe airport security–go through a door they were not supposed to go through to see what happens next and then claim to be drunk and lost. This is not a comforting story. However, one of my sons-in-law just reminded me that Americans will not allow an airplane to be hijacked again–we have learned our lesson. The article states that the man was subdued by an off-duty law enforcement officer and others aboard the aircraft. The only way to prevent future hijackings is for everyone on an airplane to take responsibility for the safety of the plane. If you are young and fit, you can attack a potential hijacker. If you are older or not fit, you can throw something. There are many ways to stop a potential hijacker. Meanwhile, we have to be alert to probes of the security at our airports and on our airplanes.