UK Airline Terror Plot
What a day to sleep in. Some quick hits before I descend into the seventh level of teleconference hell:
- In the words of Secretary Chertoff this latest plot is “suggestive” of al-Qaida because it is essentially a dusting off of the plans for Operation Bojinka; funded by al-Qaida and put together by two guys whose names might sound familiar: Ramzi Yousef and KSM.
- Whether it is pure al-Qaida or not means little; it’s the war against terror not the war against discrete group X. To one extent or another they train and work together and for the most part they can read, so everyone has the same lessons learned and I’m fairly sure you can’t patent airline bombing techniques. That won’t stop certain elements from trying to poo-poo that this was not serious because it didn’t have a © Al-Qaida, 2006 stamped on it.
- Once again, as best as can be determined at this point, no pasty white Englishmen arrested.
- Raising the alert level now makes about as much sense as closing the barn door after the horses have left. The time to jack up the stoplight chart would be just prior to the chosen arrest date. Why? Conspirators are already under surveillance. You can’t be sure you have everyone involved in the plot. Raise the alert level in the US for the very plot they plan to carry out and then see who they call/run to. Of course, that would require that we do things like coordinate, share, etc. Now of course it is too late; everyone involved who is still loose has gone to ground knowing that they have months if not years to wait until we’re as complacent as we were yesterday.
Those not familiar should head to John Robb’s site and bone up on his posts about the diminishing returns of such efforts. I tend to agree, which is why I get more bent out of shape over stories like the missing Egyptians (one found in my backyard yesterday). Could very well be 11 dudes who just wanted to chill before starting class started, but consider that at any given time there are roughly 1,300 student immigration violation investigations ongoing (per my local news). For those without a military background that’s roughly a battalion of people on the loose. Also consider that roughly 45,000 high-risk aliens get cut loose in the country because we can’t properly check their background (Wa. Examiner), so now we’re talking roughly a Corps of suspect individuals running around. Note that in the Petri dish that is Iraq one guy doesn’t board a bus, light his shoe on fire, and then try to crash into a FOB. As comforting as it is to know that there are Air Marshals around, with a Corps of potential shadies on the loose, I’d be a lot more relaxed if I knew the local PD or contract guard force was prepared for the local version of Fallujah or Baghdad because the probability of café bombings in hometown USA is more likely than Bojinka III or 9/11 II.