Patterico's Pontifications

7/26/2004

Airline Hijacking Attempts Are Still a Concern

Filed under: Air Security,Terrorism — Patterico @ 9:07 pm

Regardless of what you think of the Annie Jacobsen “Terror in the Skies” incident, I am here to convince you that the threat of future airline hijackings is serious — and we aren’t doing enough to stop it.

Case in point: if you haven’t read the recent Washington Times story on terrorist “dry runs,” then you should. A pilot interviewed for that story told the Washington Times that,

on one of his recent flights, an air marshal forced his way into the lavatory at the front of his plane after a man of Middle Eastern descent locked himself in for a long period.

The marshal found the mirror had been removed and the man was attempting to break through the wall. The cockpit was on the other side.

An air marshal interviewed by the paper

confirmed that Middle Eastern men try to flush out marshals by rushing the cockpit and stopping suddenly.

And there’s much more. It is beyond me how anyone could read this article and conclude that we are past the era of terrorist attempts to hijack airliners.

Moreover, even if you don’t think that we should be tracking down all Arab foreigners in the country to make sure they have not overstayed their visas (an exercise which, I agree, is probably not worth the necessary resources), it should still concern you that the FBI found it worth their time to question the 14 Syrians on Ms. Jacobsen’s flight — but didn’t bother to check their immigration status before releasing them.

Sure, it’s easy to dismiss a person’s immigration status as a technicality. But did you know that at least 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers should have been denied visas? The fact of the matter is that — even without shutting our borders to all Arabs — the simple enforcement of immigration laws on the books would go a long way towards preventing acts of terrorism that we all know are primarily planned by foreigners, specifically Arab foreigners. Given this context, shouldn’t we be concerned to see FBI agents releasing 14 Arab foreigners whom they found suspicious enough to question — without even checking their immigration status?

Look, I am not talking about shutting off our borders to all Arabs, or strip-searching every Arab that wants to fly. My main message is that we need to be aware of the continuing threat, exercise some common sense, and enforce our existing laws, including immigration laws.

I just don’t see what’s so controversial about that.

3 Responses to “Airline Hijacking Attempts Are Still a Concern”

  1. When in the hell is the United State going the protect its people from all the other trouble maker in the world and in our county .

    Norman Harper (69cfd3)

  2. Patterico, there’s nothing controversial about that. In fact, I don’t think very many civil libertarians would have a problem with even more stringent security measures, as long as they were applied to everybody equally. I know I wouldn’t.

    Tom (fc1352)

  3. Why should they be applied to everybody equally? Everybody doesn’t pose an equal, or even comparable, risk.

    Xrlq (ffb240)


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