The Taliban in Pakistan claimed responsibility for the June 9 attack at Karachi Airport that left 28 people dead, including the 10 militants who launched the assault. Some of the terrorists were disguised as airport security personnel, while others wore suicide vests as they attacked a VIP terminal with grenades, rocket launchers and machine guns. The Taliban said the attack was retaliation for previous drone attacks in another part of Pakistan.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has changed the rules and as of April 25 will allow small blades and sports implements such as golf clubs and lacrosse sticks to be carried on board by airline passengers. The rules would allow passengers to carry knives with blades shorter than 2.36 inches and narrower than half an inch, as long as they don’t have lockable blades. The existing rules prohibit most sharp objects, with the exception of scissors that are four or fewer inches in length, and also sports equipment. The TSA wants the rule change to harmonize U.S. security practices with those of other countries, which would make security screening more efficient. I’m not so sure about that.
We’ve been hearing about unmanned aircraft strikes on suspected terrorists in the tribal regions of Pakistan, in Afghanistan and lately in Somalia and Yemen, for years now. So it’s surprising that the U.S. government’s first official acknowledgement that it uses remotely piloted aircraft—drones, if you must—to take down terrorists came just one week ago.
In the wake of the killing of terrorist chieftain Osama bin Laden last month by U.S. forces in Pakistan, there have been reports of specially trained personnel from the Transportation Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security visiting FBOs located at airports served by airlines.
The line between garden-variety criminals and international terrorists has become blurred worldwide, as the two groups become increasingly comfortable working together, although not necessarily toward the same ends.
Sam Harris, CEO of V1 Analytical Solutions, told participants in an NBAA security webinar last month that 12 of 28 groups classified by the U.S. government as terrorists are actively engaged in drug trafficking.
Barely into the new year, aircraft owners and operators are opening letters from their insurance companies offering additional coverage for acts of terrorism.
The image of mature “sleeper” hijack pilots living in Florida with their wives and children is a false one. What The New York Times described as “a remarkable set of circumstances” led the FBI, local investigators and news media to all but convict several men as hijackers, when in fact they are innocent, alive and well, in some cases having returned to their native countries before the attacks. The U.S.