September 26, 2006, - 10:25 am
By Debbie Schlussel
Even though 9/11 mastermind Ramzi Youssef blew up a passenger (and nearly an entire plane) on a flight in 1994–and had plans to blow up multiple planes the same way–we’ve been allowed to carry liquids on planes.
Suddenly, in August, an Islamic plot in Britain to blow up U.S.-bound flights using liquids and gels is uncovered, and those are banned.
As of yesterday, liquids and gels are no longer banned, so long as they are limited to 3 ounce bottles in quart-sized plastic bags. This latest policy was announced yesterday by Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Michael Jackson, a former lobbyist. But it might as well have been announced by bizarre pop singer Michael Jackson. Because it makes no sense.
In today’s Wall Street Journal, Jackson and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) chief Kip Hawley are quoted as saying the new rules are being implemented because “small amounts of liquids ‘don’t pose a real threat.'” They claimed that FBI testing determined that it would take more explosive liquid to do “significant damage to an aircraft.”
But Ramzi Youssef proved that it took very little liquid to kill a passenger and nearly blow up a plane. And that it would take very little liquid to do so again. In addition to killing the passenger next to him, his bomb blew a hole in the plane’s floor, severed the cables controlling the plane’s flaps, and disabled the plane’s steering.
What if five Islamic terrorists each take their quart full of plastic containers with dangerous liquids and mix them together in the plane bathroom (where Youssef made his bomb)? Hawley claims that this scenario “does not worry us.” Well, it should. That was part of the plan in the British plot. TSA official Mike Restovich tells the Wall Street Journal that “mixing liquids in an airport or onboard an airplane isn’t easy to do.” It isn’t? Again, tell that to Ramzi Youssef, the British plotters, etc.
Then, there’s the other ridiculous assumption in the new rules–that it is okay to buy liquids in the airports. At Detroit Metro Airport, many of the shops and restaurants are owned and operated by extremist Muslims who openly support terrorist groups. A whole group of restaurants, for example, is owned by the wife of a man imprisoned for a money laundering and theft scheme that Customs agents believed was tied to Hezbollah. But these people would never sneak dangerous liquids into the airport, right?
To counter this, the TSA’s Hawley says TSA officials
would be stepping up random inspections of items sold inside the secure areas of airports and increasing security checks on workers in the areas.
Ri-i-i-i-i-ight. Like the “security checks” the TSA did on Sadeq Naji Ahmed and Bassam Khalaf–two TSA baggage screeners who openly support Al-Qaeda and remained on the job, respectively, for a year and half a year?
The new rules regarding liquids are silly. Just let innocent Americans carry the amount and volume of liquids they need, as before. And start profiling Muslims, Middle-Easterners, and Arabs.
Until we do that–as the Israelis do–we will never be safe. It is not about the materials. It is about the people carrying them. And all of the inconsistent, constantly “evolving” rules on liquids and gels won’t do a damn thing to make us safer.
It’s simply a PR move to make Jackson, Hawley, and DHS chief Michael Chertoff look like they are doing something. Mere cosmetics won’t do much to make the pig look more attractive.
Meanwhile, Homeland Security remains a bloated do-nothing bureaucracy in disarray. Next time, you are deemed to be carrying too much shampoo, think of that.
Tags: al-Qaeda, Bassam Khalaf, bizarre pop singer, Britain, chief, Debbie Schlussel Even though, Deputy DHS Secretary, Deputy Homeland Security Secretary, Detroit Metro Airport, DHS chief, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Hizballah, Kip Hawley, lobbyist, Michael Chertoff, Michael Jackson, Mike Restovich, official, Ramzi Youssef, the Wall Street Journal, Transportation Security Administration, Wall Street Journal