Over the last few days, the world has once again appeared to be one step behind that of terrorist masterminds as a plan to detonate explosives on a transatlantic flight failed; sadly this was by no feat of the security services that are paid to protect us, it was a failure simply because of a malfunction with the explosive device.
Mr Abdulmatallab allegedly planed to detonate a package of plastic explosives strapped to his body on NorthWest Airlines flight 253 with 278 passengers destined for Detroit on Boxing Day failed as the plastic explosives failed to arm as he injected it with liquid from a syringe. Eager eyed passengers then restrained Mr Abdulmatallab until the plane was able to land where local police took him into custody.
Whilst this incident is clearly shocking to the world, it proves that we as members of the public must remain vigilant at all times, as sadly the war against terror is in all our lives.
In 2006 a similar plot was foiled by police in the UK. Eight men were convicted earlier this year of the conspiracy to murder though detonation of liquid explosives on at least 10 airlines between UK, USA and Canada. This was considered a victory amongst all those involved, and rightly so as it was a successful outcome to hundreds of man hours and months of planning. This event was not the case, it was a simple mechanical failure on the part of the bomber, it could just have easily gone the other way.
Airport security should be at the top of the security services agenda, as the terrorists have proved through constancy that these are the targets they keep aiming to infiltrate. However sadly it is not. In 2008 an undercover reporter for the BBC, Maria Veronese manage to pass undetected through a security checkpoint on two separate days, walk to where aircraft are maneuvered and spend 45 minutes inside an aircraft without being challenged. (BBC Article)
Many more ‘mistakes’ have arisen with tales emerging of security personal simply marking bags as ‘ok’ without paying attention to the monitors, even today reports have emerged that Mr Abdulmatallab may have been already placed on the security services ‘watch list’ of those potential terrorists.
The security services are always under pressure to keep us safe, they have a thankless task as by the nature of the job we can’t see when things go right, we only see things when they go wrong. One of my twitter followers @arienyoutwit suggested that “there should be air marshalls on board all flights carrying tasers and tranquiler guns, the taser for imminent danger, the tranquilizers for long-term sedation“. I fully agree with this idea as there is no danger to the safety of a flight that a traditional gun may pose.
This is of course one method that could be use, eliminating the ‘predictability’ of airport security by having several different methods of checking used on a random basis and the categorizing of passengers into risk categories based on their likely hood of what could be considered to be terrorist activities. Yes I know that it could be considered racism, profiling etc etc etc. But the truth of the matter is those who are innocent have nothing to fear and should be happy to go through such checks and ‘prove the security services wrong’, in order to make traveling a much safer experience for us all.
Today (27th December 2009) US President, Barak Obama has ordered a security review and put in place extra security checks for planes bound for US soil. Lets hope that this review sheds light on to where mistakes were made and what can be done to prevent them from reoccurring in the future; to insure that the security services that are tasked with protecting us, are once again one step in front of those who want to harm us, by taking a proactive not a reactive approach to fighting terror.