We now know a lot more about the airline bomb plot that was foiled in Sydney. The plan was to blow up an Etihad Sydney – Abu Dhabi flight. As usual much of the initial reporting was wrong.
The story at the beginning was that the bomb was hidden inside a meat grinder in a passenger’s luggage, but as luck would have it the bag was too heavy and didn’t get checked. Now that story has changed, and the bomb was supposedly hidden inside a large barbie doll.
Copyright: anamuraca / 123RF Stock Photo
Once that plot failed, “[t]heir alleged new plan was to release highly toxic hydrogen sulfide gas into Sydney Airport and on public transport at the same time.”
In other words they were no longer going to take down a plane.
- Airport security doesn’t eliminate the threat, it shifts the threat elsewhere
- Airports are still targets.
The lessons of Brussels and Istanbul — and now Sydney — are that you want to get passengers through the security checkpoint quickly for safety. Long lines and more passengers airside are bigger targets.
That’s not a new idea, though it’s one that many are only now starting to wake up to. In 2002 I wrote,
..[T]ake the long security screening lines that have become the bane of air travelers everywhere. An ambitious terrorist could easily detonate a bomb in the crowd, killing hundreds and scaring Americans away from air travel–possibly for good.
Moving the lines further out of the airports simply recreates the problem elsewhere. And as security measures become more stringent, our freedom to travel is further encumbered, though we aren’t any safer than before.
Official sources say that no attack was actually imminent in Australia, that conspirators were “a mile-and-a-half from having a functioning chemical dispersion device.”