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November 01, 2010

Report: Cargo Plane Bombs Were Meant To Bring Down Planes In Flight

Friday there was speculation that the devices were aimed at synagogues in the Chicago area. Now it seems they were supposed to bring down the planes themselves. In other words, we got very lucky.

"At this point we, I think, would agree with the British that it looks as though they were designed to be detonated in flight," said the adviser, John Brennan, speaking Sunday on the CBS program "Face the Nation."

The assessment, combined with the revelation that one of the packages traveled on passenger flights in the Middle East, underlined just how narrowly authorities had averted a potential catastrophe. It also raised puzzling questions about why the packages, which contained bombs skillfully packed inside modified printer cartridges, were addressed to two synagogues in Chicago, a potential warning flag given that the packages originated in Yemen.

...The devices employed cellphone technology, but it remains unclear why they were built that way. Among the questions authorities are asking: How and when, during a transatlantic passage, would the cellphone components have been in range to receive a signal?

"There are a whole lot of theories being kicked around about whether [they were set] on a timer, whether somebody was going to call, or another triggering mechanism would set them off," the counterterrorism official said.

Previously, Al Qaeda has tried to knock down passenger jets for the obvious death count and spectacular effect. Either they are switching to a softer target set in cargo jets or they were hoping that the packages would fly on passenger planes at some point.

While killing people and terrorizing passengers would be a win for them, so would slowing down or shutting down the flow of goods around the world. That would be a big economic hit and we aren't in the position to take one of those right now.

The good guys have to be right 100% of the time, while the terrorists only have to get lucky once.

Related: It seems the Saudis, acting on information from a former Gitmo detainee, tipped off western intelligence agencies about the plot.


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posted by DrewM. at 04:16 PM

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