I wasn't surprised to hear about an attack on an airplane on Christmas day by an al Qaeda terrorist. It's a Christian holiday. I believe there must have been at least three other attacks that didn't occur for one reason or another. After all, al Qaeda doctrine is to attack in fours. They figure, quite rightly, that one might chicken out or another might get thwarted for one reason or another. Most people aren't aware that when Richard Reid, the infamous Shoe Bomber, tried to light his shoe bomb he did so in conjunction with another guy on another plane who got....excuse the pun...cold feet.
So, what is it that saved the plane bound for Detroit? (Note: Dearborn, Michigan outside of Detroit is home to the largest Islamic populations in the US.)
But first let's take a look at why terrorists chose an airplane on Christmas day.
Remember they're looking for the spectacular. They want something that will spread mass fear and chaos. They want to hit an economic target. I submit there is nothing better than blowing up a commercial airplane in midair.
Nevertheless, there are some other interesting soft targets that wouldn't require sneaking past security or risk that aspect of being caught.
Attacking a mall wouldn't be smart, because there aren't any large crowds on Christmas day...though watch out from here on out! The same goes for attacking airports prior to the so-called secure side -- there's simply not enough people on Christmas day. But an airplane. Now that'd leave a lasting impression whatever the day.
Folks, it's just a matter of time. I've been saying that ever since I was an air marshal. I told several people that in NYC just a few weeks before the London Bomb Plot was uncovered. Remember that? That's when terrorists wanted to blow up several planes over the Atlantic Ocean. Luckily, it didn't happen.
Ever since the Bojinka Plot and the rehearsal prior to it on the Philippines airliner that left a gaping hole in the plane and killed a Japanese student and injured or killed some others, if I recall correctly, al Qaeda has recognized blowing up planes in midair as a great thing to do.
Where are some questions to ponder -- some with answers and others rhetorical:
1) Why didn't the terrorist just go to the lav and blow himself up there? Q: He likely didn't have enough explosive so he stayed over the wing.
2) What will happen now with all the innocent, law abiding passengers, just trying to get from one destination to another hassle free? Will the TSA make life even more hectic for them? Please remove your shoes, your belts, your wallet...?
3) Surely Western intelligence and law enforcement professionals have done a good job in many instances. I believe we do not hear about many attacks because they are quietly handled, thankfully. But I pose this last question: Was it Divine providence, in conjunction with quick-acting citizens, that thwarted this horrific terrorist attack? I answer: Yes, absolutely.