U.S. Posts Code-Red Alert; Bans Liquids
WASHINGTON - The Bush administration posted an unprecedented code-red alert for passenger flights from Britain to the United States and banned liquids from all carry-on bags Thursday, clamping down quickly after British authorities disrupted a frightening terror plot.
The heightened restrictions triggered long lines at airports across the country, and governors in at least three states ordered National Guard troops to help provide security.
"This was a well-advanced plan," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told reporters as British authorities announced the arrests of 24 alleged plotters. "In some respects suggestive of an al-Qaida plot."
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said as many as 10 flights had been targeted.
Other officials said the plotters had hoped to bring the planes down in a cascade of horror over the Atlantic Ocean, possibly within days. They said the plan involved the use of a peroxide-based solution, flammable when sparked by innocent-appearing small electronic devices. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the sensitive nature of the subject.
Targeted were United, American and Continental Airlines flights from Britain to major U.S. destinations, which officials said probably included New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
A senior U.S. counterterrorism official said the suspects, whose ages ranged from 17 to the mid-30s, were looking to sneak at least some chemicals on the planes in sports drink bottles. Teams of at least two or three men were assigned to each flight, the schedules for which they had researched on the Internet, the official said.
Two other U.S. officials said British, U.S. and Pakistani investigators were trying to trace the steps of the suspects in Pakistan and were seeking to determine whether a couple of them attended terrorist training camps there.
In brief remarks from Green Bay, Wis., President Bush said the events showed the nation "is at war with Islamic fascists."…
Homeland Security deputy Secretary Michael Jackson said his agency had known for several days of the unfolding plot but waited for a signal from the British to announce it.
The decision to raise the terror level for flights from Britain indicated a severe risk of terror attacks. The "code red" change requires airlines to provide the government with an advance list of passengers aboard affected flights. Previously, passengers names had to be provided within 15 minutes after takeoff…
Officials said the plotters had been planning a test run within two days to see whether they could smuggle the equipment they needed aboard the flights. The actual attack would have occurred within days…
Why would the US wait for “several days” to announce that Islamic radicals were planning on killing thousands of Americans? And before today the airlines don’t provide the names of passengers to the government until 15 minutes after take-off? What the hell good does that do? SO then when a plane does explode we know who did it? How about stopping these people before they get on a plane? And their “test run” was going to be in the next two days? What nothing like the last minute to prevent the deaths of thousands of Americans?
This story makes me deathly afraid and angered at the same time. Angry over near government incompetence because what Bush said was long overdue and needs to be shouted from the rooftops and to every government agency like the CIA, FBI, State Department, Homeland Security, ICE, NSA, and every branch of law enforcement, the nation "is at war with Islamic fascists."
The story also makes me afraid because I have family members who fly to this country from London, including one who flew back to London only a week ago. It also makes me afraid because a little over a year ago, I too flew back from Europe and flew into London on the way there from Washington, DC.
These are scary times we live in, and it is time for less politics and more real leadership from both the President and Congress. I cut out a good portion of this article that talked about the across the aisle bickering between Republicans and Democrats about who is “to blame” for all of this. Well Republicans and Democrats are both to blame, and we are as well. We are to blame as long as we keep weak appeasement-minded politicians in office who take vacation while the world is in danger and while the people are at risk. You can bet Bush was not flying out of London, or Kennedy, or McCain, or Kerry, or any of them. No, it would have been normal, average Americans flying out, and they would have died while the politicians held meetings and did nothing. These Islamic terrorists don’t want to kill soldiers, they want to kill you and me and everyone we know and care about and that just happens to include our soldiers.
Wake Up America, either that or never fly on a plane, take a train, ride the subway, go over a bridge, or do anything but cower in fear under the covers in your bedroom. But, they will find a way to get you there too.