It’s been almost 13 years since 9/11, and we got lucky with the Shoe Bomber and Underwear Bomber. Are we still being threatened by terrorists, and is our airport security up to the task?
Last week we learned that two individuals on separate flight out of Phoenix both bound for London were carrying weapons, in one instance an armed gun. That is cause of for concern.
“People getting through security with a weapon, or a gun, is just a matter of stats. You’ve got to realize millions of people are getting on planes all over the world, and every once in a while somebody that has a weapon gets through,” says former FBI agent and terrorism expert James Conway. “So many people carry weapons sometimes unwittingly they accidentally carry firearms with them.” Conway says when he was an agent in his experience those individuals were often not prosecuted because it was an apparent mistake on the part of the passenger.
He says there are new threat streams that have come to the attention of the intelligence community related to non-metallic explosive devices. Acting on actionable intelligence, passengers are now required to power up any electronic device they are carrying on board a plane.
“Obviously, without getting too specific, they’ve got a threat stream saying that somebody may be using some kind of an electronic device such as a mobile phone to detonate an explosive device,” Conway says.
Intelligence, by its nature, doesn’t operate in the open and doesn’t advertise their intent. Conway assures that the U.S. cooperates with foreign intelligence agencies around the world and is doing everything they can do to protect Americans in a hostile world.
“The Middle East is a super hot spot right now, with the growth of ISIS and the declaration of an Islamic state, and what’s going on in the Occupied Territories with Israel,” Conway tells KTRH News. “The world is a hot spot, the threat stream is much higher, and the West is being targeted.”