Thursday, August 10, 2006
Flying in the face of terror
As I get ready to board a flight to London to cover the terror plot story for CNN, immediately I see the impact at New York's JFK airport.

I re-packed all my luggage when I got the list of what was banned on flights. But I didn't realize until I checked-in at the airport that make-up foundation is considered a banned liquid. So I had to throw that out.

Of course, no bottles of water or beverages of any kind are allowed for grown-ups. Baby formula and medicines are still allowed, and I do see young children at the gate drinking out of their sippy cups, so the rules may not be as tightly enforced for kids.

So far things are calm here and not too crowded, but it's early.

The list of prohibited items reminded me of the kinds of materials terror mastermind Ramzi Yousef used when he tested a bomb on a Philippine Airlines airliner on December 11, 1994. He built his bomb in the plane lavatory and left it under his seat when he disembarked at Cebu Airport in the Philippines before the plane continued to Tokyo.

When the plane flew over Minami Daito Island, near Okinawa, the bomb exploded, killing a Japanese businessman and injuring 10 others. The plane made an emergency landing in Okinawa.

Yousef later decided to increase the potency of his bombs since the plane wasn't destroyed. This was to be part of what became known as the Bojinka plot designed to blow up a dozen airliners in the air at the same time. The plot was interrupted.

Whenever I fly, I always check under my seat.
Posted By Deborah Feyerick, CNN Correspondent: 9:22 AM ET
  45 Comments
I am sure we would feel safer if we had spent $350 billion on homeland security and intelligence instead of the war in Iraq.
Posted By Anonymous Johanna Eversole, Memphis TN : 9:36 AM ET
This is a frightening time. I can't imagine how a terrorist would use make up in a terror plot, but I guess they wouldn't have banned it unless they had tried.
Posted By Anonymous Jess Paris, KY : 9:48 AM ET
Wow, my thoughts are with you and all flying today. Since 911, I am curious why Al Qaeda is so itent on blowing us up. I've been listening to reports, but I still can't make total sense of it all. I'm wondering if that's just the way it will be... Maybe we'll
never be able to reconcile why and how they do what they do with why we think they shouldn't.
Posted By Anonymous Liz, Los Angeles, CA : 10:22 AM ET
As a very frequent flyer/business traveler I know have to adjust to the new rules, though I hope they won't stay in place for long.
I rarely check luggage, but prefer to carry all my belongings on to the plane with me. But now I can't even have make-up, tooth-paste, etc. in my bag - how is that going to work?
Every time the restrictions at the airports seem to ease a bit, a new plot comes along and we start all over again.
Air-traveling is just not what it used to be; I used to enjoy it, now I dread each day I have to travel by plane!
Posted By Anonymous Elke, New York/NY : 10:24 AM ET
I am so grateful that this plot was foiled. I don�t understand how anyone can think that the killing of innocent people can be justified, and I don�t understand why American and British civilians are prime targets. The hate directed at the United States and its people is intense and scary. So to all the journalists overseas, please be extra vigilant while reporting on these important stories, and thanks.
Posted By Anonymous T. Nardone, Nutley, NJ : 10:25 AM ET
Deborah, It is amazing to me what can be used to create a bomb. I would, like you, never think about not bringing my liquid foundation. I travel with two children and to not take a carry on bag with me that includes anything from juice, water, or even simple items like applesauce would definately be an inconvienence. However, death is certainly more inconvenient! Lets hope that the airlines are making up for people not being able to bring water and such on board by having extras available.

Good luck and may you arrive to and from your destination safely! And oh, from now on I will be checking under my seat too!
Posted By Anonymous Kim Novi, MI : 10:27 AM ET
I'm encouraged, actually, that all these terrorists arrested today were apparently all British-born. It appears that the violence is getting bottled up by successive conflicts in the mideast.

While we can't say that any 'war on terror' will ever really end (we're only one gun, bomb, mistake away after all) at least the organized terrorism seems to be getting contained rather quickly. I'll feel better when Hizbullah is destroyed and nuclear war is put off a little longer in the middle east.
Posted By Anonymous mike, rochester,ny : 10:33 AM ET
Have any definite bomb-making materials or actual bombs been discovered from all of this?
Posted By Anonymous Tim, Knoxville, Tennessee : 10:36 AM ET
Everyone needs to be vigilant in this day and age. Thank goodness for the diligence of the current administration in implementing safeguards designed to protect each and every one of us. Not only should you check under your seat but you should always know what is under your car, who is in the restroom, who is behind you and so forth. Paying attention to detail in this day an age could save your life and the lives around you. Be safe.
Posted By Anonymous F. Berg, Del Rio, Texas : 10:36 AM ET
Wow, Deborah, want a interesting take on the simplicity of making a bomb. I will definately be checking under my seat the next time I fly. It amazes me that just when you think your safe again something happens. I would be curious to know if this event has to do with the focus being off al queda and on hezbolla. Seems like there maybe some competition going on for the spotlight among the terrorist groups out there.
Posted By Anonymous mls, N.O. LA : 10:39 AM ET
As long as there are radical individuals with political agendas we will continue to live with terrorist organizations intent on killing innocent civilians. I really struggle as an American to understand how people support a group that promotes such deliberate violence against civilians in the name of their belief or agenda. The resources spent world wide to prevent theses acts of violence is a huge economic burden on the taxpayers and could be used to assist many in need. Aggressive pursuit of these individual and groups
at the sacrifice of personal rights is
sadly something which we are going to have to become more accustom and patient. This will not end any time soon.
Posted By Anonymous Scott, Mobile, Alabama : 10:47 AM ET
I think this is bull. Red alert? Whatever. Yeah, just like those ghetto kids in Miami were planning to overthrow the government. Are the lies getting worse? Or are ppl getting more dumb. Vote the incumbents out of the primaries because they let all of the events of the last 6 years happen. Get them out.
Posted By Anonymous Jerry, Birmingham, AL : 10:47 AM ET
Yeah it's just a little bit much don't you think? Sometimes I think we actually enjoy being scared. CNN sure seems to like to talk about it.
Posted By Anonymous T.M. Seattle, WA : 10:50 AM ET
I find it amazing that each time something affects the public's perception of the administration's foreign policy, ie the Lieberman loss over the war, Israel and Hezbollah, etc., we have to raise the security levels and carry on about plots. Its like chicken little or the boy who cried wolf - it's gets harder and harder to believe the sky actually is falling.
Posted By Anonymous JoAnn, Wynnewood, PA : 10:56 AM ET
That's the first fruits of the unfair war on Lebanon.
Posted By Anonymous Anthony, Ann Arbor, US : 10:56 AM ET
I am scheduled to fly to the UK on Saturday, so obviously following closely. I understand needing to check my laptop, phone, BlackBerry, etc., but what about a simple paperback book?
Posted By Anonymous Gary, Dallas, TX : 10:57 AM ET
The activity in Iraq IS our homeland security - the two can not be separated. These murderers want to kill us - business people, moms, dads, kids - everyone on those flights - and every Iraqi, Afghani, or lebanese person trying to live a life that they deem unworthy. You either fight for your survival or ........ What else needs to be said or understood?
Posted By Anonymous Nan Jodeya, Phila, PA : 11:01 AM ET
I fully realize that we just have to make the best of the tightened security at airports. However, will the baggage handlers at airports now treat baggage more gently since nearly everything must be checked in? Probably not. What's going to happen to expensive laptop computers when they're checked in? Those of us who normally travel with one will be lucky to have it operating properly when we deplane and pick up our luggage. I think we've all seen the brutal treatment our checked suitcases get in just a few flights, right?
Posted By Anonymous RW, Placentia, CA : 11:02 AM ET
The fact they are British born isn't a sign that organized terrorism is being contained. In fact its a sign of the opposite. Instead of one group creating violence you have more and mor popping up.
Posted By Anonymous Jeff, Kitchener, ON : 11:02 AM ET
It never ceases to amaze me what we pampered, spoiled Americans find to complain about. "Air-traveling is just not what it used to be"?!?! Should it be?!?! How many people lost their lives five years ago as a result of normal air travel gone wrong. If I have to endure a little "inconvenience" to help ensure that a plain full of people, including myself, doesn't get blown up, then so be it.
Posted By Anonymous Danielle Louisville, KY : 11:05 AM ET
I don't understand why the airports are collecting liquids in bunches, unmarked (to be thrown away?).

Wouldn't it make sense to make everyone drink or use their liquid, mark their name on the tube, etc. before putting them into a bin for inspection later?

If the product is tainted with expolive material, the ie. tube could them be traced back to the passenger.

Oh well, too late now!
Posted By Anonymous KaRi, TPSradio, Long Beach, CA : 11:11 AM ET
In spite of all of this, the best thing to do to protect yourself on long haul flights is not to eat the food.
Posted By Anonymous Pat McGrane, Scottsdale, AZ : 11:22 AM ET
Has anyone found it ironic that this latest air terrorist threat happened on the same day that the controversial movie WTC is released? I find that more than a coincidence. Of course I am no terrist expert, but it seems that on the same day that US is about to be reminded again about the horror and sacrifice of 9/11 that they throw another airborne attack at us is not something to be ignored.
Posted By Anonymous Valerie Robbins, Cortland, IL : 11:34 AM ET
I am surprised that it has taken so long for security to catch on to the possibilities. Last year in Japan we were forbidden to bring bottled water and other products onto the Expo 2005 site. Perhaps,as Americans it is time for us to mind our own business globally.
Posted By Anonymous Keith, St.John's. NL., Canada : 11:34 AM ET
This threat is serious, yes. But is there still a war in the Middle East? I've had CNN on for an hour and have not heard one peep about it. CNN.com has only two war articles; all of Pipeline's feeds are on the airplane threats. How quickly what we've geen getting nonstop coverage on for weeks disappears into the background. The media do have one track minds.
Posted By Anonymous Gypsy, an American in Mexico : 11:35 AM ET
In the wake of Sen. Liberman's defeat, someone should question whether the timing of the arrests and security alert has more to do with boosting President Bush's ratings and terrorizing Americans into irrationally believing the Administration is making the right moves to protect us. Our current foreign policy has done more to inspire terrorists acts than prevent them.
Posted By Anonymous Judy Alves, Fort Myers, FL : 11:37 AM ET
my daughter is flying out of london's heathrow on sunday to dulles in d.c.
I appreciate the British govts input.
I don't appreciate chernoff's posturing. they did nothing but agitate this to fruition.
Posted By Anonymous lindab, newport news, va : 11:50 AM ET
I am schedule to fly in a few days but this won't change my plans. I won't allow terrorist to do that. I will have to re-think my luggage situation, though.
Posted By Anonymous Wynona, San Diego, CA : 11:59 AM ET
I think that there should be a plane for people and a plane for luggage. Wherever you�re flying a plane with your luggage and the luggage of the others on the plane should be sent ahead. This way there can be one team totally dedicated to scanning the luggage and another team totally dedicated to searching the boarding passengers. While it�s true that people still have the potential to do damage without assistance from a bomb the risk factor would be decreased significantly. If carry-on is allowed on the people plane the bag should be completely emptied and searched through.
As for this �no liquids� thing, sure it�s a good idea�until the terrorists start hiding the explosives in things like baby formula which you�re still allowed to bring on board. Why not stock at least one case of every kind of formula on board the plane? Or if you know you�ll be traveling with a baby call ahead and ask them to stock your baby�s brand of formula on your flight. If they can make sure there�s liquor on board why not baby formula?
I guess all this is just masking what I really want to do which is simply to bomb the living hell out of the terrorists. Ok so we might hit civilians. So what? We hit civilians when we dropped the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But what was our justification? We killed some to save many. Oh well, I guess saving American lives just isn�t PC anymore.
Posted By Anonymous Theresa Costello, Immaculata, PA : 12:01 PM ET
With vacation travel starting up I am sure this adjustment in security procedures will cause lots of altercations at the security check point. I would hope that peole who do not respect authority will stay at home.

I am hopefully one of million of Americans who were raised by parents thoughtful enough to teach me how to act I public. And I am one of the many who applaud the level of security the authorities have taken to secure my safety. So whatever is needed to be check, please check it.

I just pray they do not foil a plot where they find explosives in a body cavity. I may reconsider my vacation trip if your boarding pass includes a free prostate exam.
Posted By Anonymous Scot Duke, Addison, TX : 12:04 PM ET
Of course with all the disruption, the terriosts have already won. Even if they didn't get to blow up a plane, they're still causing grief, panic, hysteria and uproar. They have managed to disrupt air travel, and somewhere, they're having a good laugh at our expense right now.
Posted By Anonymous Kathryn, Pittsburgh, PA : 1:09 PM ET
Checking under your seat ummm? That's a really good idea Debbie, that should be part of the airlines safely instructions prior to all flights. Hey! you guys do a terrific job. Looks like Anderson won't get any R & R soon. Seems likes these terrorists don't give you guys a break. Well good luck!
Posted By Anonymous Jim, Waipahu Hawaii : 1:16 PM ET
I'm travelling to London in exactly 30 days. Am I dreading the long security lines, the fact that I might not be able to bring my MP3 player or a bottle of water? Not at all.

I am dreading, however, my fellow passengers who feel that they are entitled to pack whatever they want, thus subjecting us all to headaches, longer lines and more frustration. And not only us, but the screeners and all the security people at our airports.

I hope that everyone who is flying in this scary time will overcome their fear of not bringing a huge carry-on with them. You are tough, you can go 8 hours without music or a make-up application. We ALL have to work together to get past this crisis, and that means cooperation in the best sense of the word.

What was it that Spock used to say in Star Trek? "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one, or the few." Smart guy.
Posted By Anonymous Shawna Mills, Los Angeles CA : 1:28 PM ET
As a makeup artist I bring products that cost hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars on a plane. I always carry them on because if they are lost in the luggage, the airline will not replace them due to their �toiletry� status. This new rule could really hurt someone like me because not only would I be out the money for the shoot by having my luggage lost or delayed, it would ruin my credibility, and potentially cost me thousands of dollars to replace my equipment.
Posted By Anonymous Kay, NYC : 1:35 PM ET
It sure was easier back in the cold war days when we knew who are enemy was.

We, the decent people of the world, need to stay two steps ahead of these scumbags. Thank you to our friends overseas for uncovering this terrible plot.

I have traveled a lot this past year and thought security was a little "loose", i'm glad to see the TSA getting more serious today. To the TSA, don't take any crap from anybody, search everyone and everything. Profile everyone, it may not be fair but in this day and age you have to.
Posted By Anonymous Dean Greene, Fort Wayne IN : 1:36 PM ET
If viewed from the standpoint of the "terrorist", mission accomplished (somewhat). The threat (whether real or percieved) of (their) action has, in turn, spurred action by the powers-that-be resulting in what? Congested lines, cancelled or delayed flights wasted time, fuel, resources and a good cup of Starbucks'. While it is quite unsettling that these individuals would choose to martyr themselves for the sake of Jihad, equally unsettling is the fact that for any threat (not necessarily a reality) we will shovel money (in the form of time, restrictions, fuel, resources, and so on) to "battle" the threat. The people poised to execute plans such as those brought to light today understand that there's more than one way to skin a cat, and know equally well that a threat won't kill you, but it may scare you enough to feel "terrorized". Gone seem to be the days when we, as a nation, didn't give a damn about the political correctness of our actions, the attitude which: a) Created quite a few enemies, and b) Seemed to keep us feeling pretty safe (in an isolationist kind of way). The "terrorists" seem to understand what fear is and how to create it, while we (apparently) have forgotten.
Posted By Anonymous K.Buchanan, Raleigh, NC : 1:40 PM ET
I certainly hope that cigarette lighters are on the list of items banned on airline flights. So many people smoke and
lighters may be viewed as common items which can easily be overlooked. I'm just thinking out loud to relieve the
same tension that millions of people all over the world are
feeling at this time. Deep down I know that no stone has been left unturned....right?!!!!!!
Posted By Anonymous Diana G., Brooklyn, New York : 2:03 PM ET
To Scott in TX:

My office read your blog comment and we are LOL about the prostate exam.

It is funny I measure our terror alert level if my underwear bra goes off at the check point. When things our good, no beeps. When the level is elevated, I beep on through and wait for my female official.

Since I travel primarily with men, my associates say, "Oh no the bra again?" It is getting so crazy, the men have a pool just to bet on it. I have completed 6 flights including international in 8 weeks. Just for the record I am 60% beeps and 40% no beeps.

Thanks for the great humor in a strange new world!
Posted By Anonymous Renee Bradenton, FL : 2:06 PM ET
Gypsy, I agree. To add to the Middle East, isn't there still a war going on in the Sudan? Uganda? Chechnya? Somalia? Colombia? And yet the herd rushes to London...
Posted By Anonymous Colin, NYC, NY : 2:31 PM ET
Theresa's idea (above) to "bomb the living hell out of the terrorists" makes a lot of sense. With that logic, where do we start? New York? London? Madrid? I thought the arrests this morning were made in Great Britain, and if my memory serves me correctly - the 9/11 terrorists were in the United States for a considerable time before they took action. Collatoral damage and/or civilian causualties must be okay as long as it happens in the Middle East or in some other place we have a deemed the enemy.
Posted By Anonymous DR, Brooklyn, NY : 2:36 PM ET
Like the people who call themseves mules, swallowing Drugs and bringing it on planes, why can't the terrorists swallow the Liquid and set it off killing themselves and everyone around them?
Posted By Anonymous Nicholas Bruno,Huntington, New York : 2:43 PM ET
Although the issues are complex, and there are rights and wrongs on all sides of the conflict, I'm absolutely floored by some comments on this post that reflect the kind of ignorance that allows things to continue this way. One comment, from Liz, mentions that she is curious why al-Qaeda is intent on blowing us up. Are you serious!? And to Mike from Rochester who says he will sleep safer when Hizbullah is destroyed-what are you talking about? Hizbullah has nothing to do with al-Qaeda. It's that kind of mindset that makes it clear why recent polls show that 50% of Americans believe WMDs were found recently in Iraq and that there was a connection to 9-11.
Posted By Anonymous Bob, San Francisco, CA : 2:51 PM ET
I have to agree with Judy from Fort Myers. This administration has used one too many "red, yellow, orange" warnings to boost approval ratings and put Americans in a state of fear for me to take anything they say seriously. It's the whole "Boy who Cried Wolf" theory. True, the threat wasn't located in the US but Bush JR, er I mean Tony Blair, showed his true colors during that off air "conversation" with GW. The man seems to be Bush's subordinate instead of a leader. Here we go again. Only the Repulicans can save us from the imminent threat that is just around the corner, lurking...waiting to strike if polls begin to show Americans doubt in the Repulican party and this "War on Terror".
Posted By Anonymous Katherine, Woodland Hills CA : 2:52 PM ET
It amazes me how quickly this incident, which was taken care of in the UK, has become politicalized here in the US. Bush went on to remind us that 'this nation is at war with Islamic Fascists'. Lieberman, who apparently has forgotten the lesson of the 2001 election, pounced on the news, declaring that 'Ned Lamont�s goals for ending the war in Iraq would constitute a �victory� for the extremists'

Its time for the politics to end on this, and focus on the real issue, which is how the policies of the Bush Administration towards the Middle East, Isreal& Iraq, and the rest of the world for that matter, has caused extremists to recruit more into their numbers, and drown out the moderate voices.
Posted By Anonymous Wallace, Boston, MA : 3:28 PM ET
My daughter lives in Togo, West Africa, working for the Peace Corp and left there to meet her boyfriend in Paris last week, who flew over from the United States. I received an e-mail from them yesterday saying they are engaged. I pray for their safety every day and am thankful for those who work so diligently to keep us all safe. I, too, do not understand exactly what it is the Muslim countries want and how killing thousands of innocent people will help their cause, whatever it may be. With all this evil in the world, I pray to God that love will prevail and I will see my daughter and her fiance when they are safely home. Side note: Anderson, thank you for bringing the needs of Africa to light... May the sins of 50 wrongdoers be overcome by the millions of people with love in their hearts.
Posted By Anonymous Lois, Peoria, IL : 3:56 PM ET
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