CEO, Total Force Holdings Inc
We all remember how our mass transportation landscape changed on 12 September 2001. The events of the day before brought most of the free world to their knees as though we all took one big punch in the collective gut. I will never forget the way I felt on 9/11 or the fire that still burns that was lit inside of me that day. We all remember "Here's my ticket. Here's my bags. Nothing in there that shouldn't be. Here's my boarding pass." that was only followed with "Thank you, have a nice flight." instead of "Can you step aside for me? You've been selected for an additional security screening." We also know that those days are long over, and for good reason.
We've seen the threat to commercial travel worldwide come from passengers more often that not. Recently, I read an article from InHomelandSecurity (full article link from InHomelandSecurity.com is as follows: "http://edmdigest.com/news/rogue-aviation-workers-are-biggest-threat-to-aviation-security/") that stated quite clearly that "Rogue Aviation Workers Are Biggest Threat to Aviation Security." This article made a few great points which you can either find for yourself using the link above or keep reading where I will hit the major points.
One thing the article did for sure was get the security consultant, tactician, criminal, and generally deviant gears within my brain housing group to start turning... Generally this turns out to be a good thing for customer, clients, readers, and followers because I tend to give away a lot of information that I should be charging money for when this kind of thing happens. Hey, it's your gain, right?
As I was saying, the article stresses aviation workers as the greatest threat to aviation security. How hard would it be for a disenfranchised or radicalized worker to slip a bomb into the landing gear of an aircraft? Landing gear which retract into the wing... the wing which is full of fuel... Catch my drift? How hard would it be to slip an explosive device into baggage after it was scanned and was being loaded onto the plane?
The article highlights the smuggling of firearms on Delta flights from Atlanta to New York City to smuggle firearms and the recent debacle wherein a 15 year old scaled a perimeter fence and stowed away in a Hawaiian Air jet's wheel well from California to Hawaii. The article also cites many other recent TSA failures, which we all know of as they've been consistently in the news.
When we think of the smuggling of firearms by a credentialed airport worker onto a plane, it takes me back to my days as a kid watching some of the first scenes of the Chuck Norris and Lee Marvin flick "The Delta Force." This film involves a Boeing 707 commercial airliner flying from Cairo to Athens to Rome to New York that is hijacked by Lebanese "freedom fighters" (we would call them "rebels" but one man's "rebel" is another man's "freedom fighter," I will give them that much) who utilize a Colt 1911A1 .45 ACP pistol, a Polish PM-63 9x18mm Submachine Gun (which is really an early attempt at what is now known as a "Personal Defense Weapon" or "PDW" but that is a subject for another time), and a pair of British made (or copied from British made) Mills Bombs... We would call them fragmentation hand grenades. Granted this film was set in the early 1980's when everyone remembered aircraft hijackings happening regularly. These weapons were placed in the lavatory towel and napkin dispenser by an airline worker that was "checking up on a suspected water leak." Anyone who's saw that movie knows how it turns out.... as soon as possible, the terrorist leader runs to the lavatory, withdraws the weapons and ordnance, returns to his partner, and they take over the plane. They divert the route to hostile territory and are eventually stopped by Tier 1 US Special Operations Assets. I'm about to cut that movie on after I write this since it's on my mind now.
The incident in Atlanta shows that credentialed individuals CAN get firearms onto commercial aircraft. If they can get a firearm on, then it is not unreasonable that they could get an explosive device aboard. Who is to say that the terrorists of the world didn't read the linked article and see the old 80's action movie mentioned above and all of a sudden have a light bulb moment? To think that such is outside the realm of possibility is as ludicrous as thinking the airliner in question can get off the ground with no engines or wings.
We can take this EVEN further and ask ourselves: "If that 15 year old could stow away in a wheel well, what's stopping ISIL or someone similar from putting a suicide bomber in there? The kid didn't want to die but put his life at risk to fly whereas the suicide bomber PLANS TO DIE and doesn't care.... What's to stop them from rigging him with a dead man's switch so his bomb goes off anyway and the plane still gets blown into 10,000 pieces?"
This can of course be applied to ANY mass transit method. Subways, trains, buses, planes, and ships can be infiltrated by credentialed personnel and either boobytrapped or have hardware stashed inside them for collaborators to come get later.
If you work in the transportation industry, you are a de facto antiterrorist operative. If something doesn't look right, keep your eye on it. If you don't like the look of something, look into it. If you think there's a security risk, stop it and/or contact law enforcement NOW... not after you hear about something happening later tonight on the news. I'm not saying just because someone takes too many smoke breaks or something that is merely against policy like that because no one likes a Blue Falcon... but if someone generally gives you cause for concern and you get that gut feeling that screams "Something ain't right.... I got a bad feeling about this." then you need to open up your mouth and speak on it.... NOW.
The next 9/11 may not be a passenger.... That's the thing about unconventional and Fourth Generation Warfare.... Literally ANYONE could be an insurgent. So keep your situational awareness up, stay frosty, and stay dangerous... but most of all stay safe (or be deadly).