TERRORISM: looking for solutions

From: Robert J. Bradbury (bradbury@aeiveos.com)
Date: Tue Sep 11 2001 - 22:15:30 MDT

Well, as of now, what we "suspect":

- 2-3 terrorists per plane
- knives and/or bomb threats were used to gain control
- possible involvement of ground personnel in smuggling weapons
  onto the planes (meaning perhaps 50 people involved).
- the plane transponders and possibly black boxes were
  disabled by pulling the circuit breakers [its for
  sure now every future hijacking will do this now that
  its been published all over the news]
- possible training of the terrorist pilots by either
  U.S. flight schools or advanced flight simulators
- reasonable probability of ties to Bin Laden

- train airline crew in defensive tactics
  (presumably makes them more expensive)
- adding "Sky Marshals" to the flights
  (also expensive)
- equip them with defensive weapons (tasers) or offensive weapons
  (guns) [which have negative use consequences in flight]
- transparency to the ground for what is occurring in the
  cabin (requires high bandwidth and personnel to monitor)
- computer-aided-ignoring of excessive deviations from
  the flight plan (but what about the recent Alaska Airlines
  flight where they lost control of flight control surfaces --
  can computers deal with such situations? If not and the default
  mode is to return control to the pilot, then hijackings could
  be enabled by engineering a reversible loss of control).

I might add:
- automated external detection and cross-agency notifcation of
  any deviation from flight plan

Of note:
- Airlines have reported that with the anticitpated fall
  off in traffic they expect that they may not have enough
  cash to survive the next month.

- If they only had knives, why didn't multiple passengers
  "rush" the terrorists?
- Now that we have seen what can happen -- will a plane full
  of Americans allow it to happen again?
- Skyscrapers are constructed to withstand plane impacts.
  Can they be constructed to withstand a plane full of fuel
  setting them on fire?
- Why didn't the Pentagon (or less likely, the World Trade
  Center buildings) have individuals on the roofs equipped with
  surface-to-air missles? Given what these disasters will cost,
  it would have been a small additional security expense.
- Where was the flight that crashed in Pennsylvania headed?
  I've heard speculations of the USX building, Camp David
  and the Pentagon.

Doesn't look like anybody has attempted looking at solutions
looking at other terrorist acts. How do you stop a "go fast"
boat headed for Miami with a nuclear or bioweapon?


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