American officials say they uncovered an al-Qaeda-made bomb that could have successfully passed through TSA’s security checkpoints — but only days after a leading US lawmaker launched a campaign to abolish that very agency.
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation announced late Monday that a plot to detonate a highly-developed explosive onboard an airplane en route to the United States was foiled by American intelligence agents. As details developed about the alleged attack, however, it was revealed that the would-be plot was never actually hatched to the point where the US would have been in real danger.
The FBI was quick to say that the explosive may have been able to pass through the Transportation Security Administration’s airport screening check points unnoticed by federal agents. It was only after, though, that counter-terrorism officials revealed that the US was never quite in danger.
The alleged bomb was described on Monday as being non-metallic and therefore may have been able to pass through TSA screenings without raising a red flag. Discussing the explosive with ABC News’ Good Morning America on Tuesday, however, White House counter-terrorism advisor John Brennan explained that the bomb was not an “active threat.” In a separate conference held in New Delhi that day, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “The device did not appear to pose a threat to the public air service.”
What does appear to be in danger, however, is the TSA itself. The Transportation Security Administration has been marred with scandal after scandal since its development after the September 11 terrorist attacks, and some reports even suggest that Americans are actively seeking train tickets and scrounging for bus fare in lieu of letting Uncle Sam play grab ass with every airport patron in the country. So was this alleged bomb plot actually in the works?
Monday’s announcement that a would-be bombing plot was foiled came only days after Kentucky Senator Rand Paul announced that he was actively trying to abolish the TSA.
“Sometimes our liberty slips away silently, and it is almost hard to notice what went wrong and where. The one fortunate thing about the TSA is that they certainly don’t fit that definition,” Senator Paul said only last week. “The American people shouldn’t be subjected to harassment, groping and other public humiliation simply to board an airplane.”
Now only a week after Senator Paul asked Americans to help him end the TSA, the US intelligence community may have just made their own case to keep the agency afloat for a moment longer.
“Everything they have done has been reactive,” Rep. John Mica (R-Fla) recently said in an interview with Human Events about the TSA. It’s a criticism shared by many but is considered rare given the source — Mica is the chairman of the House Transportation Committee and was instrumental in creating the TSA.
“They take shoes off because of [shoe-bomber] Richard Reid, passengers are patted down because of the diaper bomber, and you can’t pack liquids because the British uncovered a plot using liquids,” added the congressman.
Mica and Paul aren’t the only opponents of the TSA with offices on Capitol Hill, either. Earlier this year, Texas Congressman Ron Paul — who is not only running for president but also the father of Senator Rand Paul — announced that he was also seeking the abolishment of the agency.
“The police state in this country is growing out of control. One of the ultimate embodiments of this is the TSA that gropes and grabs our children, our seniors and our loved ones and neighbors with disabilities. The TSA does all of this while doing nothing to keep us safe,” the Republican Party presidential hopeful explained earlier back in January.
US intelligence now reports that by infiltrating an al-Qaeda bomb cell in Yemen, authorities with the CIA have been able to prevent terrorists from following through with alleged plans to board an America-bound flight with explosives. Given the FBI’s well-known history of entrapping people into terrorist plots that would never occur without the Bureau's active participation, however, one can only wonder if the CIA adopted the same tactic in this case.