September 12, 2001
11:29 AM   Subscribe

"A plan to hijack US commercial planes and slam these into targets like the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Langley, Virginia, was first uncovered in Manila in 1995 after police arrested four suspects in a plot to assassinate Pope John Paul II." So perhaps what happened yesterday shouldn't have been an entirely unforeseeable event.
posted by lia (5 comments total)
There was also a similar scenario, from what i understand, in a Tom Clancy novel. Should we guard against everything else in his books, too?

The horrifying truth is there was virtually nothing anyone could have done to prevent the attacks (short of full body cavity searches of every passenger boarding every airplane). Even if the army had known the planes were coming in, shooting them out of the sky would still have resulted in thousands of deaths.
posted by jpoulos at 11:39 AM on September 12, 2001

There was an article in the economist stating that during the security build up before the olympics, the army were told they would not be allowed to shoot down passenger planes that had been hijacked. I'll try to find the link..
posted by Mossy at 11:48 AM on September 12, 2001

The two boys behind the columbine killings also had the exact same idea.
posted by DragonBoy at 1:39 PM on September 12, 2001

Do you know the sheer number of schemes the CIA finds each day? I'm sure it's mind-boggling. Equally as mind-boggling are the number of schemes defused. Let's not point fingers till we know the complete story. Sadly, that will only come months or years after this.
posted by geoff. at 1:45 PM on September 12, 2001

Except the CIA building didn't get hit, did it?

jpoulos is right, what happened is one of those things, like a nuclear bomb in a briefcase, that everyone can imagine happening, but can't believe ever would.

Hijacking four planes simultaneously is so incredibly difficult, that people, including security officials, could be excused for not taking a threat like that seriously. Ramzi Zhmed Yousef, the man behind the first WTC bombing, had a lot of ideas, but not a lot of smarts: not only did he not topple the WTC, but he got caught before he could do anything else. Those are the kinds of terrorists we were used to dealing with.

Right now, blaming intelligence officials is a really stupid idea. We must focus on the capture and punishment of those responsible. After that, we can start to fix whatever problems there are. I think a good first step would be a change in philosophy away from our absurd idea that high-technology, like the missile-defense-system will keep us safe.

Also, what happened yesterday does not center around the Philippines, as much as you would like to make it appear that way with posting this link.
posted by thewittyname at 1:51 PM on September 12, 2001

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