Homeland Security Boss: Before 9/12/01 Hijackings Were "Regular, Routine"

BoingBoing’s Joel Johnson recently interviewed departing Homeland Security boss Michael Chertoff — and we all know how much you love “security theater”…

In the interview, which is posted at BoingBoing’s gadget blog, Chertoff claims that before 9/12/01, hijacking an airplane or, indeed, blowing one up— was a “regular, routine” issue.

From BoingBoing:

[Chertoff:] What I can tell you is that in the period prior to September 12, 2001, it was a regular, routine issue to have American aircraft hijacked or blown up from time to time, whether it was Lockerbie or TSA or TWA 857 [I believe he meant TWA 847 – Joel] or 9/11 itself. And we haven’t had even a serious attempt at a hijacking or bombing on an American plane since then.

[According to Airsafe.com, the last flight previous to 9/11 to be hijacked with fatalities from an American destination was a Pacific Southwest Airlines flight on December 7th, 1987. “Lockerbie” refers to Pan Am Flight 103 which was destroyed by a bomb over Scotland after departing from London Heathrow International Airport on its way to JFK, with screening done — as now — by an organization other than the TSA. TWA Flight 847 departed from Athens (Ellinikon) International Airport, also not under TSA oversight.

While Wikipedia’s list of aircraft hijackings may not be comprehensive — I cannot find a complete list from the FAA, which does not seem to list hijackings, including 9/11, in its Accidents & Incidents Data — the last incident of an American flight being hijacked was in 1994, when FedEx Flight 705 was hijacked by a disgruntled employee.

The implication that hijacking or bombing of American airline flights is a regular occurrence is not borne out by history, nor does it follow that increased screening by the TSA at airports has prevented more attacks since 9/11.]

Good stuff.

Michael Chertoff on the TSA and “Security Theater” [BoingBoing]