Editor’s note: Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin is a weekly online, subscription intelligence news service from the creator of WorldNetDaily.com – a journalist who has been developing sources around the world for the last 25 years.
WASHINGTON – Transportation Security Administration officials say they believe terrorists will continue to plot attacks against commercial airplanes in the United States and abroad – including the use of shoulder-launched missiles, reports Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Officials identified the threat from terrorists equipped with shoulder-launched missiles, called man-portable air defense systems, or MANPADS, as one of “credible concern.” They said that MANPADS are “widely” available on black or gray markets around the world and that even an unsuccessful MANPAD attack on a commercial airliner would have a “devastating” economic and political impact, according to the online intelligence newsletter.
The U.S. military already has started using an anti-MANPAD system, they said. But if that or a similar system is to be applied in civil aviation, it has to be more affordable, reliable, safe and effective, they added.
The officials said TSA expects to select two private sector proposals on MANPAD countermeasures in 2004 and test the one or two most promising prototypes later.
Officials cited the unsuccessful missile attack on an Israeli commercial airliner in Mombasa, Kenya, in November 2002, as an illustration of how credible the threat is.
MANPADS are relatively easy to operate and are small enough that they can be concealed in a vehicle.
While the U.S. intelligence community does not have any credible, specific intelligence information about planned MANPADS attacks against commercial aircraft in the United States, the TSA believes safeguards need to be planned. MANPADS generally do not pose a threat to commercial aircraft while flying at cruising altitude, but can be used when aircraft are landing or taking off from airports.