This news item says that terrorists might just use lasers against commercial aircraft. If they can shine a laser inside the cockpit, they might be able to blind the pilot and cause the plane to crash.
I’ve said before that one of the problems with law enforcement is that the public likes to blame them for events outside of their control. Terrorists use three captured planes as guided missiles for the first time after hundreds of previous hijackings and everyone starts screaming about how someone dropped the ball.
So now we have this Dept. of Homeland Security, and are they under a microscope. Not only do they have to keep an eye on foreign nationals, but there might be some US citizens who hate America. Not to mention all of the copycat nutbags who don’t mind if they kill a few hundred innocent people just so their name would make it into the paper.
Bottom line is, if the terrorists keep trying they’re bound to have a success sooner or later. When that happens heads are going to roll even if it happens in such a way so that placing blame is absurd.
We’ve already seem some hysteria over the supposed vulnerability of commercial flights before. That whole flap about how .50 caliber rifles could bring down or blow up just about anything from extreme range with a single shot is just the first thing that pops into my head. I’m still waiting for the terrorists in Iraq to start potting aircraft with a single round. (For some reason they haven’t gotten around to exploiting this vulnerability even though they have access to military equipment.)
So the people involved with DHS are tossing out terror alerts no matter how remote the possibility. That way some of the criticism might be countered. Just a little proactive action before a terrorist attack.
That is, after all, their mission. They’re just working the PR angle here instead of the physical side.