Terror Connection?

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CNN is reporting that "the shuttle was flying at about 200,000 feet above earth when it disappeared—well out of range of surface-to-air missiles." That doesn't entirely quell fears that terrorists were responsible for the deaths, especially since the crew included one Israeli. But it makes it more likely that the explanation for the explosion was more mundane, though no less sad.

A slightly less reassuring reassurance from Ha'aretz: "A senior law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there had been some intelligence that raised concerns about a previously scheduled flight of Columbia, which was to have carried the same crew.

"The intelligence, related to Ramon, was termed not credible, but the flight was postponed for other reasons. There had been no troubling intelligence regarding this flight, officials said, and they do not believe terrorism was involved."

Update: Glenn Reynolds has posted some more good reasons to suspect that this wasn't terrorism, including this one: "if you planted a bomb, you'd want it to go off on takeoff—that's when everyone is watching, and there's less time for stuff to go wrong."

NEXT: Columbia Crash

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  1. Occams Razor. There is so much to go wrong on a shuttle anyway, we would have to eliminate 10,000 possibilites before terrorism became the next most likely causes.

  2. I agree. It never crossed my mind that it might be terrorism until the press stated that ‘there’s no evidence of a link to terrorism, etc.). I understand why they would make such a statement (people will speculate about it anyway), but I’m personally growing tired of the fact that every bad thing that has happened since Sept. 11 requires a reference to whether terrorism might be involved or not.

    It might be interesting to read the news reports in Israel, where terrorist suicide bombings are practically an everyday event, to see if they are practicing this. “Large multicar pileup on the northbound expressway, terrorism is not suspected at this time.” Somehow I doubt it, since at least their terrorists seem to be sticking to a consistent pattern of either blowing themselves up in public or throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers until someone shoots back.

    Perhaps this then is the real reason for the constant ‘terrorist’ references – there really hasn’t been enough terrorist activity since Sept. 11 to distinguish a pattern different from the regular milleau of bizzare criminals (such as the DC snipers or the anthrax-letter guy) whose actions have some similarities with terrorism but would not have been labelled as such in earlier times. The existence of this categorial challenge is probably a good thing.

  3. I’m impressed, though, that many of the same people who instantly leaped to blame other sad events on terrorism (the sniper attacks, for example) have been restrained and common-sensical about this one. Maybe it’s simply more of a stretch to blame the shuttle explosion on terrorists. Or maybe we’re collectively calming down.

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