Homeland security

The Wrath of (Alfred) Kahn!: Underwear Bomber Picked Detroit Because Chicago, Houston Flights Were More Expensive!

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When an admitted al-Qaida operative planned his itinerary for a Christmas 2009 airline bombing, he considered launching the strike in the skies above Chicago, the Associated Press has learned. Tickets were too expensive to Chicago, as well as Houston, however, so he refocused the mission on a cheaper destination: Detroit.

More here.

Hat tip: KJ Torrance

I'm not certain that any lessons can or should be drawn from the 2009 Christmas bombing plot (though I'm certain that the Transportation Security Administration, which implemented super-scientifice junk-scanning machines in response  to the incident have drawn at least one idiotic one), but if nothing else, it shows that air travelers, even those ready to commit suicide, are sensitive to pricing.

Which was the great insight of airline deregulation pioneer Alfred Kahn, who died at the age of 93 in December 2010. Along with Reason's own Robert W. Poole, Kahn was the great champion of deregulating the airlines (and other transportation industries) in the 1970s. Kahn argued that ending the system by which the government (or an industry cartel) set routes and rates would usher in an era of innovation, decreased prices and increased safety. And, as even Al Qaeda operatives could tell you, he was totally fucking right on every count.

In case the passage of time has dimmed the details of the Underwear Bomber's foiled plan, go here to read again how it was bureaucratic screwups that allowed him to get on the plane in the first place and that it was passengers who took the perpetrator down. And it was Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano who spouted all sorts of gibberish about how the incident showed "the system" worked.

Attention, al Qaeda, Admiral's Club operatives: Here's a list of the most expensive U.S. airports to fly in and out of.

Reason.tv (and Bob Poole) explains why your flight has been delayed (and why it's the government's fault):

NEXT: End Corporate Welfare

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  1. It’s always the Poor who suffer.

      1. I wonder if we’ll even find out the real story of the underwear bomber?

        1. People interviewed by Alex Jones have no credibility. I’m not picking on Mr. Jones, I feel the same way about folks interviewed by George Noori.

          1. Has that link changed since it was posted? I just clicked it and, even if you eliminate the quote from the Alex Jones interview and read only the information provided by “mainstream” media sources, the FBI and the other witnesses who were not interviewed by Alex Jones, the story is still completely different.

            And does that mean you just dismiss anything said by people like Gary Johnson, Judge Napolitano, Ron Paul, Peter Schiff, Naomi Wolf, Joseph Stiglitz, Max Keiser and all the other people that have been interviewed by Jones? What about the Reason writers since they have interviewed and have been interviewed themselves by some of the people that have been interviewed by Jones? Do you not trust your own intellect and therefore feel the need to avoid people who spout bullshit because they might convince you to believe it?

          2. Has that link changed since it was posted? I just clicked it and, even if you eliminate the quote from the Alex Jones interview and read only the information provided by “mainstream” media sources, the FBI and the other witnesses who were not interviewed by Alex Jones, the story is still completely different.

            And does that mean you just dismiss anything said by people like Gary Johnson, Judge Napolitano, Ron Paul, Peter Schiff, Naomi Wolf, Joseph Stiglitz, Max Keiser and all the other people that have been interviewed by Jones? What about the Reason writers since they have interviewed and have been interviewed themselves by some of the people that have been interviewed by Jones? Do you not trust your own intellect and therefore feel the need to avoid people who spout b.s. because they might convince you to believe it?

        2. He was hypnotized by the Zionist Mossad who want to undermine the Arab world by waging false flag attacks against the west who use these events to justify their occupation of islamic lands to rape women and steal oil.

          Everyone knows that.

          Also, the jews thought it would be really funny to blow some poor African’s dick off.

  2. Attention, al Qaeda operatives: Here’s a list of the most expensive U.S. airports to fly in and out of.

    Nice knowing you Nick. If that’s not “Material Support” I don’t know what is.

  3. The problem is, when you set off an enormous bomb in Detroit, how do you distinguish the effects from the rest of the city?

    1. Bomb damaged buildings don’t have mold on them.

    2. Does Detroit even still have an airport? I thought everyone left. USA Today told me all the black people left and they are never wrong. ever.

      1. Detroit Metro Airport isn’t in Detroit. There are still plenty of people in the surrounding area.

      2. The black people didn’t leave–they just moved out into the suburbs–don’t believe everything you read in USA Today.
        The metropolitan area hasn’t actually changed much in population, just churned some.

        1. I was, um, kidding about USA Today.

    3. Easy. You can see the improvements where the bomb went off.

  4. Before you get all fuzzy about the NavCan model, I will point out that the taxes, surcharges, airport fees, etc, make it much cheaper to fly out of US cities than out of Canadian cities, which is why I usually fly out of SeaTac instead of Vancouver when I go to Europe.

    1. That type of activity sounds suspicious.

    2. That’s a nice little drive on either end of a long flight. Some day, we will liberate Canadians from the boot of oppression!

      1. But without CanCon, Justin Bieber, Celine Dion and Loverboy never would have been able to act within their proper sphere.

        1. But without CanCon, Justin Bieber, Celine Dion and Loverboy never would have been able to act within their proper sphere…

          Proper sphere?…

          I didn’t know CanCon had a direct flight to the ninth circle of hell (which, being the center, *is* more of a spherical-ish cave of ice than ‘circle’, but the name just stuck)…

          The three faces of Satan, black, red, and yellow, can be seen with mouths gushing bloody foam and eyes forever weeping, as they chew on the three traitors, Judas, Brutus, and Cassius. This place is furthest removed from the source of all light and warmth. Sinners here are frozen deep in the ice, faces out, eyes and mouths frozen shut. Traitors against God, country, family, *[and Canadian pop musicians] lament their sins in this frigid pit of despair.

          *Added by Prince of Darkness in the most recent millenia after hearing “Because You Love Me” played 12 times in one day

          Makes you wonder who Bieber shares a mouth with… and whether that guy is like, “Hey… Judas…owwwwwwww… Trade you for Dion…eeeyyyhhhaaaaa.. Oh, come on man….just for like….100 years… arrrggg….this @#&*^$@ kid.. ahhhhhhgggg….after 2000 years….didn’t think….could get worse….. fucking ….. arrrrhhgggg….canadians….”

      2. That’s a nice little drive on either end of a long flight. Some day, we will liberate Canadians from the boot of oppression!

        Thanks for the thought, PL, but considering how recent US efforts at ‘liberation’ have gone, I think I’ll stick with the oppression.

        Also, since I live in Victoria, I have to take a commuter flight to either airport. (When you factor in ferries, parking and time, a commuter flight is cheaper as well as faster than driving.)

        1. Well, okay, but let me know when you need liberation! We can bomb you without a formal declaration of war, so it’s no trouble.

  5. …air travelers, even those ready to commit suicide, are sensitive to pricing.

    Little did Kahn know that his scheme would once again put the free market in a position where it could screw the poor. I’m laughing at the superior intellect.

  6. whoda thunk that terrorists luv the free market. allah akbar mofo’s

  7. deregulating

    *clutching chest*staggering around room*

    *cough*Somalia*cough*

  8. The irony of the whole thing was that Napolotano for once actually got it right when she said the system worked. This clown couldn’t get an assembled bomb through security. Instead, he had to smuggle the parts in inside his underwear and spend 30 minutes in the bathroom trying to assmble it. And even then only succeeded and burning his balls off.

    That is what successful security looks like. You can never stop everything. But you can make it really fucking hard to get through and make success unlikely. That is what happned with the 12-25 bomber. The security worked.

    Instead of admitting that. The politicals panicked and wanted to show the world “they were doing something”. So they got shown a dog and pony show with the naked scanners by none other than former Secretary Chertoff, who represents the company that makes them and is very chummy with Napolotano from her governor days and Pistole from his days at the FBI. So they ended up violating people’s privacy and humiliting people for a security device that wouldn’t have even caught teh 12-25 bomber trying to fix a system that for once actually worked.

    1. I’ve said roughly the same thing many times. The underwear bomber failed because the existing screening systems prevent “detonators” from making it on board.

    2. The irony of the whole thing was that Napolotano for once actually got it right when she said the system worked.

      I wouldn’t be so quick to say that a security system that allows bomb parts through to be assembled on-site is “working.”

      Maybe, as kinnath says, it works because it keeps detonators out.

      1. “I wouldn’t be so quick to say that a security system that allows bomb parts through to be assembled on-site is “working.”

        I would. It is working as good as you could expect it to work. Unless you want to grope and strip search everyone, there is no way to stop someone from smuggling in a liquid the way that guy did. But your ability to assemble a bomb is extremly limited. Like I said above, once in a while, they are going to get lucky and take a plane down.

      2. Neither the shoe bomber or the underwear bomber had blasting caps or electronics to set off the blasting caps. As I understand it, most commercial explosives are nearly impossible to set off without the blasting caps. Any homebrew explosive that could be set off without blasting caps would probably need to be mixed on the aircraft to ensure that the bomber doesn’t self destruct prematurely.

    3. Actually the system also ‘worked’ in a way Napolitano most definitely did not have in mind. The bomber was stopped by fellow passengers, and nobody in Government wants the system to include people looking out for themselves. That would be a horrible system, for them.

  9. The solution is obviously to have the TSA raise the price of flights to Detroit.

    1. No. Leave things the way they are, except to make sure the very cheapest flights are to Detroit. Assume everyone who is not a legal resident of Detroit is a terrorist and lock them up when they land in Detroit.

      1. Just make everyone fly naked, sans religous Muslims of course. We wouldn’t want to offend their delicate sensibilities.

        1. Well, my advice to DHS at the outset was to force travelers to strip down naked, be placed in pods, rendered unconscious, then loaded onto the airplane for transport. Upon landing, the process would be reversed, and the passengers safely delivered to their destinations!

          1. Then the terrorists would just find pill-heads with a resistance to narcotics. The pill poppers would merely pretend to be unconscious in their pod while breaking out mid-flight and murdering everyone.

            1. Who said you get get out of the pod?

              1. Sorry. Who said you can get out of the pod? They’re going to be sealed for everyone’s protection.

                As a safety measure, the pods can be ejected from the plane. The pods will have chutes to allow a safe landing, though only authorized DHS personnel will be able to open them. This has the added benefit of salving the fears of fretful fliers.

      2. why lock em up? they’re probably gonna get murdered anyway

        1. We must have order!

      3. The TSA will just institue this new rule. When you buy the cheapest route offered on any of the travel sites or airlines, you will be flagged for additional screening.

      4. Assume everyone who is not a legal resident of Detroit is a terrorist and lock them up when they land in Detroit.

        Yeah, but you know what? What happens is the President’s plane gets hijacked, and then they crash land in Detroit, and then they come running to ME to fix everything for them.

  10. Recently changed planes at Detriot. We had to take the internal tram. It pulls up and I jump on. Look back, there’s my wife standing outside.
    “What are waiting for?”
    The automated voice was saying ” Do not board, doors are about to close .”
    So of course I grabbed her and pulled right in. Women.

    1. Does she treat you with that much deference, at least?

  11. That is what successful security looks like.

    Oh.

    1. Yeah. There is no way to stop everything. The best you can do is make it really hard to do. And even then, once in a great while they will get lucky and take a plane down. That is life. To pretend otherwise is to just dellude yourself.

  12. Thanks to that bastard we’re no longer allowed to travel with cigarette lighters. Thanks a lot, underwear bomber.

    JOE ARPAIO FIGHTS COCKFIGHTING RING WITH TANKS.
    http://libertarians4freedom.bl…..-with.html

    1. I uhm, didn’t this get covered professionally, yesterday?

    2. Hard to tell if your blog is a satire or if you’re being serious.

      1. Would you rather have me argue about the “right” to kill roosters in cockfighting rings?

  13. There is no way to stop everything.

    No kidding; I’ve been telling you that for years, it seems.

    Now, ask yourself if the costs of this “security” are justified. Considering how frequently we see stories about the abject failure of the TSA to detect plainly obvious threats, the only real takeaway is that airport “security” is an astronomically expensive practical joke on the American people.

    1. You need some security. Nothing happens because the security as is works. By your logic no successful security would ever be justified because you could point to its successs as evidence that it is not needed.

  14. didn’t this get covered professionally, yesterday?

    I think Gregoooooooooooo! is in favor of it. Because he’s, like, so libertarian and all.

    1. “Idiots for Freedom is politically incorrect blog with an idiot perspective. We hold no punches, we fear no global, multicultural or sensitivity values. We just fight for stupidity even when its unpopular.”

  15. but if nothing else, it shows that air travelers, even those ready to commit suicide, are sensitive to pricing

    This is what happens when you have beneficiaries to leave your possessions.
    The Estate Tax: oppose it or the terrorists win.

  16. Who said you get get out of the pod?

    “Never get out of the pod, Man! Never get out of the pod!!!!”

    1. Precisely. Not only will it be policy, the TSA will scare travelers so much that they won’t want to get out. Possibly by having tigers roam the space between the pods.

  17. Not deregulated enough. How come U.S. airlines need to ask permission from the feds to establish routes to foreign countries, and how come foreign airlines are not allowed to establish domestic routes?

  18. The recession even hit Al-Qaeda?

    You know the economy’s fucked up when even Osama’s homies gotta economize.

    Next thing you know, some fool will try to hijack an airplane with a box-cutter…sans blade.

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