America’s top security fear is that a terrorist might successfully smuggle a bomb aboard a passenger airplane.
“I don’t think we’re really worried about hijacking because we’ve put a lot of measures in place like a locked cockpit door, flight deck officers who have weapons and the air marshals,” Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told FOX News on Thursday. “So the next threat becomes the bomb. Something that either a person takes on board themselves or smuggles into the cargo.”
Chertoff made the comments during the opening of a two-day forum in Jerusalem on ways to combat terrorism.
“One way we’ve addressed smuggling a bomb is by reducing the size of liquids you can bring on board,” Chertoff said. “That was a direct result of learning terrorists had developed a way to disguise liquid explosives.
“The second thing we’re in the process of doing is intensifying the degree of screening we use for baggage that goes into the cargo. Whether it comes from the passenger or is shipped from company. All of this is raising the level of defense,” he said.
Chertoff also suggested that America’s biggest terror worry might not be Al Qaeda.
“Someone described Hezbollah like the A-team of terrorists in terms of capabilities, in terms of range of weapons they have, in terms of internal discipline,” Chertoff told FOX News. “To be honest, they make Al Qaeda look like a minor league team.
“They have been more disciplined, and they’ve been in some senses more restrained in the kinds of attacks they carry out … in recent years, but that’s not something we can take for granted,” he warned.
In addition to Chertoff, the two-day security forum, hosted by Israeli Minister of Internal Security Avraham Dichter, includes representatives of Canada, Germany, France, Spain, Poland, Italy, the United Kingdon and the Palestinian Authority.
Part of the agenda will cover the psychology of bombers and a demonstration by Israeli security experts of how to foil an airplane hijacking.