Friday, November 16, 2007

Of shoe bombs and such

Instapundit today provided a link to a report that trumpeted the following news:

"U.S. Thwarts 19 Terrorist Attacks Against America Since 9/11"

The piece went on to list the 19, most of which weren't anything on par with 9/11, but the first stands out:
A British citizen and self-professed follower of Osama bin Laden, Reid allegedly hid explosives inside his shoes aboard a flight from Paris to Miami and attempted to use a match to light the fuse in his shoe. The explosives were strong enough to cause damage to the plane if detonated. Caught in the act, Reid was apprehended on board the plane by the flight attendants with the assistance of passengers. FBI officials then took Reid into custody after the plane made an emergency landing at Boston's Logan Airport.[2]
No quibbles with this account, just an observation about how the alleged plotter of that attack, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, described it during his admission of guilt statement earlier this year:
4. I was responsible for the Shoe Bomber Operation to down two American airplanes.
Emphasis added to point out that only one shoe bomb attack has been reported so far. He said two. Was it a mistake? Was it thwarted?

The only thing that comes to mind is the crash of AA 587 in November 2001, which many initially thought was terrorism. Subsequent investigation seemed to point towards the pilot simply overflying the airplane due to what was deemed an encounter with "wake turbulence", which ultimately caused the tail to fall off.

Perhaps KSM made a mistake or simply exaggerated his prowess. Whatever, it's unlikely we'll get an explanation anytime soon.

No comments: