The Next 9/11 – The Private Jet Attack

They are preparing the attack now. The target is New York City. We are not ready for it.

People don’t like to hear that. People see the masses of police and soldiers around the site where the World Trade Center used to be and feel safe. People see the police searching trucks entering the Lincoln Tunnel and feel safe.  People wait in long lines at airports and allow minimum wage security people to manhandle their children and feel safe. You are not safe.

The terrorists are not stupid. They are well trained, well financed and patient. From the day they failed at the first World Trade Center bombing on February 6, 1993 they began planning the next attack. “Failed”, of course is a relative term. The 1993 attack killed six people and injured almost one thousand others.

Before the successful  9/11 attack the terrorists recruited their team, began their training and most importantly, looked for America’s weak spots.

They are doing the same now.

The weak spot in the whole American system is money. More specifically, the fact that in the U.S. if you have enough money you can buy anything. To launch the next attack the terrorists are not going to force their way in. They are going to buy their way in.

F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said, “Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different than you and me.”

Most people think they have seen the very rich. You have not. The people in First Class who pull up to Newark or LGA or Kennedy in limos have a lot of money but they are not the super rich.

The super rich are hidden from site. They fly into an out of New York from Teterboro Airport, just 12 miles from the Empire State Building. They have private jets. A little one costs $10 million. A full size one goes for $50 million.

Of course, you don’t have to buy. You can charter, or even lease on a “fractional basis” . That is sort of a time share for jets.

All very interesting, but what does this possibly have to do with terrorists?

It has to do with terrorists because of what you get with a private jet. You get a personal pilot and co-pilot. You get a beautiful and charming flight attendant. You get a luxury interior with all the legroom you could ever want. And you get a complete avoidance of any security screening whatsoever.  No metal detectors. No baggage X-ray. No bomb sniffing dogs. No pat downs. No one dares to intrude on the lives of these sorts of people.

Oh, there is security at Teterboro Airport. It is all designed to keep the undesirables out. The Port Authority Police patrol the grounds in bullet-proof vests carrying M-16s. There are guards at each gate. If you tried to force our way through you would not make it. But if it is your jet, the guard smiles and waves you through. If you have a bomb in your luggage, or a gun under your coat, you will get the same smile. There are even well dressed smiling young men who will load those bags onto the jet for you, without any of the bother of a random search.

The very rich are different from you and me. They are part of an invisible class which is above suspicion. The next time you are being groped by security at Kennedy, remember that at that exact same moment a member of the very rich is also getting onto a jet with no security check at all.

The assumption must be that the terrorists could never afford a private jet, even a leased one. Or else they naively feel that no terrorist could pass himself or herself off as a member of their class. The super rich must feel that no terrorist could possibly be “one of us”.  Otherwise the super rich would be demanding the same kind of security checks that we lower classes have been subjected to for years.

Their assumptions are not valid. The people planning the next attack do have money, and will be able to train themselves to fit right in among the private jet crowd.

Maybe the security set up will change at Teterboro and other private airports. However, there is nothing currently in the works for any changes.

Whenever there is a news special about the 9/11 attacks the reporters always mention how obvious the flaws in the system should have been to the people charged with our security.

The reason for this blog is to point out a gaping hole in our security system before it is too late. I don’t want to see a private jet filled with explosives crashing into mid-town Manhattan years from now and tell the World, “I told you so”.

Talk to your Congresspeople. Call your Senator. Let’s get this fixed. Now. Not afterwords.

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