Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Today's Pravda-on-the Hudson has a story about some airline pilots, notably from the EU being unhappy about an Israeli air security program that requires the pilots to carry an Israeli-supplied card with a personal PIN code that must be submitted electronically before entering Israeli airspace.
According to the story, there have been two incidents since the program was instituted last year (the most recent involving an Ethiopian airliner and the other involving a Delta Airlines jet back in April 2009) where pilots failed to correctly input the code, IAF jets were scrambled and the planes kept from landing until it was determined that they were not a security risk.
The director general for the European Commission’s Air Transport Directorate, Daniel Calleja, complained that the program creates logistical problems for the airlines by dividing pilots into those with the Israeli-issued PINs who can fly into Israel and those without them who can't. Calleja told the Israelis this could restrict “the ability of airlines to efficiently allocate their personnel.” Calleja actually made a veiled threat in a letter sent earlier this month that this could “have immediate implications on the current air services agreement between the EU and Israel.”
For balance, the NYT gives a little space in the back part of the story and quotes Ziad Haddad, an international airline compliance specialist and Richard Bloom, a professor and airline security expert at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott,Arizona as saying that the risk of the Israelis shooting down an airliner was negligible and that it was possible that the Israelis had a damned good reason for implementing the policy.
To me, the reason is immediately obvious.
You think Israel might just be trying to prevent what happened to us on 9/11 from happening to them?
We had information via Iraqi agent and al-Qaeda member Ramzi Youseff, who planned the first World Trade Center bombings that domestic airliners were being considered for use in terrorism. If we had taken that seriously and implemented a policy like the Israelis have now, 9/11 would never have happened and 3,000 Americans would be alive today.
Needless to say, the New York Times didn't see fit to mention that. And the airlines and EU bureaucrats who are complaining obviously never thought about it from that standpoint either.