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By Geoff Metcalf

July 8, 2002

Ever since 9/11 we have heard a constant refrain about terrorism in the continental United States which contains mutually exclusive elements:

  • Warnings of imminent non specific terrorist attacks…coupled with

  • The inevitable “everything is secure just go about your lives.”  

Which is it?

Virtually everyone from the President on down has told us repeatedly that eventually, inevitably, somewhere, somehow, some terrorist ‘something’ (chemical, biological, nuclear, or conventional bombs) of potential epic proportions will occur with the axiomatic certainty of an unlocked Corvette being stolen in L.A. or Boston. However, the ubiquitous caveat tells us to go on going on….otherwise we allow the bad guys to win. 

Most observers were anticipating ‘something’ over the Fourth of July holiday.

A gunman killed two people, wounded three others and terrified thousands of holiday travelers this morning when he began shooting inside a terminal at Los Angeles International Airport’s El Al Israel airlines. 

Several elements of the brazen attack spark the informed observer to go “Hmmmmm…”

The most obvious absurdity was the attempt by officials to try to say the attack did not appear to be an act of terrorism.  Huh?  It walks like a duck, looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and defecates like a duck….but it is something else?

An Egyptian with alleged terrorist links opens fire at an Israel airlines in the United States and the same officialdom that has been warning us ad nauseum now wants to claim it is not a terrorist act?  Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!

Law enforcement officials tried to say that there was "no indication" the shooting was a terrorist strike, adding that neither the airport nor the city faced any related threats.  Hey, THAT’S their story and they are sticking to it……

The “official story” is the attack was the work of a “lone gunman” (isn’t it always?).

"We're not looking for any other suspects," said Richard Garcia, the FBI official who is leading the investigation.  Well maybe they SHOULD be.  Probably they ARE but don’t want to make the natives any more restless.

The shooting raised new questions about airport security.

*        It took place in an area where ticketed passengers and others    are not subject to a weapons search. 

*        Everyone knows that at LAX and elsewhere, airport security has been greatly increased since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

*    Only ticketed passangers are allowed to proceed to terminal gates

*    They must first pass through metal detectors.

*    But passengers can still go to some ticket counters near airport terminal entrances without passing through the metal detectors or being questioned by airport or airline officials. 

Authorities have anticipated that LAX could be a target for terrorists for a variety of reasons.  In December 1999, federal officials arrested a man in Washington State who had crossed the Canadian border with 100 pounds of bomb-making material in his car. The man told investigators that he had been planning to blow up LAX.

More recently security at LAX again came into question. An investigation conducted by the federal Transportation Security Administration concluded that security screeners at the airport routinely failed to detect weapons.  Undercover officers last month tried to get fake weapons past security checkpoints at airports around the country.  They succeeded about 40 percent of the time at LAX-- one of the worst rates in the country.

However, the mainstream media seems to be scrupulously avoiding questions that experts in the intelligence and security arena are asking.  Informed Source Newsletter, The International Association of Professional Protection Specialists (IAPPS), Profiles Threat Countermeasures Group,, and Tactical Access International sent out a bulletin I need to share.

"Can anyone explain why and how EL AL security personnel are allowed to be armed in this country and domestic airline personnel are not given the privilege? It is a given that the Intelligence Agency has free run of the country, but now their airline security?  If I recall, in California even Federal Agencies must get certification from the state in order to carry firearms. It will also be interesting to see if the alleged gunman is responsible for the deaths of the other two victims or if the security folks just opened up? Hopefully the investigation will be open and provide more definitive answers later."

They go on to note, "Federal agents in California are not considered police or peace officers under 832 P.C. ( peace officer status ). There is an "Arrangement" between the State AG and the US AG's office giving the federal agents the authority to act as law enforcement officers.” Just because they are Federal Law Enforcement isn’t enough. California is still autonomous and they require permission, to operate.

“El Al personnel could be and may be here as diplomatic personnel assigned to certain consulates, LA has one, which arrangements may have been considered giving them authority to carry."

Then comes the kicker:  "So the question now is are all EL AL sites considered and blessed with diplomatic status as sub-consulates? Interesting given we are not allowed to carry there."  Then again, last time I checked United, American, Continental or ANY domestic commercial airline don’t arm their staff.

One hyper cynical professional even went so far as to suggest, "What the LAX incident was obviously all about, was the work of legitimate operatives who "used" a radical to test the effectiveness of airport security."   I’m not prepared to buy that yet.

What was it Thomas Jefferson said?  "The beauty of the second amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it."

© Geoff Metcalf - All Rights Reserved

Geoff is a veteran media performer. He has had an eclectic professional background covering a wide spectrum of radio, television, magazine, and newspapers.  A former Green Beret and retired Army officer he is in great demand as a speaker. Metcalf has hosted his radio talk show on the ABC/Disney owned and operated KSFO and in worldwide syndication.