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Low cost, high chaos terrorism: al Qaeda’s “how to” guide makes for uneasy traveling this holiday season




An airport worker helps unload a United Parcel Service (UPS) cargo plane at the company's air hub for Latin America in Miami, Florida.
An airport worker helps unload a United Parcel Service (UPS) cargo plane at the company's air hub for Latin America in Miami, Florida.
Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images

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The idea of an al Qaeda magazine is bizarre enough, but when the publication ran an analysis piece on the recently foiled package bomb plot, which came within minutes of blowing up a cargo plane in the air over the U.S., it was sobering. “Inspire,” the English-language al Qaeda magazine, revealed that the package plot cost just $4,200 and that the aim was not killing Westerners but rather cripple the air travel and transport industry. "We will continue with similar operations and we do not mind at all in this stage if they are intercepted," one article said. "It is such a good bargain for us to spread fear amongst the enemy... in exchange for a few months of work and a few thousand bucks." In light of the outrage expressed over enhanced security measures at the airport and the beginning of the holiday travel season, it’s beyond troubling how little it takes for a terrorist group to sow fear and chaos among millions. Can high tech security measures thwart such simple, low-tech terror plots?

Guest:

Colonel Randall Larsen, US Air Force, Director of The Institute for Homeland Security and the National Security Advisor to the Center for Biosecurity, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center; author of Our Own Worst Enemy: Asking the Right Questions About Security to Protect You, Your Family and America