U.S. Says Terrorists Could Use Lasers
Federal officials are concerned that terrorists could try to down aircraft by blinding pilots with laser beams during landing approaches. A memo sent to law enforcement agencies recently by the FBI and the Homeland Security Department says there is evidence that terrorists have explored using lasers as weapons. “Although lasers are not proven methods of attack like improvised explosive devices and hijackings, terrorist groups overseas have expressed interest in using these devices against human sight,” the memo said. “In certain circumstances, if laser weapons adversely affect the eyesight of both pilot and co-pilot during a non-instrument approach, there is a risk of airliner crash,” the agencies said.
The federal authorities said there is no specific intelligence indicating al-Qaida or other groups might use lasers in the United States.
In September a pilot for Delta Air Lines reported an eye injury from a laser beam shone into the cockpit during a landing approach in Salt Lake City. The incident occurred about 5 miles from the airport. The plane landed safely. FBI and other federal officials are investigating. It is not clear if a crime was committed or if the laser was directed into the cockpit by accident.
Apparently, the terrorists and/or our intelligence analysts are reading Tom Clancy novels. First, they crash planes into buildings as happened in 1994’s Debt of Honor. Now, they’re talking about using lasers to blind pilots, as he depicted our guys doing in one of his books. I thought it was 1998’s Rainbow Six but Google tells me it may actually have been in Debt of Honor, too. The book is turning into a terrorist training manual, apparently.