Monday, November 07, 2005

New Steps To Be Taken To Protect LAX Are Timely

Word this morning, Nov. 7, in the L.A. Times that the Los Angeles Airport Commission is about to enter into a $900,000 contract with the RAND Corp., to take steps to reduce concentrations of people waiting to clear security and thus reduce casualties in a possible terrorist attack at LAX is certainly welcome news.

The fact is that the rioting now sweeping France represents an intensification of the terrorist threat throughout the West. By no means can we afford to be sanguine about the threat to Los Angeles and other American cities.

At a time when Democrats nationally and the U.S. press in many places are assailing the Administration's conduct of the War On Terror on a daily basis, we cannot forget we are indeed in a world war against terrorism by Muslim fundamentalists, and the danger here is only growing.

LAX was a terrorist target a few years ago, but this was averted when an alert U.S. immigration agent in Port Aneeles, Wash., was able to stop and apprehend a terrorist carrying explosive materials across the border. Later, it was discovered these were bound for LAX.

This past summer the attacks in London led to intensified security in Los Angeles and other American cities. Now, the events in France are another warning.

The new mayor in Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, was a critic of the former mayor James Hahn's plan to modernize LAX, in part because he felt it would concentrate crowds that could be a terrorist target.

RAND has been studying this question, and it agreed. Furthermore, the long lines outside certain terminals are an inviting target. Now, RAND has a plan to move things inside, hire more ticket agents, etc., as an article by Jennifer Oldham describes.

The situation is different than the L.A. Times editorial writers and some of its columnists would have you believe. The issue of immediate importance is not CIA interrogation techniques of al Queda suspects, but it is precautions that are necessary to prevent a spread of Muslim terrorism in Europe to the U.S.

If terrorists do strike here, I have no doubt there will be a rallying behind the Administration, especially if it shows efficiency in the response.

With the Iraqi elections scheduled for next month, this is not only a time of increased violence in Iraq, but now, suddenly, also in Europe. I for one do not believe this is a coincidence, and here and now in the U.S. is a time for everyone to be alert to the danger here.

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