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Schneier on Security by Bruce Schneier

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Chapter 1. Terrorism and Security

What the Terrorists Want

Originally published in Wired, 24 August 2006

On August 16, two men were escorted off a plane headed for Man-Ochester, England, because some passengers thought they looked either Asian or Middle Eastern, might have been talking Arabic, wore leather jackets, and looked at their watches—and the passengers refused to fly with them on board. The men were questioned for several hours and then released.

On August 15, an entire airport terminal was evacuated because someone's cosmetics triggered a false positive for explosives. The same day, a Muslim man was removed from an airplane in Denver for reciting prayers. The Transportation Security Administration decided that the flight crew overreacted, but he still had to spend the night in Denver before flying home the next day. The next day, a Port of Seattle terminal was evacuated because a couple of dogs gave a false alarm for explosives.

On August 19, a plane made an emergency landing in Tampa, Florida, after the crew became suspicious because two of the lavatory doors were locked. The plane was searched, but nothing was found. Meanwhile, a man who tampered with a bathroom smoke detector on a flight to San Antonio was cleared of terrorism, but only after having his house searched.

On August 16, a woman suffered a panic attack and became violent on a flight from London to Washington, so the plane was escorted to Boston's Logan Airport by fighter jets. "The woman was carrying hand cream ...

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