Terrorism Without Action

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Al Qaeda has apparently discovered a new instrument of terror. It's called the threat and it was used to ground at least six return flights headed to the U.S. Sunday and today. Based on intelligence reports issued by the Department of Homeland Security, the travel plans of hundreds of people were upended when British Airways, Air France and Continental cancelled flights to and from Washington and Miami. The Department of Homeland Security said they had word al Qaeda was planning to release biological agents or a radiological device aboard an aircraft. Of course, the airlines could only suck up the financial loss and the likely loss of customers with stoic rejoinders on security that have taken on a mantra-like quality. "The safety and security of our operations is our absolute priority and will not be compromised," British Airways said in a statement. But British pilots have asked their government to examine the U.S. intelligence reports with a critical eye to see how credible they are. Over the Christmas holidays, at least two British Airways flights to Washington and six Air France flights to Los Angeles were cancelled under similar circumstances. The U.S. was on heightened terrorism alert at the time but there are no plans to raise the alert status because of the latest threats.