Terrorism protection plans from the 70s

According to a report released by the AP, a panel from the 1970s foresaw the terror threat that the US faced in 2001. The panel even proposed some changes to help protect from these kinds of threats, made predictions on reactions, and theorized on further problems.

WASHINGTON — Nearly three decades before the Sept. 11 attacks, a high-level government panel developed plans to protect the nation against terrorist acts ranging from radiological “dirty bombs” to airline missile attacks, according to declassified documents obtained by The Associated Press.

“Unless governments take basic precautions, we will continue to stand at the edge of an awful abyss,” Robert Kupperman, chief scientist for the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, wrote in a 1977 report that summarized nearly five years of work by the Cabinet Committee to Combat Terrorism.

The committee included people such as Rudolph Giuliani (yes, that Rudy Giuliani), William Rogers, Henry Kissinger, and Richard T. Kennedy. They reported findings to Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford. President Nixon formed the group after Palestinian commandos slaughtered 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympic Games.

The statements made in reports are some of the exact things said after 9/11.

“It is equally important that we be prepared to act quickly and effectively in the event that, despite all efforts at prevention, an act of terrorism occurs involving the United States, either at home or abroad,” the president [Nixon] said.

“This is a real threat, not science fiction,” National Security Council staffer Richard T. Kennedy wrote…

Remember hearing that?

This should really be of no surprise.

“The trouble with the plans is that airlines and airports will have to absorb the costs and so they will scream bloody murder should this be required of them,” according to a White House memo from 1972. “Otherwise, it is a sound plan which will curtail the risk of hijacking substantially.”

It looks like the IATA won this battle when new airport security measures went into place.

The International Air Transport Association said “airport security is the responsibility of the host government. The airline industry did not consider the terrorist threat its most significant problem; it had to measure it against other priorities. If individual companies were forced to provide their own security, they would go broke,” according to minutes from one meeting.

What else did the panel do?

Thousands of pages of heavily blacked out records and memos obtained by the AP from government archives and under the Freedom of Information Act show the task force:

discussed defending commercial aircraft against being shot down by portable missile systems;

recommended improved vigilance at potential “soft” targets, such as major holiday events, municipal water supplies, nuclear power plants and electric power facilities;

supported cracking down on foreigners living in and traveling through the United States, with particular attention to Middle Easterners and Arab-Americans;

developed plans to protect U.S. diplomats and businessmen working abroad against kidnapping and attack.

Though the CIA routinely updated the committee on potential terrorist threats and plots, task force members learned quickly that intelligence gathering and coordination was a weak spot, just as Bush would discover three decades later.

All of this sounds very familiar, doesn’t it? In sounds a little too familiar for Chris Short who believes this could all be false.

Here’s an example of a reporter about to loss his job. There’s also a possibility this story is 100% fabricated. Either that or our government has a crystal ball some where.

I don’t share that view right now but it doesn’t seem that too far fetched. If the panel had discussed all these things in the 70s, then why weren’t they implemented? Better question should be why were they classified.

Chris also has a decent idea why this story was written if it was indeed false.

A democrat is a mere footnote (although a damning one) but all through this it’s nothing but Republicans. I honestly think this is an attempt at a smear campaign that might have been stopped by a semi-smart editor. Nevertheless, if the AP is telling the whole truth about this (which they’re not because they never do) then it’s a fairly interesting read.

Other coverage:

If you have posted about this, traceback and I will add you to the list of coverage. If you don’t blog and have seen another post that hasn’t put placed in other coverage, comment with the link and it will get added.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.