Tim Osborne didn’t feel any safer. And he knew others felt the same way.
Since the attack, the destruction of the two tall office buildings – once the tallest in the world – signs of increased security were everywhere.
Soldiers patrolled airport corridors and guarded bridges and tunnels armed with their standard assault rifles and sidearms, dressed in their jungle fatigues. Everyone who worked at an office had to wear their photo identification cards in plain sight – usually from a chain or ribbon draped around their necks. The chain or cloth lanyard had become a fashion accessory almost overnight.
Pilots were suddenly allowed to wear sidearms. No one knew what would happen if a soldier or squad opened fire in the airport or if a pilot opened up in a pressurized airplane cabin above the jet fuel storage tanks, but air passengers were supposed to feel safer.
In the offices, security guards stood looking to make sure the photo on the identification or access cards was visible, without ever checking to see if the photo matched the wearer. Old cards were as accepted as new cards to gain access at least to Tim’s office floor, and to the main lobby. And no one checked the bags of people entering or leaving before 7 p.m. After 7 p.m., visitors had to sign in if they were entering the building. If you were leaving, you had to sign out. But no record was kept of who entered or left the building before 7 p.m.
On the train, Tim always got a cup of hazelnut coffee before boarding. At Hoboken, he always tossed his empty cup into the trash.
But Tim already saw the weaknesses. What if what he tossed so casually in the trash next to all those detraining passengers wasn’t a coffee cup? What if he entered his office with an old or fake photo I.D., or better, a real one, intending to not come out alive? What if he waited until he could get close to a pilot, preferably one strapped in his cockpit seat, facing forward, with the sidearm accessible from behind? Hijackers no longer needed to carry or smuggle weapons on board aircraft – now the pilots provided them.
In India they have a Hindi word for it – Tamasha, a “Big Show.”
It reminded him of when he was in Spain, and a pair of environmental activists climbed scaffolding and dropped pretend dollar bills over King Juan Carlos as the King made a speech. All the jump-suited and jack-booted special police hadn’t noticed or been concerned as the pair got in position directly above where the King was speaking.
At the time, Tim had suggested in the U.S., the Secret Service would have shot the pair before they got in position above the head of state. He was not so sure, now.
The police spent their time afterward trying to confiscate the fake money and holding in suspicion anyone found in possession of it – including especially the foreign press.
Causes Terin Miller Supports
Civil and Human Rights.
Amnesty International; March of Dimes; Operation Smile; Medicines Sin Fronteras; UNICEF