Sorry. I have been indisposed for the last three days and unable to post. Glad I missed the initial hysteria over the Egypt Air disaster. Still not enough evidence in to determine whether this catastrophic decompression was caused by a deliberate act of violence or was some sort of bizarre accident. My money is on the bizarre accident theory.

I do not think this is an ISIS attack. Here’s my thinking. I think ISIS is beginning to understand that if it starts taking its attacks on the unbelievers to other countries they are likely to arouse, as they have already, the sleeping beast of the west. A concerted attack on civilian aviation is certainly feasible but, if done effectively (e.g., hitting three or more aircraft in a short period of time) would enrage the west and bring down genuine hell on ISIS.

It is possible that this Egypt Air disaster was actually an attack carried out by Egyptian Islamists. They have a fairly clear motivation–Egypt is dependent on tourism to keep its economy afloat. An attack on Egyptian commercial air certainly is one way to scare away tourists. Economic troubles mean trouble for the military government of President Abdul Fateh el Sisi.

It also is a strong possibility that the Egyptians are guilty of shoddy, inferior maintenance and that a critical mechanical system failed and caused the plane to disintegrate. The Egyptians are not renowned for their modern engineering and technical prowess. They did well with the pyramids but that seems to have been the high-water mark for their culture.

All of this is just a reminder for me of how many holes remain in our so-called aviation security system. It is still very easy to take the components for an improvised explosive on board an aircraft, construct the device during the flight, and deplane before the bomb explodes on the ensuing leg. That was the Ramsi Yousef/Khalid Sheik Mohammed plot (i.e., Bojinka) and is still a viable option.

There is a new threat that has not been given much serious attention–at least not yet. Drones. I am not talking about the big ones capable of carrying a large munition. I am talking about the smaller ones. How long before someone deploys six or more of these at the same time near an airport to go after the engines of jets landing or taking off. Such drones can carry small payloads of materials that could foul a jet engine. Imagine you are a pilot on final approach to Miami International Airport and your landing pattern is suddenly filled with a half-dozen drones heading at you. Do you understand the potential danger?

I still recall the panicked reaction of lawmakers, especially Nancy Pelosi, from 14 years ago when radical Islamists in Kenya fired two surface-to-air missiles at an Israeli charter plane outside of Mombasa. That event prompted Pelosi and others to insist that all planes had to be equipped with systems designed to “defeat” a shoulder fired missile. That campaign to “do something” lasted about three months then disappeared from the radar.

Let’s face it. Our aviation system is based on waiting for the horse to flee the burning stable before we decide that maybe we ought to put a fire suppression system in the stable.

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Larry C. Johnson is a former analyst at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, who moved subsequently in 1989 to the U.S. Department of State, where he served four years as the deputy director for transportation security, antiterrorism assistance training, and special operations in the State Department's Office of Counterterrorism. He left government service in October 1993 and set up a consulting business. He currently is the co-owner and CEO of BERG Associates, LLC (Business Exposure Reduction Group) and is an expert in the fields of terrorism, aviation security, and crisis and risk management, and money laundering investigations. Johnson is the founder and main author of No Quarter, a weblog that addresses issues of terrorism and intelligence and politics. NoQuarterUSA was nominated as Best Political Blog of 2008.