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Bush Says Cooperation Thwarted 2002 Attack
President Bush said the U.S.-led global war on terror has "weakened and fractured" al-Qaida and allied groups, outlining as proof new details about the multinational cooperation that foiled purported terrorist plans to fly a commercial airplane into the tallest skyscraper on the West Coast.
Bush has referred to the 2002 plot before....
The president filled in details on Thursday.
...Under the plot, the hijackers were to use shoe bombs to blow open the cockpit door of a commercial jetliner, take control of the plane and crash it into the Library Tower in Los Angeles, since renamed the US Bank Tower, Bush said....
Here's what's wrong: Richard Reid's shoe bombing was thwarted on Saturday, December 22, 2001 -- and shoe inspections at airports began within days.
The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, December 24, 2001:
GWEN IFILL: We saw in Betty Ann Bowser's piece that in airports all across the United States today, people who were taking off their shoes and putting them through the magnetometers....
As I recall, the procedure wasn't implemented at every airport at first. But why on earth would terrorists attempt something like this in 2002 when they knew we'd been screening for it for months?
(I won't even get into the question of whether you could use one or more shoe bombs as a precision weapon -- one that would blow open a cockpit door but not damage any of the equipment in the cockpit needed to guide the plane into a building. Richard Reid's shoe bomb was reportedly meant to blow a hole in the fuselage and take the plane down.)