RCMP underscores threat from ‘extremist insiders’
The sensational case of a Kansas airport worker who planned to blow up a plane could hold important lessons for Canadian security personnel trying to detect a brewing terrorist plot, an RCMP intelligence report warns.
Over last few years, al-Qaida terrorists and their affiliates have unsuccessfully plotted to smuggle homemade explosives into an aircraft’s cabin or cargo hold.
Terry Loewen’s failed plan to detonate a bomb-laden vehicle on the tarmac of a Wichita airport near a parked plane — potentially killing scores of passengers — “may be seen as a viable alternative to in-flight attacks,” the declassified report says.
Loewen, an avionics technician who was inspired by Islamic extremists, pleaded guilty last month and faces 20 years in prison.
RCMP analysts see Loewen as a classic case of the threat from “extremist insiders” — known cases of employees at key public installations, such as airports, who use their position and knowledge to advance or carry out a terrorist attack.
The report, marked Canadian Eyes Only, was prepared in January of last year by the RCMP’s critical infrastructure intelligence team.
A heavily censored version was released under the Access to Information Act.
Loewen told an undercover agent with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation that he was “the access guy” who could escort co-conspirators onto the tarmac, the report notes.
He provided the agent with photos of his airport access badge and runway entrance gates.