RCMP un­der­scores threat from ‘ex­trem­ist in­sid­ers’

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

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.

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