18 Feb 2010

What the Dubai murder says about airport security

The ‘Dubai 11’ did not just throttle a senior Palestinian official behind his hotel room door, they also blew a hole in European and Arab Emirate airport security.

Dubai airport is not just a two bit arrival and departure lounge for a small Arab country. It is a veritable cross roads for global airline traffic – one of the 10 most important international hubs in the world.

Yet its passport scanning machines failed to recognise that all 11 passports were not just fakes but quite awful fakes.

The Irish passports, according to the government in Dublin, for example had numbers that were too short and failed to include any of that country’s standard use of letters in amongst the numbers.

Israeli passport holders cannot enter Dubai using such documents, nor may they have any other passport that sports an Israeli stamp.

So for any of these 11, who each left airports in Germany, France, Austria and elsewhere, if they were Israelis (and many Mossad experts and former agents think they were), they will have had to deploy the fake passports at major European airports.

I have already described the farce of the liquids ban in earlier Snowblogs, I have also drawn attention to other security inconsistencies.

But the Dubai incident now describes a complete consistency – that all of these major airports – from Munich and Vienna to Dubai operated systems that failed to spot completely fake passports.

If it takes one man, setting his underpants on fire, to change the whole world’s air travel baggage rules, what on earth is the effect of 11 men carrying fake passports going to do?

Call in the body scanners? Perhaps not, this time around.


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