A blog by Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Brian Tannebaum. Commenting on criminal law issues of local and national interest.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Charlie Brown Terrorist Has Linus' Blanket Taken Away

On September 10, 2001 that some dude tried to light some liquid with a syringe and caused a small fire on board an airliner would have been an interesting story.

That it happened after September 11, 2001, makes it a 24 hour "developing" "unfolding" story affecting everyone traveling throughout the world, or thinking of traveling throughout the world.

Terrorists have one goal - fear. After September 11, 2001, that goal was met. We are in fear, permanently. As evidence, we spent the last 8 years hearing people support an American President for one main reason, the perception that he "kept us safe." As another example, there is rarely a candidate for office these days that does not tout "public safety" as their number one goal.

We are unsafe. Believe it, join the chorus. It's generally all we care about, or so we are told.

So over the holiday weekend some 23 year-old Nigerian student and son of a banker allegedly tries to blow up a plane bound for Detroit during the last hour of the flight. He fails miserably. And here come the buzz words - "Yemen," "Al-Qaida," "Terrorist."

He'll be tried, convicted and sentenced to life. That's the beginning and end of the discussion of the criminal defense angle of this story.

As more information was learned this weekend, more buzz words - "blankets," "pillows," "no taking a leak within one hour of landing."

Now I'm going to assume that this Charlie Brown terrorist went to the airport, had his one carry on and one personal item, took his shoes off, took his jacket off, had his boarding pass in his hand, showed his ID 4 times in 5 minutes, had his 3 ounces of liquid in a clear plastic bag, took his laptop out, and had his seat back and tray table locked and in their upright position upon take off.

But he caught on to a major security flaw - the ability to go to the bathroom within the last hour of flight, had have a blanket and pillow on his lap.

What were we thinking?

Now that's all gone.

Last hour of flight - no blanket, no pillow, and hold the bladder.

After spending the weekend hearing about this new "safety" policy, I finally heard someone say it - FOX's Greta Van Susteren said the policy was "almost insane." Fascinating to hear that on a network that spends most of it's time accusing the new administration of coddling terrorists and rolling back the War on Terrorism. The response to her comment was that a pilot thought it was done for the sole purpose of:

"Doing something."

And there we have it.

After the failure of the "shoe bomber," we were handed the policy of taking off our shoes and carrying small amounts of liquids in a clear plastic bag.

At the time, Comedian Bill Maher said something to the effect that one day someone with a blue hat would attempt a terrorist act on a plane, and the result would be a prohibition of blue hats on airplanes.

Our new policy of no blankets, pillows, or pissing in the last hour of flight, is that ridiculous. Why not include that Nigerian students that have bankers as parents are prohibited from flying?

On a holiday weekend where we were led to believe we were again "unsafe," our leaders had to "do something." And they did.

Just one question.

What if he tried to blow up the plane at the beginning of the flight.


Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense lawyer in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court. Read his free ebook The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer. To learn more about Brian and his firm, Tannebaum Weiss, please visit www.tannebaumweiss.com


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  1. Anonymous9:26 AM

    Some people will do anything to get upgraded to first class...

  2. You think security is tough today? I'm just thankful that none of these foiled terrorists hid the device up their ass.

  3. nde786:40 AM

    I find these rules utterly ridiculous. As someone who works in criminal justice, I will never understand why rule or law changes only provide a false sense of security and are reactive instead of proactive. It's laughable to think that holding your piss for an hour will prevent someone from blowing up a plane. The real story is how, once again, the intelligence community took no action on credible information. I mean, the guy's father went to authorities. That alone speaks volumes. I sincerely hope that everyone who was aware of that threat is fired.