Thursday, December 30, 2004

Weird, Wild Stuff

I couldn't really take this seriously when I first read it; but then I reflected for a moment: This is some serious stuff if the people perpetrating the act are doing so for nefarious reasons.

Authorities are investigating a mysterious laser beam that was directed into the cockpit of a commercial jet traveling at more than 8,500 feet.

The beam appeared Monday when the plane was about 15 miles from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, the FBI (news - web sites) said.

"It was in there for several seconds like (the plane) was being tracked," FBI agent Robert Hawk said.

The pilot was able to land the plane, and air traffic controllers used radar to determine the laser came from a residential area in suburban Warrensville Heights.

Hawk said the laser had to have been fairly sophisticated to track a plane traveling at that altitude. Authorities had no other leads, and are investigating whether the incident was a prank or if there was a more sinister motive.

Even more, that law enforcement has been unable, thus far, to locate the origins of these lasers and the whereabouts of these perpetrators isn't anything to look at ironically. If the conspiratorial gears are grinding and the seditious chatter falling into abeyance, then these lasers—if they are not puerile gags by puerile minds—portend something much worse.

A memo sent to law enforcement agencies recently by the FBI and the Homeland Security Department says there is evidence that terrorists have explored using lasers as weapons. Authorities said there is no specific intelligence indicating al-Qaida or other groups might use lasers in the United States.

In September a pilot for Delta Air Lines reported an eye injury from a laser beam shone into the cockpit during a landing approach in Salt Lake City. The incident occurred about 5 miles from the airport. The plane landed safely.

I find it disheartening that very little reportage has been dedicated to this possible terror tactic; although, at the same time, I appreciate the need not to whip up irrational fears in the public writ large.

No comments: