The term “hijacking” goes back to prohibition days, when gangsters would rob moonshine trucks saying, “Hold your hands high, Jack!” However, in the early days of commercial air travel, the idea that someone would hijack a plane was scarcely even … Continue reading →
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This is ninety nine percent, invisible I'm roman Mars, the term. Hijacking goes back to prohibition days when gangsters would stop trucks carrying moonshine, and they come up to the guy in the cab, with their pistol and point in their fate since sake hold your hand, hi Jack, and I take a look. Burn and drive off with a truck But in the early days of commercial air travel, the thought that someone would hijack of plane was scarcely even considered when they created An oversight of aviation in eighteen, fifty eight, the congressional law that did that did not make hijacking your crime, because no one had foreseen that anyone in a country like America, where, theoretically, if you wanted to go somewhere, he could is buy a ticket to go there, no one soon that any Merrick. Whenever do this,
and Brendan I corner author of the skies belong to us. Love in terror in the golden age of hijacking, says the design of airport terminals, reflected that it's hard to fathom now, but you could look, Really you get out of a taxi at the curb and walk through the terminal, walk onto the tarmac to the top of the boarding stairs into sometimes under the plan itself without a ticket without showing any one you're identification. So they were there. He went searching your personal or your luggage in any way shape or form. So it was a. Very much similar to getting on a train, and that was by design by the airlines. Then starting in nineteen sixty one an epidemic of hijackings began. It really was an epidemic and I mean that in saying that did the virus, the behavioral virus mutated over time weakened. The basic features of these hijackings changed the first two phases:
I joggers all wanted passage to Cuba. May first, nineteen sixty one was the first american Hide packing perpetrated by Antonio Ramirez Ortiz. He was kind of a somewhat, mentally disturb electrician in Miami who got on a key westbound flight and announced with a holding a knave to the pilots throat that he had been hired to assassinate Castro, Fidel Castro and wanted to go there to warn Castro about this in Miami, in the second phase. The sky checkers broaden their horizons to more distant lands. My favorite exe, It was a man in Raphia, Munich, Yellow who is an attack american Marine. Who actually went. From LOS Angeles Jerome. Our he was here was a hero landing and action and avoid doing eighteen months. In prison, because a tiny refusal to extradite him when she charged with hijacking
and he actually ended up after that signing a contract, a spaghetti western film, very good, looking guy this guy Jockers morphed in the classic kidnappers demanding ransom, manage sorted. This was a man named Arthur Gates, Barkley, unemployed truck driver had dispute with the IRS and he actually hijacked plane from Phoenix to Washington DC where he demanded, one hundred million dollars in cash to be given to him by the Supreme Court because he was an enrage. They had taken his tax is so that constitute the last phase of the epidemic where people started asking fur tons of money and gold bars and creates of liquor in cigarettes and and anything their heart desired hundred thousand in cash. Boy car, and I want the letter in stricken from the english language and all the while Jackie was never considered that serious threat by the airlines or the passengers. Really it was
form an inconvenience and anything else. The assumption on the part of passengers was that. Well, we know the airlines will fly us down a Havana. The hijack will be taken off. The plane will maybe to spend the night in Havana will be put at a hotel Maybe bison, cigars and rum from relatives and go see the issue with radio and we'll have a guest. To tell the next cocktail party back in the: U S, it was taken lightly, because the notion that this could really be something destructive and turn into mass murder was not sing on people's minds at that time, and because this, I Jackson's weren't, especially violent, and the passengers weren't yet demanding extra security, the airlines fought to keep things exact We as they were. The airlines were scared. They thought that if they treated all their customers kind of like criminal suspects, because they were merely flying that people wouldn't fly anymore, that people would drive to their destinations. Instead,
do the airlines put a lot of roadblocks. Whenever someone special in government mention the concept of having physical screening of all passengers, they would shoot that down. I'm use all their all their lobbyists muscle to shoot that down. They really force the F8 hand to come up with the most tepid security improvements, the F a the Federal Aviation Administration is the: U S, government body that is responsible for the safety and regulation of civil aviation, and this was all the name of well. We can put up with some hijackings and those cost us. However, twenty thirty grand per hijacking in terms of was convened, but not or they could pay millions and millions on X, Ray machines, screens and security personnel for the airlines. The smart, factual choice was clear: put up with periodic hijackings comply totally and keep the customer experience on the ground. The same
but clearly something had to be done. If the airlines were unwilling to consider mandatory screening and checkpoints inside the terminals, some less intrusive and somewhat Xenia. Solutions had he considered so Nineteen sixty eight, the F B, I created a special anti hijacking taskforce to come up with some solution that we palatable to the airlines and actually open it up for public comments, then I did the public to submit suggestions about how this can be done. Was calm and suggestion was complete. Capitulation quote, provide free transport; patient to Cuba. For those persons leave in the United States, end quote, but another tactic, that was seriously consider by the Federal Aviation Administration was to build phony, Havana, airport in South Florida. So the idea that this time, while the sky jockers want to go to Havana, and so you kind of just fly them out over the water and then turn back and and landed, this fig airport and arrest them when they got off the plane, was the big idea: turnout.
Too expensive cars prohibited. So they couldn't do that solution, but but also a lot of delightful technical solutions whose patents are so much fun to read. There is a high Jack rejection sought. There was also one patent for an injector see which would have a quote The dynamic injection apparatus arrange for driving the needle of a hypodermic syringe through this The cushion the passenger to instantly sedate or kill the passenger. Oh here, the more you I've like wily guy holding a moment there was a trap door that was passed, Did that will go right outside the cockpit and lock the hijacker any kind of a plexiglas chamber, thickly britain- they could be here brought to you, still when the plane landed. The public property was that pilots depressurize the aircraft or expel speaking gas throughout the cabmen, so that everyone sleep and the crew would go out with oxygen and disarm the hijacker wondering
actually was giving all the passengers boxing loves and making them where boxing left the duration of the flight and very being that you can't hold a gun. If you have boxing gloves on your hands of course, then there would be an epidemic of extremely ill advised boxing matches at thirty thousand feet, but the real the Athena going with. Was this behavioral profile now you're the one thing about the air? I'm terminals there was one place you had to halt generally. That was at the ticket agents to get a boarding pass or to purchase a ticket. There are many more tickets purchase on site at that time. To this is the one choke point terminal experience was the ticket counter. The FDA solution was to train the ticket agents in this twenty five behavioral accuse that might indicate some one is a potential schedule, These were things like not maintaining appropriate eye contact, not caring, your luggage wearing military surplus gear.
If you saw any of these traits, behavioral traits in a customer coming through to get a ticket or a boarding pass. You were very discreetly ass. If they go to a room on the side and be searched, this was not a good solution in the real problem. Is that get agents are not security personnel. There dealing with hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of often very harried customers per day, and so they are not the people to really identify. Even if you assume these Gabriel Q tip off work and it turned out to be a bad assumption because plenty of sky dockers pass through without notice. It was meant to be a very low impact solution at the one shop. That already existed in airports and it was really a failure, but this In that we all know they eventually came up with screen everybody and their luggage with x, Ray machines and requiring Idee all the things that make the airport the horrible place. It is wasn't seriously. Can
until one hijacking, changed everything this Is there a really forgotten, really pivotal moment in american security history? This is on November. One thousand nine hundred and seventy two kind of tail end of this year has been really crazy. Hijackings went after the next people asking for cutie the money. Then you have these three fugitives from the law, Jackie, Southern Airways, flight, forty nine- they actually ass, to be taken to Detroit. They had agreements with the Detroit Police and they wanted ten million dollars instead of they didn't get it. They were going to crash the plane into the oak Ridge, national laboratory in your Knoxville Tennessee, at the heart laboratory, is actually a uranium to thirty five reactor. All the sudden, everyone realise than an airplane could be a weapon of mass destruction in this case, threatening to turn Eastern Tennessee into a new fear, wasteland and it's really when the light goes on, for
the airlines and the government that the current situation is no longer tenable. Fortunately, they escaped cataclysm there. What happens is the there one does not ten million dollars. They have two million Deckers landed in Chattanooga Tennessee to pick up the money, handy hijackers, at that time, it actually drunk Otto. The liquor on the plains were completely bombed and they bring on her fifty pounds of cash. Lot of they think it's ten million dollars, and so they actually didn't bother to counted. It would take him for ever to count, much money anyway, whoever takes into consideration the high Jaeger eventually landed there plain in Havana or a cuban authorities capture them crisis over. But surely after that, you have the exam Youtube order, mandating universal physical screen to start on January. Fifth, one thousand nine hundred and seventy three in the airlines put up no fight that time. The airlines really wanted. The government to provide airport security, but the government refused and the airline
tired contractors to do airport screens and run the metal doctors, but the airlines desperately trying to avoid and they put them in Jericho. Seventy three- and there is literally not a single hijacking in America airspace that year, There were one hundred and fifty nine sky Jack in the: U S from nineteen sixty one to nineteen. Seventy two and they really changed nature of air travel. Even though most of this history is completely forgotten. Along with the image, the deranged desperate loan? actor in military surplus clothing, the public conception of the hijacker changed dramatically in the eighties areas. Bonds to specifically the tv railway hijacking in Lebanon, in eighteen,
five and other son you hijacking associated with islamic terrorism, a real kind of scary prospect, Tina, something that that people didn't understand and was a real buggy men for people at that time. So I think, once we kind of how that image, that famous image of the pilot of that playing on the tarmac in Beirut with his cap, with wasn't gun to his head, leading out o the cockpit. We completely forgot about these kind of more quaint hijackers who want to go to Havana, because I had a bad experience in Vietnam, so I think about more. This is really scarier crime and a crime of kind of an enemy we don't really understand or know very much about, and so that earlier air was forgotten paper it over. If you will, by the by this new image, through the hijacker was, and that image remains today, reinforced, of course, by the terror attacks on nine eleven, two thousand one, a date which was
seated by an entire decade, free of any commercial airlines. Guy jacking. In U S airspace after nine eleven, the airlines finally got what they law. Before back, when mandatory screenings were introduced in nineteen, seventy three the government took for security of our nations airports and created the transport patient security administration. The tea essay now call the shots Ninety nine percent, invisible SAM Greenspan, Katy mingle, every drop him in and me roman Mars. We are a product of ninety one point: seven, local public radio, K, L W in San Francisco and produced the offices of arc sign in
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Transcript generated on 2020-02-15.