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Experts: Amateur Terrorists Gain Most from Flight 370 Information

Experts: Amateur Terrorists Gain Most from Flight 370 Informationi
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Carolyn Presutti
March 21, 2014 1:32 AM
For nearly two weeks, every form of media and many conversations around the world have discussed possible scenarios in the Malaysia plane disappearance. But some experts think we are unconsciously releasing previously unknown information to potential terrorists. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has the story.
For nearly two weeks, every form of media and many conversations around the world have discussed possible scenarios in the Malaysia plane disappearance.  But some experts think we are unconsciously releasing previously unknown information to potential terrorists.  

Theory after theory has surfaced in the disappearance of Malaysia Flight 370.  The information discussed has been compared to a basic aviation class - with details on radar, satellites, passport security, 777 capabilities and international communications.

Terrorists have also been taking notes.  That’s according to John Goglia, who spent 40 years in aviation - any of those with the National Transportation Safety Board.   

“That’s been my fear from the very beginning - that there’s been a lot of information out that they may or may not have known.  But they are getting very sophisticated, very educated - the terrorists. They know the system," said Goglia.

Organized terror groups have proven they know the system.  They can locate the transponders, find gaps in radar coverage and exploit lax security.   Some experts worry more about amateur terrorists.

Jonah Blank is a counterterrorism expert with the Rand Corporation.

 "These are things that professional groups like al-Qaida already know.  These are things that, however, not every 23-year-old malcontent knows.  And now, many more do," said Blank.

But Blank says a lot of that information is already available on the Internet or in a flight manual.  Other experts don’t give terrorists that much credit.  

Max Abrahms, a professor of terrorism at Northeastern University, spoke on Skype.

“If you look at data sets on terrorist tactical decisions - the tactics that they use, you’ll see that they’re really not actually that innovative. They tend to use the same very basic tactics over and over again, the same ones they’ve used for decades," said Abrahms.

Abrahms says al-Qaida isn’t as great a threat anymore since it set aside widescale attacks and is now focusing on individual acts of local terrorism .

While the Malaysia search could have revealed some previously unknown information to terrorist groups, it also exposed many security breaches, giving governments a chance to improve procedures and avoid these oversights in the future.

Carolyn Presutti

Carolyn Presutti is an Emmy and Silver World Medal award winning television correspondent who works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters.   She has also won numerous Associated Press awards and a Clarion for her coverage of The Syrian Medical Crisis, Haiti, The Boston Marathon Bombing, Presidential Politics, The Southern Economy, and The 9/11 Bombing Anniversary.  In 2013, Carolyn aired exclusive stories on the Asiana plane crash and was named VOA’s chief reporter with Google Glass.

You can follow Carolyn on Twitter at CarolynVOA, on Google Plus and Facebook.

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