The US government has tightened airline security in response to the foiled bomb plot, setting the maximum threat level for inbound flights from Britain. Last night some of the first delayed flights began to arrive at New York’s JFK Airport, while departing passengers faced greater scrutiny and a long wait at security checkpoints. Some travellers said they felt reassured by the precautions – others were simply resigned. Plastic bottles capable of carrying liquid explosive were among the items strictly banned onboard.
The US government meanwhile was quick to make a link between the suspected plotters and al Qaeda. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff had this warning:
“We cannot assume that the threat has been completely thwarted, or that we have fully identified and neutralised every member of this terror network,” he said.
President George W. Bush said news of the foiled plot was a stark reminder of the perceived threat to US security.
“This nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation,” he said.
Bush’s choice of words has angered Muslim groups in the US, who have accused the president of potentially inflaming anti-Muslim tensions.