It’s not my intention to be picky here. From all appearances at this early stage, the intelligence and law enforcement agencies have done a very good job on the attack that has been thwarted, and the White House also seems to have performed well. But at his briefing today, John Brennan, the President’s top counterterrorism adviser, opined that a “traditional dry run” for an attack is not done with actual explosives. I don’t know what he meant by “traditional,” but our experience is that dry runs can be attacks in and of themselves.
In the 1994 “Bojinka” plot, a conspiracy to blow up a dozen American airliners over the Pacific, Ramzi Youself did a dry run in which he planted an explosive under a seat on a Philippines Airlines flight to Tokyo. Haruki Ikegami, a Japanese man, who took the seat when Yousef deplaned in Cebu, was killed and the plane was nearly brought down.