Breitbart News national security editor Dr. Sebastian Gorka, author of Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War, appeared on Fox Business Thursday to discuss the disappearance of EgyptAir flight 804.
Gorka said it could take “weeks, if not months, to find out exactly what happened,” but the facts available at this time suggest the situation is “very suspicious.”
“This is an aircraft that originated its flight in Paris, that was heading toward Cairo,” he observed. “These two nations, Egypt and France, are very important from the point of view of jihadis. We’ve had two attacks in Paris in the last year. Egypt is home to an ISIS affiliate called Bayt al-Maqdis. Egypt is one of the top priority targets for ISIS in the region, number one.”
“Number two, this plane was traveling at a cruising altitude of 37,000 feet,” Gorka continued. “That is very, very high for an event like this to occur, if it was just an accident, no weather involved at all. On top of that, the reports are air-traffic control in Greece lost contact with this aircraft and went silent. As a result, we heard nothing about it until it dropped off the radar of Egyptian air traffic control.”
“That means either two things: a catastrophic failure of some mechanical nature, which is very rare,” Gorka said, noting that the Airbus A320 has a very reliable service record, and the plane used for Flight 804 was a mere 12 years old.
“The other possibility is a terrorist attack, some kind of explosive, if you add all those things together,” he concluded. “And lastly, the fact that the manifest for this aircraft saw that it went to all kinds of airports in the last few days — to Brussels, to Tunis, to Eritrea, to Luxor. Many of these airports are not airports that are in the Western standard of security screening.”
“Let’s remember that terrorism at its core is about the spread of fear,” Gorka said. “Terrorists want as many people afraid as possible. To that end, they want symbolism. Look at 9/11: they hit the Twin Towers, they hit the Pentagon. Their third target wasn’t the White House, it was the Capitol. That’s symbolism to generate fear.”
“If you want to send a message to General Sisi, to President Sisi — who is one of the hardest anti-jihadis in the region, it’s really him and King Abdullah of Jordan that are the front line of this war against the jihadis — you want this plane to go down in Egyptian airspace,” he suggested. “You don’t want it to disappear like the Malaysian jet. You want to send a message. So if this is jihadi terrorism, they really would have waited until they sent a message to the government in Cairo.”
On the topic of airport security, Gorka noted there have been recent reports from Egypt of “somebody just paying $20 to get through all the security checkpoints without being checked and putting baggage on an aircraft that wasn’t screened.”
“The question is access to the airframe and the vetting of ground staff. That’s hugely important,” he urged, noting that the current emphasis is on identifying and screening passengers, while ground crew security is a “giant black hole” in some airports.
“If you’re landing in Africa, in Eritrea, what guarantee do you have that the person bringing the coffee grind on board the plane is cleared, and is a trustworthy agent?” Gorka asked.