Nobel laureate Al Gore, we are to believe, has the technical acumen to analyze complex data, assess risks, and identify the right countermeasures. He must be able to critically sift through mountains of data, distinguish between reliable and unreliable climate models, and astutely analyze volumes of esoteric scientific reports and studies to determine with something like crystal clarity what will most assuredly happen in the future. On an ongoing basis, as new data comes in.
He can also supposedly identify what specific variables we can and should manipulate now, so as to favorably change the outcome of countless diverse interactions of innumerable variables for an assured and beneficial outcome. He can recognize cumulative risks, threats emerging from the interplay of known risks. He can do this so well that he can simply brush aside any criticism of any of his conclusions as being unscientific or tainted by corruption.
How else could the world rely on his assessment of the dangers we face and the actions we must take?
His track record when asked to evaluate emerging threats from the interplay of known perils is not encouraging.
In August 1996, President Clinton signed Executive Order 13015, which established the "White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security", often called the Gore Commission in recognition that Gore was the chairman. That commission operated for six months, from August 1996 until February of 1997, when it issued its final report. Gore's commission were mandated to provide to the President "a strategy designed to improve aviation safety and security". As was expected, the Gore Commission addressed the issue of terrorism and commercial aviation. Hindsight is everyone's best sight. Terrorists had been hijacking airplanes, destroying or plotting to destroy airliners, committing numerous acts of terror suicide, and using vehicles to deliver both the terrorist and the explosives to lethal proximity of their targets for years. Heavily fueled commercial airliners as devices of suicide attack seemed an obviously predictable development. In retrospect. Foresight failed us because we gave insufficient thought to how terrorists might attack.
When sufficient attention is paid, it is quite possible to engineer-in safety. Engineers and scientists routinely design safety into systems, equipment, machines and procedures by precisely understanding the potential interaction of variables that have known properties or characteristics. Underwriters Laboratories, with whom I've worked, does this exceedingly well. While they will physically test devices to determine potential safety hazards, quite often their engineers will recommend a redesign of something based simply on recognizing a potentially dangerous interaction of variables with such known characteristics.
Considering such possibilities follows the act of deciding to think about such issues and then constructing possibilities. That is precisely what Al Gore and his Commission were tasked to do regarding commercial aviation. They were given the time and resources to do so by that Executive Order. According to the 911 Commission Report (page 344):
"The Gore Commission's Report, having thoroughly canvassed available expertise in and outside of government, did not mention suicide hijackings or the use of aircraft as weapons." [emphasis added]
Yet reading the final report of Gore's Commission, most of the variables were explicitly recognized but not plugged into a potential safety-engineering process. From Chapter 3 of the report:
"[Terrorism] is no longer just an overseas threat.... People and places in the United States have joined the list of targets.... The bombings of the World Trade Center in New York and the Federal Building in Oklahoma City are clear examples of the shift, as is the conviction of Ramzi Yousef for attempting to bomb twelve American airliners out of the sky... some [terrorists] are not afraid to die in carrying out their designs... they know that airlines are often seen as national symbols. When terrorists attack an American airliner, they are attacking the United States."
Note that the report explicitly identifies targeting the U.S. homeland and American aviation, willingness to commit suicide in a terror attack, and attacks on national symbols.
The 911 Commission Report (page 392) states that more than half of the 911 hijackers were identified by CAPPS (Computer Assisted Passenger Presecreening System) as potential security risks to be subjected to a higher level of screening. The CAPPS system was mandated by the FAA in 1998 as a direct result of the Gore Commission finding that the most significant threat to commercial aviation was from bombs smuggled on the aircraft. The only effect the CAPPS identification had was that the 911 hijackers identified for further security screening were kept off the plane until their checked baggage was loaded on the aircraft. The thinking behind this was that terrorists would use the ticketing and check-in procedures, even going through security checkpoints, to assure that their checked baggage carrying a bomb went on the plane, but that they would not get on the plane. If the passenger held back from boarding until his baggage was on board then boarded the plane, the assumption was that the flight was safe from bombing. After all, if that passenger had smuggled a bomb aboard in his luggage that would go off in flight with him on the plane, that would be suicide, and therefore he wouldn't board! From page 84 of the 911 Commission Report:
"Primarily because of concern regarding potential discrimination and the impact on passenger throughput, "selectees"[by CAPPS] were no longer required to undergo extraordinary screening of their carry-on baggage.... This policy reflected the perception that non-suicidal sabotage was the primary threat to civil aviation" [emphasis added]
Page 83 of the 911 CR states that the Gore Commission:
"...reinforced the prevailing concern about sabotage and explosives on aircraft.... Its 1997 final report did not discuss the possibility of suicide hijackings." [emphasis added]
"More than half [of the 911 hijackers] were identified for further inspection, which applied only to their checked luggage." [emphasis added]
Carry-on bags were not checked. If as is suspected, the hijackers had materials to make fake bombs (911 CR, page 13) to scare the passengers into submission, search of carry on bags may have revealed those items and heightened suspicion and scrutiny. In calling for the establishment of a passenger screening system which became CAPPS, the Gore Commission reported:
"Factors to be considered for elements of the profile should be based on measurable, verifiable data indicating that the factors chosen are reasonable predictors of risk, not stereotypes or generalizations. Efforts should be made to avoid using characteristics that impose a disproportionate burden of inconvenience, embarrassment, or invasion of privacy of members of minority racial, religious or ethnic groups." [emphasis added]
On August 7, 1998, the year after the Gore Commission Report was released, Al Qaeda suicide bombers, driving vehicles to get to their targets, bombed the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. 264 people were killed. Four months later, according to the 911 CR (page 128), President Clinton received a Presidential Daily Briefing:
"...warning of information received about Al Qaeda plans to attack the U.S. and hijack airliners."
VP Gore was an executive with executive responsibilities. He was, or should have been aware of the policies and procedures that had come into effect as a result of his commission's report. By the end of 1998, it was abundantly clear that we were under attack by Al Qaeda, and that they were using suicide attackers. He knew they had previously targeted aviation (Bojinka).
If Gore was the close advisor and involved VP to President Clinton that he has claimed, he must have been advised of the Al Qaeda threat to attack the homeland and American aviation. He had the responsibility to revisit the policies and procedures he himself had set in place through his commission, knowing that federal agencies would take their guidance from such, in the light of variables that had become or should have become more prominent. There is no record that he ever did so.
The Gore Commission's report stated:
"After many months of deliberations we have agreed on a set of recommendations which we believe will serve to enhance and ensure the continued safety and security of our air transportation system."
Al Gore wants us to believe that he is analytically precise, will identify and weigh all relevant factors, can determine future consequences either good or ill by the study and understanding of complex data and innumerable variables.
He had an opportunity and responsibility once, on a matter far less complex than global climate change but with more immediate threat of danger. His performance was less than stellar. He has not spoken much at all about the 911 attacks other than to spread defamatory lies, about America while in Saudi Arabia. Gore has now been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, which has been given twice this decade as a sort of consolation prize to incompetent Democrats mired in grand delusions of their own greatness.