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Q&A: Readers ask about terror attacks and airport security

Terror attacks

It's been a little over a year since the terror attacks in Mumbai, India. I was wondering whether the alleged perpetrators of the attacks in Pakistan have been caught and convicted yet. And have the targeted hotels reopened?

Nine of the 10 attackers were killed in the siege. Indian police arrested one, who is on trial in Mumbai.

Pakistan has put seven alleged militants on trial, charged with either training the assailants or helping organize and fund the attacks. At least two of the men have been named by India as the masterminds. The closed-door trial began in November and is expected to last several months.

The accused gunman retracted his confession, saying police tortured him into admitting his role in the attacks that left 166 people dead. Mohammed Ajmal Kasab now claims that on the day the attacks started, Nov. 26, 2008, police took him from his cell because he resembled one of the gunmen, shot him to make it look like he had been involved in the violence and re-arrested him.

The hotels are resuming operations.

The 268-room Tower wing of the Taj Mahal hotel reopened last December, but management says the 287-room Palace wing won't be completely ready until the end of April. The dome that caught fire was in the Palace wing, which was also where the fiercest gunbattles took place. In the Heritage wing, conference rooms and four restaurants have reopened.

The 550-room Trident hotel reopened completely last December. The Trident's sister hotel, the 337-room Oberoi — the two are connected by a bridge — is still shut and work is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2010.

Airport security

The recent revelation of the online publication of TSA screening protocols referred to identification cards for members of Congress. This implies that members of Congress are exempt from the typical airline screening procedures that average citizens are subjected to. Has Congress contrived yet another way to insulate itself from the travel hassles inflicted on the rest of us?

Members of Congress are not exempt from airport passenger screening, Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Kristin Lee says. But senators and House members can use their official ID cards in lieu of a driver's license or passport at screening checkpoints, she says.

The TSA screeners' manual includes examples not only of congressional IDs but also of other not-often-seen federal IDs that are valid substitutes for driver's licenses or passports at screening checkpoints. They include those for CIA agents, federal air marshals and federal Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco agents.

Q&A: Readers ask about terror attacks and airport security 01/25/10 [Last modified: Monday, January 25, 2010 4:20pm]
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