Fmr. US Attorney General Michael Mukasey discusses effectiveness of security screenings at overseas airports

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," November 6, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST:  One of my favorite guess on this show, because he`s always the voice of reason and calm when people are getting quite nervous and anxious, Michael Mukasey, our former U.S. attorney general.

General, good to have you.


CAVUTO:  They`re now saying, you know, hey, this could be another Lockerbie deal could happen here.  People are getting very nervous, a few weeks ahead of Thanksgiving travel.  TSA is taking some cautionary steps.

What do you think?
MUKASEY:  Well, Lockerbie was 1988, and that was some time ago.

We have learned a lot since, and I think that the measures that we take have certainly improved since, and the measures that are being taken now are...

CAVUTO:  Well, they`re not taken universally, though.

MUKASEY:  No, they`re not taken universally, and that`s the reason that foreign airports are vulnerable.  It`s not so much our own airports as it is foreign airports from which planes originate and come to this country.

And if somebody puts a bomb on an airplane, it can either be timed or it can set to altitude variations such that it is set to go off at a particularly vulnerable time.


CAVUTO:  What do you make of the fact that let`s say the Russians or whoever the authorities were, Egypt, were doing everything they could to check this, but this was a new type of a weapon, if it turns out to be that, that would be undetectable?

MUKASEY:  Well, then we have got some homework to do.  But I would wait a long time before I concluded that.

Obviously, they have to analyze the wreckage.  They have to analyze what traces of explosives were found, if explosive was found in the airplane.  It appears that it was a bomb.  There are holes in the back of the airplane that show explosion outward.

CAVUTO:  Right.

MUKASEY:  That is, something went off inside the airplane.  So it does appear to have been -- it does appear to have been a bomb.


CAVUTO:  Obviously, different countries react different ways.  Britain has said, we will resume some flights in and around the area, but only carry-on luggage, nothing in the undercompartment.

What do you think of that?

MUKASEY:  That`s one remedy.

It`s kind of hard to travel with a carry-on if you`re going away for a couple of weeks.


MUKASEY:  And it`s also hard to prevent airplanes from carrying cargo that is simply shipped, unless you are going to ban that.  And that is going to cut down -- cut things down economically.

Also, this is going to damage Egypt`s tourist industry.


CAVUTO:  As if it wasn`t damaged enough.  We heard that no one is going to the Pyramids anymore.

MUKASEY:  That`s part of -- I think that was part of what was intended.

CAVUTO:  Do you think, finally, that this was a reminder that for some reason, terrorists, whatever, are fixated on planes, that has not gone away, still not gone away, and still an obsession?

MUKASEY:  It`s not really so much as obsession.

Airplanes are an obvious target.  Any crowded -- any crowded location is an obvious target as well.  Shopping malls are a target.  So, you can get a lot done with an airplane, plus the fact that it has a large secondary effect, which is, it scares people away from taking airports, which affects an economy.

So it`s not so much a fixation, as it is an obvious concentration on an obvious target.

CAVUTO:  If an ISIS-sympathetic group claims, as one group did, responsibility for this, that`s a whole new game for ISIS, wouldn`t it?

MUKASEY:  I don`t know about a whole new game.

It`s a variation on the game they have already been playing.  And it`s not that have been lacking for brutality.

CAVUTO:  That`s true.

MUKASEY:  And it`s not that they have been lacking for effective.  And it`s not that they have been lacking for sophistication.  They have got all of those things.

They are, I think -- they have been -- they have proved themselves not quite the J.V. team.

CAVUTO:  Yes, to put it mildly.

Michael Mukasey, thank you very much.  Very good seeing you.


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