LONDON – Britain’s foreign intelligence service is investigating whether
al-Qaida hackers -described as some of the best in the world – broke into
the state-of-the- art computerized systems of the British Airways flight that
crash-landed in London last week.
Sources have confirmed hackers could have tampered with the Boeing 777
before it left Beijing en route to Heathrow Airport, where it landed at the
very time British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was about to take off in an
identical aircraft on his visit to China.
“It could be possible to interfere with one of the electronic systems on
board Flight 38 so that a total malfunction could be generated as it was on
its final approach,” an intelligence source confirmed.
Meanwhile, British foreign intelligence service agents, two of whom were on
board the Brown flight to Beijing, are checking the background of the ground
crews at Beijing Airport who were responsible for fueling the 777.
Around the Pacific Rim, some of the fuel loaders are Pakistani, and
intelligence services for Britain and other nations fear background security
checks have been lax.
Concerns also have been raised about cabin cleaners, who have ready access
to the flight deck while preparing an aircraft for take-off.