Live

Watch CBSN Live

Shoe Bomber Leaves Behind A Legacy

Shoe bomber Richard Reid is off to prison after his sentencing, but when you have to take off your shoes for airport security, you can thank him.

"Shoes are part of the screening scenario at every checkpoint at every airport in America today," Robert Johnson, of the Transportation Security Administration, told CBS News Correspondent Barry Bagnato. "In many locations we have separate X-rays just for shoes."

District Judge William Young branded Reid as a terrorist Thursday, sentencing the 29-year-old British citizen to life in prison for the Dec. 22, 2001, bombing attempt aboard a Paris-to-Miami American Airlines flight.

Reid asserted his attempt to blow up a trans-Atlantic jetliner with explosives hidden in his shoes was the act of a soldier in a war against those who attack Islam.

"You are not an enemy combatant — you are a terrorist. You are not a soldier in any war — you are a terrorist, retorted the judge. "To give you that reference, to call you a soldier gives you far too much stature.

"You are a terrorist, and we do not negotiate with terrorists," Young added. "We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice."

El Al airlines actually flagged Reid as a threat two years ago using a technique of studying passenger behavior. Boston's Logan Airport is the first in the country to adopt it. People under stress act differently.

"The presence of a uniformed law enforcement officer tends to bring out that stress when you're doing something you're not supposed to be doing," security official Sgt. Peter DiMenica said.

As for concerns there will be ethnic profiling, DiMenica said Reid proved terrorists aren't all Middle Eastern.

"It doesn't make sense to focus on one group," he said.

The Sept. 11 hijackers boarded two of the jets at Logan. Could security using the behavior technique have thwarted them? Maybe.

"You know, we're Monday morning quarterbacking, but in my opinion, they might have had a chance," said DiMenica.

Reid boldly denounced U.S. foreign policy before the sentencing Thursday.

"Your government has sponsored the rape and torture of Muslims in the prisons of Egypt and Turkey and Syria and Jordan with their money and with their weapons," said Reid, who converted to Islam eight years ago.

"Your government has killed two million children in Iraq. OK? If you want to think about something, 20 against two million, I don't see no comparison."

Young would have none of it.

"We are not afraid of any of your terrorist coconspirators, Mr. Reid," said the judge. "We are Americans. We have been through the fire before."

Young then pointed to the American flag behind him and said: "See that flag, Mr. Reid? That's the flag of the United States of America. That flag will fly there long after this is all forgotten."

When Young instructed a court officer to take Reid into custody, Reid leaned forward and pointed at the judge, raising his voice. "That flag will be brought down on the day of judgment and you will see in front of your Lord and my Lord and then we will know," Reid said.

"You will be judged by Allah!" Reid said before being taken from the courtroom in handcuffs.

Pleading guilty in the case last October, Reid said he was a member of al Qaeda, pledged his support to Osama bin Laden and declared himself an enemy of the United States.

He admitted he tried to ignite plastic explosives hidden in his shoes on American Airlines Flight 63 about three months after the Sept. 11 attacks — terrorism that left many Americans afraid to fly.

Several of the dozen American Airlines crew members seated in the courtroom Thursday looked stunned as Reid delivered his courtroom denouncement, glancing at each other and shaking their heads. One woman wept.

Prosecutors said there was enough plastic explosives in his shoes to blow a hole in the fuselage and kill all 197 people aboard.

Reid had tried furiously to light a match to his shoes but he was unable to ignite the fuse. Passengers and crew members overpowered him, using seat belts and their own belts to strap him to his seat. Two doctors sedated him, and the flight was diverted to Boston.

"I can still see the fearful look on their faces as they huddled together after Richard Reid tried to blow them out of the sky with their families," flight attendant Carole Nelson said of the more than 20 children aboard the plane.

"I believe that Richard Reid was on a mission of evil, a mission of destruction and a mission of murder."

In Washington, Attorney General John Ashcroft praised the sentence and called the passengers and crew heroes who averted a disaster.

"The sentence imposed on Richard Reid says to the world that terrorists cannot escape American justice," Ashcroft said.

Reid's lawyers say he credits Islam with saving him from a life of drug use and despair. They described Reid's troubled youth plagued by poverty, feelings of uselessness, racism and crime.

The case is not closed. The FBI thinks Reid had help making the bomb from "an al Qaeda bomb maker," and authorities have said they found unidentified hair and a palm print on the explosives.

Reid pleaded guilty to eight charges, including attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. Besides his sentence, Reid was fined $2 million.

View CBS News In