Authored by Marc A. Thiessen for AEIdeas
CNN reports that the US Bank Tower in Los Angeles, the tallest building on the West Coast, has just unveiled it’s new “SkySlide” – a 1,000 foot high slide attached to the outside the building made entirely of glass:
Starting Saturday, visitors can coast down the SkySlide, a chute made of glass and affixed to the outside of the building, going from the 70th floor to the 69th.
Terrifying. Thrilling. Not for the faint of heart. Above all, it’s a way for daredevils to put their tolerance of extreme heights to the test.
SkySlide will be the main draw at the new OUE SkySpace LA observation deck atop L.A.’s landmark skyscraper, the tallest building west of Chicago.
It’s 45 feet long and hovers 1,000 feet above the pavement, inviting incredulous stares and gasps from people on the street below.
“The slide actually transports people from the inside of the 70th floor to the outside of the 69th floor. So you’re standing in the open air by the time you’re done with your ride,” said OUE Americas senior vice president John Gamboa. “We don’t know of anything else like it.”
It’s worth recalling, however, that there would not be a SkySlide today if it had not been for the Central Intelligence Agency’s terrorist interrogation program. That’s because the US Bank Tower – then known as the Library Tower – was the intended target of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s planned “Second Wave” of attacks against the American homeland.
As declassified July 13, 2004, CIA memo “Khalid Shaykh Muhammad: preeminent source on Al-Qaeda” declared KSM “has admitted to hatching a plot in late 2001 to use Jemmah Islamiyah (JI) operatives to crash a hijacked airliner into the tallest building on the US West Coast.” According to the memo, information provided by KSM “was the crucial first link that led us to the capture of prominent JI leader and al Qaeda associate Hambali in August 2003 and more than a dozen Southeast Asian operatives slated for attacks against the US homeland.” Members of the cell included trained pilots. According to declassified testimonyfrom former CIA Director Mike Hayden on April 12, 2007, before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, “Hambali admitted that he was grooming members of this cell for US operations – probably to continue trying to implement KSM’s plot to fly hijacked planes into the tallest building in the West Coast.”
Thanks to the CIA, KSM, Hambali and all the members of the Karachi cell were captured and removed from the battlefield – leaving the US Bank Tower standing today.
If you venture to California to try it, please take a moment to look down the 70 stories to the street below, and say a silent prayer for the Americans who looked down from the top floors of World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 and did not have slide to bring them down in safety. And while you’re there, take a moment to give thanks for the brave men and women of the CIA who did so much to ensure that thousands of other Americans did not suffer the same fate.
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