Methinks you gentlemen are wringing your hands over nothing. This particular horse had left the barn long before most people had ever heard of al Qaeda on 9/11. As Dave Garland mentioned in an earlier posting, it was already well-publicized that the Russians had used this method to kill a Chechen leader years before. The target in question was actually the elected (and eventually separatist) Chechen president Djokhar Dudayev, killed in 1996. See
As someone who used to follow post-Soviet news and politics closely, I distinctly remember the triumphant news reports from the Russian government, basically bragging about having located Dudayev by tracking his satellite phone transmissions. Any half-competent terrorist would surely have become aware of this vulnerability following that episode. (Not that there aren't some stupid terrorists out there. IIRC, one of the Madrid train bombers was oh-so-careful to keep switching phones in order to avoid detection by authorities. But his method was to repeatedly move his SIM card from one handset to another, which meant that he really wasn't covering his tracks at all.)
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