Monday, December 28, 2009

Northwest 253 Bomb Attempt Explodes Safety Vulnerabilities at TSA

From ABC News, "EXCLUSIVE: Photos of the Northwest Airlines Bomb: Accused Bomber Abdulmutallab's Underwear, Explosive Packet and Detonator." And regarding the second photo down:

It is a six-inch long packet of the high explosive chemical called PETN, less than a half cup in volume, weighing about 80 grams.

A government test with 50 grams of PETN blew a hole in the side of an airliner. That was the amount in the bomb carried by the so-called shoe bomber Richard Reid over Christmas 2001.

The underpants bomb would have been one and a half times as powerful.
This video shows a remote-controlled test explosion with 20 grams of PETN:

Just think if Abdul Mutallab's detonator functioned correctly - Jesus!

Also, from Fox News, "
Metal Detectors Useless in Finding Powerful Explosive PETN":
The man who authorities say strapped a highly powerful explosive to his torso and tried to detonate it in midair never would have gotten aboard the plane if a different security detector had been used when he boarded the flight, security experts and officials say.

"Puffer" machines, full-body imaging scanners, a simple frisk or bomb-sniffing dogs all would likely have detected the chemical explosive PETN, experts say. But Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 23-year-old Nigerian suspected of trying to blow up Northwest Flight 253 on Christmas Day, encountered none of those deterrents when he traveled from Nigeria to Amsterdam and ultimately to Detroit.

Abdulmutallab may likely have passed through a magnetometer, the conventional metal detector used at most airports. It's a sophisticated a device that detects firearms, box-cutters, belt buckles and nail clippers — but it's useless in finding a small amount of powder capable of bringing down an airliner packed with passengers.

PETN is the primary ingredient in detonating cords used for industrial explosions and can be collected by scraping the insides of the wire, said James Crippin, a Colorado explosives expert. Used in military devices and readily found in blasting caps, the chemical is stable and safe to handle but requires a primary explosive to detonate it.

PETN was a component of the explosive that Richard Reid — the convicted "shoe bomber" — used in 2001 in his failed attempt to down an airliner. It also was used in an assassination attempt on the Saudi counterterrorism operations chief in August, according to the Saudi government.

Authorities say Abdulmutallab hid a quantity of PETN in a condom-like bag just below his torso when he boarded the plane in Amsterdam, and that he tried to create an explosion on board by injecting a liquid into it with a syringe.
See also Noah Shachtman, "Underwear Bomber Renews Calls for ‘Naked Scanners’":

After an alleged terrorist unsuccessfully tried to detonate his explosive underwear on a Christmas Day flight to Detroit, current and former American officials are now using the failed attack to push for more airport scanners to spot such explosives — and a lot more.

The Transportation Security Administration in recent years has tried out a series of “whole-body imagers” to look for threats that typical metal detectors can’t find. These systems are the only way that smuggled explosives, like the one officials say was brought on the Christmas flight, can be reliably found.

“You’ve got to find some way of detecting things in parts of the body that aren’t easy to get at,” former Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff told The Washington Post. “It’s either pat-downs or imaging.”
Well, folks will have to be electronically strip-searched if they're going to fly. Otherwise, the terrorists have won.

RELATED: Hot Air, "
Audio: JetBlue announces dopey new TSA regulations."


Law and Order Teacher said...

First of all, a bomg in your underpants brings images I don't want to get into. Secondly, Obama's speech today was a joke. First, it was three days late, second the fact that he referred to this guy as an "isolate extremist" is particularly disturbing. I posted on it because it show the fundamental error of the Obama administration and its approach to terrorism. Crime yes, war no. Scary.

Law and Order Teacher said...

should be "isolated" Sorry

AmPowerBlog said...

I can't imagine either, LOT. But these jihadis will do anything to get explosives on board.

science fiction writer said...

Isolated Extremist should be Lone Suicider (excuse my neologism). More attacks will come from seemingly unconnected suiciders, however, they are planned.

This whole scenario indicate the administration doesn't understand the conflict with global jihads, adn this does not bode well for national security.

LOT correctly identified the problem.