Earlier today the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) issued a security memo to security officials and Transportation Security Officers (TSO) alerting them to the potential terrorist threat of humans traveling with surgically implanted explosives inside their bodies.
The TSA’s primary focus is on passengers traveling to the United States from foreign countries and is requesting that foreign airport security agencies perform additional screening for flight bound for the U.S. Searches including visually inspecting passengers for unusual ‘bulges’ in the abdomen, buttocks or breast and an unusual sensitivity or discomfort during the pat down process.
The TSA’s Office of Strategic Communications has stated “These measures are designed to be unpredictable, so passengers should not expect to see the same activity at every international airport. Measures may include interaction with passengers, in addition to the use of other screening methods such as pat-downs and the use of enhanced tools and technologies.”
While the TSA is putting an emphasis on being proactive against the legitimate terrorist threat of explosives being implanted in a person, there is one significant question about the TSA’s proactive approach to this threat … why is the agency only now implementing a security procedures to address a threat that was identified by Britain’s MI5 (Secret Service) in January 2010?
In January of 2010, Britain’s MI5 Counter-Terrorism operatives discovered evidence that Ayman al-Zawahiri, a surgeon and top official in al-Qaeda, who is now the leader of al-Qaeda, was experimenting with surgically implanting bombs in humans. MI5’s intelligence revealed that al-Qaeda and al-Zawahiri were exploring inserting bombs into suicide bombers to negate detection of smuggled explosives by the increased usage of Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) scanners in airports around the world.
MI5’s intelligence report on explosives placed inside of humans reveals that it the most likely threat would be an 8oz PETN based explosive surgically placed near the suicide bomber’s appendix, or buttocks, or inside a woman’s breast. Detonation of the implanted bomb would be triggered by a hypodermic needle with Triacetone Triperoxide being injected into the implanted bomb.
So now, with no clearly define threat or known imminent terrorist plot, 18 months after the British Secret Service reported that there is a legitimate terrorist threat of a bomb being implanted in a passenger the TSA has decided to take action without any explanation of why.
The TSA’s Mission Statement is that of a vital agency tasked with an important job. The TSA’s job requires the agency be flexible and proactive … but the agency must also be in tune with the intelligence gathering of the rest of the world when it comes to legitimate threats. Acting on threats known for the past year-and-a-half is not being proactive, it is being slow to action … while attempting to appear proactive.