Human IED threat elicits DHS warning
- By Michael Protos
- Jul 12, 2011
The Homeland Security Department issued a warning July 6 that terrorists might try to slip surgically implanted bombs through airport security lines, according to ABC News’ Brian Ross, Jason Ryan and Anna Schecter.
In a notice posted on the Transportation Security Administration’s website, foreign travelers to the United States might face extra security before boarding an airplane. As Today Online of Singapore reports, explosives sensors might not be able to sniff out a bomb implanted inside someone. The bomb-makers would detonate after a chemical injection aboard a plane, according to ABC News. So in response to that threat, TSA said in its notice, travelers might encounter increased interaction with security agents, pat-downs or enhanced security techniques.
According to Today Online, DHS’ security warning references Colombian drug traffickers accused of trying to smuggle drugs by implanting them in people. DHS cited warning signs such a distended stomach or visible discomfort during a pat-down.
Given the rash of bad publicity about U.S. travelers’ emotional discomfort with pat-downs, this security warning could lead to chaos. A doctor told ABC News reporters that a skillful surgeon “could indeed package a bomb or explosive device…inside the abdominal cavity.” And experts told Today Online that explosives could be nip-tucked into the buttocks or breasts. British secret agents already believe that some women are signing up for such explosive breast implants, according to Fox News.
Imagine the public outcry if TSA agents are instructed to feel the breasts, buttocks and abdomen for unusual sensitivity near a surgical scar.
However, some say body bombs reflect how desperate al Qaeda and other terrorist networks have become. Wired.com shared an e-mail from a reader who claims to be an explosives specialist at DHS and believes the extreme difficulty of surgically implanting a bomb that could be set off by an injection on demand without initially killing the carrier makes the threat far-fetched, at best.
Michael Protos is a web content editor with 1105 Government Information Group.