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UK Liquid Explosives Trial

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Friday, May 16, 2008
liquids

While American Idol fans debate the merits of the two Davids, across the pond, a terror trial has captured the attention of most of England and in fact the continent.

Eight alleged terrorists are on trial for planning to blow up seven airliners, five of which were destined for the U.S. While this trial is barely registering in the American press, had the plot succeeded, it would have been catastrophic, killing thousands of innocent passengers and rivaling 9/11 in its ferocity. It’s also the basis for one of our most controversial policies, 3-1-1.

Since 2006, U.S. and global explosives experts have been following this plot with great interest, because of its alleged use of novel explosives and methods. Until information became public during the trial, we have been extremely limited in what we could say about this plot. As the trial progresses, we are finally able to share information - things like the fact that the bottles of liquid explosives were pre-mixed, non-binary and would have almost certainly brought down those airliners;
things like showing the hollowed out batteries that would have hidden detonators; things like despite doing everything “right” this crew of alleged would-be killers would have walked right through airport security anywhere in the world under the rules at the time… Had it not been for intelligence leads, police intervention and eventual arrests there’s just no telling the eventual outcome of this diabolical plot.

Just this week, jurors were shown a video of the liquid explosive the suspected terrorists allegedly planned to use on airplanes. The liquid explosive mix was created in a government laboratory and placed in an Oasis soft drink bottle, just as the terrorists planned to do.

We will post more specific information on the plot as it is available and plan to post a Q&A with the chief of our explosives division on the plot and its ramifications here in the U.S. in the next few days. In the mean time, the Daily Telegraph of London has posted notes from the trial and the video shown to jurors here. We have also posted regular updates to the trial on our Web site, here .

Below is the liquid explosive video we prepared and released last year.

Christopher
EOS Blog Team

Comments

Submitted by Anonymous on

Are you badly backed up in getting comments cleared for posting?

As others have recently noted in other threads; it seems postings are not getting up.

Several we posted a day or two ago have still not gone up. Others submitted after ours have.

Are the White House and RNC helping with your message storage?

,>)

T. Saint

Submitted by Trollkiller on

Do you have any video showing the crater that explosive left. All I see is a bunch of dust being blow. Granted it was a pretty good spread.

I am glad it has finally been admitted that the explosives were premixed and not a binary to be built on board. That should settle down the chemistry geeks in the crowd.

So why was there all that disinformation about binary explosives? Was the fact it was just a liquid explosive not exciting enough? Did you have to go all James Bond on us?

Submitted by Marshall's SO on

Christopher, you wrote:

"The liquid explosive mix was created in a government laboratory and placed in an Oasis soft drink bottle, just as the terrorists planned to do."

In actuality, you left out a very significant fact: ""The device, made from an Oasis soft drink bottle, had to be put together with a remote controlled arm at a government laboratory because the mixture was so volatile."

Did you just forget that part or were you once again trying to mislead the general public?

Where's my post about the book "Crush the Cell" by Michael Sheehan?

Submitted by Anonymous on

The terrorists used nitroglycerine (liquid) as their explosive of choice. Shock is a good way of detonating it so in this case a detonator really wasn't even needed. Kip, the blind eye to the telescope, says that mixing the contents of smaller containers (100ml) into a larger container just isn't in the plans as viable. Sorry Kip, but you've never poured liquids from one container into another? Get real and stop this security theater/circus. 'Fess up to the fact that TSA is nothing but a case of rank amatures attempting to prove that motion = work (another failed concept).

Submitted by Anonymous on

500 ml bottle = five 100 ml bottles (which easily fit in a 1 quart bag) + one empty 500 ml bottle (which is also allowed)

TSA's 3-1-1 rule = fail

It's still all security theater, folks. The terrorists were trying to build something that was as likely to take them out before they even got on the plane.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Just saw this in the sidebar:

"We are having technical issues with posting updates to the blog. A ticket has been opened and we should have this resolved shortly. ~ Neil 7 days ago"

And here I thought the delete-o-meter was going to go wild.

,>)

T. Saint

Submitted by Anonymous on

I don't know what you guys are reading but this stuff is real. The explosives were premixed.. hello.. you think a terrorist don't have a labortory to mix their explosive into an unopened soft drink bottle. To a terrorist the explosives don't have to take down a plane for them to get their point across. All they have to do is prove to the public that they can get a device onboard and detonate it. They do not even have to kill someone to get this point across and that would be enough to be detrimental for awhile.

Submitted by Anonymous on

um yea 3-1-1 stops the big bottles of premixed explosives from going through. The drink bottles before weren't a threat and now they are known to be able to conceal liquid explosives. How can people now understand this? 3-1-1 stops this because big bottles are not aloud and it isn't feasible to mix explosives on a plane so that makes the little bottles rule work.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I don't dispute that liquid explosives are a legitimate threat, but this post is once again just repeating the same old crap. Explosive liquid + detonator = tragedy I've never seen such transparent fearmongering! I think we all know already that bombs on a plane are a bad idea.

My question (I think this is the 4th, maybe 5th time I've posted it, still no response) is this:

If the liquids you confiscate at the checkpoint (shampoo, coke, water, lotion, etc) are potentially explosive, poisonous, or maybe even infectious, how can you justify unceremoniously tossing them all together into bins or trash cans? Further, how can you justify donating them to homeless shelters or otherwise re-using them? If they're too dangerous to go on a plane, they need to be properly disposed of in the manner of other hazardous materials. Try explaining that to the taxpayers. X millions of dollars a year... safe transport and disposal of harmless liquids

In your answer, please don't talk about detonators. We're not just talking about bombs. Don't invoke SSI, and please for the love of god don't mention slingshots without rocks. I'd appreciate being linked to a document that explains TSA's liquids procedure AFTER a passenger goes through the checkpoint.

Also, just so I've got something constructive in here while I'm tearing you guys a new one, how about this: One beverage container, up to 1L per passenger. Passenger must take a swig before liquid can be allowed to board. Kinda unusual, I know, but I like it better than being forced to pay the airlines' inflated prices for drinks. Shampoo and such I can put in my checked baggage quite happily. There needs to be a compromise here because the rules as they are pretty much fly in the face of any common sense.

Submitted by Anonymous on

So this liquid explosive is possibly shock sensitive, does not have to mixed and can be in any old beverage container.

Tell me again why we are tossing our confiscated liquids in an unprotected trash bin exposing the entire checkpoint to a real chance of an explosion killing any number of TSA staff and traveling public?

Something does not add up!

Submitted by Ayn R Key on

You show us a video of an explosion. That proves one thing - liquid explosives explode. Unfortunately it still doesn't prove your case.

And the newspaper you linked to does undermine your case - it is difficult to make under laboratory conditions. You make several cases, but you never make the critical case.

The first problem with the case presented is that pre-mixed liquid explosives are highly volatile. That means that it is risky to even attempt to bring them to the airport as a potential terrorist would blow up on the way to the airport. As Marshall's so pointed out, the detonator was added by remote control on the Oasis soft drink explosive.

The second case you failed to make is whether or not a pre-mixed liquid explosive would be detected by bomb sniffing equipment. 3-1-1 only makes sense if pre-mixed liquid explosives cannot be detected that way and you have never asserted that that is the case. If it is true that bomb sniffers do not work, then the only option is a complete liquids ban.

The third case you failed to make was about mixing the components on the other side of security. As has been pointed out by many of the chemists it is difficult to do so under ideal conditions.

The fourth case you fale to make is why you so intently focused on unmixed binary liquids when the accused London bombers were pre-mixing. Trollkiller has you spot on with that one, asking why you makde the unmixed binary liquids case.

The fifth case you failed to make is whether or not the detonators themselves would fail to be detected in any way, and they're not liquid.

Nice try, but unlike the MMW, this attempt to finally answer a question is falling short.

Submitted by Usascholar on

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Submitted by Winstonsmith on

Whether 3-1-1 or removing shoes or even the MMW strip search machine make sense or not is nearly a moot point if the TSA has failed to secure the sterile areas of the airport. If any individual or group of individuals can enter or exit at any time without being screened as appears to be the case today the checkpoints might as well not even be there. They are just an easily circumnavigated speed bump for dangerous items (not to mention largely ineffective in their own right with the number of items that the checkpoint screeners miss).

So sure, let's follow the issue with the London bomber trial but let's not lose sight of the more important questions:

How is it that nearly 8 years after 9/11 that the TSA is only considering making sure that all airport employees get screened?

How is it that nearly 8 years after 9/11 that the TSA does not routinely screen every vehicle that enters the sterile area of an airport?

How is it that the TSA won't be inspecting all cargo and packages that go into the holds of planes until at least 2010 -- nearly 9 years post 9/11 and possibly longer.

Submitted by Anonymous on
Marshall's SO said...
Christopher, you wrote:

In actuality, you left out a very significant fact: ""The device, made from an Oasis soft drink bottle, had to be put together with a remote controlled arm at a government laboratory because the mixture was so volatile."

Let us presume some percentage chance that the explosive would accidentaly detonate during construction - 20%?
Perhaps suicidal bombers, bombers who figure on going to paradise whether the bomb goes off in the airplane or in their kitchen, were willing to risk that 20%. It is unfair to expect scientists in a lab to undertake that same risk.
Submitted by Anonymous on
Ayn R. Key said...
You show us a video of an explosion.....why you so intently focused on unmixed binary liquids...

I must have missed that, where/when did TSA indicate it was focusing on binary liquid explosives? I believe that has been the blogoshpheric static.
Submitted by Anonymous on

Um, I've known people who have "walked right through airport security" carrying full soft drink bottles since 3-1-1. How many prohibited liquids get past your checkpoints?

And Michael was right above: "The device, made from an Oasis soft drink bottle, had to be put together with a remote controlled arm at a government laboratory because the mixture was so volatile, a jury heard." -- Telegraph

Maybe if you tossed people in jail or fined them the $250-1500 for the prohibited items instead of just tossing them in a can and waving the passengers on through, you'd get better compliance on your 3-1-1 rule.

Could you please explain how this exploding soda bottle plot could have killed thousands?

Does the 3-1-1 rule actually prevent someone from carrying a soda bottle onto an airplane?

Submitted by Anonymous on

anonymous 9:25 am: Why can't you (and Hawley) understand that you can pour the contents of five little bottles into one large empty container (which is allowed to be brought onboard)? In fact, if you need n mL of explosive to carry out your dastardly deed, and each plotter can carry m little bottles, then I need n/m people and one large empty container (like a collapsable waterproof bag of arbitrary volume) to carry it out.

This is why the TSA's plan is such a failure. (Well, there's many reasons, but this is just one.)

How can you not understand pouring little bottles into big ones?????

Submitted by Anonymous on

The "would be killers would have walked right through airport security" with the current 3-1-1 rule too. Some of them may have had their bombs taken from them and tossed in the garbage, but you still let people walk on through.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Question regarding; "I travel for my company as a sales guy for (SPAM REMOVED)which is a dietary supplement that is in powder form.

Are post containing links to a vendors product/website ok now?

Submitted by Anonymous on
anonymous 9:25 am: Why can't you (and Hawley) understand that you can pour the contents of five little bottles into one large empty container (which is allowed to be brought onboard)? In fact, if you need n mL of explosive to carry out your dastardly deed, and each plotter can carry m little bottles, then I need n/m people and one large empty container (like a collapsable waterproof bag of arbitrary volume) to carry it out.

This is why the TSA's plan is such a failure. (Well, there's many reasons, but this is just one.)

How can you not understand pouring little bottles into big ones?????

Each person necessary to complete the plot is a seperate opportunity to detect and defeat the plot. The act of combining the liquids is a suspicious activity that is yet another opportunity to detect and disrupt the plot. Liquids that are candidates to serve as explosives are uniformly noxious and reactive, opening the smaller containers to combine them in an airplane, airport lobby or bathroom of either is going to be detected.

Furthermore, putting in place a policy that requires terrorists to engage in some level of cooperation between multiple actors provides greater opportunity for police and intelligence organizations to detect the plot before it ever gets to the checkpoint.

How can you not understand that?
Submitted by Anonymous on
winstonsmith said...
How is it that nearly 8 years after 9/11 that the TSA is only considering making sure that all airport employees get screened?
Every airport employee is vetted when hired. To screen every airport employee every time they report for work would require a much larger TSO force and much more money. Were the money available the next question is whether it would be better spent on other measures.

How is it that nearly 8 years after 9/11 that the TSA does not routinely screen every vehicle that enters the sterile area of an airport? Every authorized vehicle should only be driven by authorized (vetted) employees. To screen every authorized vehicle every time it entered the airport would require a much larger TSO force and much more money. Were the money available the next question is whether it would be better spent on other measures.

How is it that the TSA won't be inspecting all cargo and packages that go into the holds of planes until at least 2010 -- nearly 9 years post 9/11 and possibly longer. All cargo/packages are assessed for risk, high risk cargo/packages are inspected. Certain types of cargo have an almost 100% inspection rate. To inspect all cargo/packages requires a much larger TSI & TSO force, much more money and improved technology. Now that Congress has made the money available TSA is building up to the 100% inspection goal.

It appears odd that someone who professes such suspicion of gov't appears to ask questions the only answer to which is a much larger security presence.
Submitted by NoClu on

Seriously Annon....

Winstonsmith certainly knows the "reasons" you cite. The problem is that people previously "vetted" can go bad, and vehicles that are "supposed" to be driven by vetted people are sometimes driven by people who are up to no good.
Thus, some sensitive places should require 100% screening, 100% of the time. To do otherwise is to leave the door open to bad guys.

Submitted by Winstonsmith on

Anonymous Anonymous suggests in response to my questioning the large holes the TSA leaves in security:

It appears odd that someone who professes such suspicion of gov't appears to ask questions the only answer to which is a much larger security presence.

I think you have missed the point here. I put the questions out there because I see the TSA focusing on the wrong things at the expense of actual security and not so much because I'm necessarily looking for more and deeper government involvement. If I may draw a parallel to WWII: the French built a giant and expensive fortification when faced with the German threat, the Maginot line. It would have stopped a German frontal assault, so the Germans just went right around it and took their country over. The Maginot line ended up being useless. Effectively that is what the TSA has set up here. The checkpoints are the TSA's Maginot line.

It is not so much Mr(s). Anonymous/Anonymous about professing suspicion about government or government motives, but about questioning the management of existing resources in this particular case. So many additional resources have been expended into the passenger checkpoint, the one part of the security chain that provides the least real incremental security benefit, while nearly completely ignoring everything else for years after one of the most spectacular attacks in our history.

If the TSA is really interested in providing actual security for the traveling public then it needs to find a way to secure the sterile areas of the airport. If that requires Kip actually to make the case to Congress for additional funding, then let Kip make the case. If that requires Kip to redirect funds from programs or equipment purchases that provide little or no actual security benefit to things that do, then let him do that.

Submitted by Anonymous on

What secret trial evidence is preventing you from answering the questions about small knives?

Submitted by Anonymous on
We have said since the institution of the liquid ban that the fear or threat is the combination of items, including liquid explosives while in flight to create an improvised explosive device. That combination means explosives, detonator and other components to have a fully assembled bomb. Take one component away and you have a collection of harmless items. Of course we don't want liquid explosives anywhere near us but without the other components, they're not causing catastrophic damage.

That’s why it is safe for us to store the items together in a trash can near the checkpoint and that's what we do with prohibited items.

Nico

TSA EoS Blog Team


Well Nico, seems like your comments posted above are busted.

Christopher posted in part this; "As the trial progresses, we are finally able to share information - things like the fact that the bottles of liquid explosives were pre-mixed, non-binary and would have almost certainly brought down those airliners".

So it does not require mixing two items inflight to constitute the weapon.

Once again, dumping all of the liquids confiscated into unprotected trash bins is short sighted and most possibly extremely hazardous.

With the information uncovered in the trial in the UK have TSA rethinking the disposal methods of liquids at checkpoint?

Is it security or show?
Submitted by Anonymous on

anonymous @3:10 pm:

Hydrogen peroxide is not particularly noxious. It's not a particularly safe substance at the concentrations needed to do Bad Things, but you can quite easily pour from one container to another without making funny smells or injuring yourself.

And it really takes only a minor amount of "tradecraft" for guys to exchange their little bottles. In fact, they don't need to do it on the plane--they can do it in the airport (like in the bathroom in adjacent stalls) beyond the secure area!

You, like TSA, completely fail. I'm glad you're not running things!

It is just dumbfounding to me how people can fail to understand these simple issues.

The 3-1-1 rule is a joke. Having multiple collaborators is no more risky than a single one. There's a trivial way to defeat any screening process looking for collaborators (see the Carnival Booth algorithm for example).

Submitted by DoogieSD on

Thank you TSA...there ARE some of us out here who do NOT hate this country and who appreciate the things you do!

Plz do your best to ignore these anonymous cowards, if you passed out cookies and cake they'd complain about that too and "your fascist dessert policies"....

Submitted by Dunstan on

" DoogieSD said...

Thank you TSA...there ARE some of us out here who do NOT hate this country and who appreciate the things you do!

Plz do your best to ignore these anonymous cowards, if you passed out cookies and cake they'd complain about that too and "your fascist dessert policies"....

I guess freedom of speech is not part of your vocabulary, at least for anyone who has a different opinion than you.... It is that kind of attitude that got this country into it's current predicament.

Carl Schurz (1829–1906)
QUOTATION: The Senator from Wisconsin cannot frighten me by exclaiming, “My country, right or wrong.” In one sense I say so too. My country; and my country is the great American Republic. My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.

Submitted by Trollkiller on
DoogieSD said...

Thank you TSA...there ARE some of us out here who do NOT hate this country and who appreciate the things you do!

Plz do your best to ignore these anonymous cowards, if you passed out cookies and cake they'd complain about that too and "your fascist dessert policies"....

Yes, yes, please ignore those that HATE this country so much they want it to revert back to a Government by the people, for the people and of the people.

Please ignore those that HATE this country so much that they waste their free time posting here in order to lodge a grievance against a Government entity in hopes of redress.

Yes TSA please ignore those that can't turn a blind eye to the harassment of citizens as they assert their right to travel freely. A right that is so deeply ingrained in collective conscious of the American people it predates the Constitution.

Yes, please ignore those mean old people that are paying for the TSA and want their money spent wisely.

Yes, please ignore us.
Submitted by Anonymous on

@DoogieSD

We can love the country and hate policies. We can metaphorically give this country sweet sweet foreplay every night without asking for anything in return.

But if this country's ADMINISTRATION (there's a difference between the two) is terrible, then we let it know.

Submitted by Abelard on
Thank you TSA...there ARE some of us out here who do NOT hate this country and who appreciate the things you do!

Yes, of course. Because only people who agree with TSA policies and won't challenge that agency and require them to back up what they say means those people don't love this country.

Tell me, how much love of this country did the current administration have when they lied about WMDs in Iraq or that we would be greeted as liberators or that the oil revenues would pay for the war or that our troops would be home in weeks?

This government is not above reproach nor condemnation and I refuse to sacrifice my right to challenge my government simply because any individual throws out the charge that I must hate my nation.
Submitted by CBGB on

I would gladly accept their milk and cookies as long as you don't try to share any of your coolaid.

So basically, your rule is in place because of a some form of threat that was posed but doesn't actually protect against the threat or in any way understand it?

nice...

Submitted by Chuck on

Great post. You're right! I watch the news daily and haven't heard a "peep" about this in the U.S. Great police work in thwarting yet another horrific tragedy by terrorist factions.

Submitted by Gary on

You guys never address an important question on the topic of liquids and gels: can I or can I not bring sandwiches from home onto the airplane (said sandwiches might have peanut butter, jelly, mustard, mayonaise, liverwurst, spam, or any number of other slimy concotions on them). Since I don't want to put the sandwiches in my ziplock bag with my deodorant and toothpaste, I need to know whether these are totally not considered to be either a liquid or a gel. As a side question, why do you allow the criminals who run the concessions in the aiport to charge $4 for a bottle of water, basically profiteering from your prohibitions? You should give bottles of water away for free if you confiscate one coming in!!!

Submitted by Dunstan on

“I confidently trust that the American people will prove themselves … too wise not to detect the false pride or the dangerous ambitions or the selfish schemes which so often hide themselves under that deceptive cry of mock patriotism: ‘Our country, right or wrong!’ They will not fail to recognize that our dignity, our free institutions and the peace and welfare of this and coming generations of Americans will be secure only as we cling to the watchword of true patriotism: ‘Our country—when right to be kept right; when wrong to be put right.’” Carl Schurz

DoogieSD, Bear in mind that some of the people in this country take exception to the policies of our current administration, its secrecy and lack of accountability. I look at Katrina as an example of the current leadership handles serious problems. The TSA and Homeland Security might not have been implemented, and even the Republican party would not be in such dire straights under another hand. The world, and our place and interaction with it, would be far different. I feel this way because I love our country. I would love to see it return to setting the best example of how diverse people can live in harmony.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Why is everyone focusing on mixing 100ml bottles together? You just have to pack them in close proximity and the first one going off will detonate the rest.

Get rid of the liquids ban. It's stupid and everyone knows it's stupid. It undermines confidence in the TSA because everyone knows that it's idiotic and because everyone either has had liquids get past the checkpoint or knows someone who has had liquids get past the checkpoint.

If it were easy to sneak bombs on disguised as soda bottles it would have been done years ago. Liquid nitroglycerin is not a new thing. It is, however, unstable as hell, and the odds of a terrorist blowing themselves up just walking around with it is high enough to prevent its use as a carry on bomb.

The TSA should be concentrating on improving security of checked luggage, at the checkpoints and screening airport workers. If something can be stolen from checked luggage, something, such as a bomb, can be inserted.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"Every authorized vehicle should only be driven by authorized (vetted) employees."
It's not happening at Seatac.
I didn't know you could drive onto the tarmac without inspection OR ID check and sit unchallenged and idling for over 30 minutes with an unobstructed path to the main runways and gates.
But apparently it's ok:
"Both the Port of Seattle and the federal Transportation Safety Administration reviewed the incident, including videotapes, and concluded their security system is sound. We are satisfied with how procedures were followed that day," said Perry Cooper, airport spokesman. "We have never had a security lapse in that part of the airport."

It turns out there's no requirement, local or federal, to check IDs or screen drivers and cars when they go into that part of the airfield.
Makes me feel secure with my 3-1-1 bag.

Submitted by Alan B on

I just can't believe how crazy this world has become over the last 20 years, where will it all end!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Tang Bomb: Liquid Explosives Are the New 'Weapon of Choice'

Tang, the breakfast drink powder, was an ingredient in a potentially lethal
liquid bomb, according to British prosecutors.

Tang, peroxide and a disposable camera — items you may very well have in your
home — can be a deadly mix.

Far-fetched as it sounds, bombs made from hydrogen peroxide and the breakfast
powder drink Tang could have taken down seven planes bound for the U.S. and
Canada — using flash cameras to trigger the explosions.

A British court saw video evidence this week of the "liquid explosives plot," an
alleged terrorist cabal British police say they thwarted in August 2006. The
suspects allegedly had planned to use common household chemicals to mix bombs
while aboard jets flying over the Atlantic.

The alleged plot, and the excellent police work that went into busting it,
resulted in the tough carry-on restrictions passengers face before boarding an
airplane. Knowing the dangers of liquid explosives should make the hassle of
tossing your bottles when traveling a lot easier to bear.

Peter Wright, a lawyer prosecuting the case in London against eight of the 18
accused suspects, called the bombs "a deadly cargo." It's a simple one, too.

Prosecutors say the alleged terrorists intended to carry the components on board
each plane to form a bomb.

One was a mix of hydrogen peroxide and Tang. The citric acid in the Tang acts as
a catalyst, making the mixture deadly.

The other component is a mixture known as HMTD — hexamethylene triperoxide
diamine, a chemical cocktail made from readily available household and
commercial ingredients. HMTD is extremely unstable and can be set off by heat,
movement and even contact with metal.

Prosecutors say the suspects had planned to hide the Tang-and-bleach mixture in
plastic soda bottles and the HMTD in hollowed-out AA batteries. The initial
charge would have been set off in the HMTD, causing a larger explosion.

According to Erroll Southers, the chief of intelligence and counterterrorism at
Los Angeles International Airport, peroxide-based bombs are on the rise all over
the world.

"Peroxide-based explosives are the weapon of choice in the Middle East," he
said. "They leave no residue, they’re extremely volatile, they’re easy to make
and they’ve been quite effective."

Just one bottle-sized bomb could be powerful enough to rip a hole in a plane’s
hull — certain tragedy for the passengers aboard the seven targeted flights.

Prosecutors say the attack was planned for between August and December, two of
the busiest months of the year for air travel. Had the planes been full, nearly
2,000 people would have been killed.

Jurors in the trial were shown video of what those explosions would have looked
like. Scientists at the Forensic Explosives Laboratory in London re-created the
device, but as a precaution they left the testing area and had a robotic arm mix
the deadly chemicals.

It was a smart move: The tiny bomb destroyed one of the video cameras and
sprayed the lab with pieces of the protective walls meant to contain the blast.

Next time you're feeling inconvenienced because you can't take a bottle of
shampoo or soda pop through security, think again. Those restrictions at the
gate are there to ensure that you'll reach your destination safe and sound.

Submitted by Trollkiller on
Anonymous said...

Tang Bomb: Liquid Explosives Are the New 'Weapon of Choice'

While I can appreciate you quoting the complete Fox News article, next time place a link instead of violating copyright law. Those of us that create will thank you.
Submitted by Trollkiller on
Anonymous said...

"Every authorized vehicle should only be driven by authorized (vetted) employees."
It's not happening at Seatac.
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/dannywestneat/2004422114_danny18.html
I didn't know you could drive onto the tarmac without inspection OR ID check and sit unchallenged and idling for over 30 minutes with an unobstructed path to the main runways and gates.
But apparently it's ok:
"Both the Port of Seattle and the federal Transportation Safety Administration reviewed the incident, including videotapes, and concluded their security system is sound. We are satisfied with how procedures were followed that day," said Perry Cooper, airport spokesman. "We have never had a security lapse in that part of the airport."

It turns out there's no requirement, local or federal, to check IDs or screen drivers and cars when they go into that part of the airfield.
Makes me feel secure with my 3-1-1 bag.

That was an interesting article pointing to a possible security flaw.

The reason I say possible security flaw is the story does not quite make sense to me.

Even before 9-11 airports took measures not to allow "just anybody" access to the tarmac. The fear was not terrorism but that a driver could get lost and cross a runway or taxiway. Looking at a satellite image of Sea-Tac it appears the general aviation area is on the south west side and the area this van would have been sitting in is a far cry from "the goddamn runway" as this retired General so politely puts.

Any attempts to "gun" the van across the runway (1/2 mile away) or reach the terminal (1 mile away) would have been immediately detected by the control tower and met with police intervention.

So what we have here is a sensationalist story with very little fact. We have two retired military people meeting a known flight with a 2 star General on board. "When they said they were picking up an Army official, the gate opened and they were invited to drive onto the airfield." Do you think the conversation went something like this?

Gate Operator: "Hi can I help you?"

Driver: "Yes, we are here to pick up General [redacted] from [flight redacted]."

Gate Operator after checking flights: "Great pull around to the side of the building"

The driver pulls around to side of the building. Please note the windows the van is parked in front of. (Look at Google maps, satellite view of Sea-Tac)

The vehicle stayed within the designated area for passenger pickup.

Although this is made to sound really bad it is less of a security danger than the hundreds of airport workers that are not properly screened every time and have far more access to the terminal and aircraft than these two did.
Submitted by NoClu on

So, mixing Tang with Hydrogen Peroxide like I have at home is dangerous? Gosh, we should ban Tang. That makes me sad though, cause everyone knows that Astronauts like Tang.

Seriously.

Submitted by Dunstan on

Trollkiller said:
Even before 9-11 airports took measures not to allow "just anybody" access to the tarmac. The fear was not terrorism but that a driver could get lost and cross a runway or taxiway."
I flew on an air taxi a couple of years ago, and was pretty astounded when we landed, and my GF was waved onto the tarmac to pick me up. She parked about 30 feet from the plane. Next to us was a small jet, unloading passengers to a limo. GA is the way to fly! The airfield is an AFB, BTW. Absolutely no TSA in sight.

Submitted by Dunstan on

"One was a mix of hydrogen peroxide and Tang. The citric acid in the Tang acts as a catalyst, making the mixture deadly."

Are you sure the citric acid is a catalyst? So, is it the sugar in Tang that reacts with the H2O2?

"The alleged plot, and the excellent police work that went into busting it, resulted in the tough carry-on restrictions passengers face before boarding an airplane. Knowing the dangers of liquid explosives should make the hassle of tossing your bottles when traveling a lot easier to bear."

I will keep that in mind the next time I have occasion to fly through General Aviation. GA makes traveling so much easier....

Submitted by Dunstan on

"Next time you're feeling inconvenienced because you can't take a bottle of shampoo or soda pop through security, think again. Those restrictions at the gate are there to ensure that you'll reach your destination safe and sound."

As a friend used to say "Get a lip-lock on reality"... It is more likely that I could choke to death by reading your sensationalist post, eating, and trying not to laugh all at the same time, then get killed by a H2O2 Tang bomb. Thanks for caring for my safety, or whatever it is that you are saying.

Submitted by CBGB on

so lets get this straight...

Because of TANG I have to spend twice as much on a soda inside the not-so-sterile zone

Because of TANG TSO's get free perfume from the trash bin

Because of TANG the TSA creates a bigger risk by allowing people to through around ptoentially unstable chemicals

Because of TANG

Your propaganda article would make a lot more sense IF you had suggested them using something else, like citric acid

Your saying these guys had the wherewithal to invent this plan, locate this recipe, but couldn't be bothered to buy citric acid by itself? Esbit tablets are obviously off the shelf, but the stability of these compounds makes the reality of this stuff making it to the airport and through security without being detected or going poof is still a little beyond what I'll believe. Then you have to consider how they would tamp this stuff to make the explosion create a hole. An explosion as do all fluids takes the path of least resistance. That is not out the side of a plane, these things wouldn't have enough energy unless they brought jugs or had 50 lbs of sand in a backpack.

If these guys were seriously considering this, I think you have another case like the "Miami 8", or whatever they are nicknamed, on your hands.

But lets give the TSA credit on all these counts and just analyze the plot, based on their new rules and 3-1-1
Ingredients

1)Tang-its a powder, I can still bring it through

2)Esbit-if its not in the box theres no way in hell a TSO is stopping me for that (BTW article misses this component)

3)Hydrogen Peroxide could probably bring a sufficient amount through with a buddy or two, or I could jut get it from the McDonalds First aid kit (show me an airport that doesn't have a McDonalds, it is part of the standard McDonalds first aid kit)

So I have just made a bomb without violating the 3-1-1 rule, and with actually less difficulty than trying to bring this stuff through security and not having gruby TSO hands toss it around.

On another note, why was it so hard to release this information? It was obviously going to come out in a trial and now it does and again you look foolish because your big secret binary explosive is... TANG

Submitted by Anonymous on

Seriously, the explanation demonstrates that the current invasive and restrictive "security" measures are ineffective. The reason these people were found is that there was actual intelligence and investigation.

There are solutions to the terrorist threat, and the current rules (including 3-1-1) are just cumbersome and useless.

Submitted by Dunstan on

CBGB said...

"3)Hydrogen Peroxide could probably bring a sufficient amount through with a buddy or two, or I could jut get it from the McDonalds First aid kit (show me an airport that doesn't have a McDonalds, it is part of the standard McDonalds first aid kit)"

The hydrogen peroxide solution in a medical kit is very dilute, typically 3%. The hydrogen peroxide needed for the type of explosives discussed here is highly concentrated, and not readily available.

Submitted by NoClu on

DUNSTAN. Shhhhh. Don't let any one know that the H202 in their medicine cabinet isn't strong enough to go boom. There's been a lot of time and energy invested in presenting mis-information or incomplete information on the topic.

Remember, keeping people terrified helps us win the war on terror.

Submitted by Dunstan on

NoClu said...
"DUNSTAN. Shhhhh. Don't let any one know that the H202 in their medicine cabinet isn't strong enough to go boom. There's been a lot of time and energy invested in presenting mis-information or incomplete information on the topic.

Remember, keeping people terrified helps us win the war on terror."

Oops...
I vaguely remember the elementary school air raid siren practice drills from childhood, where we would crouch under our desks. I can't help wondering if the same think tank, now in geriatric mode, came up with the current system....

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