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Thread: Explosive device set off aboard airliner at Detroit Wayne International Airport

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    Council Member Kevin23's Avatar
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    Default Explosive device set off aboard airliner at Detroit Wayne International Airport

    Apparently a Nigerian National on a transatlantic flight that originated in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Attempted to ignite an explosive aboard the aircraft.

    Here is a link to a news story about the incident, and I apologize if this has been posted previously this evening on the forums

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/TRAVEL/12/25...ers/index.html

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    Default Security Theater

    Looking forward to the ineffective security theater harrassment that this will produce at the airport for the post-holiday flights.

    Two articles with further links on the theatrics that pass for security at our airports:

    Economist's Gulliver Blog

    Atlantic article

    We need to separate and be honest about the components of airline security: the things that actually can defeat attacks (most of which should happen well prior to the TSA security check at the airport), the things that deter attackers from trying even though they won't defeat a trained attacker (the TSA security check), and the things that are wrongheadedly added in for good measure to make people feel like the government is doing something and/or is being fair (half-assed harrassment of grandma whose body language, travel documents, IDs, luggage, etc shows that she isn't trying to pull anything over, but doing a frisk on her anyway that is embarassing, annoying, and insulting, but would not find even the most poorly hidden contraband). And as one Israeli CT expert told me, we need to focus more on resilience when it comes to strategic message to our populations than fearmongering approaches that make them afraid of the threat.

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    Council Member Kevin23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pjmunson View Post
    Looking forward to the ineffective security theater harrassment that this will produce at the airport for the post-holiday flights.

    Two articles with further links on the theatrics that pass for security at our airports:

    Economist's Gulliver Blog

    Atlantic article

    We need to separate and be honest about the components of airline security: the things that actually can defeat attacks (most of which should happen well prior to the TSA security check at the airport), the things that deter attackers from trying even though they won't defeat a trained attacker (the TSA security check), and the things that are wrongheadedly added in for good measure to make people feel like the government is doing something and/or is being fair (half-assed harrassment of grandma whose body language, travel documents, IDs, luggage, etc shows that she isn't trying to pull anything over, but doing a frisk on her anyway that is embarassing, annoying, and insulting, but would not find even the most poorly hidden contraband). And as one Israeli CT expert told me, we need to focus more on resilience when it comes to strategic message to our populations than fearmongering approaches that make them afraid of the threat.
    I agree with you on how poorly planned and conducted airport security is in the US, and it can get quite aggravating to say the least.

    For example in my junior year in high about year and a half ago, I was embarking on a college program to Cambridge University at Dulles Airport in DC, my home city. At airport security I found affairs quite haphazard in the way they were conducted. As in my instance, some film I was bringing on the trip to take pictures was almost destroyed because security demanded to screen it via x-ray despite the fact that I proved that it was indeed film. While at the same time many other passengers who had more questionable items where rushed through security without the time being taken to process them.

    Coming back home after the college program at Cambridge and gong through London's massive Heathrow Airport,. I found security on the other side of the Atlantic to be not much better, due to the fact that I didn't find security to be alert and vigilant, in addition I found the security station that I went through to be poorly manned. Even though I was subject to standard procedure I didn't find things as quite as through as they should be. All of this I found quite surprising for a nation that has first hand experience dealing with the IRA, acts of state sponsored terrorism, and recently violent Islamic Jihadists.

    I therefore agree with you fullheartedly that incompetent security and mindless/illogical harassment at airport security is not only aggravating but is also a threat.

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default AQ prefer "hard" targets or are airlines "soft" targets?

    On first reading of the few reports it is amazingly similar to Richard Reid, the "Shoe bomber" a few years ago and why attempt to ignite the device when at the end of the journey? Secondly, if this is a genuine AQ plot, it is remarkable that an attack on air transport features; an activity supposedly with such high security features. Note the references to: no secondary screening and no hand baggage - for a young Nigerian adult male.
    davidbfpo

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    Speaking of airport security...

    I was selected to be one of the passengers who got the more thorough inspection on a flight out of Atlanta a few years back. This had happened to me before, because I often purchased tickets online, on short notice. However, this time was different. I was flying on a gov't flight, paid for and checked in with a gov't credit card, I showed my military ID when I got my tickets and while going through screening, and only 15 minutes earlier I checked an M4 and M9 in a hard shell case. The screener apologized to me a few times while quickly going through the motions of the inspection, realizing how absurd it was. I didn't care - I laughed.

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    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    Speaking of airport security...

    I was selected to be one of the passengers who got the more thorough inspection on a flight out of Atlanta a few years back. This had happened to me before, because I often purchased tickets online, on short notice. However, this time was different. I was flying on a gov't flight, paid for and checked in with a gov't credit card, I showed my military ID when I got my tickets and while going through screening, and only 15 minutes earlier I checked an M4 and M9 in a hard shell case. The screener apologized to me a few times while quickly going through the motions of the inspection, realizing how absurd it was. I didn't care - I laughed.
    You were clearly singled out for very good reasons - too obvious ones to tell you.

    Were not practically all of the plots or bombings concerning aircrafts comitted by persons which fitted to a often surprising degree the risk profiles? I know this is a rather sensitive topic, but given the limited time and ressources for security checks the overall effort should focus on them, while keeping up a (far) more irregular/sparse pattern for intensiv checks for other profiles.


    Firn


    P.S: Good to hear that this obviously timed bombing was prevented. Kudos to the crew and the passenger(s).
    Last edited by Firn; 12-26-2009 at 10:06 AM.

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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Hey Firn,

    Quote Originally Posted by Firn View Post
    You were clearly singled out for very good reasons - too obvious ones to tell you.
    Not sure I fully understand "to obvious to tell you". Schmedlap fits a current profile ? If you mean this is an OPSEC issue, then say so please.

    Quote Originally Posted by Firn View Post
    Were not practically all of the plots or bombings concerning aircrafts comitted by persons which fitted to a often surprising degree the risk profiles?
    This is one of the very reasons we teach the local security to check everybody. Not a single person should be exempt from a full screening (shoes off, physical search and yet another screening at the gate). Some folks just don't know what's going on and being ignorant doesn't translate into easier checks and apologies in lieu of security.

    Quote Originally Posted by Firn View Post
    I know this is a rather sensitive topic, but given the limited time and ressources for security checks the overall effort should focus on them, while keeping up a (far) more irregular/sparse pattern for intensiv checks for other profiles.
    There's an inordinate amount of pressure on security personnel to perform an effective job in a matter of seconds. Simply being trained to identify potential flammable and/or explosive mixtures obviously is useless if we don't permit security to do a thorough inspection. This especially holds true at the gate... The enormous amount of hazmat available at the gift shops are not being controlled.

    Quote Originally Posted by Firn View Post
    Firn

    P.S: Good to hear that this obviously timed bombing was prevented. Kudos to the crew and the passenger(s).
    Could you expand on "timed bombing" ? All I've read indicates the bonehead has serious burns.

    I'm glad to see passengers getting involved - time we sent a message to would be fanatics: We won't take this Sierra any more
    If you want to blend in, take the bus

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    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    Hey Firn,



    Not sure I fully understand "to obvious to tell you". Schmedlap fits a current profile ? If you mean this is an OPSEC issue, then say so please.
    Just too thickly veiled irony about the comic nature of the incident when viewed from his perspective. In short I forgot the


    Could you expand on "timed bombing" ? All I've read indicates the bonehead has serious burns.
    I refered to the overall timing of the bombing. We recently had also the video of the captured soldier. It seems to be that dear AQ&C looks closely at the (christian) calendar before making international moves. I would suit me fine, If the person in question would always "time" the bomb as splendidly as yesterday.

    I'm glad to see passengers getting involved - time we sent a message to would be fanatics: We won't take this Sierra any more
    True


    Firn

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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firn View Post
    Just too thickly veiled irony about the comic nature of the incident when viewed from his perspective. In short I forgot the
    Firn, I'm just a thick-headed sort, but you've lost me now. I don't work at the airport, but I do teach airport security personnel awareness training. Sorry, but I don't see the comic nature herein.

    Quote Originally Posted by Firn View Post
    I refered to the overall timing of the bombing. We recently had also the video of the captured soldier. It seems to be that dear AQ&C looks closely at the (christian) calendar before making international moves. I would suit me fine, If the person in question would always "time" the bomb as splendidly as yesterday.
    Not sure where you're going with this para. Captured Soldier and Christian Calendar ?

    The 23 year-old Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab claims he was to
    to ignite an explosive device as the jet approached Detroit
    You may not have access to LEO and the BDC, but this BBC article has a different twist.
    If you want to blend in, take the bus

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    On first reading of the few reports it is amazingly similar to Richard Reid, the "Shoe bomber" a few years ago and why attempt to ignite the device when at the end of the journey?
    David,maybe because at the end of the journey he would not only kill the passengers and destroy the plane but he would also disrupt Airport operations all in one strike. Thoughts?

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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    David,maybe because at the end of the journey he would not only kill the passengers and destroy the plane but he would also disrupt Airport operations all in one strike. Thoughts?
    Maybe. I think it was for the purpose of sending the message.

    Triggering it over the mid Atlantic would optimize the chance of success; even if the bomb did not completely destroy it, the plane would have to continue to fly for some time and could still crash if the bomb did significant damage. He didnít do this.

    I donít know the flight path. But I imagine an Amsterdam to Detroit flight does not fly much over the USA, probably flies more over Canada then comes into Detroit from the NW. If so, there would only be a small timeframe of flight over the US Ė at the end of the journey on the approach to Detroit.

    In the mind of a terrorist blowing up a jetliner over the continental United States sends more of a message then it does blowing one up over the Atlantic or Canada.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    Firn, I'm just a thick-headed sort, but you've lost me now. I don't work at the airport, but I do teach airport security personnel awareness training. Sorry, but I don't see the comic nature herein.
    There is nothing comic in the bombing, I thought this was clear. I commented Schmedlap's experience and I agreed with him that it could seem absurd to him, given the circumstances.



    Not sure where you're going with this para. Captured Soldier and Christian Calendar ?
    I refered to the fact that AQ or elements which share the same ideology choose Christmas to send the video of the captured soldier. As David said, it seems to be part of their Info Warfare, just as the choice to try to wreck the airplane on the 26th of December. Note also how the producers want to have the mental link to Vietnam fortified.


    Hopefully this clears our misunderstanding up. Communication is both easy and difficult.


    Firn

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    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
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    This is the seating arrangement for the NWA Airbus A300-300. According to this news story, a passenger in 16G looked over his left shoulder and back three rows and saw a glow of flame, smoke, and commotion. This would place the suspect in row 19 left of center. Just like Richard Reid, he was going for the fuel tank. This all goes back to Bojinka.

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    Somebody correct me if I am wrong here but aren't there also legal issues with how passengers are selected for "additional screening"? I think that part of the issue is that other people like the eighty year old grandma have to be selected to avoid even the appearance of "profiling" or somebody is getting sued.

    As for Schmedlap, he is a former military officer and veteran of the War on Terror. He is therefore clearly a threat because he is a current or future member of a right-wing militia. The fact that he is in law school just proves that he has nefarious intent.

    SFC W

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    Council Member Uboat509's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    David,maybe because at the end of the journey he would not only kill the passengers and destroy the plane but he would also disrupt Airport operations all in one strike. Thoughts?
    I wonder if it isn't something much more simple. Perhaps it just took him that long to work up the courage. I would imagine that even suicide bombers have to work themselves up to the task and I know that some never get there.

    SFC W

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uboat509 View Post
    I wonder if it isn't something much more simple. Perhaps it just took him that long to work up the courage. I would imagine that even suicide bombers have to work themselves up to the task and I know that some never get there.

    SFC W
    Maybe, a news report says the guy is doing a lot of talking so maybe we will find out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bourbon View Post
    Maybe. I think it was for the purpose of sending the message.

    Triggering it over the mid Atlantic would optimize the chance of success; even if the bomb did not completely destroy it, the plane would have to continue to fly for some time and could still crash if the bomb did significant damage. He didnít do this.

    I donít know the flight path. But I imagine an Amsterdam to Detroit flight does not fly much over the USA, probably flies more over Canada then comes into Detroit from the NW. If so, there would only be a small timeframe of flight over the US Ė at the end of the journey on the approach to Detroit.

    In the mind of a terrorist blowing up a jetliner over the continental United States sends more of a message then it does blowing one up over the Atlantic or Canada.
    I was thinking more along the lines of the airport itself was the final target, blowing it up on landing or near landing would magnify the effect on the populace to enclude a lot more news coverage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Firn View Post

    Hopefully this clears our misunderstanding up. Communication is both easy and difficult.

    Firn
    Firn,
    Thanks for your clarification and video link !
    Stan
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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uboat509 View Post
    Somebody correct me if I am wrong here but aren't there also legal issues with how passengers are selected for "additional screening"? I think that part of the issue is that other people like the eighty year old grandma have to be selected to avoid even the appearance of "profiling" or somebody is getting sued.
    Can't answer for the USA but the EU countries are held to a minimum standard and anything above and beyond that is their business. We were detained in charles de gaulle for having explosive traces detected. Yet, we just transited Frankfurt without a hitch.

    I see what you're getting at and would only add that everybody be subjected to additional screening. No room to whine.

    As for grandma, older folks, especially in wheel chairs, are too easy to use. We've already had an incident involving a wheelchair with drugs stuffed into the tires and frame.

    Regards, Stan
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    Quote Originally Posted by bourbon View Post
    This would place the suspect in row 19 left of center. Just like Richard Reid, he was going for the fuel tank. This all goes back to Bojinka.
    19A according to the guardian:

    The device allegedly used by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab involved a syringe and a soft plastic container filled, reportedly, with 80g of PETN. The remnants of the bomb are being analysed in an FBI laboratory.

    PETN is relatively stable and is detonated either by heat or a shockwave. It is possible that the suspect used a syringe that was converted into an electrical detonator, but more likely the syringe was filled with nitroglycerin.

    Abdulmutallab was in a window seat, 19A, and allegedly had the device strapped to his left leg, against the body of the plane. The idea was almost certainly to blow a hole at much higher altitude, so that the decompression would tear the aircraft apart.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009...rate-explosive

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