Boom boom day for the Smurfchen: TSA shows even smallest terrorist devices pack a wallop

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by Mike, Mar 30, 2012.

  1. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    It was show & tell day for the Smurfchen ...

    Daily Record: In NJ demonstration, TSA shows even smallest terrorist devices pack a wallop

    You mean you recreated the shoe bomb that didn't work?

    How about the underwear bomb that didn't work (which, by the way, your Nude-O-Scopes can't detect, as TSA itself has admitted)?

    I don't recall the C4-in-a-toothpaste-tube. Do you just make that one up?

    2? :rolleyes:

    You'd think a TSA spokeshole could get the basic details right, no?
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  2. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    The only reason Reids shoe bomb didn't work was because it was wet from sweat and walking around in the rain all the night before catching his flight. (that being said, Reid would probably have killed himself and a couple of other folks, unless some cosmic miracle placed the explosion on a stress fracture in the frame)

    The item used in the panty bomber attack could have been effective - in that it would have killed him and a couple of other people if it functioned the way it was supposed to. (again, without a cosmic miracle, this item probably would not have brought down a plane)

    They use the toothpaste tube to show what a normal household item filled with explosives can actually do - this one is a common demonstration to try and bring home the impact a small item can have. I have also seen demonstrations involving makeup cases, tennis balls, and many other small items that you see during the normal course of your day, and what they can do to their surroundings.

    Honestly? I got nothing on the 2 oz comment. That is just completely wrong.
  3. CelticWhisper

    CelticWhisper Founding Member

    And this is blatant fearmongering on the part of TSA management, to get you and the public to be afraid for the sake of being afraid (and for the sake of justifying continued TSA overreach). "ANYTHING could be a bomb! Fear EVERYTHING! Shoes, underwear, hats, bottles, watches, beer cans, buttplugs, and potted plants!" The end result is people looking with irrational trepidation at completely innocuous objects because anything, anywhere, could blow up and kill them anytime.

    Donna Hayward said it best in Twin Peaks: "Maybe. And maybe the sun won't come up tomorrow. Think that way and you'll drive yourself crazy."
    TravelnMedic and Lisa Simeone like this.
  4. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Yeah, they're always busy blowing stuff up. To show us what happens when you -- uh -- blow stuff up. I wrote about it back in November:
    TSA Conducts Demonstration at Myrtle Beach

    All propaganda all the time. That's the name of the game.
  5. RB

    RB Founding Member

    If TSA lies about 2 ounce increments what else is TSA lying about? Xray safety, information about Strip Search Machines, not feeling up children, etc.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  6. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    You left out the bit where ANYONE CAN BE A TERRORIST! (Especially the wankers in the blue shirts and tin badges - unless everyone is afraid, they're jobless.)
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  7. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Yes, it's ironic that Rugape's tag line is "Fear profits a man nothing." Because fear is precisely what the TSA is all about. It's what the TSA holds dear.
  8. saulblum

    saulblum Original Member

    I guess we found Bob's "things that go BOOM" :mad:

    These displays are useless unless they are conducted in a realistic mockup of a plane's cabin. They make for great TV and movies, and no doubt would be deafeningly loud inside the confines of a plane. But would they breach the plane's skin?

    In addition, a footless shoe can hold quite a bit more explosives than one that is actually being worn. Let's see the same blast where the shoes are attached to some mannequin feet and are positioned the way a shoe would actually be worn.

    Of course, the media is too stupid to ask any questions and just soaks it all up.
  9. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    It is, after all, the TSA's sole raison d'être. I don't doubt that their employees have the occasional alternative motivations - like being allowed to steal stuff from passengers, grope children, pick only the "cuties" for the Nude-O-Scope, et cetera, but without fear the TSA itself wouldn't exist - and none of the thieves, thugs, rapists, molesters, child-porn-purveyors, drug smugglers, and other simpletons and wastrels currently putting on the TSA's cop costume would have jobs.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  10. Louis Betti

    Louis Betti Original Member

    Always worth a read:

    It took a pound (16oz) of explosives to bring down Pan Am 103, and that was was within a suitcase within a luggage container. Could less have accomplished it? I dare say yes.

    There are plenty of airliner "hulks" out in the Mojave desert that could be used for such a test.

  11. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    On my part, it does not make for fear, merely respect for what is out there. It makes me more focused on doing what is supposed to be done right, every time. I realize that the chances of me finding explosives in a toothpaste tube are less than the chances I am going to win the $540 million grand prize in the lottery tonight, but that does not mean that I should not respect what is out there. The only limit on what can be used as a part of an IED is the creativity level of the individual involved - I would posit that the relative lack of sophistication on the part of many folks that wish us ill is something that has worked well in our favor. I think it is good that these demonstrations are done to give EOD types, LEO and yes, even TSA members an idea that just because it is labelled a certain thing, does not mean that it is in fact, that particular thing. I never took fear away from the training classes here or in my military days, just a better awareness that things are not always what they seem.
  12. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    Sidney Alford did just that in the case of the liquid bomb plot, and he has been resoundingly dismissed by many of the folks out there because he has done contract work for the Brits, US and other countries. He is also one of the leading designers and producers of commercial explosives and has pioneered many "designer" explosives for specific uses. Check out this footage from a 16oz bottle of peroxide based liquid explosive below, and this was in a non-pressurized cabin. The objective is not (or rather should not be) fear, but better awareness.
  13. saulblum

    saulblum Original Member

    There's nothing inherently fear-mongering about an exercise where law enforcement types learn about the various types of explosives out there. In that regard, it's little different than firearm training for cops.

    It's in the details where the fear-mongering enters.

    Toothpaste bomb? Remind me again of that incident?

    In addition, as I said above, there is little context here. Sure, these explosions all made a loud boom and showed an impressive fireball. But how do they translate from the context of a controlled detonation to the rather uncontrolled airplane cabin or train or bus interior? Yes, a bomb hidden inside a laptop can pack a wallop. But how hard would it be for that bomb to evade detection in the bag x-ray?

    Plus, if these bombs are so easy to conceal, why have we seen no shoe- and letter- and underwear- and toothpaste-bombs in the nation's buses and trains and public plazas and malls and theaters the past decade?

    To conclude: once Lisa Farbstein opens her mouth and talks about Richard Reid and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and starts invoking scenarios like a bomb hidden in a tube of toothpaste, the exercise, and its publicity, has crossed into the fear-mongering zone.
  14. RB

    RB Founding Member

    You mention the unlikely event of ever finding an explosive during screening and I think that is an extremely important point.

    We, collectively, are spending billions of tax dollars on an unlikely event. Clearly there is not a mass of terrorist lined up trying to bring down commercial aircraft, either that or OPSEC is way better than I could ever believe. Now I am not saying there is zero risk but the risk is certainly not so high as to justify everything TSA is doing, especially the invasive searches without some form of cause or the purchase of extremely expensive devices that actually slow down screening operations and offer no real improvement over time tested screening methods.

    People are being deprived of some very basic essentials by TSA for no reason. I think these points alone draw the line between what the public is willing to accept and what TSA is trying to sell. TSA needs a complete sea change of concepts of screening, what you guys are doing today is not acceptable to the public.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  15. saulblum

    saulblum Original Member

    In 1994, a deranged guy firebombed a NY subway car, killing none but burning many.

    I do not recall any knee-jerk reactions to this incident. (And I speak as a native NYer.)

    Here's an interesting passage from the Times article --

    What makes a particular act one of terrorism? Why was the WTC bombing immediately labeled terrorism, but not the firebombing of a subway car?

    And what would be the reaction if such an incident happened in 2012 vs. 1994?
  16. FaustsAccountant

    FaustsAccountant Original Member

    Right and the chance of getting hit by a car or drowning in any from a pool to a bathtub is greater than a aeroplane being blown up - so why aren't ALL cars, buses, trucks etc. and all sources of water banned?
    If you wanna be SAFE and all....
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  17. Fisher1949

    Fisher1949 Original Member Coach

    This is such a joke. No organized terrorist group is even going to try carrying a bomb into the passenger cabin. It would be far easier to ship it in the cargo hold and bribe the TSA and cargo personnel and tell them it's drugs. Same as the incident in Hawaii this week.

    It would be even easier to take down the plane without ever getting near the terminal. Anyone can buy a .50 cal BMG sniper rifle that will decimate an aircraft engine. Most of these are accurate, in the right hands, from 3,000 meters away.

    If I recall correctly 737's need both engines operable to take off but can cruise and land on one. If so, taking out one engine would be adequate.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  18. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    All twin-jet passenger aircraft can take off, fly or land on a single engine.
  19. FaustsAccountant

    FaustsAccountant Original Member

    But your reasoning would deprive these blue gloves and their sups of fondling people, the opportunity of stealing and intimidating/scaring/tricking people into giving them power. Face it, reality isn't very profitable!
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  20. TravelnMedic

    TravelnMedic Original Member

    The current disclosed record for 50 cal shot 2430m corpral rob furlong but unconfirmed killls in the 2500-2700m range. 338Lapua Magneum beat that record with a 2475meter shot by a member of the UK house calvery corpral Criag Harrison. Then Navy Seal Chris Kyle being the deadlist sniper in US military history with 160 confirmed kills (using 300Win Mag and 338LM)

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