The FBI and Homeland Security Department are warning airlines that terrorists might try to surgically implant bombs inside terrorists to get by airport security. Intelligence officials have been saying for months that al Qaeda was actively working on hiding bombs inside humans, putting them in the bellies of men or breast implants in women. The tactic — known as "body packing" — has worked for drug traffickers, who sometimes sew narcotics inside couriers. But terrorists have tried — and failed — to blow up planes with bombs in their shoes and underpants. Could they really succeed with exploding implants?
This could be a serious new threat: "Crotch bombs, printer bombs, now this," says Pamela Geller at Atlas Shrugs. The Obama administration, despite this warning, insists there's no imminent danger to airlines. Yet these "belly bombs" would be specifically designed to get past airport security measures in the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East. Sounds like we can add one more threat to worry about in the war against Islamist extremists.
"Islamic jihad's latest: 'Belly bomb' developed to beat airport security"
We just have to figure out how to spot implanted bombs: Americans erupted in outrage when the Transportation Security Administration started using screeners that could see through our clothes, says William Saletan at Slate, but it turns out they didn't go far enough. "Now that the U.S. government is sounding international alarms about implanted explosives, the next step in 'Hide the Bomb' is obvious: Airport scanners that can see not just through your clothes, but through your whole body."
There is no need to panic: In theory, this could be a devastating tactic, says investigative journalist J.M. Berger, as quoted by The Orange County Register. Fortunately, "it would be extraordinarily difficult to make it happen." Most terrorists "can't even manage to set their shoes or underwear on fire, let alone perform surgery on themselves, then build a bomb, then detonate it.
"U.S. warns of breast implant bombs"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Save the world... by changing how you pee
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- Why does Fareed Zakaria still have a job?
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- 10 things you need to know today: September 22, 2014
- Does solar energy have a battery problem?
- How to be a moral internet citizen on the often-immoral internet
Subscribe to the Week