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
- Russia's giant spy ship was a high-tech disaster waiting to happen
- America created the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria? Meet the ISIS 'truthers'
- How American businessmen are ruining American business — and the U.S. economy
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The Obama era is over. The presidency continues.
- Fall movie guide: All the films you should see in September
- 10 things you need to know today: September 2, 2014
- On ISIS, neocons and liberal hawks have a 'boy who cried wolf' problem
- How Harry Houdini escaped death
- The 10 best networking tips for people who hate networking
Subscribe to the Week