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Terrorists Building Bombs During Flight?

Tue Feb 10, 2004 1:45 am

This article claims terrorists have the capability to make bombs during flight using components that can get passed security separately. The article also claims the reason some British Airways and Air France flights were recently cancelled was in fact due to this particular threat.

Any thoughts?

Terrorists building bombs in mid-flight?
Intelligence indicates dry runs in attempt to blow up airliners

Posted: February 8, 2004
1:00 a.m. Eastern

© 2004

Islamic terrorists are trying to get past airport security screeners by placing only the components needed to assemble explosive devices onboard and then building the bombs in mid-flight.

Intelligence sources believe they've already conducted ''dry runs'' of the new terror tactic on planes flying between the Middle East, North Africa and Western Europe, reports the London Observer.

Middle Eastern intelligence services have warned Western agencies that scores of terrorists have been trained in the new tactic and at least 12 dry runs have been successfully completed in preparation for an attempt to bomb a transatlantic route.

According to the paper, the warning is based on interrogations of Islamic terrorists captured in the Arabian Gulf and is corroborated by intercepted communications between terror cells and interviews with prisoners held by the U.S. at Guantanamo Bay.

One of the masterminds of the suicide bombing in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia last May, Ali Abd Rahman al-Ghamdi, is among those who have reportedly revealed the bomb-making plans. His statements prompted the Transportation Security Administration to issue a memo warning terrorists in teams of five might try to hijack commercial airliners using common items like cameras modified as weapons, reports the Observer.

An FBI bulletin last November warned: ''Terrorists are considering the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) assembled on board to hijack an aircraft or, alternatively, destroy it over heavily populated areas in the event of passenger or crew resistance.

''Components of IEDs can be smuggled on to an aircraft, concealed in either clothing or personal carry-on items such as shampoo and medicine bottles, and assembled on board.

''In many cases of suspicious passenger activity, incidents have taken place in the aircraft's forward lavatory.''

Concerns terrorists might assemble a bomb or another weapon on board airliners were reportedly a factor in last weekend's decision to cancel several international flights from Europe to the United States.

U.S. officials warned specific flights on British Airways and Air France could be a terrorist target.

''We remain concerned about al-Qaida's desire to target aviation, especially international aviation,'' said Brian Roehrkasse, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

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RE: Terrorists Building Bombs During Flight?

Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:05 am

Scary indeed. That's why we all need to be vigilent of what's going on around us in the airports and on the planes.
Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
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RE: Terrorists Building Bombs During Flight?

Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:07 am

If such an incident occurs, the next logical step will be to ban all carry-on and personal items.
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RE: Terrorists Building Bombs During Flight?

Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:09 am

Its this sort of "anti-intelligent" propaganda we can all live without.

If the authorities have a legitimate report it should be handled very discretely.

This kind of reporting from the news groups remind us everyday the terrorists have won. News media are only interested in cheap internet hits and or newspaper sales centered around public hysteria. And that costs jobs everywhere.

Moon chaser!
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RE: Terrorists Building Bombs During Flight?

Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:33 am

A ban of all carry-on or personal items would be totally idiotic. What about glasses, medicine, chains, rings, pens, whatever? I mean one could even use a pen as a dangerous weapon...
Scanners have to be improved so that any kind of explosive can be detected. No explosive material, no bomb.

Welcome to Paranoia 2004...I think Bin Laden and friends have exactly achieved what they planned.

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RE: Terrorists Building Bombs During Flight?

Tue Feb 10, 2004 3:31 am

Udo, I finally agree with you! Yes this paranoia is just what we don't need. If we can't detect bomb making material then we neeh help. The equipment is in place, let the TSA do their job. What is the next story? Terroists running down the runway and jumping up the wheel wells while the plane takes off? Stop the paranoia, let's take back our skies.
Hey that guy with the private jet can bail us out! Why? HE CAN AFFORD IT!
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RE: Terrorists Building Bombs During Flight?

Tue Feb 10, 2004 3:36 am

This is just bullshit, yet another lie. Iraqi missiles can get us within 45 minutes. Mobile germ laboratories in the deserts. Mushroom cloud over an American city. Terrorists actually making bombs onboard planes. Yeah right. I'm so afraid, it might actually scare me into voting Republican.
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
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RE: Terrorists Building Bombs During Flight?

Tue Feb 10, 2004 3:37 am

It is entirely possible to create an explosive device from components that are in themselves harmless.
But doing so would likely need a small chemical lab which would be kinda obvious if taken onboard an airliner and set up in the galley  Smile

Yes, any bottles in carryon luggage are suspect, especially non-transparent bottles that don't contain potable liquids.
Next phase is likely to sample any and all liquids people try to get past security to see what they are, maybe certain solids as well (things marked as candy for example).
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RE: Terrorists Building Bombs During Flight?

Tue Feb 10, 2004 3:58 am

I am definitely not chemistry expert, but what about making primitive explosive materials, for instance gunpowder (it consists of water (it seems urine could be used instead), charcoal, sulfur and saltpeter)? Probably someone who knows more chemistry could comment on this...
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RE: Terrorists Building Bombs During Flight?

Tue Feb 10, 2004 4:55 am

I heard this story, and let's face it, if a guy could have done a 'shoebomb' then this could be the next logical step if you want to target a specific flight. You would have to have 2-3 people that are mentaly sick and without any empthy for human life to do this. Few, if any, carry on bags are checked for explosives residues and none for chemical/bio residues at this time, and any parts and substances could be easily concealed within common items such as toiletries, beverage containers, cd players, etc.
The tactic that should be used is to id the people who are potential terrorists - and not just 'islamic'/al-queda stereotypes either - before they get on a plane and if get those who are involved in a possible plot to treat them severely, swiftly and publicly.
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RE: Terrorists Building Bombs During Flight?

Tue Feb 10, 2004 5:20 am

I would be more worried about having a bad lunch while on a flight than worrying about what some guy is doing in 3A. Let the x-ray machines and the TSA do their work.
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RE: Terrorists Building Bombs During Flight?

Tue Feb 10, 2004 6:00 am

If, as I understand, the scanners pick up explosive elements in already assembled bombs, wouldn't they pick up the un-assembled elements? What explosive element by itself would not draw suspicion?

As for gunpowder (charcoal, suflur, saltpeter), it would take a ton of it to blow a plane up. Who's going to lug 25 suitcases of chemicals onto a plane?

Why worry about this, when a terrorist can put a dozen fully assembled bombs into the cargo compartment without it even being looked at? I'm more concerned about getting a respiratory disease from someone on board than I am some idiot concocting a bomb.
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RE: Terrorists Building Bombs During Flight?

Tue Feb 10, 2004 6:45 am

Well, not exactly the same thing but I suggested something similar that could happen, recently;


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