Would a Scan or a Pat-Down Have Detected the Underwear Bomb?

A story in the London Independent suggests that neither a millimeter-wave body scan nor a pat-down would have detected the bomb in Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's underwear. According to Ben Wallace, a Conservative M.P. who helped develop the scanners for airport use, they are good at revealing dense objects such as guns, knives, and C4 plastic explosive but miss low-density material such as the three ounces of PETN powder Abdulmutallab carried. And since American screeners are "forbidden from frisking sensitive areas," a security analyst tells The Independent, it's unlikely they would have felt the explosive in Abdulmutallab's crotch even if they had patted him down. If the experts cited by the Independent are right, responding to Abdulmuttalab's attempted bombing with more pat-downs and more scans, as the U.S., the U.K., and the Netherlands have, is a non sequitur.

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  • Rich||

    If the experts cited by the Independent are right, responding to Abdulmuttalab's attempted bombing with more pat-downs and more scans is a non sequitur.

    Jacob, if you don't think so much you'll feel much safer.

  • Rich||

    Please insert ellipsis after "scans".

    Rich, if you'd preview you'd comment much better.

  • ||

    Don't worry, everyone. Once they have made flying so tedious for all of us, the only people willing to get on planes will be the jerkoffs who want to blow them up.

  • Bob Hope||

    they are good at revealing dense objects

    You mean like Democrats?

  • ||

    Clearly, underwear must be banned.

  • Ska||

    I'm imagining a new take off your shoes and underwear policy.

  • The Gobbler||

    SOP at the Gobbler house.

  • ||

    I'm commando right now.

  • ||

    Is someone frying a cat turd in here?

  • ||

    If the experts cited by the Independent are right, responding to Abdulmuttalab's attempted bombing with more pat-downs and more scans, as the U.S., the U.K., and the Netherlands have, is a non sequitur.

    In other words, necessary and vital.

  • ||

    You just don't understand. The point isn't to detect bombs. The point is to funnel money into "security" and make everyone feel safer by inconveniencing them more.

  • ||

    AND grow the TSA fiefdom, thereby validating the importance of those that run the dysfunctional agency,

  • ||

    Perhaps a bomb sniffing dog should have stuck his bugle in Umar's rectum. Uncomfortable? Not for everyone.

  • ||

    So, would any of the new security measures prevented the panty-bomber from lighting off his junk?

    Pat-downs - No.

    Scans - No.

    Mandatory seating - No.

  • ||

    I have this fantasy where I go to the airport and I have to run a gauntlet of Wartys doing full cavity body searches and lots of lube.

  • The Art-P.O.G.||

    So I'm not alone.

  • LibertyBill||

    More additions to the American Police state, coming to a neighborhood near you!

  • The Gobbler||

    This is just bullshit. The last time I flew (it was Northwest, BTW), in my carry-on bag was a pound of Turkish Coffee and about a pound of white sugar and a small number of cardamon pods. All three items were in Ziplok bags. If a person can get on a plane with a pound of granulated sugar in their bag, then they can pretty much bring a pound of any white powder they choose.

  • hmm||

    I had the overwhelming urge to start filling all the little ziplock bags laid out on the table at the TSA checkpoint with oregano.

  • Underware Bomb Harnesses, Inc.||

    You put your weed in it.

  • ||

    That's what I was thinking.

    The TSA guy would be shaken his head thinking what idiot would put oregano in a weed bag?

  • ||

    Sorry for this but does anyone know if feminine napkins show on the scans? If so, females can be recruited to carry explosives in a kotex maxi. I really doubt that TSA would dare question it.

  • hmm||

    I must be a sick fuck. Cause that made me laugh. It gives new meaning to boom box. (fucking male pig, I know)

  • zoltan||

    Hah, I'm using that.

  • ||

    You could get more material in an infant or adult diaper. We won't be safe until the very young and the very old shit their pants in planes.

  • ||

    It all DEPENDS, NutraSweet.

  • ||

    BOO! Boo, I say!

  • The Art-P.O.G.||

    What? That joke was to Daiper.

  • hmm||

    There's a TSA guard at DIA, that takes his job very seriously, or has an affinity for 6'4" bearded guys. Cause I was worried that I would have to tip him after the search. Even the lady behind me commented on the feel up I got. I was going to turn my head and cough, but I don't think he would have gotten the joke.

  • ||

    I am 6'3" with a beard. Where was this?

  • hmm||

    It was Denver International Airport (DIA) far left line as you face the TSA cattle run.

    The TSA culprit was a rather slim, bald headed gentleman standing maybe 6' and wearing glasses. He took his job, and my testicles, seriously.

  • ||

    "Cleanup on aisle 3 please"

  • Tony||

    I'm on my way, Denver!

  • ||

    I know the one. There are many like him. Just do a google image search for "bear". You can even turn safesearch off. I promise you, it's completely safe for work.

    (I'm lying)

  • ||

    I didn't know Andrew Sullivan moonlighted as a TSA guard at DIA.

  • hmm||

    I have the beard you silly people. The TSA guy was clean shaven. I think. I tried to block the indecent out.

  • The Art-P.O.G.||

    And by "block...out", hmm means "cherish".

  • ||

    So that's what Pee-Wee Herman is doing with himself these days, working for TSA. I wonder if he's being patriotic or if it's a work-release kind of thing.

  • hmm||

    There was no release.

  • hmm||

    On my part.

  • ||

    Maybe his hand was tired.

  • hmm||

    Maybe his other had was handling the release...

    Yet another thread gone horribly wrong.

  • The Gobbler||

    His hand was not unresponsive.

  • ||

    Will millimeter scans be able to detect a snuke?

  • ||

    Leave it to professional curmudgeon hmm to deride a free ball massage.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    The best way to go is the A concourse walking bridge. That is where the remedial TSA agents are sent. Shorter lines and warmer hands.

    Touche me once, Touch me twice...

  • hmm||

    It's kiss me once, kiss me twice... you are slipping. Keep the 80's alive!!

    Although a lil' tongue with my reach around might have made my otherwise shitty fly experience more fun.

  • zoltan||

    Bandit was right

    I'm disappointed, hmm.

  • hmm||

    He was kneading them like two hard boiled eggs in a sock.

  • ||

    So your deriding the sort of erotic ball massage you normally have to pay extra for?

    On this day, you have made Warty cry.

  • The Art-P.O.G.||

    You should've started moaning.

  • bohica||

    Yes, with a "oh God, don't stop!" when he finished.

  • ||

    Bloodhound Gang quotes? I'm impressed, yet disgusted.

  • hmm||

    You know it.

  • Zeb||

    My biggest questions about the failed attack is, why didn't he go into the bathroom to blow himself up?

  • The Gobbler||

    Because not even a terrorist wants to die like Elvis.

  • hmm||

    seats over the wing, fuel lines, hydrologic controls, etc. Optimal location.

  • Zeb||

    Seat over the wing is probably ideal, but from what I have heard about the explosive he carried, if the stuff had detonated it wouldn't have mattered much.

  • Alice Bowie||

    He could have ordered 4 vodkas straight-up, taken the nylon comforter, a few magazines, and set himself on fire in the Bathroom. He could have even blocked the door from anyone coming in as it can be blocked from inside.

  • Kevin||

    If we were in the 21st Century as envisioned by people in the 1950's, we'd be put into hypersleep before boarding. We'd be safer, wouldn't notice delays, would wake up rested after our travel, and crying babies would be a thing of the past.

  • The Art-P.O.G.||

    Of course, then there's the inevitable "you've been in hypersleep too long. Everyone you know is dead."

  • ||

    "It's forever in there!"

  • The Art-P.O.G.||

    Damn, I still have to read that story. Richard Bachmann Stephen King's one foray into SF, right?

  • ||

    The Jaunt!

  • The Art-P.O.G.||

    Right-O. That's going on the short list.

  • ||

    Art, shoot me an email.

  • zoltan||

    That book sucked. Hot chicks shouldn't be blind. I'm looking at you, The Man Who Laughs.

  • kinnath||

    Like water, terrorists follow the path of least resistance. Regardless of what security measures are put into place, alternative plans will be created to circumvent the security measures.

  • The Gobbler||

    "Like water, terrorists follow the path of least resistance"

    That's electricity that seeks the path of least resistance..

    Water, on the other hand, seeks it's own level.

    Two very different concepts.

  • kinnath||

    oops, that's what happens when you split your attention between work and more inportant stuff like posting on a public forum ;-)

  • ||

    If they were using the path of least resistance, wouldn't they attack at random public places with much less security than anything to do with the airlines? Malls and little league ball fields come to mind. Wanna really scare Americans? Don't put yourself on a flying tube with limited options and a population already on guard for you. I swear, these turds are the least imaginative frighteners in the modern world. The DC snipers were way scarier just by being so random and attacking essentially every person's vulnerability, one at a time.

  • JunkBomb||

    Great idea!

  • kinnath||

    It's a function of two variables, not one. First, how valuable is the target (our response makes airplanes a very high-value target). Second, how easy is it to attack the target. So far, we are trying to make it very difficult for a passenger to attack the aircraft. However, the passenger is only one of wide variety of people with access to the aircraft that could represent a threat to the aircraft.

  • ||

    HURR DURR DURR DURRRRRR

    LET'S RESPECT THE TURISTS "RIGHTS!"

    LET THEM BRING THEIR NUKULAR CARRY ON

    HURR HURR DURR HURR HURRRR

  • YFCLO||

    Your fucking caps lock is on. Dumb ass.

  • ||

    gb 2 failchan

  • crayon||

    That's MY line!

  • ||

    I would rather fly on a airplane with 1960 -level security (anything up to and including loaded handguns allowed in the passenger compartment) than deal with the hysteria theater now in place.

    I'm really fucking glad I don't have to travel anymore.

  • Alice Bowie||

    I agree.

    Unfortunately, I still have to fly.

  • ||

    If they start crotch checks, I will be sporting a cialis induced stiffy every time I fly - take that you homophobic jackbooted asshole.

  • hmm||

    If you fly out of DIA you might not need the Cialis. You get a complimentary ball massage in one of the TSA lines.

  • Larry Craig||

    And the problem with that is...?

  • Barney Frank||

    I agree. Americans should be grateful for free government-employee-provided crotch massages.

    I know I do.

  • ||

    Like water, terrorists follow the path of least resistance.

    They definitely seem to have a fixation about airplanes, despite the many easier targets available.

  • ||

    Yeah, that's what keeps bugging me. I know it makes me sound like a tinfoil-hatter, but it seems to me that if they really want to kill a bunch of Americans--and scare the rest--they could have done so quite easily. So I can't help but wonder what's really going on here.

  • ||

    Still, I wonder.

    I mean, can you imagine the chaos if someone had set off a full-on vest bomb loaded with ball bearings at one of the bowl games?

    Or even in a jam-packed concourse at an airport?

  • Alice Bowie||

    Agreed !

    One can probably kill just as many people on the security line before being scanned than on an actual plane.

  • kinnath||

    Terrorists require an audience -- someone to terrorize.

    Indonesia looses a ferry and several hundred people -- America yawns.

    Someone blows up a bus in the middle east -- America yawns.

    A dipshit torches his privates on an American jet -- American shits it collective pants.

    That't why terrorists target airplanes.

  • Zeb||

    But I would think that blowing up a US bus, sporting event or ferry would get Americans' attention. Why don't they do that instead of the much more difficult airplanes.
    I have serious doubts about the size and ability of whatever terrorist organizations are out there targeting the US. It seems to me that if there is any significant number of committed people willing to sacrifice their lives, there would be planes blowing up every day. If this idiot could get on a plane with high explosives, then a thousand others could have done so and not fucked it up over the past 8 years. Why haven't they?

  • kinnath||

    Well, the good news is that it is becoming easier and easier for anyone with a basic undergraduate biochemistry background to generate bioweapons that can kill thousands at one time. So eventually, airplanes will lose their value as targets.

  • T||

    Frank Herbert's The White Plague. We're almost there. Why is it out of all the sci fi I read as a kid, we got the dystopia?

    I want my vacation home on the on the moon and flying car, dammit.

  • zoltan||

    At least the Irish chick at the beginning didn't want to use a condom. That's a nice future, eh?!?!

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Terrorists blow up the Yakov Smirnov Theater in Branson, MO... I guarantee someone will notice.

    Or an entire tiny town in the middle of, say, Nebraska. The whole town, and everyone in it... that would get some attention.

    Then again, the elitists would probably high-five each other in secret, as it's just another bunch of dead hick flyover-country rubes...

  • Nancy Pelosi||

    Well, we wouldn't say it out loud, but...

  • Chad's Pedicurist||

    Oh, definitely! Those absolutely dreadful hillbillies... wouldn't shed a tear.

  • The Daily Kos||

    We would have a collective orgasm!

  • Howard Dean||

    YEAEEAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!

  • Al Gore||

    More dead red-staters would definitely help prevent further global warming.

  • Teresa Kerry||

    Who would do our maid and groundskeeping?

  • Bill Clinton||

    I'll do your maid, sugar-booger...

  • Tony's Proctologist||

    I agree. Such riff-raff should die a horrible, flaming death. What's the point of living if you didn't vote for Democrats in 2008?

  • The Gobbler||

    They Americans definitely seem to have a fixation about airplanes, despite the many easier targets available.

    FIFY

  • Old Mexican||

    If the experts cited by the Independent are right, responding to Abdulmuttalab's attempted bombing with more pat-downs and more scans, as the U.S., the U.K., and the Netherlands have, is a non sequitur.

    I don't know if the proper term is non sequitur, but it would be an exercise in futility, unless you happen to be a molester working for the TSA - the perfect job for the perfect pervert.

    FULL-BODY SCANNERS TO FRY TRAVELERS WITH RADIATION
    Officials must naturally defend compulsory passenger X-rays as harmless. But they are signing no guarantees because ionizing radiation in the X-ray spectrum damages and mutates both chromosomal DNA and structural proteins in human cells. If this damage is not repaired, it can lead to cancer. New research shows that even very low doses of X-ray can delay or prevent cellular repair of damaged DNA, raising questions about the safety of routine medical X-rays. Unborn babies can become grotesquely disfigured if their mothers are irradiated during pregnancy. Heavily X- rayed persons of childbearing age can sustain chromosomal damage, endangering offspring. Radiation damage is cumulative and each successive dose builds upon the cellular mutation caused by the last. It can take years for radiation damage to manifest pathology.

    http://www.truthnews.us/?p=3532

    Yet we are told by Statist medical doctors in the Media (including Fox News) that the scans are "perfectly safe, no radiation or very little radiation". Our Wise Overlords know what is best for us, and we as sheep as we are, accept this lock, stock and barrel, according to the most recent polls...

    "They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security."

    Benjamin Franklin

  • Echton||

    I am not sure what exactly these scanners are, but if they are putting out millimeter wavelength waves, I am pretty sure they are not X-rays. The energy in these rays is not high enough to penetrate the skin, and is absorbed readily by water, thus not likely to cause cellular damage.

  • ||

    So be beat the authoritarian expansionist communists to become authoritarian expansionist communists... the Cold War really was a waste.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Limbaugh doppelganger Ed Schultz was blathering today about why TSA employees have to be union members in order to do their jobs correctly.

    Apparently, non-union employees are scum, if I heard him right.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    I am not sure what exactly these scanners are, but if they are putting out millimeter wavelength waves, I am pretty sure they are not X-rays. The energy in these rays is not high enough to penetrate the skin, and is absorbed readily by water, thus not likely to cause cellular damage.

    Oh, mm wavelength EM radiation penetrates anywhere from a few mms to a couple of cms. The important distinction here is between ionizing and non-ionizing radiation.

    Millimeter wavelength radiation is only a little higher energy than WiFi[*], for crying out loud: lower energy than visible light. They could serve as the very exemplar of non-ionizing.

    Turning up the intensity does not change the ionizing or non-ionizing character of radiation, just the total energy deposition. Turn up the mm waves high enough and they could cook your skin, but you aren't going to get cancer from it even if you stand under it all week.

    ::sheez::

    [*] Quick computation: 5 GHz = 5e9 1/s, invert and multiply by 3e8 m/s to get approximately 60 mm for WiFi (a little more for the 2.4 GHz band).

  • ||

    The following might be the next dictum from TSA:

    Starting Immediately, Underwear Is To Be Worn On The Outside. No Exceptions!!

  • drug user on east coast||

    As a consumer of canabis who unfortunately lives far away from Humbolt and Brittish Columbia. Will drugs still make it through. Is cannabis (or to be nice to users of other drugs, coke, heroin, etc.) dense enough to be picked up in the scans?

  • drug user on east coast||

    I forgot to check punctuation. It should have read thusly:
    As a consumer of canabis who unfortunately lives far away from Humbolt and Brittish Columbia the question that I am asking is: Will drugs still make it through? Is cannabis (and to be nice to users of other drugs, coke, heroin, etc.) dense enough to be picked up in the scans?

  • ||

    "I lost my job at the airport because I was conducting too many pat-downs and stripsearches."
    "The TSA fired you for that?"
    "No, Avis fired me for that.".

  • ||

    "I lost my job at the airport because I was conducting too many pat-downs and stripsearches."
    "The TSA fired you for that?"
    "No, Avis fired me for that.".

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