[ BEWARE ] Printer Ink Cartridge BOMBS

The Terrorists are getting more and more creative. From pipe bomb, present bomb and now we have the printer ink cartridge bombs. It is used by a gaggle of terrorists about a month ago and we’ve pondered just how evildoers hide their bombs , but now we’re discovering exactly how terrifyingly well those explosives avoid detection.

Ever since al-Qaeda’s Yemen branch snuck two bomb-packed printers onto cargo aircraft in October, it’s been widely suspected that the bombs were chosen to evade airport detection capabilities. And yesterday, a senior Department of Homeland Security official confirmed it.

They were anticipating our x-ray devices ,” Tara O’Toole, the dept’s undersecretary for science and technology told a National Defense Industrial Association luncheon. ” They were anticipating the potential for trace [explosives] detection.”

That’s an alarming admission. Twice in 2009, al-Qaeda within the Arabian Peninsula used bombs using PETN , a cousin of nitroglycerin: first in afailed assassination of a Saudi Arabian official and then in Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s Christmastime try to blow up a passenger plane headed for Detroit. Before that, as National Defense notes, both the Lockerbie bomber in 1988 and would-be-shoebomber Richard Reid employed the odorless substance.

That’s how al-Qaeda stays economically a step previous to security detection. Air travelers ought to take off their shoes, post-Reid, and stow their carry- liquids after a 2006 plot. Abdulmutallab’s PETN attempt ended in the re-introduction of the infamous backscatter ” porno-scanners ” at airports, trying to find minimal-metal bombs hidden in bodily crevices.

Explosive detection systems which could pick up PETN and similar compounds are in place for checked passenger baggage. But as the Guardian reported, it’s way expensive to put them into use for checking cargo . That’s especially germane after the most recent issue of al-Qaeda within the Arabian Peninsula’s English-language magazine, Inspire, gloats that its cargo-bomb plot, ” Operation Hemorrhage,” cost the terrorist group merely $4200 to drag off .

That variety of economic discrepancy is a terrorist hallmark: 9/11 cost $500,000, and the U.S.’s ten-year long response to it – two wars, huge security-agency budget increases, etc. – costs over a trillion dollars . And that’s partly why Michael Leiter, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, has urged the public to stop panicking about terrorist attacks .

Still, though: Inspire vows more attacks on commercial aviation. Can the U.S. really not have the capacity to get a value-effective early-detection system in place?

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