Sunday, August 13, 2006

The liquid bomb threat

We have to agree with this statement:
The most frightening thing about the foiled plot to use liquid explosives to blow up airplanes over the Atlantic is that both the government and the aviation industry have been aware of the liquid bomb threat for years but have done little to prepare for it.
The above is the first paragraph of a New York Times opinion piece, republished today in the International Herald Tribune.

The article goes on to review what is known about the "liquid bombs" that reportedly were planned as weapons to bring down a number of airliners over the Atlantic.
The plot apparently called for the terrorists to carry explosive ingredients disguised as beverages, and detonators made from common electronic devices like cell phones or music players. One theory is that they planned to use chemicals that are innocuous when carried separately but could be combined into an explosive mixture on board.
The writer decries the fact that "the aviation security system is virtually defenseless against such an attack."
It is distressing that, after all the billions of dollars spent on bolstering aviation security, such gaping holes remain. Yet no matter what technologies are deployed, there is always a good chance that future terrorists will find a way to evade detection.

That makes us wonder if aviation authorities may have inadvertently hit on the wisest approach in their stopgap response to this latest plot. The Transportation Security Administration banned virtually all liquids and gels from carry-on luggage - everything but baby formula and medicines, and those have to be inspected.

Some passengers have complained about the inconvenience, and many more might complain if they were not allowed to keep their iPods, cell phones or laptops with them. But forcing passengers to check most of their items and bring very little aboard with them might be the surest and cheapest route to greater security.
Unfortunately this is not the end of this story.

Source: The liquid bomb threat - International Herald Tribune

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