Thursday, July 7, 2011
Airport Security Could Increase for Body Bombs
WRC-TV Ch 4 (NBC), Washington (DC)
You may notice ramped up security at our local airports today after the White House received intelligence reports that terrorists might try to surgically implant explosives in the bodies of suicide bombers.
Travelers at Dulles International Airport told NBC Washington this new information makes them uneasy.
"It won't stop me from traveling, but I'll just have to continue to be more aware," said Ryan Begin of Potomac, Md. "And I think airports and the TSA will just have to be more aware."
Tishni Weerasinghe agrees.
"This whole idea of using your body to destroy something is unbelievable to me, especially implants," she said.
Because of this potential threat, Begin, Weerasinghe and millions of other travelers just like them could see more pat downs, questioning and use of scanners or other, newer technologies.
Under one scenario, a terrorist on board a United States-bound plane could inject a chemical detonator into the part of the body where the device is implanted, according to NBC News correspondent Pete Williams. It could also be radio-controlled or set off by cell phone.
Homeland Security officials say there is no indication of any plot under way, but al-Qaeda associates overseas have talked about trying to find doctors to insert the implants. While there's no single piece of technology that could reliably detect something hidden in the body, such a plan could be hard to carry out.
"You don't know how the explosive would react in the body, how the impact would be affected because of the body, and you don't know what effect it would have on the individual of it being in the body. So there's not a whole lot of testing you could do in advance," said former Homeland Security official Cindy Farkus.
Airlines flying into the U.S. have been warned.
Terrorism experts say this is just more proof that al-Qaeda remains focused on air travel.