Nasty, Brutish & Short

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It's summer, so it's terrorist dry run time

July 25, 2007 09:10 AM

Lovely.  The TSA has sent out a memo to airport screeners and air marshals warning them to be on the lookout.  Apparently they have had several people who have tried to get some strange items through airport security recently:

  • San Diego, July 7. A U.S. person — either a citizen or a foreigner legally here — checked baggage containing two ice packs covered in duct tape. The ice packs had clay inside them rather than the normal blue gel.
  • Milwaukee, June 4. A U.S. person’s carryon baggage contained wire coil wrapped around a possible initiator, an electrical switch, batteries, three tubes and two blocks of cheese. The bulletin said block cheese has a consistency similar to some explosives.
  • Houston, Nov. 8, 2006. A U.S. person’s checked baggage contained a plastic bag with a 9-volt battery, wires, a block of brown clay-like minerals and pipes.
  • Baltimore, Sept. 16, 2006. A couple’s checked baggage contained a plastic bag with a block of processed cheese taped to another plastic bag holding a cellular phone charger.

Over at National Review's media blog, Greg Pollowitz wants to know "what happened to the four people who had these odd items taken from them?"  A very good question.  I would like to think they've all been tortured and forced to give up what else they know.  Such as: Why were they doing this?  Who asked them to do this?  How can we find these people if we'd like to speak to them?  You know, the kind of information that maybe it would be good to have.

But I'm quite confident these people have only been asked polite questions, which they dodged before going on their way.  Why?  Because innocent people always travel with blocks of cheese wrapped with wire coil, batteries, electrical switches and tubes.  I know I never leave home without my improvised cheese bomb.


Cheese not bomb. Cheese cheddar.

Abul Jamal   ·  July 25, 2007 04:20 PM

Partial to Colby, myself.

Amazing what you can do with a couple chunks of cheese and some ducktape. And that's just in the bedroom, let alone the Red Green Show.

Gerbeel Haamster   ·  July 25, 2007 09:39 PM

"I would like to think they've all been tortured and forced to give up what else they know."

Despite what TV shows like 24 would have you believe,intelligence studies have shown that tortured suspects don't yield good, actionable information. They usually just end up telling the interrogator what they want to hear.

Usually a fan   ·  July 26, 2007 10:01 AM

Usually a fan--
That's still not an excuse for not trying all means to get information out of a terrorist. If there's a less violent way to get the goods, obviously try that first. But if they still aren't talking, it's time to get out the tools.

And to be clear, people who are doing dry runs like this are terrorists. Someone put them up to testing airport security. We need to find out who.

Nasty, Brutish and Short   ·  July 26, 2007 11:11 AM

I'm a supporter of the TSA checking things very carefully aboard planes. For some (probably irrational) reason, I feel safer when I fly after standing in that long line waiting to be scanned.
On a recent trip home to Northern KY from Las Vegas, I has carrying my Laptop, with all its associated cords and gadgets. I also had a box of chocolates I was bringing home as a gift. TSA looked at the bag several times in the scanner, called over many others to look. After they examined it and determined it safe, the TSA guy said it was looking like a bomb on the scanner. He said, "not the kind of thing we like to see." Duh.
I might feel differently if I didn't look like I do - slightly plump middle aged soccer mom type - but I appreciate them being concerned and cautious. I'll just not carry the chocolates next to my computer wires next time.

Florence Tandy   ·  August 5, 2007 10:42 AM