The threat of drinking water and toothpaste has been securely locked up in a plastic sandwich bag. And those new-fangled scanners can see if you’re carrying a huge knife and/or grenade in your crotch. But a new threat has the TSA focusing its interest on something that its fancy electronics and grabby hands can’t detect so easily: Surgically implanted bombs.
A government source tells Reuters that the following comes from a message sent from U.S. officials to air security teams in other countries:
The Department of Homeland Security has identified a potential threat from terrorists who may be considering surgically implanting explosives or explosive components in humans to conduct terrorist attacks.
Apparently there is no information on any imminent threat, but precautions are being taken at airports around the world.
As has been pointed out in the comments on many stories about airport security, an implanted bomb could be difficult to spot using existing technology. Even the full-body scanners are designed merely to see through a traveler’s clothing, but would not see an explosive an inch below the skin’s surface.
A rep for the TSA tells Reuters that passengers flying into the U.S. may notice enhanced security measures. This includes the much ballyhooed pat-down, a stern talking-to and the use of “enhanced tools and technologies.”
“These measures are designed to be unpredictable,” that same rep tells CNN, “so passengers should not expect to see the same activity at every international airport.”
The articles don’t say it, but we’d suggest that, if you’re traveling and you’ve recently had surgery you’ll probably want to get to the airport a bit earlier than expected.
Security officials see renewed interest in implanted explosives [CNN/Chicago Tribune]
U.S. Says Militants Exploring Surgically Implanted Bombs [Reuters/NY Times]