TSA To Airlines: Beware Implant Bombs

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Federal officials Wednesday briefed airline executives on the possibility that terrorists may try to deliver explosive devices onto commercial airliners by surgically implanting them into suicide bombers. British officials in 2010 reportedly found evidence that al-Qaida was trying to do just that, but the new warning has not been attached to a specific threat. "This is something we've been concerned about for quite some time," security consultant J. Bennet Waters, and former TSA official, told the San Francisco Chronicle. While some experts believe it would be relatively easy to conceal an explosive in a body, others see flaws in the method.

Some experts believe implanting explosives might not be worth the trouble in that it could easily reduce the likelihood of successful detonation of the explosives and destruction of an aircraft. And "there are more practical ways of doing it," according to a retired FBI bomb expert contacted by the Chronicle. Previous attempts to conceal bombs include putting them in printer cartridges and there have been reports of a plot to hide them in the insulated portion of certain beverage containers. The TSA has said that additional security measures may be put in place to counter threats, including more interaction between security agents and passengers and continued use of alternative screening methods. Travelers shouldn't expect to see the TSA apply consistent standards and methods at all airports. That's intentional, according to the TSA, in order for the agency to appear less predictable.