U.S. Worried Al-Qaida Has Bomb that Can Fool Airport Security

Global Security Newswire Staff
See more stories about...
Global Security Newswire Staff
July 3, 2014, 7:44 a.m.

U.S. of­fi­cials are wor­ried that al-Qaida has de­veloped a new kind of bomb that can go un­detec­ted by air­port se­cur­ity, the Los Angeles Times re­ports.

In­tel­li­gence agen­cies re­cently found out that al-Qaida’s Ye­meni af­fil­i­ate, al-Qaida in the Ar­a­bi­an Pen­in­sula, has de­veloped a meth­od for smug­gling ex­plos­ives through air­port met­al de­tect­ors, body scan­ners and phys­ic­al pat-downs, two an­onym­ous U.S. coun­terter­ror­ism of­fi­cials told the news­pa­per in a Wed­nes­day art­icle.

The con­cern has promp­ted Home­land Se­cur­ity De­part­ment head Jeh John­son to or­der the im­ple­ment­a­tion of “en­hanced se­cur­ity meas­ures” in the days ahead for U.S.-bound flights de­part­ing from Europe and the Middle East.

Of­fi­cials are re­portedly wor­ried that al-Qaida might re­cruit West­ern­ers that have been rad­ic­al­ized from their ex­per­i­ence fight­ing in the Syr­i­an civil war to smuggle the new type of bomb aboard a U.S.-bound pas­sen­ger flight. U.S. agen­cies do not have in­form­a­tion about any defin­it­ive plan to at­tack an air­liner.

The tightened se­cur­ity will go in­to ef­fect at 15 for­eign air­ports, uniden­ti­fied of­fi­cials told the New York Times. Home­land Se­cur­ity has shared some in­tel­li­gence and de­tails about the new se­cur­ity pro­to­cols with part­ner gov­ern­ments and air­line com­pan­ies.

Al-Qaida in the Ar­a­bi­an Pen­in­sula is un­der­stood to be more fo­cused than any oth­er for­eign ter­ror­ist group on car­ry­ing out dir­ect at­tacks on the U.S. home­land. The ji­hadist group thrice be­fore has at­temp­ted un­suc­cess­fully to bomb cargo and pas­sen­ger planes fly­ing to the United States. The or­gan­iz­a­tion’s head ex­plos­ives ex­pert, Ibrahim Has­san al-Asiri, is still at large and has in­struc­ted a num­ber of fol­low­ers in the art of bomb mak­ing, of­fi­cials said.

Some ana­lysts be­lieve that al-Qaida has a new in­cent­ive to carry out a high-pro­file at­tack on the United States or Europe in or­der to burn­ish its ji­hadist repu­ta­tion, fol­low­ing the re­cent suc­cesses of its ex­com­mu­nic­ated former fran­chise, the Is­lam­ic State of Ir­aq and Syr­ia, in seiz­ing con­trol of broad swaths of land.

In the United King­dom, the Brit­ish De­part­ment for Trans­port on Wed­nes­day an­nounced it it would “step up some of our avi­ation se­cur­ity meas­ures” in re­sponse to in­tel­li­gence warn­ings from the United States, the Lon­don Guard­i­an re­por­ted.

What We're Following See More »
Grassley Open to Lame Duck Hearings on Garland
13 hours ago

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said Monday he'd now be willing to hold a hearing on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland in a lame-duck session of Congress. While he said he wouldn't push for it, he said if "Hillary Clinton wins the White House, and a majority of senators convinced him to do so," he would soften his previous opposition.

Monmouth Has Clinton Up Seven
18 hours ago

In a new Monmouth University poll, 46% of likely voters support Clinton and 39% back Trump, with 7% supporting Libertarian Gary Johnson, and 2% backing Jill Stein of the Green Party. That's down from a poll taken right after the Democratic convention, in which Clinton led by 13 points.

Clinton Advisers Talking to Psychologists, Trump Ghostwriter
18 hours ago

“Hillary Clinton’s advisers are talking to Donald J. Trump’s ghostwriter of The Art of the Deal, seeking insights about Mr. Trump’s deepest insecurities as they devise strategies to needle and undermine him in four weeks at the first presidential debate, the most anticipated in a generation. ... Her team is also getting advice from psychology experts to help create a personality profile of Mr. Trump to gauge how he may respond to attacks and deal with a woman as his sole adversary on the debate stage.”

House Committee Investigating Mylan
20 hours ago

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has requested documents from the CEO of Mylan, "the pharmaceutical company under fire after raising the price of EpiPens more than 400 percent since 2007." Meanwhile, top members of the Energy and Commerce Committee are pressing the FDA on the lack of generic competition for EpiPens.