Earlier in the week I reported that the reason for the electronics ban on certain flights may be that terrorists have figured out how to hide explosives in iPads that turn on and still function as tablets.
The story has now gained traction suggesting that terrorist laptop bombs may evade security. This is especially concerning because terrorists have reportedly obtained the same expensive boondoggle equipment that the TSA uses to miss 95% of the dangerous items going through the checkpoint.
Heightening the concern is US intelligence suggesting that terrorists have obtained sophisticated airport security equipment to test how to effectively conceal explosives in laptops and other electronic devices.
ISIS Reportedly Purchased an Airport Security Play Set on eBay
The policy is ostensibly urgent, yet stems from an FBI determination last year that “laptop bombs would be far more difficult for airport screeners to detect than previous versions terrorist groups have produced.”
Despite the claims about fully functional laptops-as-bombs there is “no single, overwhelming piece of intelligence that led to the ban.”
The claim used to justify the specific flights from 10 airports operated by 9 airlines in 8 countries targeted for an electronics ban is that the US “has more confidence in detection machines and security screeners at airports in the US and Europe.” That is, to put it mildly, malarkey.
- The US is confident enough in security screening in Abu Dhabi — where there is separate additional screening for US-bound flights overseen directly by US officers — that inbound aircraft are treated like domestic flights with no additional restrictions on landing in the U.S. whatsoever.
- Airports in Paris and Brussels have suffered terrorist attacks.
- The electronics ban doesn’t limit laptops onboard to flights inbound from Europe. There are non-stop flights to the U.S. from Fuzhou and Jinan, China. Electronics are still allowed on flights from Lagos, Nigeria home to Boko Haram but an airport served by Delta, as well as on flights from Santiago Island, Cape Verde (also in Africa) and from Baku, Azerbaijan.
Terrorists Can Circumvent the Laptop Ban by Flying Dubai – Baku – New York JFK instead of Emirates Non-stop, copyright: nordroden / 123RF Stock Photo
The greatest bomb making expertise is reportedly al Qaeda in Yemen yet somehow these specific airports — several of which the UK hasn’t sought to ban inbound electronics from in their own new restrictions — are the only ones that Yemenis can transit through. And while the expertise could have spread to other groups, that’s been a concern “since 2014.”
Canada, Australia, and New Zealand share signals intelligence with the US and UK but haven’t felt the need to impose similar restrictions. Neither have France and Belgium (or Turkey, one of the banned airports) which have themselves been targets of recent attacks.
You know that news stories on the threat are actual propoganda when they end with the claim that laptop bombs could be considered “a testament to the success” of US airport security.
No doubt there’s intelligence suggestive of a threat. But the electronics ban is the typical bungling of the US security state as it attempts to translate information into action.