Skip to comments.TSA Chief: Chechen Women With Explosive Bras Inspired U.S. Airport Pat Downs
Posted on 04/19/2013 10:45:46 AM PDT by Nachum
Transportation Security Administration Administrator John Pistole said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast in 2010 that his agencys intrusive pat downs of U.S. air passengers was inspired by two Chechen women who were able to blow up two Russian airliners because "they had explosives in their bras and around their waists." In fact, a November 2005 report by the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security specifically stipulated that TSAs pat down policy had been initiated in response to the in-air bombing of two Russian airliners by Chechen women who smuggled explosives in their clothing.
(Excerpt) Read more at cnsnews.com ...
she had tatas to die for
Once again moving their radical agenda forward using crisis and fear.
And I bet these two women looked ethnic enough...which is what they should be profiling....
The chechen widows often become suicide bombers at the behest of the husbands family or other influence. Nasty people
Gives a new meaning to the term “bust”.
Thanks! My wife knows that I’ve called women’s breasts “bombs”.....now I have good reason to make sure she understands why I call them that.
Or the terrorists deliberately rape the women and then tell them the only way they can restore the family honor is to become a homicide bomber. Great culture. Great religion.
But you only need to give these ‘Pat Downs’ if they are boarding Russian airliners.
Obama to Napolotano: “Quick! Renounce this!”
Initial investigation indicated that the bombings were perpetrated by the Islamist Chechen terrorists...
America should also remember Chechen terrorists associated with the Beslan massacre.
And just think about all the “little” things they do we never hear about.
Prolly need to watch out for the “bro” as well.
Ohhhh. This explains why they have to molest children and old ladies. Especially the ones in wheelchairs. /s/
Let’s hope no Muslime comes up with the idea of an exploding tampon or butt plug. The lib pervs would love this.
Or using an oral dam for a launcher?
“Once again moving their radical agenda forward using crisis and fear.”
Well, it only takes a few ounces of high explosives to bring down an airliner. The Chechen women brought down two and killed hundreds of people.
Prior to the increased scanning, there were several attempts on American airliners and we are very lucky that those did not go down.
You’re free to fly private aircraft without this security but commercial lines are very prone to attacks and would quickly go out of business with too many bombings.
There’s at least one, and likely many, problems with Pistole’s embedded assertion that airliners are susceptible to bombs concealable in normal western clothing.
As background, consider the 1988 flight described here:
In that event, an early 737’, built in 1969, fell apart in the sky after 20 years of service. Half the fuselage, from the cockpit to the wing root, came off. The plan landed safely, with all passengers surviving and sustaining no more than minor injuries. A flight attendant fell out of the hole and was lost.
So, here’s the point: in order to bring down a 1969 737, more damage than just blowing off half the fuselage (and the more important half of the fuselage at that) would be needed. For a “bra bomb” to do more damage than that, from inside the passenger compartment would require ... well, an outrageously large bra. I don’t believe that ordinary people wearing ordinary Western clothes could conceal such a weapon in such a way as to require a patdown to detect. Any bomb that can fit under my shirt collar, or around the waistband of my pants, or around my ankle, for example, could not do that kind of damage.
My guess is that almost all the fuselage could be lost before a commercial airliner would crash. The fuselage is, to a first approximation, just along for the ride with the wings, tail, and control surfaces. I don’t have experimental data for just how much fuselage loss would cause a crash, but we know from history that loss of substantially more than half the fuselage would be required.
So why is Pistole trying to make the case that TSA screeners need to search in the waistband of my pants for a plane-killing device that could not fit in my waistband in the first place? There’s been lots of speculation on that point, and I’m certainly not averse to more such speculation. For now, however, I think the important point is this: Pistole was trying to make his case based on a scenario that simply does not justify the searches he has instituted. If he can’t come up with a better justification, then this is just more evidence that the mass airport searches are unreasonable, and thus unconstitutional.
Pat Downs - was that her name? :)
Seriously? You must work for TSA or know someone who does.
They’ve never caught anyone and yet you’re perfectly willing to gut the Constitution. Sounds like you should never leave your house, it’s much safer under your bed.
Well, then why pat me down? I am a woman, but I am not a Chechnyan, and, more importantly, I am not a mohammedan.
Have not flown since 2006, and I have no plans to do so any time soon. There are places I would love to visit outside the US, but I refuse to fly because of the invasive TSA treatment.
No, I'm just an engineer and know how ridiculously easy it is to bring down an airliner. Aircraft are attractive targets because a small explosive can kill hundreds and armed response is restricted within an aircraft.
Bombers are unlikely to get caught because they (or their handlers) are aware of our security. This is why we had the underwear bomber, shoe bomber and two successful bra bombers. The devices were specifically designed to go through gaps in security. Unfortunately, filling those gaps required imaging/searches of all nonmetallic objects on someones person.
Zero security on commercial aircraft is never going to happen due to the high potential for loss. Look at all the hijackings/bombings that occurred just prior to mandated airport security. Of course I am angry at the loss of freedom but what choice do we have except to fly private? Even though I am brave enough to fly with no security, the airlines would go out of business if their aircraft started dropping from the sky.
My wife is miffed because I refuse to fly anywhere so we only vacation with nominal driving distance. I also don’t go anywhere I cannot carry. Period.
Re: your statement about how easy it is to bring down a commercial airliner.
What evidence can you present that a plane killing device, which would have to be operated surreptitiously from within the passenger compartment, could be made small enough to fit in a person’s waistband?
You may wish to see my post in this thread, here:
for my discussion of an assertion opposite to yours, to wit: such a plane-killing device could not be made small enough to require the mass searches that the TSA uses.
The difference with a bomb is that it creates uneven high pressure within the fuselage. Failure will occur at a point closest to the bomb, not at a uniform designed failure point. If it causes even a small failure in the fuselage at cruising speed, it is likely to result in a cascading failure and loss of control. Basically a jagged asymmetrical hole would form from the bomb, force the aircraft into an uncontrollable maneuver and tear the rest of the aircraft to shreds.
Even though they look much bigger, aircraft are not tough like cars/trucks. They are very light, very fragile, subject to extraordinary forces at high speeds and can be easily damaged from overstress (simply flying too hard).
-Two Russian aircraft were brought down by suicide bombers hiding the bombs on their person. The bra bombers.
-The Lockerbie bomb was only 300 grams of mainly RDX. That is about 200cc, the volume of a small 6.7oz cup of water. It is believed that the bomb was concealed inside a walkman tape player. However, the bomb was randomly placed in the cargo hold inside a suitcase and not at the wall. RDX produces incredible pressure up close but has a smaller blast radius than some other explosives. This was also a 747 and large planes have more room for expansion. Even so, the bomb instantly blew multiple holes in the side of the cargo hold, the bulkhead, the floor and the roof of the 747. The plane disintegrated seconds after. Such a bomb can be easily concealed in underwear or inside a body cavity.
-Ramzi Yousef placed a small liquid bomb on a Philippine Airlines 747. The exact quantity was not calculated like in Lockerbie but he claimed that it was only 1/10 of a bottle of contact lens cleaner. This is only 1 to 1.5oz and judging by how much less damage there was compared to Lockerbie, this is an accurate estimate. It was placed under a seat away from the exterior and closer to the center of the plane because his intent was to hit the center fuel tank. It blew a man-sized hole in the floor, cut the control cables in the ceiling and completely blew off the lower half of the man sitting there. The plane did not go down because he miscalculated the location of the tank, placed it in the wrong seat and it was far from the blast radius. It was also was too far inside to punch an exterior wall.
Thanks for the reply. Based on what I’ve been able to glean from web sources on the Aloha Airlines crash (mainly Wikipedia), the main points in that reply would seem to be irrelevant.
You state “The failure was designed to prevent further disintegration of the aircraft from wind forces and also located symmetrically with respect to the aircrafts longitudinal axis to maintain control.”
Yes, obviously the Aloha Aircraft eventually lost fuselage in a mainly symmetrical pattern. However, the original damage was not symmetrical; apparently the fuselage first failed in one spot, on the left upper side of the fuselage. The plane continued to fly with this asymmetrical damage. More of the fuselage came off later. The plane continued to fly. The combined loss of fuselage made the symmetrical pattern visible on photos of the plane after it landed.
Also, your point about the event happening well below cruising speed is new information to me. Based on web reports, the plane was at cruising altitude, 24,000 feet, over deep water, on a regularly scheduled cruise from Hilo to Honolulu. Until your post, I assumed that the plane was therefore at or near cruising speed, and I can’t think of a reason it would not be. What evidence is there that the plane was operating well below cruising speed, and why?
Thanks again for your response!
Gotta go to a meeting soon, but will post this: your point about the “bra bombers” assumes many things, including (1) that the Russians were correct and truthful about the explosions that brought down their airliners, and that (2) average-sized Westerners, wearing standard Western clothing, would have the same ability to conceal explosives as anyone who might be wearing, for example, a burqua.
I don’t think either of those things are true, and I don’t know why anyone else would think those things are true.
Intimidation, pure and simple. The sheep will be conditioned to walk peacefully to the slaughterhouse.
Thanks again for your reply. I think your points are reasonable-sounding, but do not make the case that TSA personal searches are useful.
Regarding the Philippine Airlines bombing: dude, that’s an example of how a carefully-considered and meticulously-planned bombing attempt DIDN’T cause a crash. Like the Aloha Airlines flight, it’s a data point AGAINST the need for the the TSA screeners.
Regarding the Lockerbie bombing: the amount of explosive in the crashed airplane is, of course, a guess. The total bomb volume, including detonator, power source, etc, was estimated to fit inside a Toshiba Boombeat cassette player. A picture of such a cassette player is here:
If a BoomBeat-sized item is required to hold the contents of a bomb, then that’s another way of saying that the total package, including explosive, batteries, and detonation circuit involves the sort of volume that cannot be hidden on the person.
Also note an experiment done by the BBC, reference 38 in this Wikipedia entry here:
According to that entry, using 80 grams of PETN, the BBC was unable to even “materially damage the airplane’s fuselage.” Granted, the Lockerbie residue included traces of RDX; RDX is 1.6 times the strength of PETN, and the official estimate of explosive used for the Lockerbie explosion is 311 grams, so the total explosive force used in the Lockerbie bomb could be 1.6 * (311/80) = 6.2 times the force used by the BBC test. Still, it’s a long way from being “unable to materially damage the airplanes fuselage” to a blast that:
cut through a metal cargo container
then cut through fuselage skin
and cut through support beams (which were stronger than normal support beams for this aircraft, since the plane was sometimes used for cargo carrying)
and, according to the UK accident report here:
then generated a “number of other regions of structural damage,remote from the explosion, which were clearly associated with severe and rapidly applied pressure loads acting normal to the skin’s internal surface,” and caused “two types of damage, i.e. the direct blast/tearing/petalling damage and the quite separate areas of ‘pressure blow’ damage at remote sites [that] were evidently caused by separate mechanisms, though it was equally clear that each was caused by explosive processes, rather than more general disintegration.”
Maybe the official report understated the amount of explosive required to cause an airliner crash. That would seem like a reasonable thing to do, so that future plotters would be more likely to fail.
On the other hand, maybe 311 grams of RDX, placed in the cargo hold of a 747, CAN bring down a 747. I don’t believe it, but maybe it’s true. Thing is, (1) passengers, even with the cheapest tickets, don’t ride in the cargo hold and (2) not all aircraft are 747s.
We already know from the referenced Aloha Air flight that a large loss of the passenger compartment fuselage from a 737 won’t cause a crash. We know from the referenced Philippines Air flight that even a carefully planned explosion from the passenger compartment of a 747 won’t cause a crash. Why then perform personal searches on people who will only have access to the passenger compartments of 737s? I’m thinking particularly of Southwest airline passengers, who fly in the passenger compartments of an all-737 airline. What’s the point of enhanced searches for Southwest passengers when history shows that even marked damage to the fuselage does not cause the plane to crash?
OK, with the entire preceding part of this post as background, I’m going to address what I believe is the fundamental question here: what’s the point of the “TSA” and the “security” procedures overall? Lots of people, myself included, have opined that the real reason for those enhanced searches may be to encourage travelers to submit to the largest mass radiation program in human history. The TSA delivers more doses of radiation each year than were delivered during the Hiroshima and Nagasaki blasts combined. On purpose or not, the TSA is also running a large-scale version of the Stanford Prison Experiments. Then, of course, there’s the issues regarding government unions, kickbacks, government fraud, etc. In short, the existence of the TSA may not be in the best interest of the public or of the Republic.
Is the TSA completely on the up and up? Why take that risk?
Why not let each airline set their own security policy, and remove whatever risk the TSA poses to the health of the Republic? I have no fear — none — that, say, the leadership of United Air Lines see themselves as having some mission to, for example, fundamentally change the USA into something else. I have no reason to believe that those UAL executives got into office with the assistance of known terrorists who openly plotted to kill 25 million Americans. Therefore, I’d have no problem with any UAL security procedure that makes even a modicum of sense. I can’t say the same about the TSA procedures. That’s probably the real bottom line here.
Thanks for reading, and thanks for your posts!
-The amount of explosive in the Philippine Airlines incident was 1 to 2oz. About as large as a whiteout bottle. The only reason it did not puncture the center tank was because the bomber used the incorrect seat chart for that model of 747.
-The Lockerbie bomb was SMALL and disintegrated a 747 almost instantly even without sparking a fuel tank. That is a tiny boombox 3x as wide as a cassette. However, the bomb itself was slightly larger than a cassette tape. It could have been concealed inside a walkman or reshaped into an underwear package just the same. Any bomber who isn't a complete idiot can hide a battery/detonator in practically any small electronic device. A skilled bomber can hide all the metal components inside a wristwatch. http://nickgilmartin.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/the-bomb.jpg?w=700
-The BBC test only used 80 grams of explosive and it was several feet from the wall. The pressure would obviously be distributed with such a small poorly placed charge. Even so, during the test there was damage and loss of pressure. If the test was performed under cruising pressure, I believe there would have been a significant hole. Aircraft are only tested to 150% of cruising ceiling pressure. They must be light and there is not much safety factor built in. For commercial airliners, we're talking a design pressure of only 20psi. Even a small bomb placed at the wall would easily generate several dozen times that local pressure. A slightly larger bomb (like Lockerbie) would generate the required pressure nomatter where it is was placed.
-Again, the Aloha flight is vastly different from bomb damage and should not be used to evaluate survivability of a bomb. The location of the designed fatigue failure points are intended for maximum survivability during a uniform failure of the pressure system. The airspeed at the time of the incident is not published but this was a 200 mile flight and it happened the instant the aircraft reached cruising altitude(the final fatigue cycle that led to failure). It was obviously flying below cruising speed.
OK, even the pic you showed of the Lockerbie bomb shows an explosive component that is too large for a small-to-average size person to conceal on the body. Could a particularly fat person hide that much explosive in rolls of body fat? Maybe. Could someone insert that much explosive into their body cavities? Certainly ... but the TSA searches wouldn’t find it there either. So, again, if the goal really is to find explosives, why waste resources searching people who can be seen to NOT have the required volume of explosives on their person?
Even if it meant that wearing baggy clothes might get you searched while wearing tight clothes would not, at least there might be some way for the individual to avoid being radiated or participating in the giant version of the Stanford prison experiment that is the TSA.
A note about the relevance of the Stanford prison experiment: The Stanford prison experiment showed, as had political gatherings, military indoctrination, religious services, and similar events before it, that, on average, most humans will quickly fall into predictable roles based on their social environment.
This was one of the insights that apparently motivated the early Nazi action of setting up checkpoints in front of private businesses all over Germany in 1932. Decades later, it’s obvious that setting up checkpoints in front of private businesses, particularly in front of important private businesses that many people simply MUST use as part of their ordinary lives, was a very effective way to condition the populace. Treating people like prisoners will make many act and think like prisoners.
Some people, of course, wind up acting and thinking like political dissidents instead, but I think that’s rare.
Giving people a way out — even if, for example, it means wearing tight clothes when travelling — would reduce this psychological effect with no loss of safety. The TSA not only doesn’t allow people a way out — they radiate or search all adults — they’ve even insisted on patdowns of bare flesh exposed by people protesting TSA searches. Those patdowns of bare flesh had nothing to do with finding a weapon. The only possible purpose could be psychological.
Also, regarding the “puffer” technology: my understanding is that the “puffers” were deemed to have failed mainly because the air handling surrounding the “puffer” kept getting clogged. Frankly, that’s a pretty lame excuse not to use the “puffers;” problems associated with clogged air handling devices have been successfully addressed in other settings for decades. However, optical spectroscopy could be used to scan persons without “puffing” and ionizing or microwave radiation (just light). There’s an article on optical spectroscopy of explosives here:
The article discusses Raman spectroscopy, for which no sampling handling is required, i.e. no touching. It also discusses FT-IR. A point not clearly made in the article is that FT-IR can continuously scan an area near passengers, and, again, would not require any touching or patdowns, except perhaps a bit of air movement to waft gas samples through the FT-IR light source. The light source doesn’t have to be enclosed, hence no problems with clogged air passages. In both types of spectroscopic explosive detection, no pat down would be needed, there are no required moving parts, there are no disposables required, continuous scanning is possible, and there is no ionizing or microwave radiation involved.
Instead, the TSA uses mass spec devices, which are generally less sensitive, require a pat-down, and require the use of disposable test strips which can be easily falsified. A description of one such falsified test is here:
Your apparent faith that the TSA is motivated by a desire to keep travelers safe is touching, but doesn’t correspond to the reality of the various policy decisions TSA has made over the last few years.
Maybe some scanning or searches are needed. The TSA is trying to make the case, however, that safe air travel demands that the TSA radiate or search, or both, every adult passenger on every flight. Note that young children are sometimes exempt from the scan / search requirement. Is that because a child in baggy clothes could not carry a large bomb? Your writing indicates that not to be the case. So, if your points are correct, why doesn’t the TSA radiate or search all children?
I think it’s because TSA management realizes that separating young children from their parents might have psychological effects more detrimental than helpful to a TSA goal of teaching compliance.
You have given me a few things to think about, and I hope I’ve done the same for you.
There is no easy solution with the technology/knowledge available to common people today. We are either doomed to constant terror from psychotic individuals/groups or tyranny from a full digital-surveillance police state.
Without of a complete worldwide revolution in people's thinking/attitudes very soon, humanity is doomed by our own technology either way. That is the sad reality of it all...
How about we make Chechen women take a bus instead of flying? Even better lets just leave all the Chechen women in Chechnya, I’m sure the Chechen men would appreciate our doing that.
A lesbo TSA agent’s dream job...
Whoa, dude, your last post is the one thing you’ve written with which I disagree the most. Yes, bad outcomes are possible ... but they require difficult work, such as is being performed by Islamic (don’t forget, “Islam” means “submission”) terrorists on the one hand and those who would pressure us to submit to governments on the other hand.
Good outcomes are possible too, and the happy news is that, other than resisting those who would make us submit, the work required is easy and can be pleasant.
Empowering individuals to participate in the safety process is the only way I know to avoid both outcomes you describe in your last post, and which would increase safety at the same time.
Exempting people wearing tight clothing from pat downs or radiation would empower individuals to save screening resources, and would eliminate a lot of the psychological control currently exerted by the TSA.
Enabling pilots, or even the general public, to defend the aircraft against terrorists once aloft would also be helpful. Note that the TSA slowed, for years, armoring cockpit doors, still makes it difficult for pilots to arm themselves, and makes it almost impossible for the passengers to arm themselves.
Allowing (not requiring) passengers to allow other randomly-selected passengers, perhaps on the same flight, to screen their luggage, or perhaps even their persons, rather than have the TSA do it all would, again, save screening resources, and greatly reduce the psychological submission the TSA currently imposes. That would certainly be more of a deterrent than having all luggage screened by the same unmotivated, bored, not-very-perceptive, theft-prone TSA agents who routinely steal from luggage on the one hand and who routinely let contraband items aboard aircraft on the other hand. Handled properly, such screening could become a social experience.
Allowing the general public to watch all of the luggage screening process would be a small step toward the last suggestion, and would go a very long way towards reducing the opportunities for theft. Having webcams at all points along the baggage handling line would be cheap and easy, would empower individuals, increase trust in the system, and reduce theft.
Those are a few ways individuals could be empowered, and they seem easy and potentially pleasant to me.
That ease and apparent pleasantness are, in themselves, arguments for effectiveness, in my opinion. Things that are easy and pleasant are more likely to be done over the long term. Also, our perception of things being easy and pleasant is probably shaped by the 6 million years of evolution in which our ancestors, facing dangers of which we can only guess, did what they thought was easy and pleasant, and thus outlived and outreproduced others for whom different, ineffective, survival instincts predominated. You and I are the latest in a very, very long line of survivors, so, if our instincts warn us that something doesn’t quite make sense or isn’t quite right, or if we have to be pressured into doing something that we wouldn’t otherwise willingly do ... then there might be some value in finding a different solution.
Better solutions exist. Implementation of those better solutions can be easy. The hard part is resisting the purveyors of the current solutions, who may not have the same interests in our survival as we do.