Friday, December 25, 2009
THe metal detectors detect metal. Gunpowder taped to the leg with a vial of liquid accelerant would only be detected by a pat-down and chemical Explosives Trace Detection (ETD) systems. Since this person was screened overseas I can not speak to their protocols. In America TSA conducts physical pat-downs on people who can not go through metal detectors, because of pace makers usually but anyone can request the pat-down. Some people are selected for Special Screening because they are on a list or randomly. If a Behavior Detection Officer, they are rare in America, the rule in Israel and should be everywhere, was around and they had seen this guy then he almost certainly would have been flagged and pulled for additional screening. The ACLU fights physical pat-downs and most security procedures. Efforts to send all passengers through ETD walk through puffers have failed as the machines proved unreliable.
If the US CBP was doing pre-screening at the point of embarkation, they do in some but not most places, then they might have encountered the guy. Customs very rarely does physical pat-downs for an inspection not incident to an arrest, far less then TSA does. They are not screening for explosives but for visas, drugs or other smuggled valuables and admissibility to the United States. Customs should be put in charge of TSA in America, changing from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers to Customs Immigration and Transportation Control Officers (CITCO) with the TSA reverted back to being Screeners.
Richard Reid should appreciate that al-Qeada considers the near anniversary of his effort worthy of repetition. It would be interesting if the bomber here had intended to make an attempt on the 22nd, Reid's anniversary, or was the plan focused on Christmas day.