June 15, 2012
Human Body Bombs: Aviation lawyer discusses latest plot and what it may mean for airport security
This spring, the CIA thwarted a terrorist attempt allegedly crafted by al Qaeda to smuggle a bomb aboard a civilian aircraft bound for the U.S. The plan reportedly involved a suicide bomber dispatched from Yemen with instructions to board the flight with an explosive device hidden beneath his clothes. Officials apprehended the bomber before he reached the airport.
Given the sophistication of the device that was found, some officials suspect that the bomb may have been the work of Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, the man believed to one of al-Qaeda's skilled bomb makers. Continued advancements in terrorists' explosive technology have some passengers questioning whether airport security can detect newer devices.
"It takes a wide variety of methods to catch the terrorists and constant vigilance every day," said Motley Rice aviation lawyer and former U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General Mary Schiavo.
CNN's Brooke Baldwin interviewed Schiavo about the public's reported fear of "human body bombs," which involve plastic explosive devices surgically implanted to avoid detection. Schiavo explained in the interview that, although the technology used at checkpoints may not be able to immediately detect some devices, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is exploring alternate methods to detect and intercept such threats, one of which is advanced screening equipment that the port authority uses to sense explosive materials through shipping containers.