Exploding Genital Jihad, the TSA and You

Ever since one man decided he hates the US more than he loves his crotch, I’ve been sitting back and waiting for the stupidity of security theater to kick in as the TSA & DHS put more misguided policies in place to look busy while still missing the point about airline security.

The Dutch, up until today, said little. When they did speak today, they actually talked about doing something useful.

For anybody living under a rock through the holiday season, let me summarize the situation:

  • There was an attempted attack on NWA Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit on Dec 25, 2009
  • The suspect concealed non-metallic explosives in his undergarments
  • The suspect attempted to set off the explosives about an hour before landing.
  • The explosives did not properly ignite, merely setting the suspect on fire
  • Passengers and crew put out the fire and subdued the suspect

In an administration where even the president can’t give up his Blackberry in the name of national security, the TSA & DHS love to take away electronics when stuff like this happens. Next comes restricting carry on luggage, making people stay in their seats for the last hour of a multi-hour flight and keeping things like blankets and pillows out of their laps.

Let’s ignore the intelligence aspect of the story (who knew he was a threat, why wasn’t he on a watch list, etc.) and stick with the pure security aspect of what this attacker did to conceal his explosive payload …

Boy, that’s the worst TSA pickup line I can imagine … “hey ladies, want to search my pants for an explosive payload?” … sorry, back to the list:

  • No metal involved
  • No high-tech triggering device
  • No luggage involved
  • No need to leave his seat

In the five days following the attack, the TSA & DHS have done little to address the actual method used by the attacker. Passengers will stop this, however, by beating the crap out of anyone who reaches down their pants during an international flight … unfortunate for anyone who has jock itch or dropped their last honey roasted peanut into the folds of their jeans.

The Dutch, today, announced they would start using full body scans: it’s an x-ray scanner that looks under clothes. It doesn’t check for metal or try to sniff for explosives, instead it looks for things that aren’t supposed to be hiding under your pants … say a pouch containing 80 grams of PETN in your “Fruit of the Booms” or any number of non-metallic weapons duct-taped to your thigh.

Side-note: yes Virginia, not all weapons are made of metal. Run a caveman through a metal detector and see if he still kicks your ass when he comes out the other side.

Side-side-note: be sure to wax before trying the “duct tape” trick. “Ow, it burns, it burns” is not the battle cry you want your enemy to hear after pulling a carbon-fiber baton from within the confines of your Old Navy cargo pants.

Thank you Dutch security. I might actually take a connecting flight through Amsterdam when given the chance just because they decided to do something sensible in the name of airline security. Body scanners aren’t new tech, they just give Americans the willies because a government employee might possible see them sort-of-naked.

News flash: the same thing would be happening if health reform included a public option, except nurses don’t all wear matching uniforms. Good thing … I don’t think I’d like someone in a TSA uniform asking me to bend over and cough.

Me … I’m considering a kilt for my next flight to Germany. Pat downs will go much faster.  Since March is not a warm month in Munich, I’ll need to trade in the Geek Kilt for a proper eight yards of wool. Maybe the company will let me expense it …

Meanwhile, pay attention to what’s going on. If you’re going to travel soon check your country’s shifting policies for carry on luggage, personal electronics and what you can do with your lap while in flight.

And please, don’t scratch your crotch during the last hour of the flight. The person next to you might confuse skin irritation for exploding genital jihad. I would also advise against apply Gold Bond Medicated Powder to “sensitive areas” while on an international flight. A little personal discomfort is the price we pay for vigilance.

Note to Paul & Storm: “Exploding Genital Jihad” should be the name of your new alternative rock band

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