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Where's The Sports Drink & Gel-Like Substance?

Friday, Aug. 11, 2006 1:11 PM


The problem with fear is that it clouds your thinking.

One conservative blogger pointed out that all of the suspects in this liquid-explosive scheme were male Muslims.

That, apparently, is incorrect. Associated Press is reporting that one of the 24 people arrested was a woman with a small child. (To be fair, the above blogger's remark was made when only 19 suspects had been named.)

And while authorities and 'experts' spent yesterday pointing out the likelihood of this being an al-Qaeda plot, this has not yet been confirmed. News reports today are still speaking of 'suggestions' and 'indications'.

If we credit al-Qaeda and it was their work, big deal. We already know they're dangerous and determined unless, of course, you're President Bush and you've got a hard-on for Saddam. Al Qaeda wants to kill Americans? Really?

If we credit al-Qaeda and it wasn't their work, we're giving them free press. We're showing how abundantly stupid we are, demonstrating that we wouldn't recognize their handiwork if Ayman al-Zawahiri showed up on Al Jazeera waving tickets for a British Airways flight.

It should also be noted that the explosive is now being described as a peroxide-based solution. There's no peroxide in a sports drink, and if anyone knows how to turn high fructose corn syrup into a bomb, please call Homeland Security.

I am not educated in explosives, but the mention of peroxide suggests that the bomb design is based on the chemical separation of the hydrogen. That'd make a pretty big boom, due to the nature of hydrogen.

I am now also wondering if the sports drink mention was bullshit, a story concocted so as to justify the restriction of all liquids. We are not safer when authorities misrepresent the facts. If we are to understand the nature and depth of a threat, we must deal with the truth.

If that truth is that our modes of travel are woefully under-protected and vulnerable to a makeshift explosive, then we need to know that.

Rah-rah types glorifying the War on Terror and the whole security-through-obscurity nonsense might say, "Oh, but if we tell them our capabilities, it gives away information to the enemy!"

Actually, we want the enemy to know just how extensive, reliable, and solid the screening process at an airport is. We want them to understand that the chances of successfully smuggling a dangerous item through security is extremely low, and the risks outweigh the benefits.

Of course, we're talking about folks who execute suicide bombings, so normal risk assessment may not be big on their list.

Regardless, the name of the game is that the enemy tries to circumvent security or develop methods which cannot be detected/mitigated/excluded by prevailing methods ... and they know that we are looking to identify, locate, infiltrate, and otherwise compromise their operational structure.

This is not about lacking the stomach for a fight. It's about having the brains to win without having to match the enemy blow for blow.

Update:

As more information becomes available, the only link to the sports drink was that the suspects planned on rigging bottles with false bottoms or some other mechanism that would allow them to pass through security and sip from the bottle if asked to.

But what did the media and authorities report, and what were people buzzing about? Evil sport drinks and mysterious gel-like substances. Our security is not well-served by being this poorly informed.




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