"I'm the First of Many"
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab boarded Northwest Airlines
Flight 253 to Detroit from Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport on 12/25/09
carrying undetected explosives. 23-year-old Nigerian tried but failed to
blow up the plane carrying 289 people.
Abdulmutallab apparently assembled the explosive
device, including 80 grams of PETN, in the aircraft toilet, then planned
to detonate it with a syringe of chemicals. The explosives appeared to
have been professionally prepared and had been given to Abdulmutallab.
Abdulmutallab arrived in Amsterdam on 12/25/09 from
Lagos, Nigeria on a KLM flight. After a layover of less than three hours
in the international departure hall, he passed through a security check
at the gate in Amsterdam, including a hand baggage scan and a metal
detector, and headed to the Northwest flight. He did not pass through a
On 12/28/09 Abdulmutallab was transferred from
hospital in Detroit to a Federal prison in Milan, Michigan, where
agents questioning him said he told them that he was one of many
bombers being groomed by the Yemeni Al Qaeda to attack
On 12/30/09 the airport announced it will
immediately begin using full body scanners for flights heading to the
United States. There were 15 full body scanners at Amsterdam on
Christmas Day buy they were not used because the U.S. had not wanted
these scanners to be used because of privacy concerns.
At least two scanners in Amsterdam have been
experimentally using the less-invasive software since late November and
the Dutch said those will be put into use immediately. All other
scanners will be upgraded within three weeks.
In the U.S., 40 of the full-body scanners are being
operated in at least 19 U.S. airports.
Six U.S. airports are using one machine for primary
screenings: Albuquerque, N.M.; Las Vegas; Miami; San Francisco; Salt
Lake City; and Tulsa, Okla. Passengers go through the scans instead of a
metal detector, although they can elect to receive a pat-down search
from a security officer instead.
The rest of the machines are being used at 13 U.S.
airports for secondary screenings of passengers who set off a metal
detector. But those travelers can also opt for a pat-down instead.
Last Junen in the U.S. Congress, the House voted
310-118 to prohibit the use of whole-body imaging for primary
screening for privacy concerns. The measure, still pending in the
Senate, would limit the use of the devices to secondary screening.
The underwear which contained an explosive packet used on a failed plot
to blow up Northwest Flight 253. Six-inch long packet contained less
than a half cup in volume, weighing about 80 grams of the high explosive
chemical PETN. Richard Reid shoe bomb contained 50 grams of PETN.
The packet of PETN explosive powder above. PETN is the high explosive,
it is stable and safe to handle, but it requires a primary explosive to
detonate it. In this case it was in a syringe.
The syringe is still being tested but appears to be a glycol-based
12/30/09 The Netherlands announced it will immediately begin using full
body scanners for flights heading to the United States. There were 17
full body scanners at Amsterdam on Christmas Day buy they were not used
because the U.S. had not wanted these scanners to be used because of