Saturday, October 30, 2010

Just Because the Truck Says "Worldwide Services" Doesn't Mean You Have to Accept Packages From Yemen

Although all early news media accounts must be taken with a grain of salt, it appears that yesterday's UPS package bomb plot consisted of shipping computer printer cartridges rigged with explosive devices from a sender in Yemen to addressees at two synagogues in Chicago.

H/T to Passport for this sensible reminder of the good news about this failed attack:

Even by the standards of the underpants-bomber era, sending bombs by UPS and FedEx from Yemen to a synagogue in Chicago does not strike me as the most sophisticated of plots. Whatever security systems UPS and FedEx have in the sorting facilities seemed to work pretty well in this case and even if they hadn't, I would hope that a strange UPS package from Yemen might arouse some suspicion at most American shuls.

Excellent point. The key thing about security measures is that they must be multi-layered. UPS screens its incoming packages, airports screen UPS's cargo, and addressees - one would hope - screen their incoming mail.

You can imagine the mail room guy at a Chicago synagogue looking at one of those UPS packages and asking himself "who ordered printer supplies from Yemen instead of from the Kinkos around the corner?" What are the odds that he would not call the bomb squad?


Update: Photos of one of the explosive devices are available from the UK Daily Mail (here). The device consists of an entire printer, with an explosive-packed toner cartridge and an electrical circuit connected to a mobile SIM card, packed in a cardboard box along with some everyday items.


Mosche Greenberg said...

Are people really believing these stories?

A bomb of this nature would only kill the person standing next to the printer.
Why on earth would someone plot to bomb a random person on the other side of the planet,
by shipping the device with fed ex?
Does the super-secret ALCIADA buy the components for their evil underground bombs on amazon?

Great Intel False Flag Operation to scare the hell out of naive people.

TSB said...

We'll probably never know what motivated it, but "killing a random person on the other side of the planet" is a fair description of what AQ has tried to do a number of times. Or it could have been an attempt to down an aircraft, another tactic they're tried many times before.

Personally, I find either motive more plausible than the idea that some other party shipped viable IEDs on an aircraft in order to (further) scare the public.