Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Radio Remote Triggers for Improvised Explosive Devices

The US government's Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has issued a press release to explain "...why passengers may notice additional security measures related to remote control (toy) devices."

The press release notes:

While not associated with a specific threat at this time, TSA is aware that remote control toys can be used to initiate devices used in terrorist attacks. Accordingly, Transportation Security Officers have trained on this possibility and travelers may encounter additional screening when bringing remote control devices in carry-on baggage.
This press release is odd on several levels.

First, it only appears to address radio remotely controlled toys. Why? There are several radio frequency devices that are all suitable choices for the bomber.

Second, the press release implies that Officers have only been trained to somehow address the threat believed posed by remotely controlled toys. Why? The training should have included the broader range of suitable wireless devices.

Third, the press release does not tell passengers who may be carrying remotely controlled toys what to expect. Is the TSA going to seize the toys?

The possibility of encountering a radio remote trigger with an improvised explosive device poses a particular threat for security personel, hazardous devices responders, and the general population. The absence of sufficient information about the specific technology used in the device makes any aggressive countermeasure highly risky. Hopefuly the training TSA gave to its officers includes far more information than suggested by the press release.

Reading this press release leaves me waiting for the other shoe to drop.


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