Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Slovak plane security test

  1. Jan 6, 2010 #1

    Borg

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    How to be a terrorist without even trying.
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100106/ap_on_bi_ge/eu_hidden_explosives" [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 6, 2010 #2

    mgb_phys

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    The odd bit is the reaction of the Irish police, they do a full SWAT team style arrest of the guy!
    So somebody got the message = "this guy has explosives", but not the "we planted them as a test" part. The interesting question is did this slip happen in the Slovakia->Ireland step or inside the Irish police.

    In 1995 the Dutch security services did the same thing to an American profesor and completely lost them, until he complained to the airline that his luggage was damaged and the FBI found the explosives. Luckily this was before 2001 and the prof was presumably American so he didn't get shot.
    It seems in that case the dutch put the explosives in the wrong bag, it was probably supposed to go into the bag of one of their agents so he could stop if it wasn't found.

    I remember a case where a similair thing happened in Isreal, suppsoedly the Isreali airport security do it regulalrly with unsuspecting passengers to test their own security.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2010
  4. Jan 6, 2010 #3

    BobG

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Perhaps training is so frequent it's become more of pain to be endured than a real learning experience?

    And how realistic is it for a terrorist to carry one fake explosive, plus a real explosive - at least until this incident?

    It doesn't actually say whether this was done with random bags in the baggage area or with carry on baggage? It would be quite a bit of a shock if their training consisted of planting explosives in the carry-on baggage of unsuspecting passengers and that doesn't seem very likely. I could see them using random bags in the baggage area without ever letting the owner know what's happening to their bags before they're loaded on the plane.

    If the explosives were planted in carry-on, it might be somewhat feasible that a terrorist would plant an easily detected fake and try to pass himself off as an inspector, congratulaing the screener on a job well done and it's at least plausible a smooth talker could pull it off. Not very likely, though.

    The latter is the most likely and it kind of makes planting two samples in one bag kind of pointless. Surely a screener wouldn't simply remove the explosives and send the bag on its way without telling anyone in a real incident - even if the detected sample were a fake dummy. This surely has to be something caused specifically by the training scenario; not a scenario that would be likely to occur in the real world.
     
  5. Jan 6, 2010 #4
    I don't know bob, what it all comes down to is explosives did get on to the plane. It doesn't matter where or how really... the fact of the matter is that the security measures failed to stop the explosives from getting onto the plane.

    And to be honest I don't think it's far fetched for people to put C4 and fakes into their bags in hopes that the fake will be taken and the bag will be cleared. Can't C4 be detonated by remote or a timer? I'm quite sure it can... Would you want some C4 ready to be detonated at the press of a button or at a particular time on your plane?



    Didn't think so. While I think it's kind of stupid that they put it into a random passengers bag I think it just adds more realism to the scenario. This wasn't something that was really controlled just how it is in real life and what happened? The security failed.

    I recall in another thread people speaking about inside jobs getting explosives onto the plane and people thought it wasn't possible... well clearly it is possible and it's just been done. Now imagine if the people putting the bomb on the plane weren't friendly. Then what. We just say oh, yeah, we never tested for this scenario but now we know!
     
  6. Jan 6, 2010 #5

    mgb_phys

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    The explosives were placed in a checked bag after checkin but before screening.
    The authorites discovered the missing explosive after the bag had been loaded onto the plane but didn't stop the flight, since without a detonator it's perfectly safe. I suspect the message to intercept the bag at the other end got lost/scrambled leadign to this farce later.

    The reason for using an 'innocent victim's bag is that you need a typical bag with typical smells - if you only train with test bags you might end up training sniffer dogs to find the smell of the something in the training setup. To do it properly you need a good random bag with random perfumes, toiletries, clothes washed in a random soap powder etc.

    It's not clear if the Slovakian authorites were really thinking this advanced or just thought it would be easier. Isreali security (who ARE good) do use regular passenger's bags but are supposed to get the passenger's consent first, and so far don't seem to have mislaid any!

    The US police do this with drug dogs, they routinely planted drugs in impounded cars to enable the police dogs to get used to a wide range of car smells. In a few cases they forgot about the drugs and later arrested the owners when drugs were found in the car at a later date.

    In theory all checked bags going onto planes are X-rayed but in practice late bags or during busy times many are skipped. But your chance of detecign explosives form X-ray with a quick glance is low. Chemcial sniffing is slow and leads to lots of false alarms.
    anybody who thinks it's difficult to smuggle explosives into a bag shoudl think about how much stuff is stolen by baggage handlers, if security don't notice a handler walking out with a laptop or video camera under their arm they aren't going to notice a baggage handler walking in with a bomb down their pants.
     
  7. Jan 6, 2010 #6

    Moonbear

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I'm mostly shocked that once someone realized the bag made it onto the plane, the pilot decided to take off with it on board anyway! That is the part that absolutely should not have happened.

    I also don't think they should be using a passenger's bag without consent. What if the explosives had been found, removed, and the poor guy never notified, then on his return trip, someone detects residue of explosives on his bag with no explanation and no record of how they got there?
     
  8. Jan 6, 2010 #7

    mgb_phys

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    There a few things on a plane safer than a piece of plastic explosive without a detonator.
    You can air freight bullets, and even check them as baggage - they are a lot more dangerous.

    The silly thing was letting the plane take off and relying on the guys at the other end to recover the explosive - even if they do it's going to be embarrasing.
    Probably a communicatiosn screwup over wether this was an internal/international flight and wether this was a test/real explosive.

    Thats why they don't rely on explosive sniffers, there are too many compounds that smell like plastic explosive and it's too easy to cross contaminate the area.
    Any sniffer that is sensitive to detect explosives from a reasonable range and speed is so sensitive that it only takes one guy from a demolition or mining company to walk through the airport and it's all over.
     
  9. Jan 6, 2010 #8

    Moonbear

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    For those who know who tribdog is, he ran into that problem after working on a construction crew doing blasting work then trying to fly somewhere. :biggrin:
     
  10. Jan 7, 2010 #9

    mgb_phys

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    I sometimes work in mining, it's the same problem.
    I was carrying a hard hat through security in a small mining town I mentioned that my carryon and laptop had been underground so they didn't x-ray it. Apparently it contaminates the machine and anything else going through that day.
    Salt Lake city has sniffer cubicles that they make you stand in before security - which since the only reason for going to SLC is mining (and polygamy) seems a bit daft.

    The funny one was when the blasting conference was held at a small resort in florida instead of somewhere with mines. 1000s of people all arriving with residue all over them. Then after the conference they are all leaving with conference bags and t-shirts with the logo - an old fashioned push down cartoon detonator and crossed sticks of dynamite.

    The best part was the Nobel dyno people were handing out those squeezy rubber advertising toys - in the shape of a stick of dynamite, and the door prizes were an alarm clock set into the face of a model detonator.
    You have to wonder how many people had a very interesting time getting through security on the flight home !
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2010
  11. Jan 7, 2010 #10

    mgb_phys

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    A few more details came out.
    They realised that the explosive had got on the plane but relied on serviceair (the baggage handling company at the destination) to retrieve the bag at the other end. Which shows a touching faith - in my experience serviceair can just about be trusted to recognise a plane given 3 attempts.
    For some reason the pilot didn't think it was his job to make sure this actually happened.

    They then contacted the pasenger (he put his details on the booking) and told him to wait for the local police to collect the explosive. The message to (or within) the Irish police seem to have got a bit mistaken.

    The Irish police are still recovering from last years embarrasment where they finally caught a foreign driver wanted for 1000s of traffic violations. His name was “Prawo Jazdy” - they know that because it was written on the top of his license. Unfortuantely “Prawo Jazdy” is Polish for “Driving Licence”.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Slovak plane security test
  1. Test (Replies: 2)

  2. Security at Athens (Replies: 3)

  3. Secure login (Replies: 13)

  4. Information security (Replies: 22)

  5. Security clearance (Replies: 21)

Loading...