The underwear bomber, the crotchety terrorist, and now breast implants packed with explosives? Are you kidding? Unfortunately, when it comes to sinister attack plans and deadly creativeness of Al-Qaeda, the answer is No.
Before the accused Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried blowing up the Delta flight over Detroit on Christmas Day with an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) packed on his genitals, another terrorist, Abdullah Asieri, tried to kill the head of the Saudi Arabian Counter-Terrorist Unit (Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef) last September. Asieri arranged to meet the prince under the guise of turning himself in. When Asieri arrived at the meeting to surrender, he detonated a pound of high explosives that were packed into his rectum. Asieri never intended on surrendering, but executing another homicide bombing instead.
Reports surfacing out of The United Kingdom indicate that Britain's MI5 Intelligence Service are seeking Muslim Doctors, originally trained in England, who returned to the Middle East to perform breast enhancement surgery on female homicide bombers. The surgical procedure reportedly involves placing PETN (high explosives) into the bombers breasts so that current aviation physical security measures will not detect the device. Other intelligence suggests that there may have been, or plans to be, upwards of 20 women retrofitted to become homicide bombers using this method. Terrorists are now using the body carry method perfected by narco-traffickers.
It's a game, but with deadly consequences. Whoever amasses the highest body count wins. With every defensive posture move our nation makes to defend itself, the terrorists adjust their tactics and probe for weaknesses. While the ACLU and the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) battle over the political sensitive issue of intrusiveness when it comes to full-body scanning at our airports, Al-Qaeda - and others - study how to exploit flaws in our security measures and then attack, as detailed in an NBC News Report, by Pete Williams (see below). Trying to defend a site based on technology alone is prohibitively expensive and will not work. Although DHS is using the layered defensive approach (technology, people, intelligence, etc.), focusing too much on technology will bankrupt us sooner or later.
Causing your enemy to devote tremendous resources to counter threats or perceived threats is a military tactic that we perfected. President Ronald Regan used this strategy to a cause the former Soviet Union to spend them in oblivion during the mid-1980s, height of the cold war, as they tried to counter the U.S. plans for a Star Wars defense system. Star Wars never made it off the Pentagon proof-of-concept papers, but then again it did not have too; hence the genius of another military tactic called misinformation. The USSR went flat broke trying to account for every perceived threat posed by the U.S. Battles won; War over.
Today, corporations are profiting hugely on billions of tax dollars spent on DHS procuring high technology to combat the latest terrorist attack strategy. While using cutting-edge technology can be useful, let us not forget that Osama Bin-Laden (OBL) spent only $250,000 to pull off the 9/11 attacks that cost our nation over a ten year period trillions of dollars (recession, sustained military operations, government reorganization, etc.). Does the underlying economic military tactic look similar to what we did to the USSR? Unless we fight smarter, with more seriousness, we will go broke. For further illustration of this, see the video link below showing a CNN news report on the Federal Air Marshal Service, posted February 4th, 2010.
The Basics - HUMINT
Ten years ago when I went through SWAT School, the instructor Kevin Davis (you should recognize the name...) said, "Advanced SWAT is just the basics done well." How true, on so many levels. Solid skill sets pay huge dividends. In the mid-1990s then President Clinton unwittingly killed us when he cut the intelligence gathering budgets of our collection assets like the CIA, NSA and others. Instead of having the means to develop sources of information through Human Intelligence (HUMINT), the political appointees of Clinton in-charge of our intelligence world cut the budget and devoted funds to technological gathering activities. In short, spies did not have the money to handle informants, because those funds were now devoted to maintaining and upgrading satellites. These political activities were extrapolated and thrust into reality when OBL declared war on us in 1998, then 9/11 occurred and the CIA did not have effective HUMINT capabilities to initially hunt OBL and satellites do not see inside of caves. Today, street cops still lack the training, guidance and political support to accomplish the anti-terror mission as an essential component for the War on Terror (yes, I still call it what it is. See video below showing Lt. Gen. Boykin, Ret., USA).
You have to delve into the underworld if that is where your enemy chooses to hide. To kill the snake you need to get under that rock. When estimates range around 1/10 of one-percent of all criminals account for nearly 98% of all violent criminal acts (including terrorists) what would happen if all 600,000 police officers in the U.S. knew not only how to handle sources of intelligence, but aggressively sought after them? Is it plausible to think that we could eradicate the vast majority of serious crimes? Given the economic challenges, terrorist WMD threats we face today, police agencies must change operations and really devote themselves to becoming intelligence driven. Every dollar spent today must be accounted for with effectiveness. Cops are being laid off in record numbers. When, generally speaking, nearly 4 out of every 8 hours on a patrol shift are statistically found to be uncommitted, then we have a serious problem.
Two decades of police-work has taught me that changes in law enforcement are painfully slow. It took almost one hundred years for the policing profession to adopt a Code of Ethics that was finally instituted in 1963 when the idea of it first surfaced when President Lincoln was in office. The problem is we do not have a century to change how we do business. I fear the future will be determined within the next ten years. The U.S. Congress is less optimistic, having estimated that the next WMD event will happen within the next three to five years.