Toothpaste Terror Threatens Winter Olympics, Warns DHS

ToothpasteWhen I fly, I’ve taken to swapping
toothpaste for baking soda to minimize the hassles at airport
security, where “liquids,
aerosols and gels
” have to be bagged and x-rayed separately
from everything else. Because, really, what’s more innocuous than a
sandwich bag full of white powder stuffed in my toiletry kit? How
prescient I’ve been! The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is
warning airlines to beware lest toothpaste tubes packed with
explosives make their way onto Sochi-bound airplanes in the run-up
to the Winter Olympics.


The United States is advising airlines with direct flights
serving Russia to be aware of the possibility that explosive
materials could be concealed in toothpaste or cosmetic tubes, the
chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said Wednesday

Rep. Michael McCaul said the Department of Homeland Security
issued a bulletin to airlines flying into Russia warning of the
potential threat.

The bulletin, the Texas Republican said, indicated that
officials believed the explosives might be used during flights or
smuggled into the city of Sochi, where competition at the Winter
Olympics begins Thursday. The opening ceremony is Friday.

These malevolent 3.4 ounce (presumably) tubes of dentrifice
won’t just blast the tartar from your teeth, says the DHS, but the
Tartars right out of the Rodina.

Maybe it’s true. Who knows? Explosives, frankly, aren’t that
hard to make or conceal. Plastic
developed by many countries are moldable into a
variety of forms and could probably be squeezed into toothpaste
tubes if somebody really wanted to. It’s hard to see getting an
effective quantity into a little container of Crest, however.
Security researcher Evan Booth has
improvised weapons
, including explosives, from
off-shelf-commodities purchased in airport stores after
passing through security. And do I really have to point out that

explosive powders
predate the squeezable stuff by a good, long
time? (Crap. There goes my baking soda.) The most dangerous weapon
is the ingenuity of the human mind, not its specific products.

But we’re on Colgate alert as the world prepares for the Sochi
winter olympics, never mind that the
plumbing at the event
may pose a much greater threat than any
deliberately malicious creation of mankind (at least a few hotel
faucets appear to have been linked to sewage lines rather than
fresh water).

And get ready for the toothpaste terror to continue.

A former airline security chief anticipated that the threat will
prompt authorities in the United States and Europe to clamp down on
toothpaste and cosmetics.

“My prediction is that they will give a direct order that
they’ll be removing toothpaste from passengers’ hand-carried items”
and possibly from checked luggage as well, said Glen Winn, a former
security director at United and Continental airlines.

Because, if we’re going to react, we might as well oveerreact.
Nothing else will keep us safe from the…whoever.

from Hit & Run

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