Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Yes We've All Seen the Dark Knight

DHS has warned foreign counterparts that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula may attempt to surgically implant weapons into airline passengers. Bombs could walk themselves into secure areas before detonating. It's a scary idea, especially because there's no obvious way to keep suicide bombers from being successful--that is if they can survive the surgery in the first place. However, the threat is not strictly new Surgically implanted bombs are a logical progression from genital-area concealment of bombs, whose first instance was in an attack against a Saudi prince in 2009, and was followed up by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Initial reports from the 2009 Saudi attack indicated that the attacker had concealed an explosive device in his rectum.

Now that we have cavity imaging technology, the terroristic asymmetrical arms race continues. This idea is hardly inventive though. In essence, the Department of Homeland Security foresees a new terror threat from Al Qaeda: the transformation into Joker character from the Dark Knight. DHS has picked up on intelligence from AQAP is seriously considering the tactic, copying one of the more stunning moments of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight.
But one senior Homeland Security Department official said that the new intelligence originally surfaced about a month ago, had been vetted since then and appeared to be linked to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. “The new intelligence indicated at least a fresh look at this possible tactic” by the terrorist group, this official said.
The Joker planted a former insane asylum inmate into the central detention station with a bomb implanted into his stomach cavity.

One of the problems with imaginative thinking is that it tends to mimic already established ideas. When DARPA gathers junior officers from the military to gather new ideas for development ideas, the ideas all originate with Hollywood. In the nineties, soldiers wanted DARPA to invent technologies to mimic Star Trek. I have little doubt that modern soldiers get most of their wish list from the Splinter Cell video game franchise.

At least Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is as unimaginative as the US Military. It's a nice reminder that even those who wish us mortal harm watch the same movies.

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