TSA Airport Security Alert for Toys With Remote Controls
(NTARC) Citing “credible specific information” about terror tactics Monday, Transportation Security Administration officers stepped up scrutiny of passengers carrying remote control toys aboard airplanes.
The action was not motivated by a specific terror plot, said Kip Hawley, the assistant secretary in charge of aviation security at the Department of Homeland Security. But both in the United States, and internationally, there is concern that common remote control toys could be used to detonate terrorists’ bombs.
The aviation authorities decided against banning the devices in carry-on bags. But passengers carrying remote control toys “including children” could be subject to more intense searches, like having their bags checked by hand and the passengers subject to pat-downs, officials said.
The new policy was established just days after the federal authorities in South Carolina disclosed that a college student being held on terrorism-related charges had made a video that he posted on YouTube, showing how to use a remote controlled toy as a detonator.
Hawley acknowledged in an interview Monday that the video had affected the new policy. But it was just one piece of intelligence that led to the change, he said.
In the South Carolina case, the authorities found a 12-minute Arabic-language videotape on the computer of Ahmed Abdellatif Sherif Mohamed, a student at University of South Florida, that had been uploaded to YouTube. In it, a narrator explains how to convert a toy car into a detonator, an affidavit filed in federal court Thursday says.
Mohamed is also charged with a terror related offense for allegedly posting a YouTube video showing how to turn a radio controlled toy car into a remote bomb detonator.
Court documents show searches in the USF case found remote control cars and a boat, along with dissembled watches and fuses.
Experts say Middle Eastern terrorists are using the toys to counter US jamming of cell phone detonators, because the toys operate on a lower, harder to jam frequency.
related post covering the arrest and investigation of the two University of Florida students whose activities triggered this alert, other postings found in our archives or search engine
(NTARC) In a 12-minute video posted on YouTube, an Egyptian man wearing a white shirt, khaki pants and rubber gloves explains in Arabic how to turn a toy boat into a bomb.
His name is Ahmed Abdellatif Sherif Mohamed, and last month he was arrested in Goose Creek after authorities found four PVC pipes containing a mixture of potassium nitrate, kitty litter and sugar in his car’s trunk.
Mohamed told FBI agents he made the video to teach “those persons in Arabic countries to defend themselves against the infidels invading their countries,” according to federal court documents released late Tuesday.
Specifically, he told the FBI “the technology which he demonstrated in the tape was to be used against those who fought for the United States.”
and then there was the conversation in the back of the patrol car…
In the back of the patrol car on the way to jail on charges of possession of an explosive device, the two whispered in their native Arabic while a hidden recorder taped their conversation, according to court documents:
“Did you tell them there is something in them?” Mohamed asked, an apparent reference to the PVC pipes.
“Water,” Megahed said.
“Water! Right? The black water is in the Pepsi.”
A few seconds pass in silence. Mohamed speaks again.
“Did you tell them about the benzene (gasoline)?”
“I have nothing to do with it. I do the fireworks and so… so… so… that is it.”
But the pipes weren’t fireworks.
An examination by the FBI’s explosives unit found the materials in the PVC pipes fit the legal definition of an “explosive.”
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