Feeds

Gilligan's bomb: Is it time to panic yet?

Vicious thrashing fails to stir rotting equine corpse

Boost IT visibility and business value

Comment Noted ex-Beeb reporter Andrew Gilligan - perhaps most famous for coming out on the wrong end of the Kelly/Hutton/Iraq dossier fracas in 2004 - has been up to a different kind of journalism recently - building bombs for Channel 4.

Operating on behalf of the Evening Standard and Channel 4, Gilligan recruited a top UK explosives expert to make a "liquid bomb" which could be taken on board a plane under current airport security regs. Unsurprisingly enough, the effort has been declared a success, with the bomb being used to blow a hole in an old scrapped airliner.

The bomb in question was made by Dr Sidney Alford, one of the UK's premier explosives and ordnance-disposal experts. "About 400ml" of liquids were mixed in a drinks bottle bought from an airside shop, and triggered using a commercial detonator.

Gilligan quotes Alford as saying: "Terrorists could easily make this device. They could obtain access to the chemicals without too much difficulty. They're not particularly tightly-controlled liquids."

Gilligan goes on to say that "the revelation raises concerns over how effectively air passengers are being protected... two or three terrorists could carry it through security in the permitted quantities without raising suspicion... The test exposes potentially disastrous loopholes in the security regime".

Well, kind of. Actually, US government boffins carried out a very similar test more than six months ago to wide press coverage, so this is a rather old and niffy exposé. Indeed, our own Thomas C Greene revealed the full details of how to make such a device a year before that, scooping Gilligan by quite some distance.

However, not being interested in bigging up a marginal threat, he also pointed out the many practical difficulties involved in mixing up viable, deadly TATP from (fairly) easily purchased peroxide and acetone - and correctly laughed to scorn the idea that it's feasible to do this in an airliner lavatory.

That's not to say that four or five terrorists couldn't pass through security carrying their precursors and patiently mix up a viable batch of TATP in some secluded airside spot - and anyway, gaining access to airside doesn't necessarily mean passing through passenger security. Once the charge is done, the actual suicide bomber takes it aboard the plane. Bingo.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
China hopes home-grown OS will oust Microsoft
Doesn't much like Apple or Google, either
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Fast And Furious 6 cammer thrown in slammer for nearly three years
Man jailed for dodgy cinema recording of Hollywood movie
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?