Announcing: Second Annual Movie-Plot Threat Contest

The first Movie-Plot Threat Contest asked you to invent a horrific and completely ridiculous, but plausible, terrorist plot. All the entrants were worth reading, but Tom Grant won with his idea to crash an explosive-filled plane into the Grand Coulee Dam.

This year the contest is a little different. We all know that a good plot to blow up an airplane will cause the banning, or at least screening, of something innocuous. If you stop and think about it, it's a stupid response. We screened for guns and bombs, so the terrorists used box cutters. We took away box cutters and small knives, so they hid explosives in their shoes. We started screening shoes, so they planned to use liquids. We now confiscate liquids (even though experts agree the plot was implausible)...and they're going to do something else. We can't win this game, so why are we playing?

Well, we are playing. And now you can, too. Your goal: invent a terrorist plot to hijack or blow up an airplane with a commonly carried item as a key component. The component should be so critical to the plot that the TSA will have no choice but to ban the item once the plot is uncovered. I want to see a plot horrific and ridiculous, but just plausible enough to take seriously.

Make the TSA ban wristwatches. Or laptop computers. Or polyester. Or zippers over three inches long. You get the idea.

Your entry will be judged on the common item that the TSA has no choice but to ban, as well as the cleverness of the plot. It has to be realistic; no science fiction, please. And the write-up is critical; last year the best entries were the most entertaining to read.

As before, assume an attacker profile on the order of 9/11: 20 to 30 unskilled people, and about $500,000 with which to buy skills, equipment, etc.

Post your movie plots here on this blog.

Judging will be by me, swayed by popular acclaim in the blog comments section. The prize will be an autographed copy of Beyond Fear (in both English and Japanese) and the adulation of your peers. And, if I can swing it -- I couldn't last year -- a phone call with a real live movie producer.

Entries close at the end of the month -- April 30 -- so Crypto-Gram readers can also play.

This is not an April Fool's joke, although it's in the spirit of the season. The purpose of this contest is absurd humor, but I hope it also makes a point. Terrorism is a real threat, but we're not any safer through security measures that require us to correctly guess what the terrorists are going to do next.

EDITED TO ADD (6/15): Winner here.

Posted on April 1, 2007 at 6:46 AM • 364 Comments

Comments

the other GregApril 1, 2007 7:31 AM

Man, you are so banned. They're not going to let you even touch a newspaper with a picture of an airplane in it.

Plural of MongooseApril 1, 2007 8:21 AM

@ the other Greg - when I win the contest, yer gonna see just how prescient yer comment was.

@ Bruce - two questions:

1) Is gratuitous swearing allowed? In this day and age it's darned tough to write a movie plot without the occasional expletive. Since I'm plannin' on winning (hands down!) I'd hate to have my entry disqualified due to what I forsee as the requisite use of the vernacular in the contest.

2) For those of us that have absolutely zero desire to ever talk to a movie producer, would you consider making several guest posts on the subject matter and site of choice of the winner?

LateApril 1, 2007 9:10 AM

My movie-plot threat will consist of drugged snakes that will slowly kill off all the passengers, except for the terrorists, who will have anti-venom. Just think about it, "Snakes on a plane"... Oh wait, nevermind.

Oleg VarlenApril 1, 2007 9:27 AM

Synopsys: The year 2007 brings a fresh new perspective to Islam. Young Islamic men and women embrace the Internet and the world at large, seeing beyond the propoganda and lies told to them by radical leaders. As the youth embrace peace and diplomacy over violence their elders begin to see the light and strict Islamic rules are relaxed.

Out of this reborn Islam a new method of spreading peace and love is born, the Islamic Girl Band - the most prominent of which is the band "Unveiled". These bands of beautiful, busty, Islamic babes takes the world by storm, spreading peace and Islam far and wide through their world concert tours. All seems well.

December 24, 2007 rolls around and the airlines are filled to capacity with Christians and non-Christians alike heading home for Christmas with their families. Since there's no longer any fear of flying, and airline security is still in place, the airlines are seeing an unprecedented surge in travel and profits.

To capitalize on, pardon me, celebrate this new peace the airlines accept a proposal by the Islamic Girl Band association to hold live IGB concerts on all flights. The front seats of each section and filled with busty babes playing guitars and sipping Evian while singing songs of peace to the passengers. This is shaping up to be a Christmas that airtravellers will never forget.

Mid-afternoon rolls around and the number of simultaneous flights is at it's peak. The IGB members all take a break from singing to adjust their guitars, visit the bathrooms, and then mingle with the crowd and the frequent fliers they recognize.

Suddenly the attack comes, directed first at the frequent fliers who encompass probable air marshals. The IGB members weren't adjusting their guitars, they were removing the strings and now they're using them as garrotes to stangle the passengers and crew.

Other members, using the heavy underwires removed from their extra large bras, are stabbing the remaining male passengers in the eyes and throats. Finally, with underwires bent beyond usability and guitar strings broken, the IGB members reach into their purses and prepare for the most heinous attack.

Out come the bottles of Avian and numerous boxes of tampons. The members begin to sieze the remaining passengers and, one by one, force tampons into their throats followed by a spash of Avian to cause expansion. Many of the passengers are asphxiated this way before a bold few manage to overpower the tired IGB girls.

Christmas 2007 is marked by horror and sorrow over the deaths of thousands. Only a select few militant Islamists rejoice - as they call for a return to the old ways and for the execution of the IGB members who strayed from Islam in their dress and music.

Islamic girl bands, Avian, bras and tampons - who would have thought...

2008 is marked by presidential canditates promising to ban all water, underwear, feminine hygene products, and music.

Carlo GrazianiApril 1, 2007 9:36 AM

There should be an honorable mention for anyone who can force the TSA to perform random stomach pumpings and colonoscopies at all airport security checkpoints.

Bruce SchneierApril 1, 2007 9:49 AM

"1) Is gratuitous swearing allowed?" Sure. But honestly, it really depends on how gratuitous.

"2) For those of us that have absolutely zero desire to ever talk to a movie producer, would you consider making several guest posts on the subject matter and site of choice of the winner?" I'll think about it. Probably not.

Bruce SchneierApril 1, 2007 9:52 AM

"There should be an honorable mention for anyone who can force the TSA to perform random stomach pumpings and colonoscopies at all airport security checkpoints."

Banning partially digested food would indeed by an inspired entry.

Nicholas weaverApril 1, 2007 9:54 AM

The energy contained in the typical laptop battery is approaching the energy densities of dynamite or gasoline.

In fact, its well known that they can burn like torches if a minor electrical short occurs.

The Elite Norwegian terrorist team (attempting to resurrect the legend of the vikings as having found america), decides to hijack two planes in flight. They target JetBlue, because JetBlue has live sattelite TV on the seats.

Once both planes are in the air, the first one is crashed by a single suicide terrorist, due to the effect of 2 laptop batteries (one in the computer, one spare) attached together in the lavoratory to make an incindiary bomb. It burns through the side of the plane (the terrorist also uses a magnesium cased laptop to increase the heat of the fire), causing a crash.

1/2 hour after this plane crashes, the second plane, with a group of terrorists, this time as team, announce their presence. They point to the CNN announcement of the planecrash as proof that they are capable and willing to crash the aircraft. They use this, combined with sharp-endged instruments punched out of the from the laptop cases to persuade the pilots to open the cockpit door.

When the pilots don't open the door dispite the beautiful red blood seeping underneeth, its time for their plan B. To breach the door, they return to the notebook batteries, break one out, break apart the cell, wrap around a piece of magnesium punched out of the laptop case (pre-scored), and use it to burn through the hinges. Taking control of the plane and crashing it into the monument to Christopher columbus.

Then the third terrorst plot, weeks later, has a notebook in checked baggage rigged to catch fire...

Nicholas WeaverApril 1, 2007 9:56 AM

The colonoscopy plot:


The terrorists modify their ipod to be a detonator, and smuggle the C4 in packed up their ass as giant ButtPlugs. On the plane, they go to the bathroom, pack the explosive against the side of the plane, and detonate it.


The next plot uses more sensitive explosives, that can be set off by a heavy impact, used as the terrorist butt plug, just so the first reaction of "Banning Ipods" is insufficient.

Baron DaveApril 1, 2007 10:06 AM

Summer, 2007CE. A group of Americans go on vacation to India, taking separate flights in the air at the same time. All of these loyal workers have lost their jobs to outsourcing, which caused them to lose their jobs, houses and spouses, but they claim to be happy to have the time for a leisure pursuit. Business Class has many Indians and Pakistanis travelling back to their homes.

While on board, they casually open the free airline magazine and start flipping through the pages. Straining for a better view, they slip off their carefully ground bifocals. Surreptitiously, one passes his to the partner at the window seat, shielding him from view. He takes out a small piece of chemical-soaked flash paper and places it between the pages of the magazine, an end sticking out. Using two pairs of glasses as magnifiers of the cabin light, the flash paper is ignited, setting the magazine aflame. From there, it's easy for the terrorists to set other magazines on fire, creating panic and toxic smoke from their own carry-on sheaf of treated paper.

Six planes are forced into rapid descent due to on-board fires, Twelve people die from the chemical smoke, Fifty-Eight die in the panic, hundreds are hospitalized and one plane is ditched in the ocean.

The FAA bans eyeware (including contact lenses), on-board reading materials, changes all the light bulbs on every airplane to lesser candle-power and searches all suitcases to test for treated paper and everyone who has lost their job to outsourcing is placed on the Terrorist Watch List. All vacationers are suspect.

TomApril 1, 2007 10:09 AM

Under threat of exile or death, Physicists and Physicians in Muslim countries unite to research the possible causes of spontaneous human combustion. They discover and report a unique combination of medication, food, and physical condition that can cause SPH to occur.

Terrorist leaders hatch a plan to dress suitable SPH canditates heavily in polyester and send them aboard random flights. Soon, planes are downed weekly as random passengers break into intense flame - which spreads to their clothes and then the plane.

Unable to discern a pattern since the agent is consumed by fire, government agencies first force everyone to undergo XRay & MRI pre-flight, then ban all clothing, and finally ban humans from flight altogether.

JohnApril 1, 2007 10:48 AM

Oh, man, this challenge is a piece of cake.

The terrorist plot is women's maxi-pads and tampons packed with special high explosives.

Heh, heh. Let the TSA deal with that!

RodApril 1, 2007 10:48 AM

I wish I was more of a chemist. I imagine it's bound to be possible to eat some kind of pill that, once the plastic coating wears away, would release some kind of toxic gas into the air, killing everyone on board as the air circulates. Make the coating thicker and you can consume it a few hours before your flight.

Deadly farts. The headlines alone would be great.

And the TSA would have little choice but to ban human beings.

annaApril 1, 2007 10:57 AM

30 blond, very beautiful, young women who look like they should be in the Swedish Bikini Team (who had recently lost their jobs because of outsourcing their jobs to India) fly with nothing prohibited on business class. In the middle of the flight, all of them connect the wires of their bras that are filled with explosives that were not detected in the x-rays or the manual body searches. When the bra wires are connected, the chemical explosives causes not only the bras of these beauties to explode, but also the whole plain.

In another plane on the same time, an ice hockey team (they are all white, claim they play ice hockey, and have all the ice hockey accessories regularly checked in for the national flight within US) has been wearing a thin crotch protector that uses the same kind of explosives and wiring than the bra team does. During the flight, the ice hockey team starts to scratch their .. well connect the wires of their crotch protector, causing the whole plane to explode.

This would leave TSA with no alternatives than to ban beautiful, American looking blond women and men from flying, and to make everyone remove their bra for screening. They would also have to manually check every woman to make sure they are not wearing a bra, and check every man that they are not wearing anything around their private areas.

On a third plane, two weeks later after banning the bras (except for checked in luggage), there is a group of white, Christian tourists flying to a touristic destination somewhere. These tourists are packed with explosive butt plugs ....

And on the same exact day, there are 20 people over 75 and 15 infants flying with their moms to a tourist attraction in Florida. Both the infants and the elderly are wearing diapers that are filled with odorless, colorless, undetectable powder that will explode when they will get wet (pouring water on it, or getting wet the way diapers usually do). This would make a ban on all diapers, and make that the infants would have to be screened thru the x-ray machine prior to flying.

lsbApril 1, 2007 11:07 AM

"Majdy, what would the the most unexpected thing to do to the Infidel?"
"Faheem, I do not know."
"Biological warfare!"
"Have we not tried the anthrax before?"
"No no, that kills immediately. And -- it is not funny."
"?"
"Majdy, we will infect ourselves, and fly coach middle seats, the entire summer, to make sure that all seats, all layover airports, are FULL with LICE!"
"They cannot stop it! No one will comb through the groins of the infidel! And they thought taking off their shoes was inconvenient! Faheem, you are a genius! They will have to ban all body hair from planes!"

NealApril 1, 2007 11:11 AM

lol @anna - I think we can all agree that baby diapers are already filled with deadly material. It may not explode, but one sight or smell of it and we'd all be happier if it had.

I've never flown, but is an empty screw cap glass bottle allowed? "We're salesmen for a glass bottle making company and these are our samples." Once onboard all request diet cokes, pour it into the bottles, drop in a few pre-coated mentos, then cap the bottles and wait for the coating to disolve and the pressure to build. If the bottles don't break on their own from the pressure they'll likely explode, sending shards of glass everywhere, when you throw them against a wall.

No more mentos, no empty glass containers, and no sodas - especially diets.

Daniel CarreraApril 1, 2007 11:12 AM

I know this entry won't win because it doesn't fit the criteria, but I'd like to post it:

Objective: To make the TSA severely inconvenience, embarrass and discriminate a sector of the population, hence building anti American sentiment.

Plan: Board the plane wearing a turban. Hice a ceramic knife inside it.

Imagine if the airport authorities started asking people wearing a turban (a semi-religious item) to take it off for inspection.

* Embarrassment and discrimination.

* Will probably tell people that U.S. officials don't know the difference between a Muslim and a Sikh (and some of them actually might not).

Best,
Daniel.

Daniel CarreraApril 1, 2007 11:42 AM

How about using plastic bags to suffocate the flight personnel? Or carrying pens with poisoned needles inside?

How much detail do you want? Can you tell me exactly how you could use 6 men with box cutters to take over a plane? I've never understood this. I'd think that if the cockpit door is closed, a knife won't help you much. If you can tell me how that could happen then maybe I can come up with more detail for either the bags or the pens plan.

ScumbobApril 1, 2007 11:43 AM

July 4, 2007 onboard USAir flight:

"Pssstt, it is time to start humming the anthem Mohammed."

Clean shaven, attractive, Mohammed starts humming the U.S. National Anthem loudly. Preppy engineering students Mahaz and Malik join in. One by one all of the passengers start to join in the humming out of patriotism or peer pressure.

Unnoticed by the passengers the plane is starting to vibrate with their humming, which just happens to be at the resonant frequency of a critical plane component. The vibrations build, the humming sound grows louder, then suddenly the component fails and with a shudder the plane rolls and starts a terrifying dive into the ground....

Ban humming of the anthem (or altogether) or spend billions hum testing all mass transportation?

David in ChicagoApril 1, 2007 12:02 PM

Why bother with the airplane? Try this one:

It's the day before Thanksgiving at Chicago-O'Hare, which is the principal hub of the two largest airlines in the country, American and United. The latter occupies all of Terminal 1; the former, Terminal 3. A plurality of all AA and UA flights originate or terminate at O'Hare. Each terminal has a handful of security checkpoints just past the check-in counters.

On the day before Thanksgiving, the lines at O'Hare's terminal 1 and 3 checkpoints stretch out into the streets. Even with additional manpower brought in for the holiday, TSA simply can't screen people fast enough.

Add to that, O'Hare on a slow day has one operation (takeoff or landing) every 60 seconds; on holiday weekends, they can crank them out to one every 30 seconds, weather permitting. That's over 3,000 flights on a heavy day.

The attack: Four terrorists simply blow themselves up at the four most-densely-populated security checkpoints using body-strapped explosives and explosive- and shrapnel-filled carry-on-bags, killing hundreds, and causing TSA to shut down every checkpoint in the country for the Thanksgiving weekend.

Total cost is under $50,000, almost all of it for the explosives. Immediate damage is probably 250 dead, 1,500 injured, and $1 million or so in structural damage to the two terminals targeted.

Follow-on damage reaches $500 million as the entire airline system stops until TSA can figure out how to protect their own security checkpoints.

The thing is, terrorists don't necessarily care about airplanes. They care about maximum disruption and (go figure) terror. If you're afraid to queue up at checkpoint designed explicitly to protect you, they've scored a major win.

By the way, with at-the-gate style security as they have in Europe and other places--i.e., security in depth--this kind of attack would not necessarily halt air travel.

An obvious defence against the attack I've described would be to patrol the entryways with explosive-sniffing dogs. So just to make it movie-plot silly, let me add that the terrorists infiltrate the police station and put a canine rhinovirus in the dogfood that causes the dogs' noses to clog up. The movie will heighten dramatic tension by having a vignette of a cop helping his poor, sniffling dog blow its nose.

btw, Bruce, if the TSA knocks on my door because of this contest, or if I get the dreaded SSSS on my next boarding pass, I will not be happy.

Bill P.April 1, 2007 12:29 PM

The terrorist take shirts, tee shirts, blue jeans and socks - all made of 100% cotton and soak them in a chemical bath. After processing, throughly rinsing and carefully drying, they dress in this apparel. At the airport, they easily pass through the metal detectors. The cell phones they carry have been modified to appear functional. In fact, the phones have the original battery and a small piece of det cord.

On board, they use their clothing (gun cotton) and the small det cord as an explosive. The cell battery is used as the igniter.

TSA bans cell phones and clothing.

QuandaryApril 1, 2007 1:01 PM

Try this on for size...

John Smith starts out in the airport lobby, having just picked up his tickets. He checks almost all of his luggage, taking on only a thick paperback book and a small fanny pack with his diabetes kit. Security doesn't mind the lancette or the meter, but they're a little worried about the small vials and hypodermic needles. Smith explains how he's diabetic, and how the nonstop California-to-New-York flight will necessitate the usage of insulin.

After this set-up, any number of wonderfully amusing things could happen at cruising altitude... Smith has acid in the vials, and takes a hostage with the deadly syringe; or Smith has been voluntarily infected with some blood-borne disease (AIDS, Ebola, what have you) and uses a lancette to prick himself and threaten the infection of others. Or some of the vials might contain some kind of chemicals that quickly vaporise and cause unconsciousness, while Smith injects himself with a counter-agent. In any case, Smith gains control of the aircraft, takes it to New York, and crashes it into the stock exchange. Diabetics are then forever banned from flying.

standApril 1, 2007 1:04 PM

I think someone needs to come up with a way to create a bomb that looks like a national ID card.

It would be doubly dangerous due to the exploding heads of the various TSA officials as they attempt to come up with a way to ban ID cards.

JoeApril 1, 2007 1:12 PM

I heard terrorists plan to dress as bishops and attack a plane with their staffs with crosses on.

Also, I heard about religious symbols with hidden switchblades in them, with a release mechanism complex enough that it cannot be identified with a visual or tactile search.

caseyApril 1, 2007 1:15 PM

Terrorists infiltrate well-known restaurants and lounges frequented by airline pilots, hired on as chefs and waitstaff. On the day of the attack, specially formulated time-release poison/hallucinogen/barbituate capsules are mixed into pilots' food/drink, synchronized perfectly with subsequent takeoff times. Other terrorists book flights on these planes, and carry fake credentials as licensed pilots. They proceed to crash planes all over the place, except for the one destined for the White House, which has some badass like Bruce Willis or Sam Jackson flying as a passenger, eventually figures out the plan and fights the fake terrorist pilot for control, with lots of mind games along the way (hero has a tarnished past, terrorist looks credible, who do we trust?, etc.) Film gets a couple of stars and makes a modest $20 million.

AnonymousApril 1, 2007 1:18 PM

I always transport my deadly, aerosol-distributed viruses in fountain pen cartridges, then open them using a normal pen when on the airliner.

QuandaryApril 1, 2007 1:27 PM

And, of course, the possibilities for inside jobs are endless, too.

Saboteurs from an unidentified organization infiltrate airport security -- easily obtaining these low-skill, low-pay, low-appreciation, low-appeal jobs. The Group then perpetrates a number of airline hijackings, in which communications are jammed, and then nearly everyone aboard is killed. A few "hostages" (actually members of The Group) always kept alive; the slaughter of the other passengers are explained as crowd-management to prevent plane takeover. The "hostages" report false information about how the plane was actually taken over -- sending the TSA on a wild goose chase of search procedures that take attention away from looking for real threats. This makes The Group's job of sneaking weapons through the (already compromised) security checkpoints even easier. Eventually, some of The Group's inside men get a little too careless, and are summarily fired for incompetence, leaving the hijacking crew for that day in a bit of an awkward place; they are captured, drugged, interrogated, "persuaded" using questionable techniques, and then sent to a secret prison after spilling the beans about how the plan worked. A counter-operation is set up, and the remaining members of The Group are rounded up out of airport security. Ironically, being an airport security guard now gets you on the no-fly list -- and since nobody is entirely sure about which of the TSA bans were valid, all of the silly procedures and checks concocted by The Group are left in place.

caseyApril 1, 2007 1:27 PM

Sorry, my ridiculous TSA response would probably only result in security clearance for all airport foodservice and maybe no meals for pilots.

Perhaps the terrorists tamper with all the Sky Chef meals, then. Passengers, flight crew, and maybe pilots all go crazy from adrenochrome poisoning or slump over and die from cyanide capsules. TSA has to ban all in-flight meals, and all brown baggers get asked, "Has this meal been out of your sight and/or possession for any amount of time?" before they can eat.

Will CoradgerApril 1, 2007 2:06 PM

The Hershey's Kiss of Death

Terrorists buy several thousand bags of Hershey's Kisses. They unwrap, poison with a slow acting toxin, the re-wrap the kisses in an airline branded foil. These kisses are then distributed via FedEx to all the airline ticket counters with a note on faked letterhead that the candies are to set out for passengers, shared with personel, etc. on Christmas/Easter as part of a brand campaign.

Plot is foiled (hehe) when a couple of overweight employees raid the bags prematurely. Candy distribution is now illegal.

On a related note, has anyone noticed that the FDA refuses to identify the company that supplied the wheat gluten in the pet food and they've only stated that they're not aware of the product making it into human food. Check your labels and see how many food products (breads, cereals) use wheat gluten. This could have been a chinese trial-run on the pets... people could be next, and it all might appear as an error...

JeffApril 1, 2007 2:22 PM

William Gibson thought up a good one 20 years ago. In Neuromancer and other stories, the character "Molly" had razor knives embedded in her fingernails that could extend and retract like the claws of a cat. Who needs box cutters when you can carry fingernail onlays reinforced with carbon fiber and ceramic-sharp edges? I can see the TSG now, "all fingernails must be filed to bluntness in the presence of a guard". Some security company will make millions developing an expensive device to measure the sharpness and beyond-fingertip extension of passenger fingernails.

James CameronApril 1, 2007 3:16 PM

Mr. Schneier:

Please forward your winning selections to me. I'm sure we can weave them together into a new blockbuster by this time in 2009. As for compensation ... well, let's discuss that over lunch some time. Have your people call my people.

Thank you very much for your contribution to the creative arts.

Sincerely,
James


P.S. What day is it again?

wrsApril 1, 2007 3:21 PM

Rod: that deadly farts might be released only once. Afterwards the guts might become somewhat interrupted in their duty.

Hm, I don't feel very creative about creating any movie plot, but what about just replacing the knifes by belts? -- If you get the stewards under control by a knife, doing so by a belt would not make any difference. Teamed up with a group of hijackers, there would be no problem with exchanging the hostages for other hostages, even (almost) on the fly.

And, I think, banned belts would make a quite ridiculous future.

Belts banned? Replace them by (cloth) handkerchiefs. Replace these by tshirts wound up. Or any other sort of clothes. -- Hopefully, then 'they' get the ludicrousness they're applying.

(On the other hand, such stupid prescriptions might be the only possible approach if the common mind of the customs (or whomever) is not predictable.)

wrsApril 1, 2007 3:23 PM

NB. I think the final/most ridiculous thing to ban would be consciousness. Without that 'they' might be almost save against any terrorist threat (despite of any kind of time bomb). ... But, nevermind.

ParityApril 1, 2007 3:31 PM

Friday, December 21st, 2007
(The first day of the busiest air travel weekend of the year in North America.)

TSA security checkpoints are mobbed, operating at their absolute maximum to handle the highest sustained volume of travelers possible. At the busiest airports in North America, lines of travelers double back on themselves as hundreds of people press towards the divestiture tables. (<-- actual TSA terminology)

Around noon EST, somewhere near the middle of the line, a man's cellular phone rings. "What? I'm sorry," he says, "let me try to find a stronger signal." He walks briskly away from the line and his luggage, which momentarily explodes in a hail of ball bearings, nails, and lingerie.

Within the same 60-second span, a similar scene plays out at two dozen security checkpoints located within North America's busiest airports.

The perpetrators disappear.

(Optional sequel: the perpetrators reappear 6 hours later, detonating luggage at the check-in counters of two dozen North American hotels as throngs of stranded travelers attempt to find lodging.)

Total casualty count: under 500, double that for added hotel scenario.

Terror bonus: Christmas thoroughly ruined, joins "September 11" on the calendar of American infamy

Lingering residual effect: TSA bans luggage

Fade to black.

MagriteApril 1, 2007 4:02 PM

In an attempt to reassure the American people of their safety and his resolve, President George Bush vows to board an unprotected 767 full of radicals and terrorists and successfully fly cross country while discussing his policies with them.

The flight succeeds without a hitch and all disembark without incident. Immediately realizing that they've discovered the ultimate safety solution, the TSA bans all intelligent life from airlines.

RoyApril 1, 2007 4:20 PM

This is just too easy ....

One class of passenger already gets an automatic pass on the 3-ounce-limit on liquids -- those with many more ounces inside breast implants.

So the terrorists will exploit that existing loophole.

One bad boob job blows up onboard, and they'll have to ban everything over a B-cup.

RoyApril 1, 2007 4:42 PM

We can make them ban laptops, cell phones, PDAs, and the like. It's a simple matter of taking apart one laptop and machining a replacement case out of magnesium. The battery will give enough current to ignite the magnesium, which will then burn fiercely, setting a fire they cannot put out.

We can make them ban all metal, no matter how small the pieces, by having one terrorist with a normal amount of metal -- cufflinks, tie clasp, wedding ring, class ring, pen and pencil set, set of keys, metal eyeblass frames, and a money clip -- which artfully conceal the thermite beneath. A 9V battery and a thin piece of magnesium metal would be enough to ignite the thermite items he's piled into his empty drink cup, and the resulting fire will burn right through the floor and the hull below.

Oh, and ban books. It is hard to tell by casual inspection plain paper from nitrated plain paper, and sniffer-detectors cannot smell the nitration through a thin coating of lacquer, so with a small chunk of azide, a laptop battery, and a four-pound novel -- kaboom!

What about nuns? One person dressed in a full habit, is given a pass on the body search since the metal detector showed nothing, and religious people get special treatment. Once the plane is in the air, the bomber uses a kitchen match to light the short fuse and blow up 20 kg of explosives.

Erik NApril 1, 2007 4:43 PM

use of radio devices is banned, but laptops are not, nor is it prohibited to have a common pcmcia wireless card.

Antennas are omni-directional but with slight modifications a powerful unidirectional antenna can be made with the metallic coded hood (parabolic shape) of a common ballpen.

From business class, the terrorist can discretely interfere with the cockpit electronics and high-jack the plane without raising any suspicion.

The terrorist will need a window seat in the left side of the plane (if the pcmcia slot is on the left side of the laptop) to unsuspiciously connect the card.

Needed: Electric engineer to design the modified antenna, assembled in air. Computer specialist to write custom software.

Budget: Laptop $2000 (can be done cheaper, but will raise suspicion if the terrorist can affort a business class ticket but not a business class laptopl). NIC: $1000 (includes rewiring to increase output). Business ticket, one way $1000. Suit to blend with business class $1000.

100 computer criminals takes the rest of the money: They will hack into AirBus and Boeing to get blueprints for the different airlines to write the software to attack the crafts navigation systems.

Consequence:

1) Ballpens will be banned. You must bring a laptop if you need to write anything. Migration papers that must be completed with a ballpen will be completed on arrival causing chaos and long delays.

2) New airport scanners needed with special software that will search parabolic shaped objects.

Once ballpens are banned, the terrorists will change tactics and hack computers of all travelers, the flying botnet will attack the flight systems in sync.

Plot 2: Bribe authorized personel to install a backdoor in the new remote control systems installed to prevent high-jackers gaining control of craft in air.

Bruce: I have beyond fear, but it is not signed. Just send me a blank sheet of paper with your signature at the bottom.

SergeApril 1, 2007 4:50 PM

Washington (AP) - The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has uncovered another plot by al Qaeda operatives to down U.S. planes. Two suspected terrorist cells in the Salt Lake City area were raided on Tuesday, uncovering stockpiles of rubbing alcohol, fertilizer, and Brooks Brothers pants.

Instructions on jihadist Internet forums were discovered by the FBI in which would-be terrorists were taught how to treat pants with a concoction of isopropyl alcohol and nitrogren-based fertilizer, thereby making them explosive. The instructions further stated that only Brooks Brothers pants were effective for this treatment as they contain a special chemical compound which is used to make them stain resistant. This same chemical compound can be used as an explosive when treated with household materials.

As a precautionary measure, the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) has decided to ban all Brooks Brothers pants from carry-on luggage and on passengers. All passengers going through security checkpoints wearing dress pants will be forced to show the manufacturer of their pants. If they appear to be manufactured by Brooks Brothers, they will be discarded at the checkpoint. Said one pantsless business traveler who wished to remain anonymous, "I'm really glad that we can count on our government to protect us in this post-9/11 world." A representative from Brooks Brothers was unavailable for comment.

Erik NApril 1, 2007 5:00 PM

So they banned liquid, but breast implants are still allowed in any size. Feminine jihadists will carry the ingredients needed for a two component liquid explosive as breast implants.

In air they will go to the lavatory with their male companion who will suck out the liquid to make the explosive.

Consequence: Anyone trying to make it into the 35000ft club will be arrested as illegal combatants and sent to Guantanamo.

Erik NApril 1, 2007 5:07 PM

Terrorists bring powders for bomb production past the security control. They come early excusing themselves that they were afraid to miss their plane because of the extensive security.

Past security, the go to the restroom where the powders are dissolved in liquid and filled on empty water bottles purchased in the airport. The liquid is brought to explosion once on board the craft.

Consequence: The TSA ban the security control at the airport figuring it doesn't work.

Nicholas WeaverApril 1, 2007 5:31 PM

The TSA has to FIND the butt-plugs in order to ban them...

Bend over and think WARM thoughts as you pass through security...

JanApril 1, 2007 5:43 PM

What was wrong about the C4 implant recommended in the last contest? I guess it should not be any problem to cover any explosive in a way it will not be detected by the sniffer.

So we have 20 terrorists, buying 40 kg of High Explosives, some stable and some impact sensitive ones. Lets say this costs 200000$ (should be way less, but I do not have a clue how much explosives cost). Now this is packed into packets with a small impact sensitive "igniter" and loads of stable explosive, maybe some flintstones or something similar are added. This all is coated in many layers of latex or something like that to avoid the sniffers. Lets say this costs another 50000$ (very generous tip). Now another 50000$ get spent on 20 Airplane tickets on 20 different flights and transportation and other smaller, less costy things like a nice last meal for the 20 terrorists. The remaining 200000$ are spent on a doctor who cuts the terrorists open and places the explosives in their bodies. Now the terrorists board the flight and at a certain time punch themselves.

Direct damage: 2000 People on the planes + some hit by the falling parts.

Indirect damage: Terrorists get shitloads of money by having airline stock put options (or however it is called), terror, banning of people from airplanes.


Another idea would be way more simple and cause loads of trouble on over 50 airports. The terrorists pose as a TV team and convince other people to take big bags filled with anything (non-explosive), go into an airport, throw them and start running away. Social engineering. A few years ago, you needed a bomb to be a terrorist. Now you need a bag.

LudoApril 1, 2007 5:44 PM

Revenge of the Widows

Scene 1: somewhere in Iraq we see the bodies of US soldiers and we follow them back home where we witness several young women crying over them. Most of them got married just before their tour to Iraq so they could make a little more. But -compared to the Halliburton mercenaries - still underpaid and more importantly untrained, under-equipped, they were sent to hunt 'insurgents' againt whom they did not stand a chance.

Scene 2: The young widows organise themselves and try to set up a lobby to stop the war and be compensated for their loss. The army has given them little to nothing while they see people making very much money from the war their husband gave their life for. The camera follows the daily life of a few of them.

Scene 3: After many failures finally the President agrees to meet with the lobby group. From all over the country some 20 young widows plan to fly to Washington as representatives of the whole group. For a moment they have some hope, until a memo leaks that the President has exactly 5 minutes in his scedule to speak to them and will leave the rest to some low level civil servants with no mandate whatsoever.

Scene 4: A small group of the widows has radicalised and start to prepare revenge. We see them obtains explosives, practice with these, we see them obtain chemicals and follow a 'repair your own Ipod' workshop.

Scene 4: The day approaches that the event takes place in Washington. In the week before the event all widows that will fly to Washington receive an UPS package...from the same delivery women in all the different states where they live. The package contains an Ipod, a perfume bottle and a 'wonder bra'. The padding of the wonder bra is in fact filled with some 100 grams explosives with the detonators carefully designed as underwires. The Ipod contains an extra large battery enough to power up the detonators. The perfume bottle contains chloropicrin (or some other nasty agent).

Scene 5: In pairs the young widows prepare to fly from all over the US to Washington. At the security check points the metal in their wonder bra's is of course detected but - while the TSA screeners have their eyes right on the target - none of these voluptuous women has to undergo additional screning. The smile and a 'O, that must be my bra' giggle works as ever.

Scene 6: Once the planes are airborne the widows come into action. They make their way to the cockpit door, any cabin crew member or passenger in the way gets sprayed with the chloropicrin leaving them grasping for air and eventually dying. One of the 'bra charges' is used to access the cockpit, the second to kill the pilots/blow up the instruments. Around approximately the same time some 10 planes on their way to Washington plunge out of the air with no survivors left.

Scene 7: After the incidents the TSA strengthens the security screening by banning all Ipods and perfume bottles from cabin luggage. All voluptuous women are requested to take their bra off to let them be x-rayed.

This would make a great movie I think. Then again.... maybe not in the US.....

bbotApril 1, 2007 5:48 PM

Terrorists camouflages bombs as college textbooks, with detonators hidden in the lithium-ion batteries of various electronics. The terrorist nonchalantly wanders up by the cockpit with his armed textbook and detonates it right after the seat belt sign goes off, but while the plane is still over an inhabited area. Thousands die, with most of the casualties on the ground.

One can also easily imagine the threat progression, from shrink-wrapped blocks of C4 with a binding surrounding it, to a full on replica of a normal textbook, complete with fully printed pages. There would be no way to tell the difference between a bomb and a normal book without destructive testing. For bonus points, use mass market paperbacks with duty-free shop sales stickers on them. The detonator can be hidden in any Li-ion battery, used in laptops, cell phones, iPods, etc.

Result: All books are banned, as are all electronic devices. Magazines escape the ban until the follow-up attack uses a stack of thick fashion magazines, then the power lines from the armrest radio. Detonator is hidden as a plain metal ring, which breaks at the score point, is straightened out, and jammed into the magazines.

Tens of thousands of casualties follow as travelers die of boredom on international flights. Sleeping pill sales reach record highs.

ParityApril 1, 2007 6:06 PM

Elaborating on Roy's thermite scare:

By electing to sit in the exit rows, terrorists can position themselves above the center fuel tank, where a thermite fire would be assured to catastrophically detonate the aircraft's fuel supply.

----------

Now, back to gaming the TSA:

A bad guy purchases (or forges) a half-dozen boarding passes for different flights leaving the same airport the same day.

He arrives at the airport and clears security with 9 ounces of dangerous liquid disguised as three 3oz vessels of mouthwash, aftershave, and hair gel.

He meets up with another bad guy in the sports bar, and gives over possession of the liquids.

He then exits the terminal, returns to his car, obtains another 9oz of dangerous liquid, and re-enters the terminal using a different boarding pass, and going by way of a different security checkpoint.

He delivers the additional liquids to his contact in the terminal, and repeats the process one more time, accumulating a total of 27oz of dangerous liquid behind the security perimiter.

He then flies to airport X, where he meets five co-conspirators who have each smuggled 27oz of liquid through other airports via the same method.

Between the six of them, they have 162oz of scary liquid. Presumably it blows something up, and TSA is forced to prohibit *all* outside liquids from entering the terminal.

Max BangApril 1, 2007 7:14 PM

Your entry will be judged on the common item that the TSA has no choice but to ban, as well as the cleverness of the plot. It has to be realistic; no science fiction, please. And the write-up is critical; last year the best entries were the most entertaining to read.
**********************************************

This is not science fiction- This plot was developed form real information. Bruce if you want proof email me and I will send information on what I found.
The TSA will have to Ban travel period, probable they way they operate luggage will have to be banned of dropped off to a decontamination facility and sent on. The cost will destroy the infrastructure alone. Travel for a time will halt and may not even be able to stop the initial spread. The infection rate will be massive.


************************************************


EXT: Vozrozhdeniye Island - Town of Kantubek - Aral Sea - Year 1950's - Hot Zone - Scientists are in BIO Suites with air hoses talking through internal communications devices. This Island is one of the most remote spots on earth. Here is the world's largest biological-warfare testing ground.

INT: Lab Building with small entrance above ground, large underground development center.

Russian Scientists are using rodents and monkeys to develop weapons grade Anthrax,bubonic plague and biotoxins that is resistant to antibiotics and is highly infectious..

Scientist 1 Lev:( Speaking to another) I cannot believe the effect we have achieved with these Boris. If we tested this in a one square kilometer sector about half of the population will die , no questions. For that same area, it costs $2,000 with conventional weapons, $800 with a nuclear weapon, $600 with a chemical weapon and $1 with a bioweapon. One dollar.

Scientist 2 Boris: Why are we developing these weapons when we have superior nuclear weapons Lev.

Scientist 1 Lev:Because that it what our leaders want and I don't have to remind you what happen to Mutov,and Val they questioned, and both were sent to Siberia never heard from again.

We see the scientist come out of the lab and talk off there suites. they now test their subjects. As they walk past each window, monkeys first are seen, the scientists release the anthrax, within seconds the monkeys start acting different

Scientist 1 Lev: You see how fast this is Anthrax is acting, what used to take days for incubation , now seconds, this monkey will be totally infected within 1 hour and stay infectious for approximate 1 month.

Scientist 2 Boris:Short infection time, extended release for maxim infection and spread, with the least possible traceback.

Scientist 1 Lev:Correct, the same with bubonic plague but mix with a hybrid Bio engineered disease. The rats that are infected now are infected quickly like the monkey but will live for a normal lifespan with infection. This allows time for matings and offspring's who will also infect, but the fleas are the key.

Scientist 2 Boris: The fleas, they live on the rats and also get infected and infect any other life they come in contact with. They have a mating every 30 days or so.

( The scientist move to a computer screen and they type in some data.) See the screen with the world on it and a outward moving circle signifying infection rates.) Within 1 month, 2months 3,5,9 total infection of world population probable.)

(Just then a siren and red light starts to flash, the scientist look with disbelieving. )

Scientist 1 Lev: This cannot be happening

Scientist 2 Boris:Why would they do this.

EXT: Cut To a pilot - Markings on plane show Russian: A large bomb is dropped and we see the lab area decimated.

EXT: Vozrozhdeniye Island Year 2000 - Dark and Desolate - Raining - Island is being salvage by various people. 30 or so Men with heavy cloths and faces covered are using rudimentary digging implements. Finally they hit a steel plate, a door. They Speak a foreign language.

Plot develops; they gain access to the old lab, find mummified skeletons allot of damage. As they look around they find various lab petri dishes with labels, they also see rats coming in and out of various places. One of the men signals the others to catch the rats. When they catch them they examine them and signal the leader. fleas, yes they have them.( in English subtitles)

The premises is that these men are going to take the infected rats with fleas and breed them all over the world and the mode of transportation will be to place them on planes. ( they have access as the TSA background checks as superficial and the men have gained operatives in various points in the airports) The fleas will find luggage and breed and spread to humans from their cloths in the luggage, as will the rats breed and colonize all over the world spreading more. Whats can transpire is mass shut down of all TSA transportation, mass panic, people getting infected, overload of health services, no antibiotics will work.

Perhapses we can have a hero who is a scientist type who is racing to find a cure or at least stop the spread. This hero has to go to the Island to examine it to find out what was going on and meets an old Russian Scientist ( Val who was sent to Siberia) together they try to race to stop this pandemic.


References: Internet, NY times, My own imagination.

Max

Chad OkereApril 1, 2007 7:19 PM

First of all the 9/11 hijackers were not unskilled, they had extensive flight training. I guess you could say they were unskilled when they started.

My movie plot idea would be breast implants made of C4 or some other high explosive.

Michael DeHaanApril 1, 2007 7:43 PM

My movie plot involves llamas. That in itself would not be that interesting, if it did not also involve giant squid. Yes, I said both llamas and squid. This is bound to work.

Basically, all that has to be done, is for lots of llamas (thousands) to be bred on a ranch in Montana and then carried by truck to various locations in downtown Boston and released at once .. and night ... each with shiny blinking light-brites on their back.

Given that llamas are inherently funny, combined with Boston's history of bad response to incidents involving light-brites, the threat will not be taken seriously by the public, but will still occupy the Boston bomb squad for the better part of a few days.

However, this is all part of the brilliant plan. It's a distraction for the zodiac boats controlled by crack squads of ninjas. No, pirates. Nah, to heck with that, ninja pirates .. to infilitrate the harbor, sneak in, and leave undetected ... but not before dropping off several hundred cloned giant squid.

It simply cannot fail.

Filias CupioApril 1, 2007 8:49 PM

The terrorist carries a spray perfume bottle full of putrescine or cadaverine ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Putrescine , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadaverine ). (This bottle is much smaller than the fluids limit.) Half way across the Pacific, they squirt it into the cabin. The stench very quickly permiates the entire plane, incapacitating the pilots with nausea. With nobody on board capable of flying the plane, it eventually crashes.

(Idea plagurised from Neal Stephenson, "Zodiac".)

Alternatively, we could combine this with the Fatal Flatulence and Butt Plugs of Doom scenarios discussed above, enclosing the putrescine in a plug which slowly disolves in warm, moist conditions, effectively producing a time delay mechanism.

Hank MillerApril 1, 2007 9:11 PM

Start with a group of terrorists in the woods learning how to best light fires from common items. Magazines, blankets, and toilet paper. They use wal-mart magnesium lighters (From the camping section) and AA batteries to light the fire.

1 terrorist takes an overnight flight that will fly over some city. (for a movie we can assume Boston to Miami will fly over NYC, or you can study flight paths) Terrorist sits near fuel tanks. Everyone but the terrorist goes to sleep as normal - terrorist pretends to sleep.

Terrorist waits until the plane is close to target city, and then builds his fire from the items he finds on the plane (his blanket, clothes from his carry on, all the paper he can find). Ignition is achieved by shorting his laptop battery against the magnesium case. (Either alone would be enough to start a hot fire)

By the time the smoke alarms realize the need to put the fire out it is too late - the fire is uncontrollably large. The pilot announces trouble, but the fire gets to the fuel tanks before he can divert, and the plane breaks up in the sky, landing on the house of some poor widow.

Terrorist leader announces that he will do it again if demands are not met. From here it is a standard capture the bad guy before he does it again plot. Early on investigators only know that the fire started in the middle of the plane, and the suspect it was done from the passanger compartment but aren't sure about that (much less any other details as the crash destroyed a lot of evidence)

From here on it is a pretty standard does the hot shot investigator find the terrorists before the strike again, while everyone else argues if they should give in another plane doesn't crash.

Filias CupioApril 1, 2007 9:16 PM

I think the lap-top battery plans are the most likely to work in the real world. I'd like to add an extra booster - pack the laptop with chemicals from an 'oxygen candle'. A source of concentrated oxygen at the seat of the fire will make it work much better, and should make it immune to fire extinguishers for some period of time - hopefully (from the terrorist's point of vew) long enough to ignite too much for it to be extinguished. With several terrorists you can start several simultaneous fires to further strain the firefighting capabilities of the cabin crew.

An unextinguished fire *will* bring down an airliner, given enough time - there are several (non-deliberate) real world examples.

I'm not sure how detectable the oxygen-candle chemicals are. For bonus points, figure out how to use the oxygen candles already present in the plane for the emergency oxygen supply - but I suspect this isn't feasible unless you already have control of the plane cabin.

I think that these chemicals plus powdered aluminium is essentially a recipe for solid rocket fuel.

ZachApril 1, 2007 9:45 PM

After sitting in airport security and watching the mayhem an x-ray machine crashing caused last holiday season, this one came to me:

The terrorists have two seperate teams, both strike just before Christmas. Team Alpha installs small EMP bombs into their laptop's CD-bay. The EMP is triggered when it detects X-rays, which disables the machine it is being scanned by. There is mass chaos and near riots as no one can get through security and board their flights. In order to keep let people get on their flights and prevent even more delays, the TSA starts letting people go through with just a pat down and cursory bag inspection. This fails to detect the knives and explosives secreted in the bases of the bags of Team Beta, which has cleverly undergone massive cosmetic surgery so that they all look like football players from Iowa. This group hijacks the flights and crashes them into their high value targets of choice (dams, seats of government, nuclear power stations, research labs, army bases, Disneyland, FedEx processing facilities, etc etc).

Not only is there mass chaos as 9/11 happens all over again with planes being used as weapons, but laptops get banned on flights, effectively decimating the modern business world.

Samson NightApril 1, 2007 11:08 PM

Ok, one more off the top of my head and any further will be fully thought out.

Come the presidential primaries, a group of terrorists, completely unarmed, board multiple airline flights as tourists, infiltrate the Republic conventions as waitstaff, and hollywood and numerous corporate boardrooms as janitoral staff and fat cat cigar lighters. Divided among these terrorists is the $500,000 in $100 bills, wrapped around stacks of ones.

At opportune moments the individual cells activate. The terrorists remove the cash from their pockets, have little insane fits, and begin to rip the stacks of cash to shreds. Tens of thousands of politicians, CEO's, Jewish studio heads, and Republicans in general drop dead of heart attacks at the sight of money being ripped to shreds rather than being stuffed in their pockets.

The American people rejoice, embrace the terrorists and their cause, and the US leads the world into a utopian Star Trek future where money doesn't drive our pursuits.

HeatherApril 2, 2007 12:07 AM

Underpants of Doom
~
In a world where death and destruction have become commonplace, one Terrorist Society of Activists has the courage to make a difference.
~

Six years after 9/11, times are hard for young terrorists trying to make a name for themselves. Most have been forced underground, sticking it to the infidels through more mundane channels such as rearranging grocery stores and creating faulty scheduling models for cable and satellite television installers.

Enter our terrorist masterminds. Desperate to take more dramatic action, one cadre of intrepid terrorists takes stock of just what they ~can~ bring with them on airplanes. Given their names and ethnicity, they discover this isn't much, in spite of what printed regulations may state. Refusing to give up, they forge ahead night after night until they have developed an ingenious, foolproof plan.

The elastic in underwear is strong. With so many styles from which to choose, a myriad of purposes may be served. Some widths and thicknesses are best for a garrot, while others may be used to quickly secure the hands and feet of flight crews and air marshals.

Through careful research, these ingenious young terrorists determined that thongs are handiest for use in tying things up, while more modest briefs are effective for blindfolds, gags, clogging airplane toilets and of course suffocation. The potential use of supportive undergarments as slingshots (both to cause chaos and to deliver deadly payloads) further convinces our terrorists that they have hit upon the perfect plan.

Fortunately for all Americans, the FBI was monitoring the library records of the fearless terrorists. Immediately suspect was their selection of The History and Romance of Elastic Webbing by Clifford A Richmond (a real book, believe it or not). A quick check of recent credit card purchases revealed that a quantity of underpants had been purchased at a local Target within the last month, and the plot was foiled.

As a result, the TSA now requires all airline passengers to relinquish their undergarments at airport checkpoints. Paper undergarments are issued to all passengers. Sizing is a nightmare, the piles of discarded undergarments are a logistical biohazard. While the ingenious Terrorist Society of Activists was ultimately unsuccessful in their plot to bring down an airplane, they will long be remembered for their role in the fight against the infidels.

LauriApril 2, 2007 2:22 AM

El Mariachi II

The bad guy is borrowed from "El Mariachi". He is flying from the UK to the States, which should guarantee the maximum safety.

At the airport: El Mariachi is carrying a guitar case. What's inside? A classical guitar of course, but he must leave it to the check-in desk. The lady assures that his 30,000 dollar guitar will be handled very carefully.

He walks through the metal detector - no beep. Then he's x-rayed. "Sir, what's in your pocket?" A nylon guitar string. Oh my god, this could be used to kill someone! Good catch! Mariachi must put his spare strings on top of the pile of nailcutters and other banned goods.

He is early, and watches the people on the gate. There is a secret agent on the same flight, carrying a gun. He must find out who is it. The agent must be the one who didn't go through the security control. There is a man writing something to his notepad with a ballpoint pen. A ballpoint pen - there's no way to get a ballpoint pen through - he's the agent.

Boarding, take-off, meal, coffee, movie take place as in any intercontinental flight.

Mariachi will act after the secret agent has left his seat. The agent goes to the toilet and Mariachi waits for him outside the door. He's ready to use his deadly weapon: fingernails. Everyone knows how important is for a classical guitar player to take good care of the nails, right hand at least. The agent opens the door and has no time to react when El Mariachi sticks his well-polished thumbnail to his throat. It's easy to take the gun away from a dead agent. The panic starts. Mariachi forces the pilot to make a u-turn to Paris. After he shoots the pilots, the plane will be smashed in France, and the French will join the war against terror.

The lesson: At the security check, use those nailcutters to cut everyone's nails.

ZianApril 2, 2007 2:29 AM

I'd also like to give props to Max's idea.

I think it goes quite well with what I read from the non-fiction book Biohazard.

ZianApril 2, 2007 2:33 AM

@Erik N
From what I can recall, airplane diagrams are freely available once the airplane is in commerical operation. So you don't need the group of hackers.

Terrorist wannabeApril 2, 2007 2:40 AM

hmm.. I could remove the plastic part from my glasses' ear supports and stab the pilot with the pointy metal rod..

Jerome LacosteApril 2, 2007 2:48 AM

Note: this plot doesn't follow the recommendation of using a common item. One could add one if needed, but I don't think it needs one. But this plot would require drastic changes in order to decide whether or not to let people in planes.

Warning! Spoilers !!! ;)

The movie is produced by a team of North African, West Asian & South American countries.

Scene 1: North Africa. Summer 2006. A meeting takes place in a hotel in Morocco. The meeting involves Spanish speaking man and Muslim ones. The difference of behavior of the 2 communities is striking.
Some white powder is taken out of a bag. Bribes of the dialogue is translated and sub-titled "5% loss", etc... The men seem to reach an agreement. The camera escapes from the scene, inadvertently showing a box of condoms laying on side of the table....

Scene 2: North Africa. A small village. A man with a big gold ring gives an envelope to an old man, who hesitates to take it. The sub-titles say: "Take it. It's the best for all of us". The 2 men get out of the building. A young girl climbs into a car, looking extremely sad, followed by the man with the ring. The car starts. The old man runs behind the car and shouts "Aysha!! Aysha !!". The car doesn't stop. The man falls on his knees. Alone. The wind opens up the envelope and some money appears.

Scene 3: Summer 2007. We follow a girl wearing a headscarf in the streets of Marrakesh, buying food in the local markets. She arrives in a beautiful home. She drops the food in a kitchen filled with the latest appliances. She removes the headscarf. We recognize Aysha. She took some weight. She starts cleaning up the kitchen. A young woman, richly dressed enters and talks to her. "How was the market this morning"? " "Crowded, but I still got the things we needed as I left there early". "Good job, as usual, Aysha. When you're finished come and help with my hair". Aysha smiles

Scene 4: Winter 2007. A small house. The rich girl, Aysha and a young man are seated along with another man. A fourth man, older, is seated. The dialogue goes along the lines of: "this is the man I told you about. He will help you realize your dreams. But in return you will have to help him a little bit. " Aysha nods. The young man says: "you don't have to do that you know ?". Aysha answers: "don't you want to live your dream? That's our opportunity".

Scene 5: Aysha gets her hair cut and a picture taken without the headscarf. The next moment, she is in a queue for visa applications in the American embassy. When her turn comes, she answers some questions. Current job: 'assistant'. Reason for the visit: 'honey moon'.

Scene 6: Aysha is in a small room. She sits at a table. A bowl contains some capsules, containing some sort of white substance surrounded by plastic. A man explains explains to her: that's not dangerous. It's going to be easy. There are only 15 capsules here. Girls usually take 60 or more. Aysha looks at the bowl. She takes on the capsule dips it in oil and puts it in her mouth.

Scene 7: Aysha boards the plane with the young man, holding hands. She doesn't wear her headscarf. They sit close to each other. Both look excited. The plane takes off. Aysha looks at the sea through the window.

Scene 8: Aysha looks bad. She sweats. The young man is uneasy. He calls for a flight assistant. "My wife is sick, she needs a doctor". A man in his forties seated some row above overhears the conversation. He stands up and say: "I am a doctor", showing a card.

Scene 9: the doctor examines Aysha. He presses her belly. She reacts with pain. The doctor asks Aysha: "what did you eat ?" Aysha doesn't answer, looking even worse. The doctor asks the young man: "what did she eat?" The man looks down and mumble something. The doctor says "we have to take this out of her body". The attendant asks: is her life in danger? The doctor answers: "No it's OK". The doctor gives a pill and a glass of water to Aysha. She drinks. Half an hour later, she is in the bathroom, ex-purging the contents of her intestines.

Scene 10: Aysha is back on her seat. She is attended by a flight assistant and her young companion. She says to him: "I am sorry, I am so sorry". The man cries.

Scene 11: The doctor is in the toilets cleaning up the capsules. He locked himself in. He opens the capsules one by one and pours their content inside a recipient. One of the capsules has a different color. He opens it last and pours it into the recipient. The plane explodes.

We can end there or just add another scene at discretion.


From 2020, I predict that passenger sedation will be compulsory for any travel. :) In fact the planes will be arranged to have some sort of coffins to place passengers in, having the positive side effect to allow to stack more people into planes.


Too bad giving out this plot discards any chance of making this into a movie, as the end was revealed...

Anyway... (C) me :)

Jerome LacosteApril 2, 2007 3:09 AM

And now for other ideas:

- forget about planes: blow a TGV. 800 seats, 300 km/h at max speed. Not a single security check point. Kaboom

- Destroy tunnels on the way to mountains, just before the holiday seasons.

- sink a ferry in the middle of the night in the North Sea, on the day of the anniversary of the Titanic

- attacks, (suicide bombs or release of biowarfare elements) in places where that would cause massive panick (e.g. in the mekka, e.g. 'blaming Israel for it', or in airports, or in football stadiums, or in a parade, in malls, ....


I am very happy that terrorists are almost all dumb and few, (look at how easily they got caught in Spain after the events in Madrid). Otherwise we could be *really* terrorized.


Now if the governments could react more calmly to terrorrists actions, with the money we spend on preventing bombs in airplanes, we could save more lives in the world, helping those who really need it, making everybody's life better, additionaly treating the causes and not the symptoms of terrorrism. But I guess it serves their [the governments] agenda...

Deek the GeekApril 2, 2007 5:31 AM

1> Never even enter the infidels country. Simply phone, fax or call in random threats against airports, schools, traffic tunnels, bridges, motorways or any public building. Don't even try to carry out the threat just use the constant disruption as a weapon against the enemy. You could even outsource the threatening phone calls to India to save cash.

2> Get your agent on board a plane and get him to use his clothing to garrote airline staff or passengers. He could use, shoe laces, trousers, bras, shirts etc. All passengers are then required to have ALL clothing in the hold and fly naked.

3> use spectacles with strong arms that can be removed from the frame and used as stabbing weapons. All specs must be stowed.

4> Swallow packages of non-latex condoms filled with petrol or diesel. Poop these out on route and use them as an accelerant on your long hair, or clothing. Your clothing could be doped to produce toxic fumes when burning. Ignite with a flint and steel or a small battery powered hot wire.

IngvarApril 2, 2007 5:52 AM

OK... Common items. Ball-point pens. Colonoscopy-induced plot. Movie-like. I am sure we can cook something up.

The Islamo-fascist ruling council are starting to get concerned about their image and recruit assorted Europeans to their nefarious purposes. These Europeans are sent on a recruitment run in the US, to lure innocent American survivalists into committing terror, to bring down the Centralist Government.

A group of Missouri survivalists are tasked with bringing down a plane in Washington and do this by first flying on a two-week holiday in the Mediterranean. On the way back, they make sure to equip themselves with Parker steel pens (sharp stabby points) and pre-scored pen inserts (so you can snap them off and have a slight cutting edge).

They also make sure to aquire explosives, moulded into thin strips, inserted into their colon (inside sealed plastic bags, with a draw-string of some sort). The two female team members have tampons, filled with mercury fulminate (a suitable ignitor).

Once on the plane, they make sure to be spread out, rather than seated together (they're not traveling as a group, but as individuals, to make this easier). As food is served, one of them uses a ball-point pen to stab a steward(-ess) in the throat, causing massive blood spill, they then make their demands. Unless the President steps down and electronic voting machines are banned, they will bring the aircraft down.

They extract all the explosives and two pens are modified into cutting tools. They fail to gain entrance to the cock-pit and uses the explosives to cut the lock out. Once in the cockpit, they stab the captain, to force the second pilot to switch the engines off. He refuses, so theykill him too. They fail to dis-engage the auto-pilot, but with no one on board being able to land, the plane flies across the Atlantic on a straight course, continuing to fly over the US west-wards, until the fuel runs out.

Meanwhile, on teh ground, an FBI team discovers that all of the terrorists belong to a patriot group, but decide to try to unravel the whole plot. They find teh link to Europe and via Interpol arrest the EU agents of the ruling council. Most of them keep mum, but the French member is handed over to La Legion, who hose-pipe a confession out of the Frenchman. The evil plot of teh Ruling Council has been exposed and the world is, again, safe for democracy.

Lis RibaApril 2, 2007 6:39 AM

Does it have be set ON the plane???

My movie plot involves terrorists with explosives getting into the lengthy TSA screening lines (the ones which snake around and thus clump people together in a tight group. Then, when they're somewhere in the middle of the queue, they set off explosives.

They never actually get to the plane (nor did they intend to) but cause tremendous havoc in the airports.

Thus, the only way to protect people and TSA screeners is to have a separate screening line *before* air travellers can queue up for the TSA screenings...

ConanTBApril 2, 2007 8:03 AM

I still think that the most devastating threat to our airport "security" will be the first time someone packs a carry on with C4 or dynamite or whatever and has a detonator that is triggered by x-rays. The target isn't the aircraft, but the security checkpoint itself. If the methods of imposing "security" are threatened, then what?

OttoApril 2, 2007 9:02 AM

Attacking passenger planes is SO 2007... what we need to do is attack interstate commerce. Imagine, for a moment, the effect of explosives shipped via overnight carriers (FedEx, UPS, USPS, etc.) from random sources to random destinations. Could use altimeters or air pressure sensors as detonators. It would only take a handful of successful attacks to shut down air freight. As bad as the air embargo was after 9/11, temporarily eliminating overnight shipping would cripple the economy.

MarkApril 2, 2007 9:03 AM

You could have hijackers armed with handguns who harm nobody. But instead insist the plane is parked in the middle of the runway. Then they get out and shoot all the t(y/i)res . Especially a problem with a 747 or A380...

Jack C LiptonApril 2, 2007 9:40 AM

Stolen from H Beam Piper's "Little Fuzzy": Use sharpened zippers like a saw blade to entangle and saw open a flight attendant's jugular vein...

HmmApril 2, 2007 10:03 AM

Got one.

19 hijackers board planes and fly them into three landmark buildings in the United States. Remarkably, two of the buildings (among the world's tallest) collapse to the ground. The fourth plane fails to reach whatever target it may have been after thanks to some brave folks aboard.

The greatest movie plot of them all already happened.

Bruce is right about the ridiculous banning of shoes and liquids and guesses about what will happen next, but it doesn't help to throw up your hands and wait for new attacks. What helps is to actively propose ideas and talk about real security.

derfApril 2, 2007 10:56 AM

John Smith, aka Mohamed Terrorist, has secretly replaced the talcum powder for the baby he's carrying with Anthrax. On Superbowl Sunday, he will threaten to douse the passengers and crew unless they give him control of the plane. Instead of some has been gyrating lewdly in the half-time show, Americans will be treated to the spectacle of a fully loaded 747 impacting the stadium.

nouApril 2, 2007 11:09 AM

I first saw this idea on another blog, ages ago, and can not take or give credit.

The war on liquids has shown us that a plot does not have to be implemented, or even feasible, to have a lasting impact on security policy. So the obvious thing to do is to pick an object, any object, and simply _plan_ a terrorist attack and allow yourself to be discovered. The suggested choice of object, via exploding ink, exploding paper, or any other reasonable sounding mechanism: passports and pieces of ID. How do you ban passports from airports? How do you keep ID away from people boarding a plane? How do you prevent the TSA from spontaneously imploding in a cloud of logical contradiction?

YakkoApril 2, 2007 11:33 AM

Take a standard stamped CD, sharpen the aluminum edge. The CD will still X-Ray as a CD since X-Rays don't detect sharp edges, just shapes.

Take the handle of an umbrella or cane, use a rubber-band and short pencil (put rubber band around pencil, through hole in sharpened CD, around cane/umbrella) to securely attach the CD to the handle.

You know have a fairly sharp and durable axe. Make a couple of them. Take over the plane with them. Kill passengers until the pilots open the secured doors. Or just kill everyone if they refuse.

Obviously we need to ban CD's, umbrellas/canes, rubber bands AND pencils!

Who needs $500,000? This is just a few bucks.

CWuestefeldApril 2, 2007 12:14 PM

I vote for Baron Dave's eyeglass-and-paper scenario. Even without the treated paper, the panic resulting from a a paper and upholstery fire would suffice. Indeed, since lighters and matches alone are already banned, there must be some perceived need to prevent this.

It would be difficult to start a fire in this way -- you'd need a sun-facing seat, and an accomplice to shield you from notice for several minutes. In contrast, a battery and some steel wool would be much easier.

But the drama of needing to ban eyeglasses exceeds that of batteries. The clincher is that so many people need eyeglasses to function AT ALL -- even if it's to administer medication or just to identify and reclaim the eyeglasses themselves.

I'm also partial to "David in Chicago"'s screening line scenario. The irony that the opportunity is created by the security itself is delicious. However, I'm afraid it fails the criteria of leading to a ban on a common item.

Alice McGregorApril 2, 2007 1:07 PM

"And the TSA would have little choice but to ban human beings."

Win. I don't think anyone can beat that.

My entry is a mashup of my last one and the first thing that jumped into my head. Coat an emery board (nail file) in crystalline hydrofluoric acid.

Simply dip it in your steaming hot black coffee and wait for the fumes to spread. Oh, and the board to melt, 'cause that stuff is -nasty-.

Depending on release time and ammount successfully dispersed into air, pain can be delayed 1 to 24 hours thus leaving many people around the country getting ill independant of eachother and causing far more widespread panic. Treatment is generally not applied until a lot of damage has already been done.

From one safety guide I have lying around: "Inhalation of HF produces an immediate injury to the lining of the lungs with hemorrhage pulmonary edema and death. It may take only about 5 minutes of exposure to inhaled HF to produce death in a couple of hours."

Relatively cheap (though dangerous) to produce, easy to move (just avoid moisture and heat), and a dozen or so planes contaminated this way would be quite devistating.

Rick AuricchioApril 2, 2007 1:16 PM

[b]Bumps and Parachutes[/b]

The flight begins to encounter moderate turbulence, and passengers are heading for the lavatories as some become airsick.

One passenger is slammed into the cockpit door as the aircraft lurches through the turbulence. The "Emergency Remote Flight" system engages, because it detects an apparent attack upon the cockpit door.

Unfortunately, it's a major holiday and ground controllers have trouble finding someone to remotely pilot the plane. During the delay, the pilots try to regain control of the aircraft, disabling it in the process.

Boeing officials immediately spring into action, activating their golden parachutes to safely escape recriminations as they resign.

dragonfrogApril 2, 2007 1:59 PM

I think the best idea is the nitrocellulose clothing, which would cause the TSA to ban all passenger-owned clothing. In addition, one of the terrorists would have a paperback novel made of nitrocellulose.

To get a good explosion out of gunpowder/paper/cotton, you have to contain it - otherwise it just flashes. So of course the attackers would need to put the clothing in a piece of luggage. With a timer, this could as easily be done in the hold as among the passengers - result: the TSA bans not only wearing clothes on flights, but packing them in your luggage as well.

Finally, they'd need something to ignite the clothing when it's inside the bag. A modified cellphone or iPod would be a nice touch, just to complete the inconvenience. Alternately, they could build the igniter right into the handle of the luggage.

Result - passengers are forbidden to bring iPods, cellphones, clothing, novels, and possibly luggage, regardless of whether it is checked carry-on.

terriApril 2, 2007 2:01 PM

Illegal mexican immigrants, hired by terrorists, infiltrate the nation's eight major meat packing plants. Under the threat of harming said immigrants' children, the terrorists give the immigrants vials of Bad Stuff and instruct the poor immigrants to taint the meat supply to the airline food suppliers, one week before Thanksgiving. Each plant is contaminated with a different substance that, when combined with the others, creates a terrifyingly effective explosive. When the airline passengers eat the food and use the restrooms, the airplane toilets become flying bombs. For the entire day, airplanes are exploding in mid air. Make sure to include some adorble curly blond children on the plane. The TSA will have to ban toilets.

rhrApril 2, 2007 2:14 PM

Airplanes are made of Aluminum, which forms an amalgam with Mercury, weakening it and causing corrosion. A very small amount of Mercury released inside an airplane can damage the airframe as it slowly spreads through it

Airport security is already worried about this, but I think they're looking for things like thermometers and barometers. What if terrorists smuggled Mercury onto airplanes inside something like fake laptop batteries? TSA would have to ban laptop batteries for sure, and maybe a lot of other things.

Even worse, terrorists could just pretend to smuggle Mercury onto planes and then tell us they did. "Over the past two weeks our agents have released one kilogram of Mercury on 86 747s." We'd have to ground them for weeks to take them apart to see which ones, if any, were dmaged. It would cost billions even if it were a total hoax.

DB CooperApril 2, 2007 3:57 PM

I think Max Bang with the Russian lab has movie all over it. I think the hollywood guys like that stuff and could make a good development. My vote is to Max Bang!

PeterApril 2, 2007 5:37 PM

Simple plot: In order to cause maximum disruption, we target laptops. Not being able to take them on business trips by plane will cause countless problems and extra costs to business. The long ranging economic damage won't be assessable. To do this, we need to direct the TSA towards laptops. Here's how we do it:

a) get four cells of dedicated followers (3 each)
b) equip them with moderately used laptops
c) replace the interiors of the laptop with a pc-104 (or smaller form factor) board and software that simulates the screen sequence of Windows XP until the logon screen. It needs to look real, react to the power button and ctrl-alt-del for logon. It does not have to run Windows XP/Vista
d) obtain some regular explosives and equip at least one or two of the laptops with as much explosives as you can.
e) equip two laptops just with traces of explosives.

1) 2 of the cells run test runs with perfectly clean laptops flying from NY to LA or something like that.
2) 2 of the cells run tests with contaminated laptops. If they don't get caught, we go to 3. If they get caught, the TSA will find out that laptops appearing to be functioning could still be explosives, and they will overreact and ban laptops
3) We will use the builtin motherboard to ignite our explosives. We will manufacture a motherboard to be used by a cell, that will prematurely explode in the terminal. The recovered fragments and traces will point to laptops of the same manufacture, which will lead to the discovery of the other cells.

All we need is a laptop that is not a real laptop, that passes explosives security at one time, but not later. It will be enough doubt, that laptops will get banned.

The DudeApril 2, 2007 6:51 PM

Go back to the basics. Socks and lots of loose change to make blackjacks. Terrorists could each bring a few dollars in coins and pool their change. Optionally you can include the coin rolls (unfilled) to make to blackjack a bit firmer. Just imagine...the TSA saying that you have to leave all your loose change at the security checkpoint, not to mention socks.

madscullerApril 2, 2007 7:12 PM

If the stipulation to "blow up the aircraft" a requirement? Because if the hijackers need only gain control of the aircraft I'm thinking neckties -- better yet bowties -- to throttle the flight attendants. And maybe tie clasps, tie tacks, or sharpened metal collar stays to inflict injuries. There might be an opportunity here for cufflinks whose end are connected by an unreelable piece of wire to be used as garrots...

BTW, not having been on an airline in a while -- are those little liquor bottles made of glass or plastic?

Lesser WharkApril 2, 2007 7:14 PM

I like the idea of using mercury, as rhr suggested, but instead of laptop batteries my terrorists will have mouths full of mercury amalgam fillings. The fillings used will have extra mercury to bring its melting point down around 70 degrees celsius. Once in flight, the terrorists drink a cup of coffee to melt the fillings, then go to the restroom and spit out the mercury, where it eventually corrodes a hole in the plane. My terrorists will survive the flight, but eventually develop heavy metal poisoning.

When the TSA realise what's happening they add a dental checkup to the screening process. Suspect teeth are confiscated (ouch!) and returned at the end of the flight.

duncanApril 2, 2007 7:17 PM

I don't think they will ban anything unless the public becomes aware of its danger first. The bans aren't for our own safety, but to keep us flying. Government tests prove that most bombs can make it through screenings, so why would they worry about this? Unless you can find a way to hack CNN's website, or convince Fox News to run the piece, I doubt a ban will incur. However, thinking about it, I bet one of you could get it on Fox, they rarely check their sources. Or better yet, it should be written as a news story instead, and the winner will be virally spread around the web. Someone will pick it up.

BradApril 2, 2007 7:17 PM

Before the flight, the terrorists empty their bladders and get a catheter with a large balloon tip threaded into their bladders. In the bathroom before going through security, they pump in the ingredients of their weapon in liquid form (we've all been told how dangerous it is get allow random liquids onto the plane) into their empty bladders, then cut the tip of the catheter off so nothing shows at the end of the penis.

On board, they pee into a bag, combining the ingredients and then bad things happen. A small group can bring several litres of binary explosive or toxin on board.

The TSA is forced to ban people with full bladders from boarding aircraft, plus does an X-ray search to look for a catheter.

If the binary ingredients will not kill you within 2 hours, the catheter is not needed. These terrorists don't care if they are slowly poisoned by what's in their bladder; as long as it doesn't irritate so much they can't hold it for an hour or two.

Phineas QuinnApril 2, 2007 7:21 PM

June 19, 2009. 3:45 AM, Pacific Time.

American Airlines flight 238 from LA to New York.

The early morning flight seems strangely packed, a dozen or so young men and women taking their seats scattered randomly (or so it seems) across the airplane. Headphones on, eyes forward, they brush off the stewardesses with a curt wave and a glance at their iPods.

One of the stewardesses notices something strange--amongst all the twentysomethings in headphones, there's not a single booming bass note, no thrash or scream, no jazz, no nothing. Either the volume's universally down, or--

Synchronized watches tick forward to the appointed time. A dozen headphones come off two dozen ears. Trained hands pull cords away, ripping apart the headphones to get two meters each of simple wire. Careful eyes find courtesy power outlets, holes get punched in overhead lights.

The wires find their marks without hesitation, shorting across the remains of lights and in-seat TVs. Sparks fly, starting a dozen separate electrical fires. Stoked by napkins and small piles of facial tissue, the fires burn higher while what's left of the headphone cord is used to strangle the flight attendants and passengers who might have gone for a fire extinguisher.

The plane crashes in flames in the Nevada desert, the video claiming responsibility already airing on CNN.

madsculler IIApril 2, 2007 7:27 PM

The terrorists intercept the route of M&Ms from the factory to the flight food service companies and substitute M&Ms with the usual melts-in-your-mouth-not-in-your hand outer candy coating for ones with cores not of chocolate but some kind of pressure activated explosive like -- if 8th grade chemistry serves me correctly -- postassium iodide. This blows off the pilots jaws and incapacitates them. I suppose this could work with any candy with an expected "crunchy" factor.

LaurenApril 2, 2007 7:49 PM

Our group of terrorists in the US infiltrate the Duty Free Shops at Major International Airport. On the appointed day the terrorists happily fill the duty free orders for their compatriots, who with a single password order up several bottles of "Scotch", which provide the makings for Malotov cocktails when on the airplane.

The Duty Free infiltrators have refilled bottles of premium Scotch with even more flammable liquids, and provded a wicking material in the packing in the bag in which the Duty Free items come. Perhaps a pack of matches is thoughtfully included in the box of Toblerones that was in the Duty Free order.

AdamApril 2, 2007 7:50 PM

Ingvar said: " The two female team members have tampons, filled with mercury fulminate"

I really, really can't believe that someone beat me to this one. I had exactly the same idea.

anonApril 2, 2007 8:06 PM

I'm a terrible writer, but the gist of the plot is thus: one row of seats worth of terrorists take the same plane. Their shoe-laces have a non-metallic garrote wire threaded through the middle of the lace. Undetected at security 99 times out of 100 (and this low estimate is probably way higher if they look like American businessmen), they plan this attack in parallel hitting as many targets in parallel as they want. The wires on their own are hard to handle lethally, so they ensure that they have water bottles or something to tie them to.

During the flight, they remove the wires from the laces and use them to overpower or kill as many of the crew as needed to get into the cockpit where they take over the controls and lock the door, free to crash the plane into anything they want.

Sequel: if the TSA bans or inspects laces, they can repeat the act with any electric wire like iPod headphones.

I once had the opportunity to pick the brain of a middle manager of the TSA, and they know full well that the security is for show. They do as little as possible to make the public feel as secure as possible. Their guidelines are to guard against what's already been done- they know that there are an infinite number of possible terrorist vectors that they could never legally protect us against.

If airplane terrorism became such an economic drain (instead of the economic cash cow it currently is) that the government felt they had to reduce it, the only way to eliminate the easy and cheap vectors is to put each and every traveler under complete anesthetic for every trip. Even that would not prevent dedicated terrorists from inserting someone into the air industry where they could crash planes as a pilot, a crew member, a mechanic, or a bag handler.

D. RenragApril 2, 2007 8:32 PM

This contest is so five minutes ago. Really. Here's how it all went down. Five minutes ago.
'My guy' that I buy weed from came to me with a proposition.
"Hey man, I know some guys who want this thing done. Are you up for it?"
He told me what it entailed and I asked how much it was worth to them. 400. Dollars.
You pay how much for a ticket so that they can treat you like crap? I would have done this for free.

I majored in typography in college. There is absolutely nothing a person can do with this as a major except to fuck with airlines. I mean really why wouldn't you if you could?

Here's the gig. I made a trip to see my parents via plane. I went to all the bookstores in the vicinity of my gate and purchased a book at each one. Three in total. Plus one magazine (It had an article about what in the hell is happening on Lost). I paid cash.
My parents are well thank you. I made the return trip to my own home and started my plan.
Luckily for me I realized that a typography degree was bullshit early so I minored in botany. I was planning to make hollow books to transport weed in. Eh. I came up with this too.

Short version. They'll be back soon.

I recreated the books I bought in triplicate. I started from scratch making my own paper out of oleander. Oleander is the most poisonous plant in Texas.

The plan, which until 5 minutes ago was working very well, was to buy a morning ticket from Dallas to Chicago. Window seat on the East side.
I was going to use my glasses to burn the books causing poisonous fumes to overtake the plane.
Where I screwed up was in placing the extras in the bookshops. They thought I was stealing and now I'm in a little room. Naked.
Dumb asses left their laptop in here though. WiFIIIII!!
500 grand sounds a little better than the 400 bucks I've already spent.

Hopefully this will take care of everyone with glasses, books, and the bookstores. Bitches.

KitsunexusApril 2, 2007 8:34 PM

Aight so get this, a normal American family with a mom a dad and a kid right?

The twist? The kid's a great midget actor with a stuffed toy filled with explosives.

Last I checked, kids don't have to go through airport security.

The 2-BeloApril 2, 2007 8:35 PM

It has likely already well known to terrorist groups such as al-Quaida that it is simple to produce an effective edged weapon that can be used on board an aircraft; for the duration of the short, intense period of time during a hijacking you need a sharp knife only for the time required to subdue anyone who stands between you and the control yoke.

You can make a weapon that stabs or cuts enough to incapacitate out of pretty much anything that will hold a sharp edge. And these sharp edges, undetectable by any mechanical screening system, can be formed into any innocuous shape required to pass security.

As our story opens on a cool morning in April at JFK International, six well-groomed men approach a flight to London Heathrow. All six are wearing the same type of tailored John Phillips business suit that Mr. Takagi was wearing when he was shot through the skull by Hans Gruber. And, like the terrorist-robbers in Bruce Willis' tour-de-force, they are well-financed, and very slick.

Yet their hidden weapons of war are of the most basic kind, more suited for an attack on a hardware store than the impending assault on Western civilization. These half-dozen men all carry hard silver-colored business briefcases that you might imagine carry neatly-stacked wads of hundred-dollar bills, but in fact contain only a laptop computer... a copy of the Wall Street Journal... perhaps a couple of pens, and a Blackberry device.

Yet carefully embedded within the briefcases themselves is a horrible secret: the metal bracings of the case have been fitted by thin pieces of steel that have been meticulously sharpened to a fine, deadly edge.

Airport security X-rays do not detect these instruments of death, as they are not inside the case... they *are* the case.

Once the six men are settled in their first-class seats -- their briefcases of doom safely stowed under the seats in front of them -- it is only a matter of opening the cases, removing a latch or two, and disassembling the case from around its contents. In moments, twelve weapons resembling double-edged scythes are ready, one in each hand.

The gang of execu-terrorists need only wait for one of the pilots to pop open the door of the flight deck for a quick tinkle; at once the cabin is alive with the screams of wild-eyed men wielding improvised sabers, the sharp crack of a cockpit door being forced, and the spatter of blood.

Three of the men patrol the area in front of the cockpit, slicing the throats of anyone who is stupid enough to resist. The other three, after fumbling a few moments with the transponder switch, turn sharply south and then west over the Atlantic... their target: New York City.

They're back to finish the job. As their 767 slams headlong into the Empire State Building, it becomes obvious to the TSA -- standing and watching their televisions in a horrible case of deja vu -- that they must make the last step of airport security: no carry-on baggage of ANY KIND. EVER.

It's a dark day in America.


AnonymousApril 2, 2007 8:37 PM

The principle of the contest was to create "real" danger that would resultin an official ban of a piece of personal gear that would maximize traveller POQ? One only needs to make the asssumption that travellers only have enough money on them to cover a cup of coffee or a beer and everything else is put on plastic, and a second assumption that you've got to have ID or passcard to get into even your own office buiding


Then it's easy - first a visit site like Throwzini's and see how playing cards can be thrown ... hard.

Next visit any "How to be a Ninja" site and see how shuiken can be used as throwing weapons and/or knives with or without poisoned tips and edges

Now imagine that instead of playing cards you expand the card throwing technique to chemically hardened and poisoned charge cards, ATM cards, loyalty carrds and drivers' licemces, or library cards.

Every traveller has at least 10 of these potentially evil weapons on his or her person and they are never checked. The terrorists ( I envision about 10) board the plane and wait 'til midflight when they slash stab and poison a large number of passengers and staff. A terrific fight scene follows as the terrorists are beaten down by other passengers fighting them off with snapped in half CD's and stilletto heeled pumps.

Now the terror starts - suddenly at every airport all plastic cards are removed from passengers as they board. The cards are dumped in disposal bins. The passenger reach their destinations without credit cards or ID, and cannot leave the airports as they cannot rent cars, buy tickets, or stay at hotels (Impression required sir!). There is an immediate drain on city resources as business travellers become the new homeless, unable to leave, stay or prove who they are they starve and corporations fall as all top executives are lost.

At the same time the tonnes of credit cards are stolen by light fingered contractors and used to run up untold billions in debit - the economy crashes.

The terrorists win.

SwampdogApril 2, 2007 8:44 PM

I've come to realize why we haven't had major terrorist attacks on our soil. It's simple. We're not the center of the universe. They really don't give a hoot about us. We have very little that they want. There are 2 things that can be accomplished to benefit the islamic fundamentalist terrorists: 1. Get the attention of the whole world, in order to a) prove their power and righteousness, b) prove our our moral impoverishment and weakness, and c) get us embroiled in conflicts that are none of our business to further prove points 1a) and 1b). Mission accomplished!

So what would be the benefit of further harrassment of the US? Marginal, at best, although it might be fun to see us tie ourselves in further knots. I think the funniest would be a panty-bomber - someone sacrificed their future by coming on a US air carrier headed towards DC with underwear made of C4. After the person was (obviously) caught, they could say, "aww, we were just f#*$ing with ya" and nobody would believe them. In the meantime, we'd be trying to figure out how to scan air passengers underwear. It'd be a hoot.

DemidanApril 2, 2007 8:46 PM

A watch,+ a terrorist= Ban!

Step 1: recruit 10 generic bad guys, with your typical Timex digital watches.

Step 2: One Bad guy brings on a disposable camera w/flash.

Step 3: One bad guy unwinds his "copper wire art" key chain, and passes it to...

Step 4: ...The guy to his right, who goes to the loo, and disasembles his watch and removes it's batery.

Step 5: Repeat step 4 nine more times.

Step 6: Slowly hand/pass them to the Uber bad guy with the camera.

Step 7: Uber man fakes being sick and leaves to use the restroom in First Class,(which is nearest the Cockpit). He then with the copper wire, daisy chains the watch bateries together, with a bit of chewing gum, and with a little luck/know how makes a hand portable EMP out of the camera!

Step 8) Uber with a prayer on his lips waltzes up to the Cockpit door, and WHAM!!! ,,,Er ,,, okay, the sound of a flash charging disables the plane's entire instrument pannel !!!

Step 9) Drink, Smoke and Fornicate, because there is nothing else to do!

The End,,,,

,,, or is it?

DemidanApril 2, 2007 9:17 PM

Another little diddy involves an ancient "Flint and steel"
Fasion the steel into a belt buckle, and carry your good luck flint right in your pocket!
Take the Sunday NY Times into the bathroom with airplane bottle of brandy or two, make a big fire!!!!
No more metal beltbuckles, or most any metal (the security zombies won't know the difference). The only fasteners will be plastic, thus un-secure, causing all kinds of follies involving plane staff and pasongers!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

J.D. HarperApril 2, 2007 9:29 PM

David in Chicago: Wow. That's actually scary. That's an entirely plausible threat; I'm surprised that they haven't done that already.

HawyeeApril 2, 2007 9:32 PM

Drinks are still served in aluminium cans. Ask for an entire can if they only pour you half. Rip the can apart in the lavatory by first punching a hole in it using a pen or a key. The resultant strips of metal make for extremely dangerous weapons.

ShannonApril 2, 2007 9:50 PM

Scene 1: It's the weekend, and Bud is relaxing with his friends, sucking down a couple brewskis. It's a perfect American setting. Lakeside. A bit of "shoot the bottle off the rock". Fishing. There's a new friend that someone's bought along -- Mike -- and he's a fine guy, ex-military, everyone likes him. Bud wonders aloud if he might not be able to get Mike a job where he works. Mike says he'd be most obliged.

Scene 2: Weekend's over, back to work. Bud, Senior TSA supervisor, inspects a slowly-moving TSA line full of grumbling passengers. He determines that the cause of the delay is bad "scan technique". In a witty monologue, he tells, and shows, how it should be done. The line starts moving faster, and we're all safer. Our hero. Bud talks to his boss about Mike. "We always need good people, Bud, but he'll have to pass the security checkup like everyone else." Bud nods to show he never thought it would be any other way.

Scene 3: Intercut scene of Bud moving through the TSA system, tweaking here, helping there, explaining the 3-ounce rule over that-a-ways. Bud's a good guy. Bud's on our side. Bud takes names and gets it done. Bud goes home and his beautiful wife -- she loves how he looks in his uniform -- makes love to him on the kitchen floor and then serves him a fantastic steak dinner.

Scene 4: Bud is giving a class to new recruits. "...so, in summary, thanks to the new technologies and techniques we've developed since 9/11, America is now safer than ever!" The class applauds. Mike's in the class and he impresses everyone with his deft handling of the "Magic Wand" -- the internal TSA name for the hand-held scanner thingy.

Scene 5: Title card: 6 months later.We catch Mike at the end of a shift -- he solves a thorny laptop issue and everyone gets their flight -- and he and Bud have clearly made plans. Bud asks "So what's the meeting about?" Mike says "You'll see."

Scene 6: "The meeting" is in an old warehouse. Before Bud's horrified eyes, his beautiful wife is bought out tied to a chair. She's gagged, and her eyes roll pitifully as she tries to communicate with the husband she so clearly loves. Bud goes nuts. He lays one guy out and is just about to grab the second guy's gun when Mike cold-cocks him from behind with a phone book, so as not to leave a mark.

Scene 7: Using his TSA clearances, and TSA badge, a clearly unwilling Bud is carrying a small box through the back ways of an airport. Ways only accessible to TSA employees. The box looks like a regular Fedex package; Bud looks like he is delivering it. No-one gives him a second glance, but the tension for the audience is unbearable. What's in the box? What's he been convinced to do?

Scene 8: A flash-montage of senior TSA supervisors, all over the country, placing small boxes just _here_ or just _there_. All with slightly haunted looks in their eyes. All totally ignored by their fellow TSA people, who are all hellishly busy, as usual. CUT BACK to the warehouse. Bud is lying on the floor. We hear his wife moaning somewhere, indistinctly. A voice says "It's just a small box, Bud. All we want to do is disrupt the system a little. You won't be placing a bomb on a plane, for Christ's sake! Think of your wife." Her moaning rises to a scream, muffled by her gag. CUT BACK to Bud placing his small box, just so.

Scene 9: Bud is coming home. He is startled to hear a noise in the house, but his fear turns to relief when his wife runs into his arms. She's been returned, safe, just like they promised. "I'm so sorry, honey, I'm so, so, sorry," Bud whispers. "It's ok. It's ok," she says, "I love you so much." Bud prepares a small salad, and they eat gratefully together. Bud flicks on the TV, which comes alive -- CHAOS -- a reporter shouts over sirens and screaming "...there appears, somehow, that someone, we don't know who, has planted bomb in every major airport in America..." Bud is devastated. He turns to his wife and says in a tiny voice "But they said I was the only one!"

The TSA must, of course, ban the TSA.

jeremiahApril 2, 2007 9:55 PM

why not find a way to make identification explosive. that'll really make the TSA's collective heads implode.

Capt KirkApril 2, 2007 9:56 PM

The trick to get something on a plane is to conceal it in plain sight, something that is common place and the TSA is use to seeing on a regular basis. It needs to be small, compact able to conceal an explosive as well as a detonation timing device. This device is a toothbrush or more preferably a electric toothbrush. Today in our lazy world you can now buy a Travel Toothbrush has 30 uses of toothpaste in the handle with a snap-on cap. Just think what you could put in the handle that the TSA wouldn’t even second guess, but you still have the detonation issue and Sonicare has solved that issue for us with the Intelliclean System http://www.intellicleansystem.com.

Clearly, this is more than just your ordinary brush. Among the many things you’ll get from this system is a fresher breath and more bang out of it, especially since an added dose of Crest liquid explosive toothpaste provides an extra punch. Also, the combined specially high explosive formulated liquid Crest toothpaste and sonic technology gives you more freshness and more explosive power than you can handle. Likewise, you’ll get an anti-cavity protection especially with the formulated Crest liquid explosive toothpaste that has sodium fluoride which fights cavities and Nitro for that extra punch. You’ll also get healthy gums and hole punching power with the IntelliClean system that is gentle on teeth and gums but disastrous for a plane window . More interestingly, your IntelliClean brush also has a built-in two-minute countdown timer as well as a explosive activator called the “Quadpacer��?. All these will make sure you brush your teeth exactly as recommended by the dentists and will scare the pants off of any TSA agent. This system allows you 31,000 brushstrokes per minute and will ensure your teeth are really clean and enough vibration that will ignite the Nitro. This also leads to naturally whiter teeth that are safe from coffee, tea and tobacco stains but be a key tool in any terrorists overnight bag.

Lemmy CautionApril 2, 2007 9:58 PM

Again? How about the money?
Sorry, no money no plots.
The Writers Guild (East AND WEST) will contact you ASAP

Robert G. FerrellApril 2, 2007 10:01 PM

This is adapted from a novel I published in 2004. FYI, the scenario does not literally take place in the book; it's more like a 'waking nightmare.' Admittedly, it is highly unlikely that an EMP device like this could be built, or that it would have the effect described. But 'unlikely' is what this contest is all about, right?

=============

The queue for probing, prodding, and scanning before being allowed to proceed to the departure lounge at the airport was lengthy. It wound its way down past the bookstore and coffee bar, and finally came to an end just outside the gift shop. Occupying the terminal position was a young man dressed in sporty, comfortable traveling clothes which signaled an experienced flier. He was rather short, with a dark complexion and pleasant features. His carry-on baggage was a brown distressed leather laptop case and a nice woolen sweater. He looked like a young professional on business travel, or perhaps a graduate student on his way to an academic conference. He spoke only when spoken to, but his replies were cordial and courteous. He seemed relaxed and at ease, and his lack of anxiety about the flight and its attendant indignities spread to those near him. By the time they reached the security checkpoint, they were a fairly congenial crowd.

His laptop case seemed to have rather a lot of components in it, but nothing that looked particularly out of the ordinary. He was carrying nothing else even remotely suspicious, and so while the security screener would have liked to spend more time checking out the contents of the laptop case, the passenger’s obvious ethnicity made the officer wary of being accused of racial profiling and he passed him through without further ado, boarding Flight 821 at gate C-8.

He was assigned to a window seat in the second row of first class. As he sat down, he deftly removed several components from a velcro-secured compartment of the laptop case and hid them in the folds of his sweater. He slid the case under his seat, buckled in, and relaxed.

About thirty minutes into the nonstop flight from Sea-Tac to Rio de Janeiro, he took out his laptop, brought up a crowded spreadsheet, and for all appearances began to get some work done. This particular laptop had a USB connector on the front panel; into this he plugged a cable that disappeared into the jumble of interconnected components hidden under the sweater still on his lap. Unnoticeable to any casual observer, three blank fields at the bottom of the spreadsheet suddenly contained numbers. One of them was a continuously updating pair of coordinates supplied by the GPS unit built into the laptop. The other two were simple decrements. He watched as the proximity numbers counted down, decreasing somewhat irregularly as the tracking program calculated the plane’s airspeed and heading from the GPS coordinate information.

By the time the proximity countdown had reached 10, he was beginning to perspire lightly, despite having taken two rather powerful tranquilizers a few minutes earlier. Still, his expression remained placid, and he had the presence of mind to ask the flight attendant for some soda, to make sure she would not be near him when the time came. Twelve seconds later, the countdown reached zero. He closed his eyes and uttered a short prayer under his breath, then pressed a key on the laptop. A loud pop emanated from under his sweater, and the lights in the cabin all went out at once. The plane seemed to shudder with disbelief, then without warning the 747 dropped out of the sky like the proverbial stone. The crew tried to restart the engines or at least to guide the plane to a controlled crash landing, but the powerful electromagnetic pulse had disabled every electronic system on board. They met with no more success than someone trying to steer an ocean liner with a canoe paddle. They couldn’t dump fuel effectively, or even declare an emergency.

Six miles below and a few ahead of the doomed aircraft, several thousand people enjoying the wide variety of rides, performances, and other attractions at one of the larger amusement parks in the country, sprawled across 200 acres of South Texas limestone in the bed of a former quarry, were blissfully unaware of rapidly approaching Armageddon. The day was overcast, with a ceiling of about a thousand feet. With the engines off, the 747 was surprisingly quiet as it plummeted toward earth. The air being forced up through the control surfaces whistled in a peculiar fashion, but not loudly enough to be heard from more than a couple hundred feet away.

A few people noticed the plane when it broke through the cloud cover, but those directly underneath couldn’t easily tell it was in free fall. It was being tracked on military radar from Randolph Air Force Base, of course, but since the transponder and radios were inoperative, there wasn’t anything the air traffic controllers could do but wonder what in blue blazes was going on. The sudden loss of radio contact and transponder signal couldn’t help but put everyone in mind of September 11, but there weren’t any government targets around here, unless they were aiming for Camps Bullis or Stanley. It wasn’t until they plotted the position of the aircraft and its descent vector that someone realized where the plane was going to come down. They tried to warn the park officials, but it was too late to take any sort of action.

The 747-400 had nosed forward into a dive by the time it broke the cloud ceiling; it hit the ground at a little over 400 kilometers an hour and loaded with roughly 200,000 liters of jet fuel. The resulting superheated fireball virtually vaporized everything within a hundred meters of the impact site and launched flaming debris as far as half a kilometer. The impact site was almost at the geographic center of the park–whether by luck, skill, or a pact with the Devil, the terrorist had managed uncanny accuracy in his aim.

The death toll was horrific. The vast majority of these victims died instantly in the fireball, but several dozen were injured severely enough, either by the superheated shock wave or by falling structures, to die later in the hospital. The scene was one of absolute devastation–like the aftermath of a tactical nuclear attack. Body parts, charred pieces of twisted, unrecognizable wreckage, and slabs of melted plastic were spread thickly in a circular wave front centered on the crash site and extending out for several hundred meters. Not a single structure in the park was left undamaged by the titanic concussion and blast wave.

CarolineApril 2, 2007 10:12 PM

Why stick with banning common items? Bann passengers altogether. My plot: A terrorist swallows 1.5 kg of semtex in latex ballons (the average amount for drug mules as reported by the DEA and about 400g more than was used in the Lockerby attack). On the plane, he either (a) takes a strong laxative, reassembles the semtex and sets it off, (b) he swallows a timing device and leans against a door when it's about to go off, (c) take 4 mules and bring down the plane with 6kg of semtex.

OK, much less exotic and much simpler: how many people have noticed that Denver International has a 2nd floor walkway running over the open area between the security checkpoint and the elevators to the gates? Someone in the TSA should put a net over that area.

Jim O'ConnellApril 2, 2007 10:29 PM

There is very, very little difference between a camera flash and a stun gun.

Disassemble a common disposable camera, add a larger capacitor, more powerful battery, add a couple of pointed contacts and you will have a weapon capable of disabling a very powerful person. With a little creative engineering, you could do this with any camera flash, or any device that could contain a battery and capacitor, such as a laptop computer, digital camera, iPod, or practically any electronic device. In-seat power supplies could even be used, if battery power became problematic.

An alternative would be to specially-prepare a crutch, aluminum cane, walker or wheelchair. Each of these are generally made from aluminum and/or steel. Prepare a mixture of aluminum filings and iron oxide (rust) and pack it into the legs of the walker or the tubes of the wheelchair. This mixture forms Thermite, which burns at incredible temperatures and is nearly impossible to put out. It could be used to cut through structural parts of the plane, disable passengers or crew, or whatever the terrorist might like to do.

Detachable parts of the device could be used as smaller "cutter charges" to gain access to the cockpit.

Thermite is extremely stable and inert unless ignited with an extremely high heat source, such as the spark from a powerful capacitor and perhaps a small strip of magnesium, or even granny's old instamatic camera with magnesium-filled flashcubes.

There, you've just necessitated the prohibition of :
1) Cameras of all types,
2) Crutches, walkers, wheelchairs, and canes, luggage carriers or luggage with structural supports.
3) All electronics, including cell phones, laptop computers and iPods.
4) Anything made of aluminum, iron or steel.

People not allowed on airplanes:
1) Tourists.
2) The elderly.
3) Handicapped people.
4) Kids with iPods.
5) Business travelers with laptops.

Oh, since you're using a capacitor and thermite to do this, you could also ignite it with a trickle charge in your checked baggage.

Maybe it might just be simple to become a an Air Marshall and walk right on board with a gun?

How quickly the US government forgets that it won the Cold War not with nuclear weapons, but by slowly bankrupting the Soviet Union.

allanApril 2, 2007 10:37 PM

A crack team of Radical Environmentalists disguised as pudgy French-Canadians depart from Montreal bound for Florida. Before entering security they ingest a several indigestible pills packed with potassium ferrocyanide. They board the plane looking for all intents and purposes like tourists bound for some fun in the sun.

When drinks and snacks are dispensed they all opt for water, mixing in ridiculous quantities of salt, inducing vomiting one by one. While the other passengers roll their eyes at the air-sick, they secretly mash open the pills in the air-sickness bags. The potassium ferrocyanide reacts with the stomach acid (hydrochloric acid) releasing cyanide gas.

The passengers and crew notice a slight scent of almonds before the cyanide overwhelms their sense of smell, and the odor appears to dissipate. It isn't long before symptoms of prussic acid poisoning become apparent, and soon enough the plane is a flying tomb. Destined for a horrific crash designed to highlight the plight of wetland animals, losing their habitat to the encroach of unscrupulous land developers.

PaulApril 2, 2007 10:59 PM

In my (much reduced) plot treatment terrorists start an internet rumor that the brown magnetic gunk on the back just about anything these days can be mixed with cheap whiskey to create a potent explosive ... the TSA, reacting as only it knows how, immediately closes all the airport bars, and bans drivers licenses and boarding passes .... the next year they report to congress about the wonderfull cost savings they've been able pull off. Meanwhile the "you'll get my credit card when you pry it from my cold dead hand" section of Guantanamo continues to overflow

Chris the Tiki GuyApril 2, 2007 11:00 PM

Following the realization that the plexiglass windows on airliners are staggeringly vulnerable to deep scratches from hard, pointy objects, the TSA realizes that they must demand all travelers to discard their engagement, wedding and anniversary rings, because the diamonds could be modified by terr'ists to have the pointy bits out, acting like a glass, well...plexiglass cutter.

Following this, the TSA decides to err on the side of further stupidity, er...caution, and ban all jewelry of any type. This make those travelers with nipple, navel, and Prince Albert piercings especially inconvenienced.

BrooksTApril 2, 2007 11:50 PM

So about 20 older terrorist types come to the US for this nefarious plot to simultaneously blow up two airplanes in midflight. With the help of a terrorist-sympathizing dentist, they have their teeth removed and are fitted for dentures.

In addition to their normal pair of dentures, they get a second pair. They meticulously hollow out each tooth in the second pair and stuff it with C4 or another high explosive.

On the "go" day, they send two teams of ten on each of two airliners. They book a mix of business class and coach, round trip tickets, check luggage, all that good stuff to avoid raising flags. The, midflight, they remove their explosive-laden dentures and surreptitiously drop them off with the designated assembler. He goes to the bathroom with 10 pairs of dentures (including his own), extracts the explosive, and blows up his plane.

TSA solution: ban dentures on flights. All passengers must submit to security personnel pulling on their teeth to prove that they are real. People who wear dentures must check them in their luggage. So as to soften the blow (har), airlines are required to offer applesauce and other chewing-free meals and snacks.

Mark SelwayApril 2, 2007 11:58 PM

Think Mr Creosote for a different kind of Snake on a Plane.

"Just one more wafer thin after dinner mint sir !"

KABOOM

Ban obese travellers you never know what's inside them.

M.

E0157H7April 3, 2007 12:17 AM

Take a Cliff/Power/something else of similar consistency and size bar. Carefully slit the back along the fold of the wrapper open and remove the bar. Replace the bar with Syntex, water gel, or some other sort of plastic explosive that has been coated in wax and wiped down with cleaning agents so as not to set off bomb detectors. Take a watch and a camera as well. The flash will be used to detonate the plastic explosive. Equip six or so motivated chaps with these things, and place them in strategic spots on the plane. When one of the chaps stands up and, say, picks his nose, they all start the 30 second timers on their watches. They set their gear up and when the timer reaches zero, BOOM! No more candy/energy bars, cameras with flashes, or watches. I was quite proud of the camera flash idea, but it sounds like some people already thought that one up.

E0157H7April 3, 2007 12:36 AM

Oh, I just thought of another one. Out of a team of those same chaps previously mentioned, one of them gets a job at one of the shops/food vendors that are located behind the security checkpoints. Each of the other people buy a bottle of water from that particular vendor. The bottles contain nitroglycerin stabilized with gelatin, which would be colorless and resemble water upon cursory inspection. the camera flashes and watch plan remain the same.

TomBApril 3, 2007 1:25 AM

When the plane gets up to cruising altitude and the pilot turns off the "fasten seatbelts" sign, several passengers get up, open the overhead compartments, grab the telescoping handles on their rolling carry-on luggage, twist and pull. Each handle detaches from the top of one of the twin telescoping rods. The other rod splits along a pre-cut diagonal. The terrorists pull out 16" long aluminum rods with sharp 6" points, and attack the crew.

TomBApril 3, 2007 1:30 AM

This is another take on the guncotton concept: Several passengers board the plane, take off their wigs and toupees, throw them to the deck, and stomp on them to ignite them.

roboboyApril 3, 2007 1:31 AM

The priest plops down into the 1st class seat. Takes out his laptop, and starts writing a sermon on how none of his flock will get to spend eternity in heaven with their non-saved families. A broad smile spreads across his face. "Now I've got those F**cs", he murmers as his laptop battery start to run down.

He pulls out a standard power cord, then another, and another, and a couple more.
Plugs all the cords together, then, with his sweaty hands, he loops all the cords, and stuffs them between his seat and the window. Just as his sermon finishes uploading through the seatback phone, he plugs in the links cords. All the wires in the power cords have been replaced with explosive det cord!!! The window blows, and since he waited till after the "fasten seat belts" sign was turned off, all the 1st class passengers get sucked out through the blast hole. Damn those priests.
Now all standard power cords are banned. ouch!

CountDApril 3, 2007 1:53 AM

The terrorists harvest babies that can scream at certain pitches. Using the acoustics of an aeroplane, these screams combine waveforms to create an ultrasonic pitch. This pitch has the ability to damage the electronic equipment on the plane. Additional babies will be used to shatter glass. In addition, people will be generally annoyed, perhaps to the point of suicide.

If the terrorists can't get babies, they can use Mariah Carey.

sun binApril 3, 2007 4:17 AM

terrorists bring germs to the plane, culture them with body heat, flush down the toilet while passing through the sky of Washington DC

albertApril 3, 2007 4:46 AM

I like david's blowing up the thanksgiving lines best - but it does stretch the rules a bit (i mean, what do 2 terrorists, an enterprise rentacar, 50 one gallon containers, $1000 of cash, 50 gallons of gas, a lighter, some rags, and a map of the western forests have?)... who needs technology to destroy this country - and its not like we're going to ban flammable liquids...

10 Men carry copies of Koran and 1 boiled rotten egg onto planes bound for NY leaving various points of the country and destined to reach city at roughly the same time... early in flight - each goes to lavatory, peels egg - hides it in wall panel - and leaves copy of Koran. Panic ensues as planes begin reporting 'strange smells' and copies of Koran... TSA realizes that there is a theme - and grounds all aircraft.

TSA forced to ban books and things that 'smell funny' as 'infernal' in nature. Alternately - one could use chemically infused diapers... causing the TSA to ban diapers and babies... wait a minute... a plane with no screaming babies... i'm beginning to like this idea...

the other GregApril 3, 2007 5:33 AM

@ anna at April 1, 2007 10:57 AM "Swedish Bikini Team (who had recently lost their jobs because of outsourcing their jobs to India)"

Amurkans might not notice the switch, but ...

jayApril 3, 2007 5:47 AM

A bunch of hippies decide to wreak havoc. They have totally bored themselves with all the loitering around and chilling out, and want some action. Action like truly doing something besides finetuning their delicate set of overhead projectors for optimal liquid experience. One of the guys had done intermittent jobs as a graphic designer, weed has been selling good and their unique pottery is well known and valued. Together they had accumulated quite a lot of cash, it is revealed. One of them had been flying with his dad a long time ago.

The whole commune is happy and dances with joy as they decide to bring down one of those airplanes they so often have to endure. Living under an airway of nearby major international airport is not easy. The noise, annoyance, just amazing ! The house had needed to be rescued, and they had succeeded in holding on, but it's been years and the traffic has grown considerably since. They have seen the bunnies go under each time, cats in terror and birds sucked in the turbines. No more !

They decide to take a flight. For a while the destination is pondered upon, but soon an unanimous decision is reached: California. California: the dream, the paradise, whose pictures are plastered on their walls and so longingly contemplated in a religious unison. They would never reach their destination, and the dream would go unfulfilled, but hey, it's all in your mind. and they would be free.

When the moon was right and the stars well aligned they left their dear house. Wind from a passing plane slowly whirled around, and it looked like the trees bowed in an act of final farewell. Open windows moved a little, and the roaring noise created a perfect sri chakra mandala in the water container, left for the animals..

The airport was busy and full of unhappy people. Hippies were on a mission of release, tools for the ultimate realisation and the divinity. Not much of the weed had been left, and steadily it burned in their intestines. Soon the harassment was over, and they were through the security. They were scorned and laughed at, but it was normal. There was no reason to react to such lowly and earthly insults. The moment was yet to come.

And seated they were, happy and joyful. As the plane ascended they were able to wave to their house, which soon was left behind under the mist of summer clouds. The plane steadied itself, and the sun was bright, brighter than ever... The plane was soon to start descending, and they knew it in their hearts. It was time.

The girls opened up their hair, healthy and long. The strong belts knitted from hemp were loosened up, the large buckles had been sharpened like the purest blade of diamonds. Rays of light reflected on their edges, which had been concealed inside the supporting fabric. They moved about freely, and soon overcame the authorities, neutralizing the oppressors and servants of the machine with quick strangulations and slashes. They were many, they were one, and ready. For the bunnies and silence ! Girls loosened up their hemp blouses for distraction and tying up threatening limbs. Ensuing confusion helped them to reach their objective: the cockpit.

Finally there. They saw it now.. the bay, glittering deep blue ocean. Their eyes glistened and kisses were exchanged.. shivers of happiness vibrated in their bodies as they smiled. There was no reason to worry, a gentle voice was heard by the passengers to exclaim that everything is well, hold on and let go. Soon the voice begun to follow an ancient tune, soothing and filled up with profound beaty.

In a moment the plane was plunging through the clouds. Their was the control, for they were the divinity. The ocean was nearing and many saw their lifes before their minds' eye and a strange feeling of profound detahcment came upon them. Oh, the happiness ! Soon they and california would be eternally unified.

In the last moment one of the girls says worryingly: i hope we don't hit any fish.

Result: long hair, belts and hemp are banned, and all the passengers have to wear a unisex flying uniform. Own clothes are changed back in the changing rooms at the destination airport, and transferred separately in the cargo cabin.

Erik NApril 3, 2007 5:49 AM

OK, turn the task around: Devise a plot to get banned the particular item that annoys you (in which ever way it may be).

Getting any device containing an ActiveX interpreter banned?

Maybe my previous plot will do: Hackers on board launch an attack against portable devices using an ActiveX exploit to own these.

Once all laptops are owned a coordinated attack against the flight control system takes the craft out of control and brings it down.

Consequence: The TSA will ban any ActiveX capable device, you must boot your laptop before boarding to demonstrate that it only boots non Microsoft systems.

Nicolas MONNETApril 3, 2007 5:50 AM

Terrorists infiltrate a chinese manufacturer of cheap promotional watches. They manage to win the bid to supply a major sponsor of the next Olympics, which plans to distribute them at the airport, among other places.

Little do they know that those watches have EMP capabilities, and while none of them can on its own do much harm, they are designed to be sync'd and go off
*simultaneously*.

And should one be forcefully opened or destroy, they would all go off at once. Thankfully a white male republican heterosexual hero manages to foil the plan in-flight by wrapping them in aluminum-based condom wrappers.

Or something.

AndyApril 3, 2007 6:10 AM

Open with footage of the Sarin attack on Tokyo underground.

Shot pans back to Arab terrorists watching a TV, on which the footage is playing.

Cut to terrorists boarding a flight with asthma inhalers. After achieving cruising altitude, the terrorists simultaneous discharge the cannisters of the inhalers. Sarin (or other suitable agent) fills the gas cabin. At the last minute the co-pilot deploys oxygen masks but, blinded, fails to land the plane, which is by now filled with dead or critically injured passengers.

I know, it doesn't meet the criteria of 'blow up', but it does force banning both inhalers and, therefore, asthmatics.

Now I just need to figure out how to fit in the obligatory love-scene.

(Also, I like the Thermite idea - that was my first thought.)

tim copsaApril 3, 2007 7:00 AM

this is easy. authorities uncover a terrorist plot that involves blowing up planes with exploding identification cards. Then the TSA has no other choice but to ban identification!

AnonymousApril 3, 2007 7:05 AM

A team of diabolical opera singers causes the demise of a large aircraft by simultaneously singing out at exactly the resonant frequency of the window panes in the aircraft. The windows explode from the pressure, having been weakened by the intense vibrations. Blood is strewn everywhere as people's eardrums explode. Pilots loose their balance as a result, and the plane plummets to it's certain demise, landing on a stadium full of people who were waiting to see the very show that that these maniacal singers were to perform.

Edward IglesiasApril 3, 2007 7:47 AM

Coffee Mugs of Doom

An alert is issued for all TSA agents to be on the lookout for the caffassins


For years the caffinated assassins or caffassins have perfected the art of turning ordinary ceramic coffee mugs into deadly weapons. A practiced caffasin can hurl an average coffee mug with enough force to knock out an average American adult in fist class all the way from the rear bathroom. Additionally caffassins are very skilled at wielding the deadly broken shards of pottery with a precision that makes box cutters look puny. Now the caffassins are unleashing their deadliest weapon yet. An innocent looking coffee mug and bag of coffee gift set. The only problem is...it's not coffee. Through careful research the caffassins have developed a way to make explosives that look like chocolate covered espresso beans. In reality the coffee beans are placed into the coffee mug which is really a shaped charge that can blow the cockpit door wide open.

TSA will have no choice but to ban all coffee and coffee related paraphernalia from planes.

One more thing. This alert is issued for Seattle.

ax174April 3, 2007 8:12 AM

Ban batteries, acrylic yarn, and knitting needles! Be wary of groups of knitters!

Why have a complicated plot involving laptop batteries when you can easily start a fire using regular batteries, like in this demonstration. The demo uses a 9-volt battery, but 2 AA batteries held end to end would work just as well, plus they are easily "smuggled" onto an airplane inside a Nintendo DS or other hand-held device.

Once the fire has started, throw in some acrylic yarn. That stuff burns like - well, like a house on fire (note: natural fibres like wool and cotton do not burn well). As the fire is burning nicely, have your deadly group of knitters keep back the do-gooders with their sharp, metal knitting needles. You could probably hold someone hostage by sticking the needle in his ear, and threatening to jam it in.

Admit it, it's the perfect plot. Who would ever suspect a bunch of knitters, especially if they were all wearing beautiful, ahnd-knit shawls?

OddityApril 3, 2007 8:28 AM

On the plane into Vegas, the head terrorist in first class smashes the LCD in his laptop into several sharp shards and grabs a stewardess, holding it menacingly under her chin.

At this point, the female terrorists (and the one effeminate male terrorist) all stand up and begin to remove their earrings, which are wire hoops with some sort of medium-sized ball attached to them. They begin to straighten them out, tying them together in a line straight down the middle of the cabin walkway, joined at the end. The final terrorist jumps up, rips off her brooch, and screams, "We're not sure whether God is great or not, but we definitely know we don't like you!" and proceeds to use the brooch to magnify the sunlight coming in from the cabin window.

As each ball goes off, the highly explosive liquid inside each blows shards of the cabin floor into the air and then gets sucked back out the plane, along with all the passengers, who flail helplessly towards The Strip, where thousands of unsuspecting tourists are flattened by the falling passengers.

The plane itself smashes into the Mirage and continues down the strip, destroying half of the casinos and severely damaging the US economy, while simultaneously increasing the cost of oil.

jorisApril 3, 2007 8:28 AM

Spontaneous human combustion is an oft derided mystery but the wick effect is well documented. It basically states that our fat can act like a fuel source whilst our clothing becomes the wick and we turn into candles. Our fat then melts powering the candle untill the body is consumed. The plot: a group of terrorists enter an aircraft and sit strategically throughout it. They each bring with them different ways of starting a fire: some stones perhaps, some twine and a stick, matches, a concealed lighter a magnifying glass, one uses a camera lens another two bits of metal, the other shorts out his laptop, another uses the laser in a diskman etc. They each wear loose fitting cotton sweaters, as much rayon as they can and proceed to on que to light themselves on fire. The panic would be horrendous as would the smoke inhalation problems. Even if the attack would not be sucessful in bringing down the aircraft it would invariably lead to the banning of:cotton clothing, Rayon, stones, lenses, bits of metal, cameras any type of glass, electronic gadgetry and perhaps as they are they were the primary fuel source: people on aircraft.

AaronApril 3, 2007 8:37 AM

A group of people buy tickets and get seats assigned at various window seats throughout the plane. They all board chewing gum that is, in fact, plastic explosive.

Once airborne, they place the chewed wad "gum" on the windows next to them. Their digital watches, with two exposed leads to the batteries, act as detonators. They hold their wrist watches to the windows by simply leaning against the window as if asleep until the watch's pre-set alarm goes off, blowing out the windows next to them.

To ensure the plane goes down, one is stationed in the bathroom just behind the cockpit and chews a whole pack of this "gum", which he places on the wall between him and the pilots.

JimApril 3, 2007 8:44 AM

How about this: Two airline pilots fly the plane into the White House causing the TSA to ban pilots and allow passengers to fly the plane themselves, thereby increasing air safety.

AlbireoApril 3, 2007 8:53 AM

My plot is similar to the one posted by Erik N (posted at April 1, 2007 04:43 PM), but I think that you can't hijack the cockpit equip only with radio waves, so here's my plot. The materials are counted for a single airplane, for more airplane increase as required.

First, the terrorrists need to get a laptop with integrated wireless lan (may be used an external modified network card if the integrated is not powerful enough).

Second, they need to get the blueprints of the aircraft they want to hijack, along with the on board computer protocols, communication "standards" and so on.

Third, a man in the middle wireless to cable adapter should be created (or adapted). It will be hooked to the plane control wires. It will also be capable of staying there without being detected and interrupt the normal signal flow when the hijack time arrives, injecting his owns commands.

Fourth, someone must infiltrate in the luggage loading staff, get in the airplane cargo zone (the man in the cargo zone must be only terrorists related), locate the plane control cable and insert the step three device.

Fifth, the on flight terrorists will board the plane and get the seats (as near as possible to the device, seat choice varies from plane to plane, realized at booking time) with their laptop.

Sixth, when it's time they will fire up their laptops and the control progam (could be some sort of "flight simulator") and take control of the aircraft.

Since the injecting device should be placed directly on the cables going to the various places (engines, ailerons, rudders, etc) the hijack shoulnd't be avoidable at the moment (maybe the signals are already encrypted?).

This plot will lead to the ban of every laptop/handheld/similar device, because the integrated wirless lan cannot be detected (you could adapt a laptop without a wirelss card, inserting your own modified version, and it would be undetectable). Maybe also mobile phones could be used! Yay!

Erik NApril 3, 2007 9:17 AM

Laptop batteries have gained much attention last year as they spontaneously burst into flames. It should be well known that they contain a lot of energy. But it may not have occurred that the energy was not released at once, but rather "slowly" due to small metal pieces in the battery. If short circuited, the batteries may explode.

30 terrorist, each traveling with a laptop and possibly an extra battery, book different flights, although some 6-8 travel on the same flight, in order not to cause suspicion. The remaining are simply helpers to get enough stuff past security without raising alarm.

They easily get past security with their laptops, batteries fully charged. Past security they meet and one gets the batteries from the others, and they each board their plane.

The one from the group of 5 who collected all the batteries, set them in parallel in a briefcase using the wire from the battery charger (a fine cut in the wire has been made before passing security so the raw copper wire can be pulled out), some gaffa and paper clips.

One sit up front on business class, aisle seat. The others on front rows monkey-class, aisle seats.

Once in air, one terrorist approach the cockpit where the batteries are short circuited in front of the cockpit door causing an explosion that blast through the secured door and a poisonous gas from the batteries spread. Travelers on business class and one terrorist is killed, pilots loose consciousness from the gas.

In the occurring panic, the four of the remaining terrorists take a deep breath and rush forward to take control of the aircraft. They pull down oxygen masks, two steers the craft while the other two strangle the pilots. Once pilots are dead the terrorists arm themselves with the guns in the cockpit.

The gas in the front creates poisonous wall that makes it impossible for passengers to come to rescue. The two remaining terrorists try to block people from getting up front by causing painic and pretending to help. And if any succeed, the they will be killed when they get to the cockpit.

The terrorists steer the craft toward large building to repeat 9-11 success.

Uncertainties: I am not sure if arms are stored in the cockpit, but I don't think it will matter much. And I don't know about the gas from the batteries, but sure it will be enough to cause the confusion and panic needed to take control of the plane.

Price:

30 laptops: $35.000
30 tickets: $6.000
Flight lessons for four: $50.000 (only two needed but in case someone is lost on the way).

Actual flight lessons may be replaced by buying a copy of Flight Simulator significantly reducing the cost.

60 laptops batteries are needed to test the setup before the attack, so all order one laptop plus a spare battery.

Consequence: All batteries must be checked in as weapons.

Erik NApril 3, 2007 9:20 AM

Sorry, I have confused the number of terrorists on the same flight in my plot, it should be 7-8 when other number appear. 1 die from the blast of the batteries, at least 4 to siege control of the cockpit and 2-3 to stay back and cause panic.

jdw242bApril 3, 2007 10:11 AM

keep it simple:

1. Firesteel (http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/tools/754d/), altered so the 'key' is on your keychain, and the strike part is incorporated into a messenger bag as part of a grip or zipper.
2. cloth that is not fire retardant

Instant fire starter. Keys would likely be banned.

Other things to consider would be glasses that conceal edge devices, (blades/needles in the ear pieces); a watch that is actually a flask carrying who knows what (which would be the best way to make an incendiary device, since the watch stores the liquid and the crown could be made to creating sparks as it is withdrawn that would explode the device. This could go in conjunction with keyfobs for car door locks, etc., to make it remote. Banned watches.

well, enjoy that.

t'SadeApril 3, 2007 11:46 AM

I'll keep my plot idea nice and simple. USB Thumbdrives and cellphones. They are tiny, small, and TSA doesn't actually check them to see if they work. Some of my coworkers have 5-6 of them shoved in the bottom of their bag. However, some thumb drives (like the 5GB units that look like small hockey pucks) have a reasonable amount of space in them. The evil plot is to basically build a combinable broad-frequency jammer. I've seen articles on these for DIY magazines and they appear to draw very little power. One of them ran off a car battery and I'm sure it would be fairly easy to either tap the airplane's electrical in a discrete manner or use cellphone batteries. The individuals smuggle the components together, then assemble them on the plane and power it up. The main goal is to create enough of a jamming "cloud" in a single busy airport to cause problems with radio, radar (a bit harder, but possible), cell phones (to prevent the ground from knowing). Since the published frequencies are fair well known, it would be relatively easy to basically build a set of jammers to cover the important ones.

EainApril 3, 2007 12:23 PM

An airplane takes off from Dulles International Airport bound for Los Angeles. This flight is ordinary in all ways... Except for the team of terrorists on board who wish to take control of the airplane and crash it into the White House!

Immediately after the "Fasten Seat Belt" light is extinguished, the terrorists head for the restrooms. Half of them enter the restrooms, and the other half wait outside. Inside the restrooms, the terrorists take off their pants. Immediately after exiting, they team up with a partner and each of them rip a leg off the pair of pants, giving each of them an improvised garotte!

They take control of the plane with their makeshift strangling cords, and crash it into the White House!

Ultimate result: The TSA bans all pants on airline flights.

SlizzeredApril 3, 2007 12:40 PM

Russ Meyer would love this one:

Would-be suicide bombers are given sex-change operations: great big titty implants specially made with dual compartments filled with chemicals that explode violently when combined. immediately after the stewardesses begin in-flight service, the transexual madmen begin groping each other's breasts with powerful intensity...

DracheApril 3, 2007 1:36 PM

The Pen and Marker Plot

A small selection of high capacity pens, Super Sharpies, Highlighters, Markers, and Mont Blanc pens, will have all the ink drained and replaced with agents such as DFP, or di-isopropyl fluorophosphates, a close cousin of Sarin gas. The pens would be resealed and stored in a “security��? ZipLock bag provided by the TSA during the voluntary search. Five individuals with five to ten large capacity pens would easily pass through screening and board the plane.

Upon reaching a cruising altitude where depressurization would be catastrophic, the individual would begin to uncap and open up the pens, in the process, releasing the highly toxic gas.

Since the cabin air is recirculated, it would take a mater of seconds to spread throughout the cabin and disable the entire plane.

SlizzeredApril 3, 2007 1:45 PM

Russ Meyer would love this one:

Would-be suicide bombers are given sex-change operations: great big titty implants specially made with dual compartments filled with chemicals that explode violently when combined. immediately after the stewardesses begin in-flight service, the transexual madmen begin groping each other's breasts with powerful intensity...

Danny DeVito plays the disgraced ex-televangelist-turned-TSA-screener who, in the midst of a crisis of faith, learns of the ghastly plot when Christ appears on the monitor of a baggage x-ray machine and begs him to stop the Bursting Booby Blood-Bath from taking place... The race against time begins as DeVito searches every busty passenger frantically for an Adam's Apple...

Posted by: Slizzered at April 3, 2007 12:40 PM

DRM haterApril 3, 2007 1:51 PM

Terrorists use DRM-protected audio recordings to organize and synchronize an attack.

TSA bans DRM.

MartyApril 3, 2007 3:10 PM

Senior citizen WWII terrorists, upset by the way that the current administration has handled their retirement and upset about the medical treatment of vets at the VA hospitals, decide to get even. They secretly meet in retirement homes across the country and plan their simultaneous attack. Each senior vet terrorist is "armed with a colostomy bag full of brown, explosive liquid that also smells like, well, a colostomy bag. (In case it is checked) but who wants to check those?! Several seniors on flights on various airlines simultaneously.... hilarity ensues. It's time to give a crap about what's going on around here!!

HindenburgApril 3, 2007 3:13 PM

I was recently thinking about how stupid these new security laws are, I mean.. Banning liquids? However, the whole liquid idea made me wonder whether it would be possible for some nutjob to make something else very dangerous in a airplane bathroom: Using electrolysis to split water into Hydrogen and Oxygen and then igniting the mix with a spark from the same power source. People have already mentioned laptop batteries and I think that if these were used for this purpose they could be potentially very dangerous.

There are a few reasons this might now work, the purity of the water, the time taken to split enough to create critical damage to the aircraft. I think though that a laptop battery would easily supply enough power to split a substantial amount of water. I also think it would be fairly easy to disable to ventilation systems within the toilet to allow the build up of gas. Both Hydrogen and Oxygen have no odor, so you could get away with doing this in a confined space for a while without anyone getting suspicious.

I did some quick sums on this: A powerful 80 watt hour laptop battery (7200mAh x 11V) has 288 kilojoules of total energy stored. Assuming a very efficient electrolysis process of 90% (Wikipedia), this gives us 259 kilojoules of energy on splitting the water. If we assume the Hydrogen and Oxygen mix is recombined and burns with 100% efficiency (as both gases are there in exactly the right amount) the resulting detonation will have an energy output of this amount. Semtex has an explosive energy of around 5 kilojoules/gram, so burning the gases in an explosive combustion will have the energy output equivalent to about 50g of Semtex. According to Wikipedia it takes 250g of Semtex to critically damage an aircraft.

I also ran a quick check on the volumes and times taken. Here the page with Faraday’s law I used: http://www.nmsea.org/Curriculum/7_12/electrolysis/electrolysis.htm. Assuming we’re at cruising altitude the cabin pressure is 75kPa, let’s say the battery has 7.2 Ah and the cabin temperature is 25 degrees. The volume of Hydrogen gas produced will only be around 0.002 m^3 (two litre bottles full) and 0.001m^3 of Oxygen, easily enough to fit in a airplane toilet (This volume seems a bit small, so might need a check.. I'm not a chemist!). Of course, you’ll have to be in there for around a few hours, assuming the drain on the battery is a couple of amps. I guess there’s nothing to stop you taking a couple of extra fully charged spare batteries on board. 3 would give you a lot of gas and could be carried out in the same space. You might need to take a load of salt on board to help the electroysis, however.

Of course there's a LOT more too it than this. I have no idea about explosives, but I think the shape of the blast wave makes a big difference. I think explosions also depend on the explosive density, the rate of oxidation, the oxygen availability (not that that's a problem here) etc. etc. I think that one battery's worth of electrolyzed water would be enough to make a nice big bang though. It's simple, and worryingly easy to do. If you want to see electrolysis in action, check out this guy's vid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HWlx--tQbA

.. Or then again you could just use them to short out to produce a gas or a fire, as a few people have said.

JohnApril 3, 2007 3:58 PM

My movie: "Intestinal Courage".

A terrorist eats chemical substances that when passing through his system combines with his digestive acids to create a compound that will explode when it is exposed to air. Halfway through the flight the terrorist attempts to excrete and detonate his diabolical internal, infernal device. A brave ex-Secret Service agent traveling to be reunited with his son after a messy divorce has a sensitive nose and is on the scent of the terrorist. With the help of a plucky, ex-alcoholic flight attendant will they be able to prevent our villian from making it to the lavatory?

Watch for lots of product placements from Taco Bell.

End result: TSA bans flying on a full stomach.

muttonchopApril 3, 2007 3:58 PM

Terrorist swallows bomb/weapon, regurgitates it in the airplane toilet.

All passengers must now have their stomachs pumped before boarding.

Marc MatteoApril 3, 2007 4:45 PM

In this scenario several seemingly unrelated people board an aircraft. The majority are simply mules carrying explosives. These explosives are contained inside rubberized sex toys in carry-on luggage, with the theory being that no one in prudish America is going touch one once they are identified as such. Creative team members can embellish the toys as necessary to make inspection more, er, delicate.

Once on the flight the explosives can be recovered and then used to prime and fire one or both of the *explosively formed penetrators* that a female member of the team is concealing as part of her bra. Any woman of suitable size would do.

[For those that don't know an EFP is simply a specially formed concave piece of (usually) metal that when packed properly with explosives and detonated forms a focused front of energy that would easily blow a goodly sized hole in any aircraft. Popular in Iraq right now.]

Once thwarted (or successful), the TSA would be forced to inspect all baggage for unauthorized sex toys (rubberized - as it can seal in explosive residue - and/or above a certain size) and inspect most woman’s underwear (including that being currently worn). Signs would have to be posted in airports along side the “no knives��? signs and “no fluid��? signs with guidelines for what toys are acceptable and suggestions for alternate forms of woman’s underwear (French cut as opposed to full?).

---
You know, I really hope I don't win... I'll have to explain this to too many people :)

ScreechApril 3, 2007 5:18 PM

In commemoration of Laylat ul Isra and Miraj, ten planes are boarded by five men each. Each man, a devout extremist follower, carries with him a ball point pen and prayer beads. Unbeknowst to everyone else, each prayer bead is made of plastic explosives, covered in a plastic shell.

Each plane is taking off from a different city. The targeted cities are Los Angeles, Phoenix, Seattle, New York, Tampa, Houston, Chicago, Detroit, Denver, and Kansas City. The plan is to use the pens to stab each flight attendant and quickly rush to the door to the cockpit, use the plastic explosives to blow open the door using a cell phone battery taken from a passanger to ignite them, then stab each pilot and gain control of the plane.

The terrorists are then to fly each plane to crash into the downtown of their respected cities. Each flight is timed to take off during local rush hour. Any delay is to be dealt with by maintaining flight over the city, thereby minimizing the threat of the US Air Force from shooting down the planes.

The final plot twister is that in each of the terrorists' luggage, there is a shaving cream canister of a highly virulent and deadly form of Flu (spanish or avian flu). The canisters are designed to survive the impact and flames. Once the surrounding temperature has dropped to a predetermined level, the canisters begin spraying their contents automatically. The hope is that there will be enough emergency and investigative workers nearby to be infected and thereby spread the disease before detection.

HaoApril 3, 2007 5:21 PM

1. Figure out what the "hot" toy for Christmas 2007 will be.

2. Line up outside toy stores to get them in early December.

3. Modify them to be explosives in any number of ways previously mentioned.

4. Said toys are banned for the holiday season and must be put in checked luggage.

5. Light-fingered TSA employees hoard toys from luggage and sell on eBay for massive profits.

6. Christmas is ruined. Public outcry ensues.

[Optional Step] Terrorists can steal/destroy shipments of said toys to further amplify the shortage.

Marcus GealyApril 3, 2007 5:47 PM

The year is 2008. Terrorists successfully hijack a plane and blow it up. How you ask? Simply, by placing explosives in their nasal cavities. Using ordinary tissues, these clever terrorists activate the bombs by merely blowing their noses. From that day forward, the TSA uses fiber optic camera to inspect the inside of the nose of randomly selected airplane passengers. The TSA also bans all tissues, toilet paper, handkerchiefs, napkins, and of course sleeves from all future flights. When it is discovered that sneezing can also activate such a device, the TSA quickly bans pepper, and specially screens anyone with known allergies.

Uncle DaveApril 3, 2007 5:54 PM

Fear (something that can't be screened for) is a better weapon in the hands of a terrorist than a bomb will ever be. Here’s one example how:

- In Iraq, soldiers stumble onto a list of codes which the terrorists wanted them to find.
- The terrorists begin a periodic broadcast using the codes. One day, a message is sent that a special toothbrush will be carried onto a particular plane and used to hijack it. Authorities are puzzled because how do you hijack a plane with a toothbrush?
- A patsy is set up by the terrorists with the described toothbrush and gets arrested. This validates that the codes and broadcasts are real, but no one can’t figure out why a toothbrush.
- More broadcasts occur mentioning other seemingly innocuous items, but with no specific planes or airports, etc. They wait, but no plane is hijacked or blown up using them, causing the authorities to doubt. To be safe, each item (DVD, earphones, umbrella, book of poems, change purse, etc) is screened for, causing vast slowdowns in airports. And fear.
- A message is sent indicating some of the other messages related to tests to see if the items could be smuggled onto a plane, but not actually used.
- Another patsy, another setup, another arrest. More positive validation of threats.
- A message indicates a small Midwest town will be “tested.��? A canister containing a noxious, but not deadly, biologic agent is found next to a small crop duster at a tiny Iowa airport.
- A message indicates no more alerts on items already tested or to be tested will be sent. Testing and some usage will just happen. Also, that except for the two captured patsies, every single test had gotten the items on board the airplanes and that some planes were “rigged��? with them for later use. Planes are torn apart looking for the items. Nothing is found.
- Airport checkin is hell. No luggage may be carried on, all checked luggage screened, all passengers patted down. No items listed on broadcasts allowed. Travel is chaos.
- After weeks of no messages, a message is sent that they’re amazed at their previous successes, so it’s time for the real one, the big one. No mention of how or what plane, just time for something catastrophic.
- On a plane taking off from the city where the Olympic Games are being held, a terrorist stands up and announces that he has rigged it to spray a deadly toxin over the populated city resulting in millions killed. The only thing that will stop it is if the pilot plows into the Olympic Stadium where 100,000 spectators and athletes are attending the opening ceremony, including heads of state. The crash will be seen by billions on TV.
- The fear induced by the previous threats seem so real that the pilot is faced with either killing 100,000 or millions. Having just taken off and the terrorist’s finger on a fake trigger, the pilot has only seconds to decided a no-win scenario. He takes the lesser of the two evils.
- There were never any weapons, bombs or biologics. The only real 'activity' other than the broadcasts was setting up two patsies with common objects that would never have actually resulted in a hijacking and setting out a canister of non-lethal chemical. Fear is the real weapon, set in motion by mere words, something for which the TSA can’t screen.

JanApril 3, 2007 6:08 PM

Really nasty and disgusting idea, not needing an aircraft and not killing many people but stopping security theatre (short version at the end):


Mr. M**** arrived at the Chicago O'Hare Airport at Tuesday morning. As he was travelling from Canada, no suspiction was raised. Further investigation showed that he got to Canada from Turkey. The trace was lost there, but it is assumed he originally came from Afghanistan.

Mr. M**** then went into the airport shops and bought a bag, two newspapers and a roll of duct tape. Additionally, he obtained a mobile phone data cable. He then took a taxi to the next hospital. The theft of a newborn baby was noticed only a few hours after it occured, but by this time, Mr M**** already was back at the airport. The baby was put into the empty bag and seemingly fixed by duct tape, which also prevented it from alerting officialls by crying. The bag was then stuffed with newspaper to make it appear full. The mobile phone data cable was torn apart and put into the bag, with parts of the wires peeking out. The bag was then placed in front of the restrooms in the terminal. At 1534 the 911 hotline recieved a bomb threat. The airport was searched and the bag discovered. The TSA decided that the bag might pose a risk and that it would be a great opportunity to show off some security theatre. They decided to detonate the suspicious item. Shortly after the bag was blown up, 911 recieved a call about a stolen baby from a hospital.

The resulting negative publicity after a news station disclosed that the security measure was just security theatre caused a ban of senseless security measures.


SHORT VERSION: Terrorist takes baby, ducttapes it, puts it into bag, leaves bag at airport. TSA blows up the bag, causing a storm of outrage and the ban of security theatre.

The sad thing about this: It is based on actual events. The Turkish police nearly blew up a baby abandoned in a bag by his mother. As this baby was not duct taped, the bomb squad heared the crying just before firing the detonator.

KevinApril 3, 2007 6:14 PM

Has anyone mentioned terrorists trained in martial arts? Perhaps they know 40 ways to kill with their bare hands...

John BruxyApril 3, 2007 7:34 PM

This is an idea that might ban zippers and laptops and possibly anything that can catch on fire:

A group several terrorists each arm themselves with a laptop with a pre-made easy open battery, an extra pre-made easy open battery, and a carry on bag filled with clothes made from untreated natural fibers such as cotton, linen and silk, which are highly flammable fabrics but very common. Also some alcohol stained shirts are also present in the carry on bag and if asked about them the terrorist are ready to respond that they had been at a wild bachelor party. This carry on bag also has a special zipper with one part being made of flint and one part being made out of steel. These terrorists board the plane without much hassle, due to the very usual nature of their items and then all proceed to sit in different parts of the plane.

Then at a predesignated time they all simultaneously cause their laptop batteries to become unstable and hot and also open their carry on with the flint and steel zipper causing sparks to fly all around and ignite the clothes and the battery in the carry on bag.

These fires, occurring in multiple parts of the plane, quickly spread due to the abundance of fuel and continuous supply of oxygen. As chaos ensues and passengers run in any direction they can, it becomes difficult to reach any fire extinguisher preventing any possible hopes of extinguishing any of the fires in time. Soon the entire plane is consumed and crashes, killing hundreds of people.

Until a terrorist group claims responsibility many people are ready to attribute this crash to an electrical failing and it takes several months for the government to figure out exactly what happens. The TSA then bands carry on baggage and mandates that all airlines must now replace their seats with pods, locking the passengers in until the flight is over.

welshrabbitApril 3, 2007 7:43 PM

maybe not as terrifying but here goes, roger the flamboyant cabin attendant decides to get his own back on the airline that just cut his pay, he takes all the coffee and adds crushed up viagra that he bough via spam to each serve in first class on a long hall trip. After coffee is served the other cabin crew go to tuck in the guests....queue the Benny Hill Music....explosions on a plane.

riskApril 3, 2007 8:04 PM

Miles below the earth in a top secret terrorist laboratory, one of the many highly skilled terrorist gynecologists inserts a surgical balloon into the uterus of a woman. The balloon is left open, the edges wrapped around the fornix. C4 is then inserted into the balloon. After the C4 a small amount of a second chemical, not damaging to organic tissue is inserted.

At the same time a male terrorist is undergoing a similar operation. Through the penis glans, his prostate and some of his reproductive system is injected with a third chemical.

The man and woman board a plane together, and act very much in love.
Halway through the flight, the man and woman sneak off to the bathroom, giggling slightly. The stewardesses notice, but only smile endearingly at this display of young love.

In the bathroom, the man and woman make passionate love to each other. As the couple achieves simultaneous orgasm, the man ejaculates his chemical in the uterus of the woman. This reacts with the chemical in the womans cervix and causes a slow burn. The womans orgasmic contractions compress the burning chemicals and the C4, causing a detonation. The man and woman at the pinnacle of their love erupt into a ball of flame. This blows out a part of the plane which goes down over a metropolitan area.

Three days later, when examination of the wreckage determines the details of the attack, the FAA announces a ban on quickies in airplane toilets, effectively outlawing the mile high club. (This after a rejected proposal for single sex airplanes).

I would also like note that I hope my (modest) research for this post pops up on some government domestic spying program, and they are left to figure out why somebody would study human reproductive anatomy and binary explosives in detail at the same time.

JacobApril 3, 2007 8:32 PM

A Terrorist group develops a large number of Rubik's(tm) cubes that are secretly lined with plastic explosives. Each rotation of any part on the cube generates a small electric charge, which is stored in a capacitor hidden within the cube. When the charge reaches a maximum level, it is discharged and ignites the plastic explosive.

Ruthless terrorists, disguised as little old ladies with an affection for young children, post themselves in airports throughout the country. As innocent families line up to board their flights, children are offered the Rubik's(tm) cubes to keep then entertained for the duration of their trip. Trusting the seemingly innocent grannies, the families gladly accept the cube.

As boredom sets in on the flight, the kids innocently pull out their new cubes; gently giving it a twist here, a turn there. How many rotations will it take to blow up the cube? Who will be the first child to make that fatal twist?

As a result of this, Rubik's(tm) cubes, Transformers(tm), and all other mechanically manipulable toys will be taken from small children as they pass through airport security checks.

bmanApril 3, 2007 9:17 PM

There are several kinks in TSA security. I know that lighters pass through security every day, especially by people who work in the airport like in the bars. A terrorist could be one of those workers carry a lighter everyday over a period of time have access to the bar (maybe even be a bartender) bring several viles and place barcardi 151 in them very flameable may be even the size of a 3 oz bottle. Several of those with several lighters.....disaster.

Leeroy JenkinsApril 3, 2007 10:19 PM

Charles Ragsdale is a tall and awkward young man who felt out of place growing up in Iowa. He didn't know what made him special, what his identity was. He struggled to find his place and acceptance in his community. He experimented with beliefs including Buddhism and fundamentalist Christianity. He switched around sets of friends. He finally found a system that gave him purpose and someone who told him he had a special calling, made him different and special. He found Islam at age 19. An Al Qeda recruiter at his mosque thought he would be susceptible to the message, and told him that his connection to Allah had been noticed he had been noticed and had a special calling to serve Allah.

It would take training, but the training wasn't conducted Pakistan or remote Afghanistan; such travel records would attract too much attention, and this Al Qeda recruiter was smart enough not to get into that. No, the Trainer came to Charles, and they met up in Toronto, where Charles went for a week of vacation and travel. The first rule is that Charles would have to be calm and quiet about Islam. It wouldn't do to have neighbors saying, "Yeah, I remember Charles once asked me what I thought about the plight of Kashmir. Didn't know what he was talking about."

The Trainer explained to Charles that he would have to practice, over a period of months, swallowing and regurgitating progressively larger items, to increase the flexibility and control over his stomach and throat. He could also practice progressively larger anal insertion. His training would be complete when he was able to carry internally latex sacks containing a total of 10lbs of ordinary salt. That's a lot to carry, but it is possible, with a few months of training.

The Trainer also gave Charles the IM screen name for a young woman in Thailand named Nok. Nok is interested in meeting a Western man for marriage and family, and wants to get to know Charles. Charles is to IM and SMS her over the coming months, finally planning a Christmas-time trip to meet her in Bangkok.

When Charles is able to reach this target weight repeatedly and easily, he informs the AQ recruiter that he has "learned the verses". The message is passed on. Charles is instructed to buy a round-trip Christmas-time flight to Bangkok, connecting through Narita International in Tokyo. He is told exactly which flight he must be on.

The Trainer has a last meeting with Charles. It had never been discussed but Charles knew all along that this would be a suicide mission. It didn't matter; it was a purpose and rewards awaited him. But the Trainer explained the details. This wasn't a suicide mission after all. This would be the first leg on a journey all the way from Bangkok to Peshawar and on to Taliban-controlled camps in the border regions. Charles is secretly relieved that this mission is his first, not his last. All the deep fear washes out of Charles' being. No more anxiety, just calmness and self-control.

Charles is to carry 10lbs of wax perchlorate-based explosives internally. He is given a working laptop, which has had some internal parts (maybe the DVD drive) removed to make room for a nitrate-free detonator and small nitrate-free initiator charge. As the flight goes from Los Angeles over the Pacific towards Japan, Charles is to wait until the lights are off after the movie. He is then to discretely remove his life vest bag from under the seat, conceal it in his clothes, and head to the bathroom with the bag, and his laptop, while the passengers are sleeping. His seat is a window seat near the bathroom, so this is no problem. He is to place the perchlorate explosives in the life vest bag. He is then to run a command on the laptop, which starts a timer for the detonator. He is told what to look for on the flight status video, to see when the plane crosses nearest to a certain island, so the timing will be precise. The timer will set the explosive off after the plane leaves Bangkok on its return to Tokyo. Charles will be on his next connection by then, safely on his way to Pakistan.

The big day arrives. Everything goes perfectly. No one notices that tall and skinny Charles is 10lbs heavier than normal. Charles is happy and tells everyone who asks that he's going off to Thailand to meet Nok; he carries a picture of her and her smile. The TSA can't detect explosives on his laptop, because it's loaded with nitrate-free perchlorate explosives. The plane takes off. The passengers fall asleep after the boring seasonal movie (Elf 2, yawn). Charles gets up, goes to the bathroom, regurgitates the explosives, and runs the command on the laptop. The display tells him it will go off in 14 hours, exactly when the plane will be on its way back to Tokyo, and exactly when he will be on his next leg, either flying to Pakistan, or heading north towards Burma for a land trip to Pakistan. The Trainer has told him that when he meets Nok he'll get further instructions. He assembles everything into the life vest bag, and returns it under his seat. Perfect. No one woke up. And as the ground crew preps the plane for the next flight, they won't notice anything different about the life vest bag.

The bomb goes off two hours later, just past Hawaii. Of course the Trainer and the AQ recruiter in Iowa don't want anyone as easily-manipulated and unstable as Charles left alive knowing their identities, and they don't care about the life of one American, or a thousand Americans for that matter.

The plane crashes in the deepest and most remote ocean in the world, and no part of it could ever be recovered. No one could even determine which passenger did it or how it was done. Investigators check the stories of every single passenger on the plane. Nothing in Charles' story stood out, and they are able to look through months of secretly-kept SMS logs, where they see him communicating with the bar girl Nok and planning a visit. Their secret SMS and IM monitoring has perfectly confirmed Charles' story. Nok was waiting for him at the airport and broke down when she found that the plane will never arrive anywhere except the ocean floor. Her dream never was, and never was to be.

AQ claims responsibility but gives no details. The same attack plan could be reused, it worked so well.

Meanwhile, 292 Japanese nationals are dead at the bottom of the Pacific. Unknown even to the recruiter, AQ hackers in Pakistan had been able to access passenger lists being shared with friendly governments under new TSA information sharing secret agreements. These friendly governments included some with lax information security, and AQ was able to get access to the system. The hackers were able to make sure that Charles got on a plane with which happened to have a handful of Sony executives, who are now also at the bottom of the Pacific. Japanese stop visiting the US and lose confidence in the strength of the US economy. Their government turns towards Asia and Europe as trade partners. The dollar sinks, making it harder to sell Japanese products in the US. Asians stop buying T-bills. The only option left to fund the staggering Federal deficit is to do it the old fashioned way: print more money.

Back at the mosque in Iowa, life goes on as usual. The recruiter will never again recruit anyone, so as not to establish any patterns.

(Hello TSA people, please don't put me on the no-fly list for posting this! All I want is a movie deal.)

Doctor BonkersApril 3, 2007 10:53 PM

My movie plots are in 2 parts like a bizzare series of summer action flicks:

Part 1: The Plastic Menace: Terrorists discover that you can sharpen the edges of any plastic ID including credit cards, drivers licenses, & the national ID cards to razor sharp edges and the terrorists use these new weapons to take over some planes. As a result, commerce in the airports goes down 1000% until someone figures out how to let shoppers use their cell phones to buy stuff.

Part 2: The Clothing Menace: Al-Qaida terrorist cells infiltrate the sweat shops of designer companies around the world and start weaving nano-fibres of C4 explosive into the materials used to make popular high end clothing. The terrorists settle on using their pants, underwear, and shrts to blow up planes using the spark from the batteries in hearing aids. As a result, we all have to fly naked.

mojo489April 4, 2007 3:32 AM

What does almost every person carry on with them? Laptops, cell phones, and other portable battery-powered electronics.

A good story needs to have a lot of precedence for it to be beleivable. With all then news about factory recalls and exploding laptops batteries, this one isn't that far from plausibility.

I'm no writer, but if someone took the idea of stringing together ultra-instable (customized?) batteries on a plane - either placing them near something that really should not catch fire - maybe releasing toxic fumes in to the cabin or creating an explosion, havoc could be raised.

The original idea behind the question was to come up with a plot that would be just plausible enough for the security folks to get their knickers all up in a tizzy , and though many of the posts sound like fun movies, I haven't seen many that would really piss of travelers or scare the officials if they started taking the idea seriously.

I would be real pissed if I had to check all my batteries before boarding.

Also, razor sharp disk-knives could be concealed in cd trays and diskmans. - Tweezers and clippers got nothing on blade-rings! CD: Compact Cleaver.

plaguemakerApril 4, 2007 4:23 AM

A Close Shave – the Chechen variant

This plot won’t make it to Hollywood, I’m afraid. If anything it might end up on one of these obscure European film festivals. I know the plot is too long and too “pedestrian��?, so it’ll probably only get an honourable mention in the documentary category. So here we go...

The objective of the terrorist plot is, of course, to terrorise the US on a scale that the administration will have to reconsider whether maintaining certain geo-strategic positions is worth the risk of terror and the attendant security measures to prevent them.

To begin with, my terrorist cell consists of Chechens, rather than of the usual Middle Eastern types that fit all the profiling criteria. They successfully masquerade as Russians (a relatively easy task for them) and hide amongst the large Russian expat community in Europe; mostly in Germany and the UK. The Chechens are shrewd, hard men, who’ve already successfully bombed targets in Russia without the FSB getting on to them, so they know a thing or two about counter-surveillance. They’re intelligent and they’re capable (I know, they’re supposed to be uinskilled. So they don’t have a job. But who cares in Grosny?). With the help of the Chechen diaspora they acquire the necessary biometric IDs they need to get flights to the US without arousing suspicion.

The Chechens are also well placed to get their hand on some biohazardous stuff from the ex-Soviet labs that used to be in the southern provinces. What they’re looking for is not the mega-virulent and lethal stuff like the genetically engineered flu-smallpox virus that Ken Alibek described in “Biohazard��? (although that would be fun), but something more reasonably priced and low-key and, ideally, highly infectious. They would probably have to go for something straightforward like a hemorrhagic fever (Ebola) or Smallpox (difficult to get and expensive, alternatively: pneumonic plague). The agents would have to be engineered to be sufficiently stable to survive 24 hrs at ambient temperature, even if this reduces their lethality. The Russian mafya will be glad to help out here, although that will mean burning through most of the US$ 500,000 available to the cell.

The incubation period of the agents of at least 2 days will allow for a non-simultaneous action, which is good, because it requires less co-ordination (thus less exposure to hostile intelligence) and is less likely to be detected during the early stages, because of the absence of any pattern. The group will buy all sorts of tickets (all return) and start from a variety of European airports, most of them with poor security. Some tickets will be only transfer in the US, some will have a brief stop-over, and some will terminate in the US. The biological agents will be prepared for delivery in different manners to evade detection and to throw off emergency response.

The cell will use 2.5 oz travel size shaving cream cans to transport and deliver the biological agents in addition to some of these small shampoo pouches you get in hotels. To further confuse the defenders, some members of the cell will also carry anthrax spores in tablet form resembling mints. All 10 members of the “assault force��? will travel individually to maximise the survivability of the plan. A part of the “shaving cream��? faction will start to release the agents on the flights by infecting the paper towels on the aircrafts’ lavatories. Those members which also carry anthrax, will try to discreetly crumble some of the powder over the drinks trolleys as they push their way past it to the toilets.

Upon arrival in the US the groups members can expect to queue up for hours at the immigration points. With them are hundreds of other passengers in a very confined space. While rummaging in their hand-luggage for their passports, they set the shaving cream containers to continuous release (can be rigged in advance). They also infect the immigration forms, of course. Those that transfer to other flights also infect the passengers in the transfer lounge. This is important, because other outbreaks will make it even more difficult for CDC and USAMRIID to trace the outbreak and respond accordingly. If any of the groups’ members are apprehended at the point of immigration, then, well “in-sh’Allah��? – after all they’re suicide terrorists. If anyone of the group makes it through immigration he will the proceed to infect people in other crowded places of his target area (sort of a bonus hit). Those cell members which carry the viral agent in the gel pouches will endeavour to contaminate drinks machines and water fountains and then move on to board their connecting flights to the Caribbean where they will proceed to infect US cruise ship passengers on their shore outings or the ships’ stores.

Let’s assume the terrorists each manage to infect about 50 people – a total of 500. Each of the infected persons manages to infect another 10. Then every one of those infects another 5. This will continue about 2-3 times before DNA degradation and emergency counter-measures then effectively auto-terminate the process. That will leave us with at least 625,000 infected people. Assuming an average peak mortality of 50% for the first two cycles and subsequently one of 1% due to early diagnosis and treatment that would leave us with a casualty count of about 8,700. Since the terrorist use two very different strains of viruses with different incubation periods, plus the anthrax spores, I suspect that the body count would be higher because effective response would be delayed in the confusion of what sort of disease needs treatment (and containment).

The TSA now has a problem, which it can’t really control because it’s mostly outside its jurisdiction (ie foreign airports). The reflexive response to this incident would be to ban all hand luggage on all incoming flights. All off-loaded luggage from international flights at US airports will then have to be specially screened in purpose-built containment areas. The passengers on incoming flights will have to be checked aboard the aircraft, or in secure holding areas (where they have to strip down in addition to have their butts probed for any hidden cargoes), before being allowed to disembark and proceed to immigration. This is going to be really popular with people wanting to travel to the US. I foresee tourism to the US declining to near-zero levels, knocking about 1% off the US GDP. Other business is also going to slow, as US trade partners weigh the benefits of their trade relations against the nuisance of having to put up with US aviation security (in addition to the risk of infecting oneself on the flights).

That’s it. Not too thrilling, I admit, but effective both in terms of its terror potential and in forcing the TSA to adopt sweeping (and ruinously expensive as well as ineffective) banning and screening measures.

sherpaApril 4, 2007 5:56 AM

A mole discovers a nitrous addled, disgraced dentist who will fabricate dentures using a plastic explosive.

The martyrs are promised free, short term dental work.

The dentures, when soaked in faux polident, detonate.

Major airlines fail due to loss of revenue when retirees are forced to switch to buses, which become the next target.

DostiApril 4, 2007 7:12 AM

A group of bad guys spend a few days in scanning blogs to spot professional pilots around the world that blog themselves or are mentioned in their lonely-wifes-blogs. A few pilots will be revealed including their names, children(a must), airline, daily routes, family, location, hobbies etc. Some people give pretty detailed description of their life online and pilot families are probably not any different. I did a 5-minute googling and found interesting stuff.

Now one bad-guy boards the plain with a cellphone which he of course has turned off during take-off to comply with regulations. But while in air he makes a call to the kidnappers of the captain's family and tells a stewardess that the pilot should take this important phonecall from his wife. After that the plane is in the hands of the kidnappers.

The captain and co-pilot leave the cockpit and the hijacker locks the doors.
Cellphones and airline-phones will have to be banned.

John KApril 4, 2007 8:11 AM

In reading all these very inventive I must say. Allot of Laptop plots. A few to many sexually charged plots. For original thought and possible future movie plot, Max Bang and the Vozrozhdeniye Island in my opinion would work well.

Cheers -John

DharmaOneApril 4, 2007 10:41 AM

A skin lotion, applied and then dried. During the flight, it is peeled off like skin after a bad sunburn. With a little liquid (juice, water, tea), the loose flakes are rolled back into a putty.

This explosive putty is then rolled into a long "snake" and applied to a window, cockpit door or other target.

A false molar containing a small charge is removed from the person's mouth and pressed into the end of the putty. This charge detonates the putty blowing a hole in to window/door/compartment.

-DO

ThaddyApril 4, 2007 11:39 AM

Well, once upon a time there was this Idealistic American surgeon that was specialized in lung transplants. He was so good at his work he'd become the world reknowned specialist. Multiple doctorates and honorary doctorates. He was - not obviously - a muslim, driven by the rememberance of his father, whom he actually never knew.
Flashback to Irak 1.
A battle tank is hit on a road congested by civilian traffic. All but one of the crew die instantly, but the commander (in the turret) survives, but engulfed in flames.
His lungs are badly affected.
Meanwhile in eastern Turkye, a middle aged baker is preparing his Turkish delight. The Icing shugar is going all over the place. Starts coughing. So ill he'd have to quit. Dust Lung.
(Some more of these)
The internet brings these people together, because of a relief effort by an Islamic American NCO (give it a name). Point is, the docter knows he can't help these patients, got involved in extremism, convinced these simple people and suggested that while they where flying into the USA they'd bring their oxigen (obvious, otherwise the'd choke anyway), a pack of icing sugar and a large sturdy plastic bag or 4.
Once these bags are unfolded, opened, put over eachother and filled with the icing sugar, they were instructed to remome as much air from them as could be done. Then fill the bags with their 100% pure oxigen and light (smoking is still common in Islamic countries)
The explosion that followed would have ripped out at leat one window, causing a sudden los of pressure in the cabin.
Making use of the panic in both the cabin and the cockpit, the patient - using his spare oxigen- runs to the cockpit and strangles the cabincrew with nylon guitarstrings....

Cost: 1$ sugar max.
2$ for the strings

per plane, that is! remember this is a conference,
in this case the planes target just large hospitals... Nothing governmental...

ThaddyApril 4, 2007 11:54 AM

For good measure:
(a bit if a shout, I know: this just came up. Being a Muslim has nothing to do with terrorism. Some of my best friends are Muslim. I should have expanded on the story by explaining there's nothing wrong with a belief, but excesses exist, like with (me being a) Roman Catholic as well...

EdwinApril 4, 2007 12:48 PM

30 AK-47 $30.000
Booby-traps & bombs $10.000
Communications $2.000
Vehicles (4 Van's) $16.000
Extra gear (knives, ops vests etc) $3.000

Total: $61.000, which leaves $439.000 to gather information and skills needed.

A group of 30 extremists are brewing a plant for a terrorist attack. First a year is spend on gathering the information needed and to train the "operators" and "miners".

After all men are well trained and skilled they commence the attack. They travel with 4 van's, the fighters are in the first two van's, the geniuses in the third and the "miners" in the last.

The van's enter the terrain of the Nuclear Power Plant, the fighters take out the guards and overtake the plant.
The "operators" will stop the cooling water and innitiate the meltdown. The "miners" place bombs and booby-traps to slow down the special task forces who will be most likely be used in a case like this. After the meldown procedure is started, the geniuses sabotage the controls to make the meltdown procedure unstopable.

Not long after the reactor will go down leaving the area infected and causing many deads and much trouble for many years after.

matt aApril 4, 2007 2:15 PM

The Plot: The Texas A&M University (or name of some other Agri-related university) makes an announcement that they can effectively increase the methane conversion process in cattle with a new breed of microorganisms (http://tammi.tamu.edu/faqs.html#f11). The university lab is broken into and 50 samples of the microorganisms are taken. A group of 20 men are assembled and booked on flights going cross country. 2 days before the flight, each member of the team has ingested 3 samples of the microorganisms (we can skip the part where they experiment and learn how long it takes for something to make its way through the human body). They board the plane and wait a period of time observing the lavatories usage. Periodically, one will get up and visit the lavatories. Each will make several trips. The microorganisms are released into the waste containers on board the plane and start converting waste into methane. As the plane is making its final decent, one of the men enters the lavatory the last time and drops his cell phone down the commode. He returns to his seat and another member of the team dials the “lost��? cell phone number. The dropped cell phone, in the plane’s waste containment unit, lights up with an incoming call and ignites the methane causing the plane to explode (cell phones igniting is a real danger. There have been many instances of someone filling up their car and their cell phone will ignite the vapors coming out of the car’s gas tank). The TSA does an extensive investigation and determines the method of attack. The TSA responds by banning all carry on cell phones and only allowing passengers to go #1 not #2 on all flights…

NomenumbraApril 4, 2007 3:01 PM

Group: Project Mayhem Revolutionary Combat Cells (PMRCC)
Primary Objective: Hijack several airplanes, crashing them into major financial centra all over the world to bring a final blow to the globalist opressors.
Secondary Objective: Obtain global attention for "the cause"
Funding: $500,000
Militant Count: 20/30

Act I:

April, 2007:

Core members of the action group all over the world start to buy equipment.
Core equipment: Obtained: Price:
Low-concentration Nitroglycerine - manefactured from seperate chemical ingredients Approximately $1000
(obtained from various science/chemist hobbiest
stores all over the country)

Insuline injection needles and forged - Corrupt officials/Conterfeiters Approx. $400
diabetus patient papers

50 Small AA Drycell batteries - Any store Approx. $250
20 bottles of 16oz. hydrogen peroxide (3% concentration)
10 Small necklaces with a strong, nail-like pendant
90 Eggs, 3 jerry cans of petrol, 2kg of table-salt
10 Earplugs and 10 strong shades.

5 moderatly old laptops - Electronics store Approx. $2000

5 medium-range EMP devices - Assembled using mediocre electronics knowledge Approx. $1000
and several online manuals

10 FlashBangs - Buy from a local arms dealer or steal Approx. $200
from police forces

sub-total: $3,850

The complete group of militants is known only by 3 core organizers who divide the group in 3 seperate
groups of about 6/10 individuals based on geographic distribution (target regions being the U.S, China and Europe).

These groups, not knowing of each other's existance, operate in complete secrecy in old,unused buildings (squat them for example)
whilst maintaining low-profile, normal lives.

Each group starts preparing the following:

Mix 10 eggs and take the Egg white. Mix with the gasoline in a medium jar.
Use 85% Petrol, 14% egg whites and 1 % table salt
Add salt to the mixture and stir until gel forms (about 5 to 10 minutes).
Cap the jar, put it in hot (65 degrees) water for about half an hour and then let it cool to room temperature.

This creates a very flammable and explosive gel, which will be disguised as regular hair gel.

Fill the insuline needles with nytroglicerine (low concentration to prevent shock-indused detonation)

Also, the action groups will follow basic combat training for approx. 2 months, and will take minor flying lessons over a course of 3 months.

Training cost: $30,000 (including flight lessons)

Total cost of the operation: $33,850
Funds remaining: $466,150

Act II:

July, 2007:

The action groups board planes to Honkong, London and New York.
The action group, consisting of about 6/10 men/women wearing dark shades boards the plane (disguising the flashbang as an inhaler for one of the militants who poses as an asmatic)
One of them claims to be a diabetus patient, and has accompanying papers and a insuline injection needle.
The flights seem like normal flights, when, right when the plane is above the business district of the target city, a passenger calls the flight
attendant to the back, claiming he feels unwell. Meanwhile a second action group member moves to the toilet with a small bottle
of cola and two small bottles of hydrogen peroxide (which is allowed on planes under cosmetics) ,hidden under his sweater, and about 5 small AA batteries. Once inside the toilet, he starts listening for the signal yell
(being "You are not your job, you are not your house and you are not your f*cking telivision").
Meanwhile he takes out the batteries and punctures holes in their backs using the pin on his necklace. Slowly, he uses the sharp side to sow off the back and scrape out the magnesium oxide (containing sulfuric acid) and
sets it apart. Then he proceeds to pour the hydrogen peroxide in the emptied cola bottle.
While the flight attendant is still being distracted by the first militant, another one takes a bottle of what seems like hair gel and subtly rubs it into his sweater (without anyone noticing).
Then, the militant seated as close as possible to the cockpit takes out the flashbang inhaler and shouts "You are not your job, you are not your house and you are not your f*cking telivision" before throwing it to the back of the planes.
Right after the yell, the other militants plug in their earplugs and put on their shades, causing the flashbang to have nearly no effect on them. Any airmarshal on the flight, however, will be disabled while the militant in the toilet combines the
sulfuric acid with the hydrogen peroxide, jumps out of the toilet and throws the bomb at the cabin door, causing it to blast apart (of course, a relatively small bomb is used in order to prevent the entire plane from exploding).
All of the militants then proceed to take off their sunglasses and dismount them, revealing extremely thin but razor-sharp knives. About 4 of the militants keep several passengers hostage, while the others proceed to penetrate the cockpit, killing the pilot(s) and proceed to commandeer the plane and fly it into their designated target.
If anything goes wrong, like the air marshall recovering in time, the militant with the inflammable sweater will take out his zippo en set it on fire, causing a massive flame to errupt from it, setting fire to the plane and causing it to crash in the middle of the business district.
An alternative method that can be used (when for whatever reason the bomb cannot be manefactured or taking direct action is too risky), several militants take out a laptop rigged with a medium-range EMP device and trigger it. This will disrupt all on-board electronics, causing the plane to crash above the business district.
If all these methods fail, the "diabetus patient" takes out his
needle and zippo en sets fire to it, causing the plane to explode in mid-air.

Either way, the planes will either crash or be flown into the following targets, all around the globe, with the focus on the United States:

Honkong:

Two International Finance Centre
HSBC Hong Kong headquarters building
Bank of China Tower

London:

London Stock Exchange
Tower 42
Lloyd's building

New York:

New York Stock Exchange
Bank of New York
Citigroup Building
Goldmann sachs building
Bankers Trust Company Building
J.P. Morgan Inc.
Chase national bank

Several wallstreet business men in the streets look up as they see a plane heading for the Citigroup building and another
one for the New York Stock Exchange, recalling 9/11 they flee in fear, when a third plane crashes in mid-air, falling down onto
the Chase national bank building. Meanwhile, in London, a near copy of this act of terrorism is shown, when hijacked planes fly into
the Lloyd's building, Tower 42 and the stock exchange, whilst in Hong Kong, other major financial institutions are hit.

Act III:

July, 2007, 15 minutes after the attacks.

Several networks of major international news broadcasters are hacked into and a message is emmited on every major news channel, featuring 3 masked men sitting in a dim-lit room:
"Fellow worldcitizens, I know how you have suffered under the opression of the globalist pigs, leeching off from your work, coercing you into
wage-slavery whilst profiting from your efforts.
As long as man has had breath, others have sought to exploit our brethern, in favor of themselves.
CEOs? Businessmen? Leeches! Parasites! That's what they are!
For from the beginning, when man's struggle was with nature, not knowing where he might sleep, how he would eat, or whether he would survive to see the light of dawn
there have always been those who would lord over others. People who believe that they by some unseen right they are granted power over others, and would push others
down so they might climb, are the greatest threat to mankind's existence. For many years has one man or one race prospered on the sweat and work of others.
Whether we consider the pharaohs of Egypt, the Caesars of Rome, the kings of England, or the emperors of China, it was always the blood and sweat of others
that created their empires. Today, it are the capitalist globalists that exploit the workers of the world. Whilst they sit in their expensive mansions, leeching of the effort
of others, workers all over the world die from disease and starvation, only to work for their debaucheries. And if that is not enough, they profit from their pointless resource
wars, sending the common man into his death and enrichening themselves in the process. Such a system is an affront to mankind, for another world is possible. A world where all of
us work together for our common future as the human race, it might not be perfect, for no such system exists, but mankind would be free and live in dignity and peace.
Today we have hit the capitalist pigs at their very heart, their financial centra, the core of their exploitation. Today, the first step to freedom has been made. Today, some of our fellow
strugglers have sacrificed themselves in order to set you free. Today, my brethern, world citizens, we are one step closer to a just and fair world. I call upon thee, my brothers and sisters,
to continue this journey of freedom, for now is the chance, the capitalist opressors are without their beloved power and resources, smash them whilst you have the chance!"

After this message has been broadcast in both first and third world countries, with the global economy having virtually collapsed (as not only the financial centra have been destabilized, but also public confidence
has dropped to such a low that investing is virtually non-existant), insurgencies and uprisings start to break out everywhere. Financial districts are being raided and banks are being plundered, eventually leading to the
complete devaluation of money in itself, and people resorting to more primitive means of existance, making them more self-sufficient, achieving the goal of the PMRCC.

Of course, the TSA would have to ban hair gel, insuline injection needles, laptops, sunglasses, zippos, inhalers, batteries, necklaces and earplugs.

AndresApril 4, 2007 3:46 PM

I would just love someone to come up with a plausible way to explode RFID-chips, particularly of the type now found in passports.

FooDooApril 4, 2007 4:30 PM

Terrorists turn the tables on corporations...

They release viable alternative energy automobiles and the fuel infrastructure to support them...

The oil companies freak out, stocks plunge, panic ensues...

phlapjackApril 4, 2007 8:01 PM

Darn, someone took my teeth idea.

My idea centered around terrorists sneaking dangerous materials on to the plane in their mouths. Some terrorists have braces which are really wiring for explosives. Some terrorists have retainers which are really c-4. Some terrorist have those new fake-teeth-medication-dispensers that contain some kind of liquid reagent.

After the terrorists blow up a few planes, the authorities finally figure out how they're doing it. The solution is to require all passengers to wear muzzles or ball-gags throughout the entire flight. Anyone seen removing their mouth-restraint is deemed a terrorist and summarily beaten. This solution has the added benefit of reducing airline cost as they no longer have to serve any inflight meals or refreshments, let alone carry air-sickness bags.

The movie ends here - there is no happy ending, as is fitting for our current state of affairs.

WolfgerApril 4, 2007 9:04 PM

"The colonoscopy plot:
The terrorists modify their ipod to be a detonator, and smuggle the C4 in packed up their ass as giant ButtPlugs."

Dammit! Somebody beat me to it. Although I was going to go for having it shoved all the way up in there, so that explosive sniffers would be less likely to detect the presence. If a non-flier handles the explosives, and seals them in ziploc baggies, and freezes them, they should make good suppositories, and the fliers should have no trace of explosives for the puffers to detect. Don't forget the tampon strings attached to the baggies to assist in retrieval.

RonApril 4, 2007 11:00 PM

My plot requires only one person, costs less than fifty dollars, and can be stopped only by banning water from passenger flights:

Butterflies and Beverages

It must have been a pretty meadow, Wilkes thought, just a day before. He tried to picture how it looked then: without the long, wide wound in the earth, without the charred and broken fuselage of the jet that gouged it out, before the rolling ground was strewn with papers and cushions and random bits of plastic and fabric and all the things inside the plane that lay like the confetti from a brief, fiery parade.

Yes, a nice little spot, just far enough from the airport’s runways to be not too noisy, but close enough to watch the planes going in and out, fortunately just a bit too close to have been developed. When the plane rolled over and angled downward, not even a mile past the end of the runway, at least the only people at risk were the ones on the plane. For them, it was mercifully quick, the impact breaking their necks before the breaking wing tanks ignited in sheets of flame, the charred bodies still in their seats.

He spotted the NTSB guy, standing by the forward half of the fuselage, easy to spot among the FAA and local airport people – they were always the only suits in the crowd. Heading over, Wilkes saw this one wasn’t going to be too hard: when planes came down intact like this, breaking in to just a few pieces on impact, the cause was always easier to find. This one looked to be no exception.

He muttered to the suit, “Wilkes,��? gesturing at the badge clipped to his shirt. No need to get too friendly, they’d file separate reports anyway. As long as they were remotely on the same page, there wasn’t much need to actually talk to the guy. “What’s this little gem?��? he wondered aloud, looking at the hole in the side of the downed jet.

“Explosion,��? drawled the NTSB guy; he had that Chuck Yeager slow-play sound, Wilkes thought, like someone who could sound calm describing Armageddon. “Looks like it was from the inside, something just big enough to rip a few square feet out of the side. Enough to throw it on its side��?

“And if the plane is low enough, still taking off, with the engines near full thrust, it rolls over and down too fast…��? he trailed off, picturing the result.

“Yep, all in a couple of seconds. Too quick for the flight crew to have time to get it back.��? The NTSB guy shook his head, the id clipped to his suit jacket swaying back and forth with the motion. “Always the best time if you’re going to take a bird down: takeoff or landing, guess whoever did this one wanted to get it over with sooner rather than later.��? He snorted in derision, “Somebody snuck in an explosive, must have been a screener havin’ an off day.��?

“Maybe,��? said Wilkes, not ready to write it off as just a screener’s error. The NTSB guys were always quick to find a bad decision, one human error, and explain the whole thing away. But Wilkes’ job was to find the flaws in the systems, the procedures, the way to come up with prophylactic precautions. Maybe there was nothing more than a screener who didn’t spot a grenade or a stick of dynamite, something so obvious that there was nothing to do but chalk up a hundred and eighty three dead lives to one madman and one very bad TSA employee.

But maybe not. That’s when Wilkes spotted the first two of the butterflies. Bright yellow against the charred black of the burned wreckage, they seemed like the most incongruous things – and as he thought this, another appeared.

As they took photos and made measurements, more showed up – by ones and twos, a few flying away, but gradually building up to dozens over the course of the morning. Odd, the NTSB rep agreed, but nothing that tells us anything about the terrorist who brought down that plane.

Wilkes wasn’t so sure. Nature was handing out a big fat clue here, he was sure of that. What he wasn’t sure of was what in the hell it could possibly mean.

He leaned in close with the camera on his phone, getting some good close images of the colorful insects, emailing back to the office with a request to reach out to an expert. He needed a phone consult, someone who knew the behavior of this particular butterfly, someone who could put him on the right track.

Within minutes, his phone was buzzing, with a conference call already set up with a professor of entymology, and even better one local to the area; a local might know this bug better than an academic from a more prestigious, but distant university.

He was half-listening during the introductions, Wilkes wasn’t interested in this guy’s particulars, the regional team would have that all available if he needed it later. He just wanted answers.

“Pieridae,��? the professor offered, “and all males, I’d bet.��?

“Okay,��? Wilkes answered, wondering if he this really would tell him anything. “Why are they all over my bomb hole?��?

“I can’t be sure, but it must be something attracting them. These are commonly called ‘sulfur butterflies’, could there be sulfur on your wreckage?“

Yeah, Wilkes thought, this is looking like a wild goose chase. “No sulfur, we already did a quick chem test for it. Anything else these little fellas like?��?

“Sure, but not something you’d be likely to find in a bomb – just sodium. They package it up with their sperm and deliver it to the female as an extra little bonus – sort of the flowers and candy of the butterfly world.��?

“Okay, that’s…wow, the things I learn in this job. Sorry to bother you, sir, I guess it’s just…yeah, thanks.��?

Butterfly sperm – now this might set a new record for useless trivia learned in a crash investigation. Unbelievable.

The NTSB guy wandered over, seeing Wilkes was off the phone. “Get anything from your expert?��? he queried, trying and failing to suppress a grin. Wilkes suspected there would soon be a story going around the NTSB office about the FAA “butterfly guy��?; ah well, better to be infamous than anonymous.

“Nah, not much. The little guys like sulfur,��? Wilkes offered, seeing his counterpart give a cynical chuckle at that, “and sodium. Unless there was a whole lot of salt packed around the perp’s explosive, our little yellow friends are just a mystery.��?

The NTSB rep got a funny look on his face, a faraway look. “Sodium. An explosive that leaves behind sodium. Well, that could be…��?

They looked at each other, both heading to the same conclusion, both reluctant to get there. Wilkes said it first: “Sodium metal. Cheap, easy to get, it would have to be: sodium metal.��?

“And easy,��? the NTSB rep drawled, “to sneak on the plane. The stuff is soft, but you could fashion it in to any simple things: eyeglass frames, belt buckles, buttons, simple things the screeners would never be lookin’ at.��?

“Wouldn’t take much,��? Wilkes offered, an old college chemistry-class prank coming to mind. “An couple of ounces, that would be enough to blow out the side of a plane, enough for what we’re seeing here.��?

“With the easiest trigger in the world,��? the NTSB man added, putting words to the picture forming in Wilkes mind. A cup of water would be enough, just drop the sodium metal in to it and the chemical reaction would quickly release hydrogen gas, with enough heat generated as a byproduct of the reaction to ignite the gas. In just a second or two, you’d have an explosion strong enough to knock the side out of a plane.

“Sounds like a problem for you FAA boys,��? his counterpart teased. ��?What ya gonna do, ban passengers from carrying more than a few grams of anything made of metal? ��?

“No,��? Wilkes shot back, “we can’t ban everything that could be made of sodium metal. Or all the other water-reactives, “ he mused aloud, thinking of all the carbides, anhydrides, and alkali metals that would cover. “Too many ways to hide them, too many types to test for them all. No, it isn’t the metals we’ll have to ban.��?

“Naw, you don’t mean,��? the NTSB man stared in disbelief, his eyes growing wide. “You couldn’t, I mean, it’s the only other way but it’s ridiculous.��?

“No, it’s not so ridiculous, it’s really the only way. We’re going to have to ban water, and anything containing a significant amount of water, from all passenger flights. It’s the only way, otherwise we could have planes dropping out of the sky every time someone is served a beverage.��?

Chemical reference:
http://www.ilpi.com/msds/ref/waterreactive.html

Special thanks to Theodore Gray for contributing a crucial detail:
http://www.theodoregray.com/PeriodicTable/Stories/011.2/

ToineApril 5, 2007 2:29 AM


Different approach:

Destroy some air traffic control radars at the same time so air trafic controllers cannot manage air traffic (in upper area's) anymore.
Result: chaos in the airspace, mid-air collisions, airplane crashes and many ground casualties. Panic garanteed!

corn scarecrowApril 5, 2007 4:24 AM

Not knowing if I've blown the set budget or other rule, my suggestion: "X-Files: Supermarket of the world"

Characters:
The Smoking Man, Mulder, and Scully: these three are my leaders
a couple of good chemists
the remainder are unskilled workers who are undocumented aliens

My one set of my undocumented aliens, get jobs at airline catering companies. From what I understand, these would be regional companies, so let's say we'll target the LAX, DFW, and thje JFK/LGA complex. Another group will get jobs at the food service companies at those airports (ex. McDonald's, Starbucks, etc.). I'll need them to be employed for a little while to figure out the security at their locations.

Mulder will be on a farm in Iowa. Preferably in an occupation that deals with corn processing. He's nomially in charge of both teams of undocumented aliens.

Scully will be doing lab work for a major turkey processing company.

The smoking man will be working "somewhere" just south of the US/Mexican border.

My chemists will be working close to the airports described above. They will make LSD. As pure as possible. LSD because it is such a wonderfully '60 era drug and because it probably will have some really good paranoid-type reactions from someone who takes the drug without knowing. But if there is some other drug that will do the trick, I'm open to suggestions. It'll also be easy for the public to recognize.

My undocumented aliens will receive the LSD and sneak it into their various places of work on Labor Day. Since the DEA is more interested in stopping other drugs on passengers, I suspect I can get this into their work areas fairly easily. Besides, my aliens will have worked at their various places of business for a little while so they should be able to determine how to sneak it in. Maybe in their shoes....

All of the LSD will be placed into the food. For the food vendors, there will be a specified time that will be some time after the first flights with the tainted food from the catering companies will have taken off but not yet landed. The dosage should be fairly high to at the minimum hit the LD-50 mark so there will be some deaths.

The airplanes with the tainted food will eventually serve the food and some of the pilots will die. Not all, but odds on, there should be at least a few airplanes where both pilots will die so the planes will (eventually) crash. The other planes will have enough chaos that maybe a few will crash, but most will simply be full of very terrified (and drugged) passengers.

The passengers on the ground will have some deaths, but this is really only there to amplify the situation.

The investigation should quickly reveal that the culprit is LSD in the food but they won't be certain which food actually killed the pilots. The TSA will immediately ban all food from the airport terminals and on airplanes during the investigation. Starving passengers will revolt. Pilots will have to be fed as special diet before flying (preferably something bland and government-issued).

I'll arrange for the Smoking Man to leak info slowly as to the undocumented aliens' roles. This will make the TSA ban all non-US citizens from working in food service roles anywhere in or around airports. A passport will be required to get a food service job. Most of the undocumented aliens will be of Mexican ethnicity. The government will increase funding to the Great Wall of the USA on the US-Mexico border. The TSA will be put in charge of the policing of food at airports and special food-prep badges with RFID chips will be issued to those food service workers that remain. The TSA as the issuing authority for the badges will be tied to a national database that has many black-listed Mexican looking names but will fail to black-list names like "Bin Laden".

Hopefully we'll be into October by now.... The TSA will be in full food police mode and the public will be outraged at any non-American (whatever that means) working anywhere in food service due to natural fear and paranoia. This will mean that most restaruants will need to fire all their non-American looking workers. The food industry from McDonald's to the best restaurants in major cities will grind to a complete halt. No more chicken nuggets from TGI McFunsters for the citizens of the USA.

Now the Smoking Man will leak information that Mulder somewhere in corn country had a role in the poisonings. The undocumented aliens will also have computers that have e-mail or other electronic information from Mulder and eventually his location will be found. Mulder will put up a fight, but ultimately die in a gun battle in late October (or did he really die?). On Mulder's computer there will be fake documents on how to get pure LSD into the corn product chain, and more specifically, into high fructose corn syrup that is used for candy. Halloween will be banned and kids of all ages will riot as they go thru withdrawal symptoms from fast food and all forms of candy, sodas, and other sweets. The FBI/CIA will demand that all e-mail be readable by the government without a warrant so they can track down more Mulders. The US Consitution will be amended to eliminate the right of privacy and the Second Amendment will be abolished. Private food police companies will be formed with venture capital. "Good corn" will come with RFID tags.

The fake research will have been e-mailed to Mulder from universities located in Mexico and Central America. The Great Wall of the USA will now include the Great Firewall of the USA that will block all access to Mexico and Central America. Chinese engineers who designed China's firewall will be hired to design this new firewall.

Scully, working hard in the turkey lab will "discover" that corn products from the same farm that Mulder were used to fatten up turkeys on the largest turkey farms in the US. Good bye thanksgiving. The American spirit, without candy, fast food, and the gluttony of Thanksgiving will be on its knees.

And she will also start to reveal that corn products are in everything that we use. see: http://www.ontariocorn.org She'll go on national television (Fox, CNN, whatever) to claim that this tainted corn can never be fully removed from our supply chain. And the chemists (who should have been caught by now and exiled to Guantanamo) will reveal after several waterboarding sessions that they used corn as their media to create the LSD and that the high purity of the LSD was due to the bio-engineered plants they used. The Smoking Man will leak information that the large agri-business companies have links to Mulder. Say hello to Archer-Daniels-Midland: the supermarket to the world. http://www.admworld.com US corn farmers go bankrupt, the banks that made loans to the farmers will go under (see: New Century Mortgage and the sub-prime finanical crisis). The stockmarket will tumble. The Smoking Man will reveal just enough information that will lead the FBI/CIA to believe that he is hiding somewhere near the US/Mexican border in the Sierra Madre, perhaps south of the Chisos Mountains/Big Bend National Park. The US 10th Mountain Division will be deployed to Texas and will stage numerous incursions "over the wall" into Mexico in an attempt to find the Smoking Man. the US and Mexico begin a new cold war: Taco Hell.

Mulder actually faked his death so he could infiltrate the real culprit: a rogue cell of the Partido Comunista Brasileiro (the Brasillian Communist/Marxist party) that has ties to a newly found Amazon tribe. They hatched this plan as a means to destroy the US corn industry in the US and limit the production of ethanol. Without US corn to make ethanol, the US will be forced to turn to Brazilian ethanol. The newly-found Amazon tribe happens to have found a new amazing rainforest plant that can be easily converted into ethanol for mere pennies (mere reals...). And the DNA of this rainforest plant is not "earth-like" and may have origins elsewhere....

Finally, some of the undocumented aliens will have paychecks linking them to Menu Foods, the company that recent has been in the news for tainted pet food....

markbenjaminApril 5, 2007 5:55 AM

Teams of young aimless men take jobs as cleaners in the utility rooms of ERs in hospitals. They secretly perform ELISA anti-Hepatitis A testing on all fecal fluids that are dumped in the pans. Slowly, quietly, they amass their nefarious infected excrement. On the night before the mission, they each perform the benediction and then drink 7 liters of fecal broth each.
The next day, as planned, they meet in airports. They each retire to the gentlemens rooms and swig down several liters of Go-Lytely. Then they board the planes for their final journey. Aboard the flights, their uncontainable explosive diarrhea pours out with no mercy. Several of them literally explode with toxic Hep A flying through the plane. The stench forces the stewardesses to take refuge in the cockpit, where the pilots, too, are overwhelmed. Although the planes crash randomly, the terror of Ebola or a similar disease (the horrible sounds of flatulence being picked up during the Mayday calls at ATC) causes mass panic and the crash of the NY stock exchange. Go-Lytely is banned and the world's gastroenterologists lose all of their colonoscopy income.

Doctor BonkersApril 5, 2007 8:29 AM

Nomenumbra: May I suggest some refinements to your plot?

1. Explode the planes just as close as possible after take-off over the targets. The planes would act like Fuel-Air bombs (commonly referred to as a poor man's nuclear bomb for their devistation). Then you would need less planes to wreak the havoc.

2. Add two targets to the reign of terror: Wilmington, Delaware and Boulder, Colorado. Effectively wiping out those two business districts creates the chaos of losing access to everyone's credit ratings.

Nothing sells a movie like exploding planes.

erithromycinApril 5, 2007 9:40 AM

You can put a bomb in a watch. It, and coins, often go round the metal detector, rather than through the X-Ray machine. It won't be huge, enough to blow a hole in the window perhaps. You could accelerate it with fake coins with magnesium in, and get pocket change banned too.

sumppumpApril 5, 2007 12:01 PM

Ha! $500,000? The post 911 screenings are pure comedy when you compare the killing power of a box cutter to a pencil. That I can't bring a nail clipper but I can bring any number of 7" sharpened pencils is ridiculous.

Plot: Angry folks with pencils. 'nuff said.
I would call it "Angry folks with pencils".

clekApril 5, 2007 12:10 PM

BLACKBERRIES and cell phones, which every one is so afraid of using during flight. Somehow they can be programmed to set off a signal that would wreak havoc on some necessary parts of planes. And my choice of target to disrupt USA is the SSA building in Baltimore, MD.

NathanApril 5, 2007 1:30 PM

The tsa, after 'extensive research' has decided that liquids, gels, and aerosols can't be taken in carry-on luggage except in 3oz containers or smaller.

The hollywood plot:

On an early morning packed flight out of Los Angeles a collection of brown skinned businessmen all board the same plane carrying one or two breakfast bananas in their carry on luggage.

The past several weeks have been spent removing a plug from the bottom of each banana and carefully removing the mush inside. This is then replaced with the secret high-explosive gelatin of a similar density to the innards of a banana.

Once on the plane the men use the confusion of getting their luggage stowed to consolidate some of the bananas. Later, during the flight they gather the rest of them together and one of the group takes them in a small piece of luggage into the bathroom.

Inside, he empties the contents of all the bananas into a plastic bag, and pulls out a modified laptop power supply that has been designed to step up the voltage from a 9V battery providing an ignition source.

Though the high explosive gel is deadly enough on it's own, when contained in the small tank below the toilet the explosive power is increased completely removing the tail of the plane and causing it to plummet from the sky.

After the subsequent investigation all foods are banned on flights and randomly selected passengers have to submit to forced regurgitation and enemas before flights.

FooDooApril 5, 2007 2:32 PM

Terrorists have devised a way to embed tiny explosives and detonators into clothing of TSA uniforms. So now they can via a wireless phone blow up the people that are supposed to be safegaurding our nations pathways to the skies. Stay tuned for part duex baby!

DerpApril 5, 2007 2:36 PM

Groundhog Day Two

A reporter goes to Punxy for a homeland security conference and the town is attacked by al Kinda, a radical Iraqi underground group hellbent on killing Phil and the guys standing around swilling beer at five in the morning.

DangerboyApril 5, 2007 5:42 PM

Plot summary: Nitrocotton clothing used to blow up planes.

1) Terrorists prepare for simultaneous strikes on several heavily-traveled domestic routes by purchasing/stealing high purity nitric acid.

2) Heavy denim clothing, comprised of cotton fibers, is turned into nitrocotton (nitrocellulose) using nitric acid. Slightly better nitrocotton may be prepared with the addition of sulfuric acid to sequester water during the reaction, allowing greater activity of the nitric acid. Wash with water + baking soda to neutralize remaining acid. Dry *carefully* to remove all traces of water. Add strong oxidizer (sodium chlorate, potassium chlorate, etc.) for greater sensitivity.

3) Airports with "sniffer" machines are challenged earlier in the day by dumping handfuls of ammonium nitrate prill in the parking lot. Passengers boarding planes repeatedly trip explosives detection units until operators are forced to turn off machines.

4) Bombers dressed entirely in nitrated denim clothing (with nitrocotton T-shirts, if so desired) can board planes.

5) When airborne, individuals can enter lavatories and rupture the pressure hull at altitude by piling clothes into a corner of the stall and striking with heavy object. A few drops of acid in a hidden compartment of a liquid carry-on tube would also work.

6) America suffers the usual paralysis.

7) TSA prepares for the last threat, as usual, in belated fashion. Flyers forced to travel either in TSA-approved Tyvek suits, or in polyester.

8) America brought to its knees by godawful fashion and lack of common sense.

9) The terrorists win.

9a) Unless Jack Bauer uncovers the plot and shoots them all.

10) Bin Laden gets rich after having invested heavily in US Tyvek manufacturing.

MoofooApril 6, 2007 3:14 AM

Like a dumbass, I posted this to last year's contest. Damn my enthusiasm.

Wanna shake up a large percentage of America? Want something innocuous banned from airplanes? Here we go:
Terrorists board airplanes wearing crucifixes made of thermite. The cross hangs on a chain which has a thin wire braided into it, pre-soldered to the back of the cross, and the wire has a little excess on either end, which the terrorists can connect to the batteries of their iPods/CD players/notebook computers/ebook readers/etc. The strategically placed thermite ignites, burns through the wall of the airplane, creates a fatal loss of cabin pressure...
When the scenario is reconstructed, the investigators see the new shape of fear: The Cross. Nobody is allowed to wear/carry a cross on a plane, and/or anyone seen wearing a cross is suspected of being a terrorist.

JackApril 6, 2007 11:42 AM

"Osama! Osama!" A young boy scrambles into a dusty cave somewhere on the border of Afghanistan. "Osama! Your Netflix que is now empty!" The child waves a telltale red envelope before him.

A calm collectected Alquida opperative tears open the dvd sleeve and hands the disc to the Osama.

"Finally we have the tools necessary to defeat the Americans, watch closely my brothers..."

But as the disk begins to play, fear mixed with confusion spreads throughout the cave.

"Blue Hawaii?" asks one terrorist incredulously.

But Osama stares him down. "We have much to learn from the king." He pauses dramatically. "According to his autopsy... his colon weighed 30 pounds, when he died. 30 Pounds my brothers!!Too long we have lived in fear of the TSA, and their nearly divine omiscience! They take from us our shoe bombs and box cutters. They place our liquids in small plastic bags. But will they have the courage, the strength of will, to check our Keisters?"

Suddenly the terrorists realize that a colon full of plastic explosive will be indistinguishable from your garden variety dookie. Even xrays will not tell the difference. Nothing short of a rectal exam or a colonoscopy will reveal the presence of explosives.

>> Six months later, a congressional subcommittee hearing

"Gentlemen, let me introduce you to the Colonmaster 5000. It can accomodate up to eight passangers at a time, it has a 98% detection rate, and can be disinfected in under 30 seconds. While the technique is considered by some extremist privacy advocates to be mildly invasive, its certainly better than our previous strategy. Our TSA screeners were vigilant, but humans are known to engage in colonic profiling and there's also the issue of bedside manner. Colonmaster 5000 solves these problems... friends, this is the future of air travel!!"

NomenumbraApril 6, 2007 1:49 PM

nice Doctor Bonkers, especially point 2 would cause global mayhem.

Flight Wisdom GuruApril 6, 2007 5:40 PM

We've duplicated this on our blog, at...

http://blog.flightwisdom.com/2007/04/06/our-entry-for-bruce-schneiers-movie-plot-threat-contest/

The terrorists attempt to blow up the plane with explosives disguised as common food items.

1. Plastic explosives are rolled into little balls by men wearing gloves, surrounded by tomato sauce, and frozen to look like a container of frozen leftovers brought as lunch. They are wrapped very thoroughly in tupperware and handed off in lunch-sized freezer bags to potential terrorists.
2. They will not be given much look at, as assumed to be lunch.
3. The problem then is of course, an ingenious detonator. The terrorists will smuggle an exploding-bridgewire detonator, which looks like a long tube on disguised as part of a collapsible stroller, one of the ones that separates into a car seat and a wheel portion.
4. This will of course require a baby.
5. Assorted wires can be smuggled on rather easily and in an innocuous way.
6. Finally, at the appropriate time, the detonator, the C4, and the wiring will be hooked into the airplane's power through a Marx generator, which can be disguised into the car seat infant retraint system.
7. The resulting explosion will, of course, cause the banning of all car seats, strollers, and of course....UFOs(Unidentified Frozen Objects) such as frozen meatballs...perhaps all foodstuffs.

Think it is horrific and ridiculous enough? Perhaps our next plot should involve the materials involved in making chemical explosives disguised inside a salami, or a container of tuna salad?

Anonymous BritApril 7, 2007 9:16 PM

If I were a Terrorist MasterMind....

Object: To bring down an aircraft over a major city.

Subsidiary object: Banning of all portable music and video players that use earphones.

Tertiary object: Winning Bruce's competition...

Means: Production of Oxy-Hydrogen explosion, fatally damaging aircraft.

Assets required on board:

1) iPod or similar earpieces, must have long cables. Taken on board.

2) Pack of chewing gum in Aluminum foil wrapper. Taken on board.

3) Large plastic garbage bag - must be carefully selected and stored so as to have no holes - consider several bags to improve reliability. Taken on board. If a convincing reason can be contrived, a large (4' weather?)balloon would be even better...

4) Adhesive tape of electrical or surgical type. Taken on board.

5) Salt. Obtained from airline-supplied mealtray.

6) Length of fishing line (preferred) or string - 3 feet or so. Taken on board.

7) Water. Found on board.

Assets required on ground before attack:

Detailed information about technical layout of aircraft services, particularly of lavatories and routing of flight controls. NB. This attack may work only on certain types of aircraft. This approach is more likely to work on older widebodies like 747s, more modern A330/340 have less useful space, as the countertop is 'sculpted' around the washbasin - however, the 'starter' (and hence mains power) for the fluorescent lights is easily accessible at far left under the mirror above the washbasin.

There is a sloped structure around the lavatory itself - there may be spare space that could be utilised - looks like wiring could be hidden for almost all of the run.

Assets required on ground during/after attack:

Person or group to claim responsibility for attack. Optional.

Total personnel required - One passenger, prepared to die.

Total cost of components (excluding airfare and airport taxes) $1-00 - assumes operative already has an iPod or similar.

Method overview:

(Following work to be carried out in aircraft lavatory)

Wires from iPod are stripped back and have aluminimum foil sheets attached to one end of both wires, to act as electrodes.

Placed inside at bottom of garbage bag, held apart by chewed gum. Fishing line attached so that a tug will cause foil sheets to touch, causing spark for initiating explosion.

Quantity of water in bag to generate Oxygen and Hydrogen by process of electrolysis. Small quantity of salt added to improve conductivity of water - more salt required if only low voltage supply available.

Calculation required for electrode surface area / rate of gas generation / salt required for voltage source available. Note excess water should be added to ensure that buildup of heat does not melt bag. Reliability is greater on longer flights that afford a more gradual buildup of gas - but chance of detection increases.

Procedure:

All air is expelled from bag and bag is then sealed, by combination of tape and chewing gum.

Bag placed in unobtrusive, enclosed place, with access to power source, as early as possible in flight.

An aircraft with a lavatory at center-rear, above path of flight control wires is ideal. Bag may be placed in storage locker underneath washbasin, wire run up to back of shaver socket or light fittings for power. Some basic tools may be required - this is more difficult now that pocket-knives and scissors are prohibited. Ingenuity should suffice.

Length of fishing line should be inconspicuous, but available without opening storage locker. Since garbage bag is physically weak, sides of locker required to support bag as it pressurizes.

Consider boobytrapping door so that explosion is triggered if door opened.

Detailed study of aircraft plans will show if other locations are suitable - some business class window seats on 747 have a locker beside them, but power supply may be problematic. This would require use of low voltage 12V seat power supply. Limited to only 75W typically, calculations will be required to determine time needed to generate sufficient gas. Caution: Seat power supply may be turned off at certain times during flight.

Once sufficient gas has evolved, trigger by pulling on concealed line, spark initiates explosion.

A far more power explosion can be caused by a mixture of air and acetylene in a garbage bag, but the gas would need to be smuggled onboard in something like a can of shaving foam - generating hydrogen onboard is slower and a little less certain, but has the advantage that absolutely nothing suspicious needs to be taken on board.

OPTION 2:

Object: To bring down an aircraft over a major city.

Subsidiary object: Disrupt society by causing suspicion of anyone with a pacemaker, or even those who have had cardiac surgery. Start a witchunt against all foreign-born cardiac surgeons cf: McCarthyite era.

Method: Explosives hidden inside the body.

Assets required: Local doctor, explosives, basic detonator, wires, battery and trigger. Ability to generate convincing medical history.

A doctor is an ideal individual to provide support for a terrorist cell.

So, our operative, lets call him Suicide Sam, has a couple of operations ­ leaving scars looking like a major cardiac job and a lump looking just like a pacemaker. He must be of age 50 or greater, for verisimilitude.

We’ll specify that our candidate must be a big guy, since we want to pack a couple of Kg of high explosives inside the front of his torso. Ideally, we want a fat man and put him on a crash diet - lots of loose skin appear to hide the extra bulk.

He carries a full medical history with him, signed by our terrorist-sympathiser doctor, with the usual medical permission to travel. Perhaps he even has a chest X-Ray that shows the pacer and wiring (but not the explosive payload) to complete the cover.

The pacer, with wires and associated battery, will probably trigger a metal detector, hence the need for full and convincing medical history.

In flight, he waits until the aircraft is circling over a major city, then runs forwards, slaps his body against the cockpit door and triggers his bomb ­ aircraft almost certainly falls out of the sky.

Plot variations ­

1) shaped charges to ensure effective penetration of the cockpit, perhaps coupled with some irritant chemical.

2) It is possible that this *might* be done to an unsuspecting victim: ­perhaps he has a Jarvic mechanical heart as a temporary fix, then travels to another country for a final operation. Here, the bomb could be triggered by a simple pressure/altitude sensor. Not so certain of bringing down the plane, but better drama for a film script.

Geoff LaneApril 8, 2007 12:50 PM

Observing that minimum wage TSA operatives are careless in their implementation of security measures at airports and also noting that the FAA require cell phones to be kept switched off, a small group of terrorists smuggle small cell phones onto a number of aircraft (by means of putting the cell phone into a condom and putting the condom up a body orifice.) Once in the air, the terrorists extract the cell phones and make a call each.

As the planes fall out of the sky, the government wonder at the possibility of full body x-rays of every passenger...

SensibleApril 9, 2007 12:13 PM

Who could better slip through security than a member of the Republican Party's Pioneers?

Just picture it, three well dressed businessmen who have pledged to raise at least $200,000 to elect another Republican President. Their patriotism is beyond question, isn't it? After all, they've pledged money to The Party.

Surely, you, a loyal member of the TSA wouldn't take away our souvenir silverware that we got at a White House dinner, would you? Sure the knife is a bit sharper than a normal butter knife, but look at the Presidential seal on it! I'm sure you could bend the rules, just this once, for a fellow patriot....

askmeApril 9, 2007 1:27 PM

too lazy to create a movie plot and not really ideas for terrorism, just f with TSA.

Original idea is very old: take a few sheets of aluminim foil, slice them into the outlilne of a gun. Go to the bookstand and slide them into several books, magazines, newspapers. They will be almost undetectable (a little sticky stuff on both sides keeps them in place and the pages together) but will show up as guns in the xray, causing regular mayhem.

More fun: glue something fun to the bottom of the grey plastic tray at security so that it appears to be in the clothes/shoes/etc. in the tray under xray. As they re-xray the item (in a new tray each time) it will disappear, only to re-appear after they cycle through the trays.

Most fun of all: paying a little attention at the airport with a handheld camera and bar code software you can decode the bagagge handling bags pretty easily. With a little home printer you can print up your own baggage tags that, for instance say ORD in english but will scan as JFK. Pretty easy to route checked bags anywhere in the world you want (your bags or others, filled with good things and bad). This has only been enabled now that they put the tag on and hand it back to you for "more security". In the olden days this would never have worked.

Other than that: The bomb in security line ideas are too realistic to be fun (easy and effective). The x-ray triggered bomb I thought was great and had the desired effect (best if it can be passed to an unsuspecting person). Best of all was to sit in some other country with voip and just issue realistic threats to kill the whole system: "we have nothing to fear but fear itself"

I fly several times a week and fully recognize the vulnerability and stupidity of the whole security apparatus. "They" know it doesn't work, but it is there only because you idiots asked for it. Think about that next time you vote. This contest is trying to prove the whole system absurd, but what are the actions that can be taken to prove it so?

RSaundersApril 10, 2007 11:14 PM

Terrorists spread out across the country with a simple, hard sided briefcase and a glass ampule of dimethylmercury (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dimethylmercury). This poison is famous for the fact it spreads through the gloves used to protect TSA workers.

At the coordinated time, say 6PM the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, they get in the security line; open their briefcase; put their laptop in a tray and the ampule in the frame of the briefcase. Put the laptop tray on the belt, then the briefcase, squeezing it to break the ampule. As it moves through the machine it leaks all over the belt.

Pick up the laptop, set the briefcase on the carpet at the end of the line, and walk off with the laptop. If someone notices, pick up the briefcase. Ideally, you'd like to leave it there for some security guy to handle. If you have to pick it up, take it to the nearest restroom, carefully not dripping it on yourself, and leave it there. Then the terrorist leaves the airport and goes home.

Every bag that goes through the machine becomes poisonous. People don't start dying for an hour, some may even make it onto planes. Every TSA screening employee, due to their rotation system, dies that day.

It takes a few hundred terrorists, with $100 plane tickets. The DMM isn't expensive at all.

The TSA has to ban X-ray machines, TSA workers, and airports to prevent the attack from being repeated. Air travel now exists only as helicopters picking you up from your house and flying you where you want to go.

RSaundersApril 10, 2007 11:43 PM

This is not an entry, just an observation. The 9/11 terrorists observed a security flaw, and exploited it. Airplanes weren't really what appealed to them, it was the glaring nature of the flaw.

The flaw was Department of Transportation policy that directed airline pilots to permit hijackers to take over the plane. The DoT Secretary was clear, "No one has ever died in a US airline hijacking except by resisting the hijackers." This clear flaw, allowing anyone to fly the plane if they want to, almost screamed out for exploitation.

OK, we fixed the flaw with better cabin locks and new marching orders. However, the US government never came out and said "9/11 was our fault, and we've corrected the policy that enabled it. Everybody back to normal."

Rather they saw an opportunity to gather a lot more information of folks, and do a bunch of other cockamamie things in hopes of stumbling onto a terrorist plot. They fell in love with a whole panorama of security theater.

Reading the contributions so far, it seems like the majority of the "good" ones exploit the same flaw. Americans believe that we need to screen the person and hand baggage of every passenger. Thus we've set up choke points labeled "Passenger screening". Many plots attack these choke points: to kill the random passengers present, to destroy what the government claims is "essential" infrastructure, to kill the government workers (making them harder to replace), and to cause passengers to fear what the government tells them makes them safe.

This leaves the government "hoisted by their own petard". They are being attacked through the security theater they set up to attack terrorists. They lose face if they say "big screening lines are bad", because when they caused them they said they were necessary. They can't really prevent folks from doing harm at the checkpoint unless they have pre-checkpoint checkpoints, ad nauseum.

SwittersApril 11, 2007 10:57 AM

The metal detectors only catch magnetic metals - anything that's non-magnetic gets through. So terrorists could make a knife out of anything that's not magnetic - brass might be the best option here, but those little plastic fast-food knives can do some damage if use properly - and sneak it through on their person. That's not movie-worthy, it's just a chink in the system.

OK, silly movie plot? Terrorists infiltrate the factory that makes airline peanuts. They rub the machinery with raw chicken parts, causing salmonella to rub off of the machinery onto a batch of peanuts. If passengers eat the peanuts, they'll die of food poisoning. A Jack Bauer-esque hero hears of the plot, but too late - the peanuts are already on their way to the airport...

(Another variation would be exchanging the salt for some sort of deadly poison that looks like salt. I just like the raw chicken parts.)

EWilliamsApril 11, 2007 11:32 AM

@ Anonymous Brit

Acetylene gas does not need to be smuggled onboard. You can make it. Take some calcium carbide (See http://www.karstsports.com/mingradcalca.html?ovchn=GGL&ovcpn=Carbide&ovcrn=calcium+carbide&ovtac=PPC&gclid=COCz6NmJu4sCFSLQYAodoHLFwg ), run it through a tablet making machine, and put the tablets in an aspirin bottle. Since solids are allowed, you just put them in the bag, add water, and wait. No electricity needed. Put your balloon in the overhead compartment. You probably need a disposable camera flash to produce your spark. While you might build up a little pressure, it's still a question of how much gas it takes to overpressurize an airliner hull. Maybe you could do it with a lav's worth, but it might take several cubic metres to make a big enough bang.

StudentApril 12, 2007 11:48 AM

Well, while the playing with the high tech things like batteries and advanced chemicals is neat I think a low tech approach would work better:

Two well-dressed men go through the security checkpoint without rousing any suspicion. The only odd thing they bring a long is a bit of fire steel each, but the blunt, 5cm long bit of steel doesn’t rouse any suspicion. Nor does a pair of 8 cm long bits of metal pipe marked “sample��? get more than a single glance.

Once inside the tax free area they buy a large amount of alcohol, choosing the brands with the highest alcohol content. After eating a last meal they board their plane and settles down in the first row in first class. They get comfortable and wait until the plane is in the air.

They wait patiently for the plane to reach full altitude. Then one of the men removes his mp3 player and takes out the slightly thicker cable used for charging. He wraps it around the two bits of metal pipe to form a crude garrote and attacks the 27-year-old flight attendant, taking her as a hostage and screaming loudly in Arabic to draw attention. While the passengers are busy with the obvious attacker (and the dying crew member) the other attacker calmly smashes the bottles with liquor, letting it soak for a few moments before he uses the fire steel and a key to set it all on fire. In the chaos that follows as the fire burns the two attackers steal the flight attendant’s breathing masks (stored in the front of the plane) and fight using broken bottles and the fire extinguisher stored in the front of the cabin. The passengers, hampered by the toxic smoke from the burning seats are unable to overpower the attackers in time. As the fire burns it soon destroys important cabling and the pilots try to do an emergency landing is turned into an out of control spin, leaving 239 dead not counting the attackers.

The cost is very low, in the range of $10000. Very little skill is needed, but a bit of determination.

After this disaster TSA has to take a clear stance to prevent further attacks. A three point program is created.

1: No alcoholic drinks with an alcohol content over 40% may be brought aboard airplanes.

2: No glass objects of any sort with a weight greater than 49 g may be brought aboard.

3: Only TSA approved strings and cables may be brought aboard the plane. All other strings, including shoelace and ropes are banned. Cables that are part of electronic devices are not allowed if they can be reached from outside the device. TSA approved strings and cables have a guaranteed pulling strength of less than 10 kg, are flat and colored with yellow/red in bands. On the side of the cable or string “TSA: FOR YOUR SECURITY��? is printed with a special security printer, guaranteeing the security of the item.

TheGlobalTravellerApril 12, 2007 12:02 PM

TSA are powerless to stop my cunning plot, for there is no weapon.

For several years hundreds, nay thousands, of terrorists have been trained as pilots and working for all the major airlines. Waiting for the right time to strike.

Then, one christmas eve (for maximum impact) the plot is activated. At airports all around the world, the pilots drive their aircraft at speed into the terminals. Pulverising the aircraft, and importantly also damaging terminals at major airports everywhere. Being on the ground they can't be shot out of the sky. The pilots are safely protected from FAMs and passengers who might otherwise thwart them, thanks to the cockpit security we've added.

TSA is powerless when it is the pilots who are the bad guys and there are no weapons. Fear spreads. Do I trust the pilot on my flight? Is the terminal safe?

TheGlobalTravellerApril 12, 2007 12:20 PM

This second plot is low budget but achieves the aim of banning an everyday item that every passenger carries.

Get some special keys made up that have a small sharp edge for cutting and a small flat piece to use as a screwdriver. Ie minimal modification required.

The terrorists simply go to the bathroom and use their keys to get through the floor and into the hold. Once there cut the right wires with the sharp edge.

Only need a few to be successful in bringing down an aircraft for keys to be on the banned list of carry-ons. And with keys then being put in unlocked checked luggage it is a boon to thieves with access to the checked baggage.

steveApril 13, 2007 2:13 AM

knowing that we don't actually have to get a positive result for something to be banned (the liquid explosives plot never got off the ground, no pun intended), I suggest we use an ordinary video camera, some unskilled acting/actors, and liberal plagerism of "Telefon" to get TSA to ban all speaking aboard airplanes. Oh... and this is inspired by the Myth Busters guys on Discovery Channel.

Here's how... our unskilled actors will be set up in a basement. The scenes they will portray will be having super-human strength when triggered by a post-hypnotic suggestion, just like in the 1977 movie "Telefon". We'll have them pretend to break reinforced cockpit doors with super-human strength or put their fist thru an airplane window on command or open an airplane door during flight. We'll use various "command words", like "the woods are lovely dark and deep", or "please fasten your seatbelts", or "we have started our initial decent into Ronald Regan International Airport", or "would you like the the beef or the chicken?"

We'll post these "training" videos on a server hosted in a "bad" place somewhere in Pakistan or Sudan. One of the operatives will have to leak the location of the videos to the press (do this first) and then to a government agency (a few days later).

The videos, while poor in quality, will have some visual clues that will lead the government authorities to the "cell" of actors located near the location of the liquid bomb guys. Close enough for someone to say "hmmm...maybe they knew each other or attended the same mosque".

Oh, and we'll make sure that the actors have a few plane reservations to New York, some broken windows/doors, and a list of trigger phrases in English and other major languages. The list should be sufficiently large to make talking on board an airplane "potentially deadly."

The result: no talking on board an airplane or in the airport. Ever. Maybe passengers would need to agree to be gagged or learn sign language to purchase an airline tickent.

Douglas ReayApril 13, 2007 4:01 AM

Macrobiotic vegan halal ready meals / camera phones.

STEP 1 - using their trusty camera phones to aid surveillance, the evil doers collect names of pilots, cabin staff, air marshals and ground support staff.

STEP 2 - Via a combination of internet searching, posing as schools inspectors and (in rare cases) actually using a phone book then visiting a house, the evil doers get pictures of the children of as many staff as possible.

STEP 3 - The evil doers split into 7 teams, get into position, and wait.

TEAM 1 - The PR squad. One photogenic lady in New York, set up to make immediate press releases and video phone conferences to news organisations. When the story breaks it will be vital to get the correct spin out early. Optionally a second team member actually working for a big news network as a cub reporter, who can 'accidently' be in just the right place and time to get gruesome pictures out.

TEAM 2 - The food squad. Again two people. One, the techie, is going to come up with something diabolocically dangerous that can fit into a ready meal container. It might be a 'punch out' box cutter made as part of the container itself, it might be explosive lemonade, it might be Ebola infected chicken. It doesn't really matter as the meal tray itself is not going to be checked. Because the second team member is going to infiltrate or suborn a food preparation company supplying ready meals to airlines. He might have gone for Kosher food, the religous oversight requirement making it easy to pose as some sort of inspector, but instead he chose Halal, to make the backlash worse and it easier to later make accusations of religious discrimination and crusade when they are banned. On top of that, the particular meals chosen will have some unlikely combination of restrictions such as macrobiotic or vegan, so only those who pre-ordered the meals for that flight will get them.

TEAM 3 - The suicide squad. They are going to pretend to hijack a plane and be resisted, in retalliation for which they will destroy the plane. In actual fact all they need to do is destroy the plane. What matters is what the news organisations report. Timing here is everything, thus Team 1.

TEAM 4 - The torture squad. They are going to pretend to have been holding hostage the children from the plane hijacked by team 3. And that, on team 3 being resisted, they tortured and then killed the children. To some extent it doesn't matter if they actually do this, just as long as gruesome pictures get out fast and it can't actually be disproven in less than 60 minutes.

TEAM 5 - The surrender squad. These guys have perhaps the hardest job. They need to actually successfully hijack a plane. They should be aided in this by their phones set to display pictures - both of the cabin crew's children and the tortured bodies team 4, and of the news reports. They can, of course, also get deadly material from their ready meals. Once they get control of the plane, THEY DO NOT CRASH IT. They are courteous, they make polite informative speaches about the situation in palestine, they get the plane diverted to a different airport and publicity for their cause, and then they surrender peacefully.

TEAM 6 - The baby care squad. These guys need to actually kidnap some children from the plan of team 5. (Or perhaps use child actors and hope they can get their news out fastest, but that's risky). As soon as the air crew surrender the plane, before the surrender squad lands and surrenders, they release the children, which much publicity, free sweeties, etc.

TEAM 7 - The murder squad. By much the largest team. Now that the precedents have been set, and that all air crews 'know' that these hijackers are safe, that they will torture children if resisted and that they will release them safely if not resisted, it will only take 2 members to take over each plane. One to show pictures to the staff, make demands, and explain that IF he fails to make a certain coded call every 10 minutes, then their children start dying. A second as pilot and ready meal man. When each team takes over a plane, they first thing they do is cut communications (confiscate all phones, etc). They don't want those precedents confounded. Because you see, these evil doers are not as nice as they have led everyone to believe. These one are not here to make nice speaches about palestine. No, these ones are here to crash planes into vital targets. Nuclear waste storage facilities. Dams. Internet hubs. Mount Rushmore. The last surviving bald eagle habitat. Fox news. The stock exchange. The military's biological weapons development centre. And of course Team 1 has reporters pre-positioned to make best capital from having an excuse to go in and show the world the deformed rats and monkeys dying from hideous diseases. Just in time to prime everyone for phase 3....

FloppydiskApril 14, 2007 9:03 AM

Hi

During a large-crowd baseball game, terrorist disguised as nerd fly several small R/C aircraft over the crowds, dispersing a white powder. This can be anthrax, but flour will probably kill as much because of the panic.

During morning rush-hour several suicide terrorists open nerve gas cylinders in separate subway stations. Yet, it has been done, but can be done better.

During a big-city marathon, an al-Quaeda cell sprays an atomised water stream from a fourth-floor appartment, laden with Legionella. Nobody notices anything for the next two weeks when a huge amount of people get ill. The terror will probably kill as much people.

RapApril 15, 2007 1:21 AM

Farts. Plastic bags and flint.

Confederates eat flatulent producing foods, fart into a plastic bag, flint on a common zipper and boom - a methane explosion.

TSA has to give everyone Beano, take their zippers, search for small rocks, and not permit any airtight bags.

Oh yeah and the oil from an orange peel
is explosively flammable - out that on the list too - any citrus products.


ArjenApril 15, 2007 1:55 AM

Terrorists use the Internet to get data on plane, passenger lists, find some important govt and business people are travelling on a specific flight.

They book flights and board with very thin high tensile piano steel cords hidden in trouser belts and shoelaces. These do not show up in walk-though metal detector (too thin)

Terrorists first use shoelace wire to take out the Marshall on the plan, by slicing his throat. Bloody scene - in confusion airhostess and some passengers get taken hostage, and threatened to have their heads cut off (by wire).

Terrorists manage to enter pilot cabin, by using similar high tensile steel , covered with small industrial cutting diamonds, as a saw, to cut through door lock. One pilot gets killed, other one right hand cut off with same saw, and sent back into passenger area to create further scare. (Bloody , all right)

Then terrorists reveal plan, threatening to crash the plane at the most crowded state highway of major US city, in the middle of traffic hour on their way to sports stadium for major game, using the blocked highway as their suicide landing lane, killing thousands of people sitting in their cars (through plane landing speed).
Creating major scare when announced, people trying to get off the highway. However, no traffic can move.

Plane will cause major fires, damaged road blocked for weeks/months, completely disabling the CBD, threatening city bankruptcy.

Result: No trouser belts and shoelaces allowed anymore :)))

HeyMikeyApril 15, 2007 2:46 AM

A suicide attacker has a duffel bag, a matchbook, and a copy of the New York Times. Skyside in the terminal, he crumples the NYT into little balls and stuffs them into the bag. Airborne, he simply lights the paper in the bag. Ever lit a whole bunch of crumpled-up newsprint all at once?

GerardVApril 15, 2007 3:13 AM

While studying the decadence of the west, a group of young Islamic men rent a pile of DVDs from an on-line DVD rental. They are disgusted by the depravity and lack of Islamic values shown in the movies. They are adamant that Sharia law must become universal law.

They seek council from their wise Imam, who explains that perhaps to defeat the infidel, they must temporarily join them.

Choosing the most disgusting, the most depraved, the most despicable movie as their model, they watch Kinky Boots over and over again. They learn to apply makeup, they work out, they grow their hair.

Using their second choice DVD, the most offensive, the most odious, the most obnoxious American export, they become the winners of Islamic Idol with their Islamic drag queen cabaret act.

Touring the world they find themselves booked in the US. Flying business class in their drag costumes, thigh boots and fishnets, they wow the passengers with a song a dance routine in the aisles.

They kiss babies.

They flirt with men and women alike.

The bun runners (sorry, stewards and stewardesses) are impressed. They ask Ali, the most petite and child like of the troupe is there anything he needs? Shyly has asks to see inside the cockpit. Are there really so many dials and knobs?

He is offered just one peek.

As the cockpit door opens they strike. Their deadly stiletto heel thigh boots have sharp points and can be swung like a mace. They kill the air marshal identified by the Islamic girl’s band on the earlier flight (see prior post) by clubbing him with a platform soled thigh boot.

They crash their plane into New York’s largest shoe store, as befits these well heel terrorists.

As a result, thigh boots are banned.

C. S. OrrApril 15, 2007 3:21 AM

Robert Heinlein actually has such a plot (albeit in SF settings) in "The Puppet Masters" (1951), in which take-over by aliens slugs taking control of people by attaching themselves to them underneath their colthing results in the government requiring everyone to go naked (except perhaps for g string or bra).

DannyApril 15, 2007 3:28 AM

If the guy or gal on the seat next to you has a very stilyish hairdo, be VERY afraid! Long since, the good fellas at Mythbusters have shown that hair styling products are highly combustible. All that's needed to make them go BOOM is a) pure oxygen and b) a spark. Now guess what, the TSA in its wisdom insists that pure oxygen is readily available on board of every aircraft, even in the form of those convenient walkaround bottles the flight attendants use, so all you have to bring along is the obnoxious hairdo, and your choice of spark generating implement. Twenty or so terrorists, all strapping the oxygen mask onto the top of their head like a beanie, nicely covering the gel-soaked hair, should do the trick.

TSA: Please urgently remove all oxygen masks from the planes, and insist on shearing anyone at the security check who wears gel or hairspray.

JensApril 15, 2007 5:24 AM

Get out the leather jockstraps !

Shopping list :

- One set of clothes (including undies), made out of cotton: White preferred. The best is a heavy jacket stuffed with cotton wool.

- Sulfuric acid (a couple of gallons, highly concentrated)

- Nitric acid (same amount)

- One small briefcase, aluminum - good brands preferred, get the most stable version you can take on board.

- One camera with flash and self timer.


To prepare :

- mix the acids and using instructions found on Wikipedia, nitrate your cotton clothes. Remove from acid mix after two minutes. Rinse and let dry. DO NOT USE TUMBLER !

- Crack open the little flashlight of the camera in a way that you can close it again without leaving obvious traces.

- Break and remove the xenon glass tube, then move the electrodes VERY close together.

To use:

Put camera in briefcase, wear your *ahem* flak jacket and the other clothes you nitrated earlier. A spare set of underwear will fit in the briefcase and make you look less suspicious - if you planned to die, why would you bring spare underwear ?

- Board the plane, consume free drink (optional).

- Stand up, grap jacket and briefcase, enter toilet and lock door.

- Stuff briefcase with nitrated clothes, start self-timer on camera set to flash, stuff camera into clothes and close and lock briefcase.

- Start praying to deity of choice.


How this works:

By nitrationg your clothes, you created a new fashion trend - guncotton clothes !

A lot of explosives will just burn off, unless you use some kind of enclosure, such as a nice, stable, aluminum briefcase.

To ignite, we use the high voltage spark created by the camera - unless they still allow us to bring safety matches on board, which would make it even simpler to ignite the whole mess...

Peilditi PinoyApril 15, 2007 6:02 AM

I wonder if Bruce and the Dept of Homeland Defense are monitoring all those who view the postings in here, and are preparing Search And Seizure Warrants against each and everyone, just so they can prevent another attack...?

baud_foxApril 15, 2007 7:09 AM

Plot: Five or six suitcase full of compressed gas canisters, possibly oxygen, would be put into checked luggage. Due to the weight, the load might have to be distributed between a few people, to avoid suspicion. Each case would contain a small explosive charge, packed out with incendiary material. The detonater would be activated by a bluetooth enabled PDA/smarthphone or similar device, programmed to activate when connected to by a predefined device, which would be the laptop/cellphone of the terrorist onboard.

GeoApril 15, 2007 8:59 AM

Scene 1: The buxom 20-something blonde glides to the airport screening point and sashays straight to the front of the queue, her crimson dress drawing all eyes with it. She smiles sweetly at the slightly-overweight, balding middle-aged man whose second from the front of the queue.

'Do you mind if I cut in front of you? I'm running late for my flight and my girlfriend will be awfully distraught if I don't make it home to her on time.'

Said middle-aged man's heart skips a beat as her blue eyes draw him in. Her breif glimpse down forces his eyes to travel downwards, past her scarlett red lips and shining white teeth to the deeply tanned muscles of her neck, over the top of her chest and finally resting on the skin of her ample bossom.

'Sure!' he stammers, gulping air to compensate for his skipped heart beat.

'Wouldn't want you to be late to me your girlfriend....'

His voice trails off as his mind wanders with images of her and her girlfriend.

She leans forward from her comely hips and gently kisses him on the cheek, her subtle perfume lifting to his nose.

She whispers 'Thanks' as she straightens and proceeds quickly to x-ray machine. She smiles at the previously-bored young man who has suddenly taken great interest in his job as he informs the woman 'Sorry maam, you'll have to remove you shoes.'

'Oh, I hope this cheap carpet doesn't damage my new stockings. Pure silk just feels so luxurious on the skin.'

She folds herself at the knee, the silk creasing as the hem of her dress rises along her thigh. The young man's eyes follow the hem as the betraying hem reveals a line of delicate lace hugging that wonderfully shaped thigh.

She looks at him and catchs his eye. She allows a brief smile to escape her lips then stands, handing her heels to the young man whose cheeks now match both shoes and dress. Her lifts her travel bag onto the conveyor and steps through the metal detector, returning the glare of the uniformed woman on the other side with a charming smile.

She collects her bag, fits her shoes and proceeds off to her gate, mingling with the throng of people trying to get where they need to be.

Scene 2: She is sitting in Business Class, the complimentary glass of pre-takeoff champagne sits at her hand. The 30-something businessman slides into the seat next to her, smiling as he inhales her sweet scent for the first time.

She returns his smile and introduces herself. He settles in and they chat innocently, as he puts his left hand into his jacket pocket and slips off his wedding band.

He gestures to the hostess who attends and shortly returns with a glass of champagne. Eyes meet as the glasses ring out their own meeting.

Scene 3: At cruising altitude, she excuses herself from the conversation and heads to the bathroom. As she passes out of her seat she presses his call button, and picks up a small make-up bag from the overhead locker.

Once inside the toilet, she quickly removes her stockings and places the bar of soap from her toiletries bag into one of them. She slides this inside the other stocking for added strength then wraps the stockings around her right hand, holding the bar of soap in her hand. She places her hand inside the toiletries bag and presses it to her hip to support it on the return to her seat.

She opens the door and sees that the hostess has answered the call button and stands next to her companion serving him the drink he didn't know he wanted. She walks briskly back towards her seat, but as she reaches the hostess she drops the toiletries bag and lets the soap fall from her hand. She swings it up and grasps the soap in her left hand and throws the strands around the neck of the hostess. She raises her knee slightly and pulls the hostess tight around her knee, the natural silk stockings cutting deep lines into the hostess' throat. She rushes forward to the cockpit door, with stunned passengers frozen in fear.

She clamps a hand over the hostess' mouth and as she reaches the cockpit door, she chimes 'Tea'.

The cockpit door opens a fraction, and she throws the hostess to the side and kicks into the door, sending the co-pilot sprawling backwards. He pushes through the door and flashes a smile at the pilot who returns it with a look from widening eyes.

She swings the soap above her head and lands it against the temple of the co-pilot, knocking him unconscious. A second swing hits the pilot in the throat, collapsing his windpipe.

She turns and bolts the door, wedging it closed with the tacky tourist souvenier that she bought at the airport.

She then retrieves the small container of moisturiser which had been in her toiletries bag and which she had fitted in her underpants in the toilet. She places the 'moisturiser' against frame of the door and pours the Loctite Speedbonder™ H4500 Metal Bonder between the frame and the door. She now has control of the plane, and with the door wedged in place, in 10 minutes it will be fused closed.

The main weapon used in this scenario is the human desire to find an attractive mate. The smile of an attractive woman will make pretty much any man bend to her wishes and let down his guard. The fact is we are all expecting to see a person of middle-eastern appearance hi-jack a plane, not the woman in the red dress. The resulting confusion would normally be enough for her to get where she needed to go before anyone reacts.

Therefore, anyone who is evenly slightly attractive should no longer be allowed to fly. To test for this, each airline security area would have two small rooms on each side, one with 3 teenage boys, the other with 3 teenage girls. They would be tasked with picking out of the crowd anyone that they thought was attractive. Anyone identified would not be allowed to fly.

Womens stockings and/or pantyhose would obviously also be banned, particularly if being worn by men. That's just unnatural.


BenApril 15, 2007 9:21 AM

How about an operation to implant explosives within a human body. Removing a lung, a kidney, some thigh muscles and possibly even the intestines (I guess the patient would have to be drip fed until recovery and moments before the flight), in addition to the breast implants mentioned by others... you could carry many kilograms of explosive.

To detonate, the terrorist would take a strong pen, remove the ink inside (to make a sharp, hollow rod) and then stab this sharply into one of the implants.

(Nerves in the area would be destroyed by the surgeon during the operation so that the terrorist feels no pain)

Finally, the in-cabin earphones are ripped apart for their wiring, and from the privacy of the toilet, the wire is hooked up to a light socket and fed into the tube so as to create a spark that denotates the body.

A big gruesome. Yeah. But the only obvious and completely reliable defense to a realistic and scary plot like this would be to ban ball-point pens and headphones.

AnonymousApril 15, 2007 10:11 AM

Someone has a laptop with a HCF(Halt and Catch Fire) instruction in the CPU. The circuit boards are made of explosive plastic. All he has to do is run a program and his laptop explodes/ignites. Any electronic device can be made with a CPU with that misfeature. The MOS 6502 is an example of suitable CPU. Result: All electronics are banned. Even if the main CPU doesn't have this feature, expansion cards could. Even Palladium won't stop this.

LeonApril 15, 2007 10:34 AM

While waiting in the departure lounge, the terrorists go to a cafe, where their accomplice is working. The accomplice slips them a gun. (I could do the plot without the gun; I only add this detail to force all airport workers to go through the same security as everyone else). By an amazing coincidence, Bruce Willis is also on the same plane. The terrorists also stock up on duty free.

Cut forward to on the flight. The terrorists have just finished their (halal and so served earlier than everyone else) meal and are finishing their wine when a bout of turbulence strikes and the seatbelt sign is turned on. The terrorists make molotov cocktails with their (overproof vodka) duty free, throw these backwards to cause chaos while rushing forward armed with broken wine bottles. After slashing a couple of stewardesses with the wine bottles, they decide they're more hassle than they're worth and resort to bare-handed kung fu. Buisness class puts up a truly heroic but ultimately unsuccessful attempt to stop the hijackers (this should be one of the best fight sequences in the film), using a range of improvised weapons like walking sticks, the telescopic handles of suitcases and umbrellas. The problem is that as each person falls, the hijacker grabs their weapon and uses it with more skill against the next passenger.

On reaching the first class section, they quickly create some sort of obstacle from the curtain separating buisness from first. The first class people try to get in the way, but aren't really putting up a fight, so the terrorists resort to a dazzling display of parkour to climb past the passengers.

Meanwhile, Bruce Willis and various other random all-american heroes amongst the economy passengers are completely struggling to get out of their seats and stop all this.

Bruce's problems are:
The dinner trays everywhere
The fact that the people on either side believe they will die if they take their seatbelt off while the seatbelt sign is on.
The ensuing chaos caused by the molatov cocktails.

The terrorists reach the cockpit door, blow it open using laptop batteries as improvised explosive charges and storm the cockpit.

From then on, the movie develops in a more slow-moving suspense-like way. At some point, the terrorists will suprise bruce willis by suddenly revealing the gun but the rest of the movie is all about entertainment, not about banning things from planes.

So, if I've done this right, this will ban:
All glass (although a compromise could be reached whereby wine isn't available with halal meals)
Duty free spirits
In-flight meals.
The habbit of serving special meals ahead of the normal meals.
Walking sticks
Umbrellas
Suitcases with wheels and telescopic handles
and Laptops

In addition, all airport staff will have to be hassled by security, and stupid questions will be asked about whether seatbelts can do more harm than good.

Jan BehrensApril 15, 2007 10:37 AM

simple:

crosswire a laptopbattery, let it run full power in a plane (by, say, computing PI), it puffs into smoke.
issue a convincing statement (with los of technobabble in it), exploding laptopbatteries can serious damaging a plane, especially fly by wire electronics. no more laptops allowed.
the beauty is: if you are a competitve business you use of course a laptop battery of a competion.
don't forget to freelance some people to write sophisticated blogs about how to press plastic explosives in DVD form (thin layer of semtex between acrylic layers..don't mind if you have no detonator, tell them the electrostatic due to spinning is suitable enough for this).
should even ban laptops with DVD drive.


total cost 1 laptop 1200$, some internet connection fees, travel money, a bit of money for some forged technobabble blogs and official looking 'scientific news' and you could even ruin a competition.(heck, use it as a ad campaign like the new CK fragrance "i have heard, [brandname]laptop explodes, i'm totally cool with [another brandname]")

runs aprox. 10000 $

rdApril 15, 2007 10:58 AM

My terrorist attack

After looking in a news paper for a few weeks and collecting new birth announcements, use typical telemarketing solicitation techniques to invite new mothers to a week long holiday to a SPA if they bring a friend who is also a new mother. This would be done using a simple charter flight. Other passengers planted on the flight would be carrying some all plastic BIC pens.

The plane selected should be from a small airline with a minimal budget. A DC-9 seems to be a good choice as it is large enough to do significant damage. And this plane seems to crash often.


On Tuesday, May 15, 2007 from 9am to 3pm in Washington there will be a business fair for small business wanting to work with the TSA.

So here is the plot:
Get everyone on a plane in Edmonton Alberta at 6:35 AM (Air Canada flight 4000) and in mid flight proceed with hostage taking. Simultaneously release via spam blast and anonymous direct email to news stations that the plan is being hijacked to Central America. With a refueling in Bakersfield California. The pilots are threatened to hand over control of the plane or all the "moms" will get killed via a stab to the neck with the pen.

At the same time take out the street side X-cross connect box with a pickup truck at the business fair, as well as sniper any and all cell phone antennas in the area, thus isolating the TSA staff at the fair. With no one of rank available to control the situation it would be left in the hands of the ill trained.

This will allow the terrorists to crash the plane in to the brand new Grand Coulee Dam freshly rebuilt after last years attack.


Cost - flight tickets are 500 per seat
- flight school,
- spam/email blast - free (after you pay the mafia for the email list)

Results - pens of any kind will not be allowed on airplanes, nor any other pointed object (only soup sandwiches and Girl Guide Cookies will be served as in flight food)
- no airplane from another country will be allowed in US air space
- telemarketing will stop (This is a benefit in my mind)
- see all the results from the dam being damaged last year...


Happy ending - The moms don't want their babies to be raised by just the fathers and turn on the terrorists. Oh and telemarketing is still a doomed industry - thus allowing everyone to enjoy their family dinner.

touristeApril 15, 2007 11:11 AM

We can use 500.000 $ so we can buy some nano-technology (from a mad scientist :) and make nano-explosive : some particules of convenient diameter coated with a neutral chemical.

The kamikaze (muslim, christian, jew, no discrimination :) swallow as explosive as he can ...

Explosive is now invisible to Xray (diameter of particules simuls food) and sniffer (coat avoid linkage of molecules)

Explosion may be provoked by a special pill, a fake watch or any stuff containing detonator.

Successfull, this plot force TSA to ban humans ... from any mean of transportation !!

(That is a real proposition, not a pub for a boat or bike manufacturer !)

ceebsApril 15, 2007 11:22 AM

Later in the year, a group of terroroists had keyhole surgery to have containers of high concentration Hydrogen Peroxide implanted under their skin. the result of this is untracable bombers. when they are airborne they retreat to the toilet, take a small ceramic blade, indetectable to x-rays and shave their hair. this is then stuffed into the waste pipe from the sink. Then the peroxide bottle is punctured, and squeezed into the sink. The flush mechanism is activated and the hair and peroxide mixes and oxidises causing a massive preasure build up which blows the vents out in the side of the plane. the explosive loss of preassure breaks the structure of the fuselage and causes the plane to discintigrate in mid air.

The Authorities are forced to ban the posession of Human hair on flights.

BobApril 15, 2007 11:36 AM

A double amputee wearing a pair of artificial legs boards an aircraft and takes his seat in first class. Near the end of the flight, while the plane is in a holding pattern, he throws as switch and his legs emit a very strong EMP for thirty seconds. This pulse fries all electronics within 100 feet of him, including all the plane's computers and quidance equipment. The plane ends up crashing into the city below.

JimBobApril 15, 2007 12:50 PM

At the end of the day there is only one good simple acceptable way: the triggered cell phone. It can either be set up as its own alarm clock bomb, or to be called while in flight. Fooling the sniffers is no big deal. The explosive inside the phone is inside an inexpensive air-tight teflon bag. These are commonly used in scientific laboratories for sampling gases to test in gas chromatographs. High school and undergraduate students can easily procure them from scientific supply houses. Who is going to take apart and search cell phones?

CryptodeckerApril 15, 2007 1:41 PM

I am envisioning the following story With a Diehard / 24 feel to it.

Resources needed per incidence:

- One explosively pumped flux compression generator wrapped on plastic to ensure explosive residue is not detected(footnote 1) (EMP bomb)

- Large bulky pen designed to house a microphone and transmitter. (or other sort of microphone-transmitter combination for hiding in plan view)

- three men

- (optional) a large low-inductance capacitor bank discharged into a single-loop antenna (EMP bomb of the non-exploding variety) (footnote 2)

And social engineering.


Plot:
One individual approaches the ticking desk and leave behind the inconspicuous microphone pen (hiding microphone transmitter at check in desk). Upon seeing the pen left behind chances are high that individuals will either ignore it or continue to use it at the desk.
Outside is a listening post to listen in on conversations of individuals checking in.

Ticketing agent: Good morning, welcome to Jet Blue where will you be flying today.
Unknowing patsy: I will be flying to Boston, my name is John Doe.
Ticketing agent: Yes, Mr. Doe may I see a form of ID (etc.)

Ultimately the point of this is to get flight information, name, flight time. Everything to create a fake boarding pass to present later.
Cue the use of the Explosively pumped Flux compression Generator (EPFCG). Second man approaches the ticketing area with the bag containing the EPFCG.

Terrorist: Yes security said that this bag is to large and needs to be checked in.
(Terrorist presents Fake Boarding pass and possible fake ID)
Ticket Agent: Ok, just one moment (Busy creating labels and entering information into computer)

At this point the baggage will be scanned, and most likely allowed in since this device would be unknown to TSA personal. If it makes it through the x-ray and everything else, no problem (for the terrorists). Other wise you can rig the setup to detonate upon opening of the bag in a manner of your choosing. Thus ruining any near-by machinery and possible loss of life to person opening the bag.

If bag makes it onto the flight, this high-yield EMP bomb can be detonated causing havoc, if not completely bringing the planes electronics off line. Depending on effectiveness of EMP shielding of the airplane. (Of course if this has no effect then there shouldn't be any worries about cell-phones and other electronic devices on planes.

Rinse and repeat across the country to ensure at least one bag makes it onto a plane.
After incidence, the unknowing victim will be accused, detained, and beaten (possible Guantanamo'ed), until someone finally checks the records and confirms with the video tape from the ticketing counter.

Meanwhile, low-inductance EMP bomb can be used in the mean time to take various x-ray machines, and other electronics off line to expedite the general chaos.

Drives nation into throws of chaos and financial destitution once airlines are shut down for days again.

Possible effects upon industry:
TSA will have to mandate picture photos for every sort of airline transaction to be cross-referenced with a trusted database of customer photos. (ensuring the adoption of a national ID)

FAA will have to ensure proper EMP shielding of airplane critical components (proof of no more worries about cell-phones and other electronics onboard). Effects still could take out radio and navigation equipment).

Airlines and airplane makers will EMP shield just the cargo compartments to save money, but a carry on will work just as well with same probability of success.

Impossible training for TSA employees (which will be ignored or neglected) are mandated and still prove to be useless.

Footnotes:
(1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Explosively_pumped_flux_compression_generator
(2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_pulse

a107April 15, 2007 2:41 PM

I don't believe in giving people ideas, so I will restrict myself to saying that all of these suggestions are far too elaborate and expensive. If the TSA hit-rate is only (say) 20%, then there are 4 chances in 5 that a bomber will get through with whatever tried-and-true bomb is available. Want better chances of success? Just send two bombers and the chance of failure drops to 4%, and so forth.

And the chances of getting the TSA to ban something aren't all that good. Did they bother to ban glass wine bottles after 9/11 sharp edges? Someone must have seen the traditional bar fight in a wild west movie.

No, the bans are just "do something" window dressing to reassure the flying public that it is nonetheless safe to fly. (Misleading representations are the essence of fraud, by the way.)

But there is one reason why the inspections are still worth it, to some extent: preventing copycats.

RichardLBApril 15, 2007 4:08 PM

Simple. Get 30 $20 bills. Inject into the paper along side the color strip minute quantities of Anthrax. Then issue 1 of these bills to each of 30 people. Let them each tear the bill over the strip and pull it out exposing the Anthrax at appropriate moments in an airplane, Grand Central Station, Super Bowl whatever. They should not do it all at once but at staggered times.
What wonderful havoc as the government tries to confiscate every $20 bill!!!

RichardLBApril 15, 2007 4:43 PM

Maybe even a bunch of other denominations; $10's $50's maybe even $1's !!!!!
Picture a terrorist tearing the corner off a bill and then waving the "Wick Of Death" shouting "Kill the Infidels" or Americans or whatever.

nameApril 15, 2007 5:06 PM

A paricularly disruptive scenario is to use insiders to carry out an attack which in itself may not be spectacular nor even fatal.

Make sure the public know after the attempt that the people involved were insiders; people at checkin securit, pilots, air hostesses, ...

the real impact would be psychological, the very people who operated your transport were the ones trying to kill you. the same while native people entrusted to protect you from brown foreign terrorists.

so next time, when you're asked to cooperate with security staff and accompany them to this queue or that line ... who do you trust?

nameApril 15, 2007 5:06 PM

A paricularly disruptive scenario is to use insiders to carry out an attack which in itself may not be spectacular nor even fatal.

Make sure the public know after the attempt that the people involved were insiders; people at checkin securit, pilots, air hostesses, ...

the real impact would be psychological, the very people who operated your transport were the ones trying to kill you. the same while native people entrusted to protect you from brown foreign terrorists.

so next time, when you're asked to cooperate with security staff and accompany them to this queue or that line ... who do you trust?

paralysis, fear and loathing.

TomApril 15, 2007 6:00 PM

Terrorists hide scolopendra gigantea robusta (giant centipedes) in carry on bag shoulder straps, release on the plane, creating havoc - "Centipedes On A Plane"

Terrorists hire American Idol Winner Sanjaya to sing on the maiden flight of the Airbus 380....which drives the pilots and crew to suicide.

terrorists swallow "dirty cesium" encased in man made biodegradable lead capsules; half way into the flight over the Napa wine valley, they use plastique explosives in 3 oz. toothpaste tubes to blow up the aircraft (over a wide area), contaminating all California wine for decades. In the process, they win the gratitude and support of french wine makers.

Terrorists use "hypno coins" to hypnotize flight attendants in order to gain access to the flight deck, where after overpowering the crew with curare darts hidden in hair pics, they crash the aircraft into a NASCAR race, effectively destroying the drivers and a huge chunk of the American economy (and allowing F1 to rise to prominence, gaining further european support)

jimd123April 15, 2007 7:33 PM

This is too easy, but here's a quick and dirty:

Terrorists, realizing their greatest foe is clear thinking, recruit the U.S. government to increase confusion and undermine order in America. They begin to to mention people in their emails that come right out of the phone books of the great satan. They begin to include hundreds and perhaps thousands in proposed plots discussed via email, and on web sites. Perhaps eliciting responses from some, but no matter, real names and addresses can be used freely inside the US and in other countries. They can just make up anything. It can be trivial - a proposal to meet to discuss urinating on parking meters in Dayton. Discuss research to use cell phones to take over the autopilot systems of aircraft. It can be automated. Random trigger words can be used populate boiler plate terror plots. What has to happen is that the "No Fly" list begins to grow, the list of Americans, Canadians, Britians, Brazilians, and Ugandans swells. They offer rewards for the most imaginative plots (and they don't have to try many of them). As the lists swell with the names of confused Americans, Canadians, Britians, Brazilians, and Ugandans fewer and fewer people can actually fly. The police become busier and busier beating up suspiciously named people who may or may not have email accounts. People begin to distrust each other and purchase firearms to keep at home. Stock up on canned goods. Refuse to let their children out to play or go to school... Become afraid to leave home to go to work... Watch FOX for "Fair and Balanced" coverage...

Dr DUHApril 15, 2007 8:23 PM

It appears that many of these suggestions will have the wonderous effect of getting Barf Bags Banned!

Tom who is not really that fascinated by vomitApril 15, 2007 8:26 PM

(First, my apologies. When I first had the story idea, it didn't
occur on me that telling it would require so many references to vomit)


"Oh my." exclaimed the stewardess. The middle-eastern-looking man in
the aisle seat had just regurgitated into the aisle. "Sir, would you
like to see the flight nurse?"

Other passengers looked on, concerned and wanting to help. In the
excitement, nobody paid much attention to another swarthy gentleman in
the aisle seat a few rows behind. Perhaps they should have. He was
sticking his finger down his throat, quietly but vigorously.

Suddenly he lurched forwards and, almost seeming to aim, threw up into
the other man's puddle of puke. Immediately a greenish gas began to
issue from the combined pool of vomit. The two men yelled something
triumphant in a language the other passengers didn't understand.

Earlier that day they had swallowed the A and B parts of a binary
agent. Harmless separately, when combined they form a deadly poison.

Fortunately the casualties were few. The cockpit had a separate air
supply and was never in danger. In the cabin, the oxygen masks
dropped down and worked perfectly. The gas was less potent than the
terrorists had hoped; apparently their chosen delivery method did not
suffice to mix the binary agent thoroughly.

Unfortunately, the incident made riveting TV. There was a seemingly
endless stream of interviews with the passengers and the one surviving
terrorist. The public seemed unnaturally fascinated with the
incident.

"We will not let the terrorists cause us to overreact", promised the
Department of Homeland Security to the press the next day. The
Secretary Of Transportation echoed the same note of clear-sighted,
rock-solid courage.

It turned out that they meant that they intended to ban only food
that could be dangerous in combination with another chemical agent.
Internet pundits enjoyed pointing out that this included every known
type of food. "With the possible exception of helium, but that only
works for Breathairians", one presumably squeaky-voiced wag noted.
They enjoyed poking fun at the seemingly random list of banned foods
when it was later unveiled. The more conspiratorial-minded quickly
invented theories linking the airline food suppliers to the Homeland Security
decision and even to the attack.

But because airport security could not conveniently examine the
stomachs of all the passengers, in practice the new rules amounted to
asking passengers selected at random whether they had eaten in the
last 12 hours. Naive souls who admitted they had recently eaten were
courteously escorted to a back room where their stomachs were pumped,
and stiffly thanked for their co-operation.

The new rules had a cost/benefit ratio of approximately infinity, and
everyone you asked seemed to know it. Even the surviving terrorists
may have privately agreed; he was quoted as saying in flawless
idiomatic English that the incident had "left a bad taste in my
mouth".


Ron LApril 15, 2007 9:38 PM

Nicholas Weaver beat me to it! The Compaq m300 and m450 laptops have magnesium frames. Add to them a few lithium polymer batteries (Sony optional) and you have one heck of a cool weapon.

First use the Trusted Traveller program to figure out which of your operatives will not be banned from flying (cheap at $99 a pop) and load them up with laptops and batteries and start taking down planes one at a time until all electronics are banned from airplanes. Imagine if people had to leave their cell phones, crackberrys, and laptops at home - and without iPods we would be forced to watch the movie or listen to the 16 channels of sappy music - why, the economy would come to a halt in no time at all.

By the way, I assume that everyone knows that any camera with a flash easily can be turned into a cattle prod, right? That could be loads of fun too.

VagabondApril 15, 2007 9:52 PM

Strictly speaking, this plot is outside the scenario that's mentioned because it only involves the airport, not the actual plane, but I think it's far more plausible then a plane hijack, and nearly impossible to protect against.

The doors open to the airport and in strides an Arabian man. He's wearing a perfectly fitted suit, his hair is cropped and tidy. As he walks he looks down at his watch, it's classy and obviously expensive. Behind him he wheels a top of the line samsonite suitcase.

Flashback, 2 weeks, August 27th. In the middle of remote America, we see the same gent in casual clothes, sitting on the deck of this remote house, staring out to the horizon, the heat bakes the ground and condensation drips from his ice-cold drink. Three Arabian men come out of the house, laughing, chatting.

We learn they're building a bomb. One of them has stolen explosives from a quarry 4 months ago (flashback to that night, watch the crime). He's stowed them in a shed at the end of their land, they hook it up to a short range trigger- bluetooth based. This is packaged carefully with ballbearings in layers upon layers of plastic packaging, between each layer they carefully wash the package down and coat it in a coating of oil to futher reduce the change of a single molecule of explosive to escape. This is then carefully packaged in the samsonite case.

We flash over to Washington, the anniversary of 9/11 is impending. The president gives a heartfelt speech to the audience, claiming America is stronger then ever and we are safe in the skies. Meanwhile a female FBI agent (amazing hot of-course) is following a long-cold trail, hoping to decypher a tattered doodle with a few short notes, by now she's shunned by her fellow officers, but she's sure it means something. She's watching the presidents speech, when she hangs on a few of his words. She runs to her office and stares at the scrap of paper, she's got it, it's a cryptic map, a piece of land... their base of operations, yes, her gut tells her so... but where...

Tick, tock.

She contacts her ex, who happens to be a satellite imaging specialist, she hands him the paper. There's obviously some tension between them, but they soldier through it, working through the night. He's modifying the imaging program to target specific proportions between the buildings on the map, she gets them coffee, and as the hours tick on they talk about how things could have been. She rubs his shoulders as he finished the code and hits search. We see the screen flick through hundreds of images, 1017 possible matches found. They filter based on population density and other attributes and narrow the search to only 2. They bring up recent photographs from the sites. They see kids playing outside the first, flicking to the second they see a hint. They rush from the room, it's remote, but there's still time!

We flip back to the gentleman we saw in the first scene, he's loading the suitcase into the back of a luxury car (rented), he's still in casual clothes. His friends bid him farewell, who yell stereotypical jihad chants as he pulls out of the garage, and drives into the distance. Behind him they're setting fire to the house and shed, they pile into the van and head in the opposite direction.

We see the agents arrive by helicopter at the remains of the property, in dismay, they're too late. But wait! she finds a burnt out computer, and using her wizard skills she manages to pull up the booking confirmation for a flight... Quick! Get to JFK! The flights only.. 5 hours away!

We see the agents arrive at the airport, SWAT is hidden in the wings, snipers all over. She's near the lounge, looking for clues as people file in the doors. It's the day of 9/11 and security is as high as it's ever been, every bag is merticulously checked and every person is carefully patted down as they go through security. The lines are huge for security, but everyone feels safe, and no-ones complaining.

We see a replay from the start of the film, Mohammed walks into the airport. He checks his watch and as he looks back up, he brushes past our heroine, says sorry and continues walking. Laura, looks back to the door, but then.. something tweaks in her gut, she looks back at him and flashes back to the ruins of the burnt out property. She radios in, a shot fires across the airport, he goes down. Screams throughout the airport, but it's over. They're safe. Laura and her ex embrace, it's going to be a good future.

But.. The camera flicks to another airport, and another, four in total, in each one, at exactly the same time a immaculately dressed man strides confidently into the airport, they don't bush past any agents, they just walk over to the security line.

BOOM. (The End).


--

Why is this a good plot? it's cheap, the only risky part is getting hold of explosives, and you could make some home-made explosives to negate that. You don't have to worry about security, since your bags won't get properly checked until the security checkpoint (and even then....). You only have to worry about the security dogs (if there are any) and with enough care that shouldn't be a problem.
Imagine how devestating it would be to airport security, what could they do? You can't ban luggage, but what other choice would they have?

Greg RApril 15, 2007 10:21 PM

Movie Terror Plot:

The Premise: Illegal immigrants infiltrate the US and take down planes with portable DVD players and prescription glasses.

Scene 1: 30 foreign nationals sneak across both the Canadian and the Mexican border. Special camera time is spent on the absence of miles of electrified fencing and the absence of border patrol guards. (One of the "Minutemen" spots them and calls in border patrol. They arrive 3 hours too late.)

Scene 2: The illegal immigrants get hired by companies either by using badly forged paper-work. (Cue scene with them gloating over the lack of REAL ID that allows them to so easily get away with it.)

Scene 3: After working in these companies and gaining a large group of people that will all claim "He was always so quiet. How could he ever do such a thing?" when the time comes, their corporate health-insurance becomes valid. They all go out to get eye exams.

Scene 4: Cut to scene with illegal immigrants tampering with and forging their lens prescriptions. (Of course, the lack of proper security paper helps this.) Careful work with college optics text-books allow them to carefully craft the exact prescriptions that they need.

Scene 5: Each terrorist goes out to their local electronics store and purchases a portable DVD player.

Scene 6: Airport security (finally!) 30 illegal immigrants with forged identification go through security with coke-bottle glasses and portable DVD players. Their shoes are carefully inspected to ensure that they aren't explosive. They get through with no problems and board 3 different airplanes (10 per plane)

Scene 7: On each plane, the terrorists wait until they are at cruising altitude and then disassemble the DVD players to get at the lasers. They focus them using the glasses to blind the various flight attendants. When the co-pilot goes to look through the cockpit door viewport, they blind him as well.

Scene 8: All of the 10 lasers are focused together (using the glasses) to create a beam strong enough to cut through the cockpit door. Once inside, they blind the pilot and hijack the plane.

Scene 9: The terrorists all crash their planes into border-patrol headquarters to make it easier for their brethren to sneak in.

Few final notes:
Cost is ($100 (DVD player) + $1000 (Human Smuggler) + $300 (plane ticket)) * 30 (people) = $42,000
DVD player lasers output around 5-10mw (sufficient for eye damage) so if you get your lenses right, 100mw (10 of them) is sufficient to cut through things.

Clearly, the TSA must ban all optical drives and all corrective lenses. (Not to mention beef up REAL ID, border security, control on illegal immigrants, and dispensing medical devices without a valid prescription.)

Graeme from AucklandApril 15, 2007 11:22 PM

Deep in a secret al-Qaeda cell headquarters in Beijing:
Shi-An-li: Is everything ready?
Zhan-Mu-Shang: Nothing can go wrong, Osama will be proud of us today!

A small school in Qieshikou, just north of the Beijing city center:
Two masked gunmen burst just as the day’s lessons are about to begin.
Quickly overpowering the staff they tie the children and the adults up, then phone the local police and demand the release of all Chinese political prisoners.
As it happens, a crack American anti-terrorist squad has set up temporary camp at a disused airfield just 30 minutes flying time away.
This is the real life version of the Rainbow Six force made famous by Tom Clancy, and they are in Beijing on a training exercise for the coming Olympics.
The Beijing police waste no time and call in the American squad who jump at the chance to swap their scheduled training exercise for the real deal.
They jump on their swift black helicopter, and 30 minutes later are abseiling onto the roof of the school building.
The two gunmen realize that the game is up and surrender without any shots being fired.

Back at the cell headquarters:
Shi-An-Li: It is just as you planned. 30 minutes after the American helicopter left their airfield, our team crashed through the fence in the stolen cement mixer, followed by the two Hummers we bought on EBay. Our masked soldiers scrambled out, and though armed only with pistols, were able to quickly overpower the remaining Americans.
From there it was a simple matter to locate the armory, break it open (by ramming it with a Hummer) and the quantity of C4 Plastique you required is now in our possession.
Our men fled in the Hummers which were abandoned nearby, while they melted into the local Chinese crowd.

Three weeks later at Beijing airport, a tour guide collects the passports of the 30 people in his charge, and hands them in at the check-in desk.
Check-in is un-eventful, he passes out the 30 passports again, and his group head for the departure lounge.
"That’s funny" says the check-in girl to her neighbor, they looked like the new bio-metric passports, but none of them showed up on the RFID scanner.
"Must be a fault with the scanner for all 30 to be blank" says the neighbor, I’ll log a call with maintenance.
As they board the aircraft, the tour guide again collects the passports of his group.

Over the North Pacific ocean the 747-400 nears LAX.
The tour guide heads to the toilet with the 30 passports still in his jacket pocket.
Biometric passports have a large 4mm thick cardboard back which contains the RFID chip. Or usually does. Once he is safely in the toilet, the tour guild rips open the back of one of the passports and extracts the small packet of C4.
Each passport contains just 17cc of the high explosive, 500cc when you add it all up.
He massages the C4 into one lump and attaches a strip of double-sided foam tape to it.
He opens up his cellphone and removes the detonator from the hollowed out section near the battery, and inserts it (still attached to his cellphone) into the explosive.
Then he exits the toilet, walks up to the emergency exit, and slaps the whole contraption onto the window, where courtesy of the foam tape, it sticks fast.

One of the other members of the group then jumps up and shouts that as soon as he activates the "push-to-talk" button on his cellphone, the bomb will go off.
He demands that the cockpit door be opened.

The pilot is rather more wary in these post-911 days, and refuses to talk to, or even acknowledge the hijackers. Instead he throws the jet into a steep decent.

The hijackers continue to shout their demands, but when it becomes obvious that the pilot won’t listen, they blow the window anyway.
4 passengers are killed in the explosion, and 16 others injured, but as fans of "Mythbusters" will know, the resultant decompression doesn’t suck any of the other passengers out.
Oxygen masks appear above the passengers which allow them to breathe until the plane is low enough for them to breathe naturally.
The plane lands on a cordoned-off runway at LAX, where the hijackers are arrested.

Back at the cell headquarters:
Shi-An-Li: It is just as you planned. Look at today’s headline.
He shows Zhan-Mu-Shang the paper, the headline tells it all: The TSA has banned biometric passports. Any travelers with the new-style passports will be banned from flying until they can obtain one of the old-style passports.
This will cause the stupid Americans even more disruption than that water-bomb idea of yours, and who knew how much trouble that would cause!

End

StanApril 16, 2007 12:48 AM

Having just come back to Australia from Europe when I went thru...

1. Passport checkpoint to see who I was.
2. Hand baggage check that required remove and xray of laptop.
3. Then a second had baggage check - remove laptop etc.

All of the laptop checks just involved passing laptop thru an xray unit.

So. Consider the humble laptop. It has a disk drive in it that consists of a Alluminium shell containg a number of steel plates.

Plot point 1. Pre-sharpen the edges and score the plates so that with five minutes work the disk drive can be popped, the plates removed and snapped in half and voila - two very sharp objects - lets call them knives.

Plot point 2. In the comfort of your own home, remove all but one plate and replace it with a brick cutter blade/disk. Re-assemble drive with longer power cable. On the aircraft disassemble laptop and construct what every terrorist needs on a flimsey alluminium plane - an angle grinder.

Now consider the humble laptop battery. A lovely large block of real estate.

Plot point 3. Again in the comfort of your own home, make a new battery out of the case of an old one. Make the new one a lead acid battery (this may even pass a power up test!).

Once on the plane drain acid into squeeze bottle and you have the poor mans capcicum spray which will disable anyone within arms reach!

FInally - the one device that Bruce Willis would use to save the day. The humble mouse. Has a small but heavy ball inside that can be used both as a throwing weapon and as a tool that 99.99% of terrorists would fall over once they tread on it!

Stan

Tigin KaptanogluApril 16, 2007 3:05 AM

The events and characters in the following story are fictitious. Any similarity to actual persons (like myself) is purely coincidental.

The year is 2007 (well, obviously). It's a busy day at the New York JFK International Airport as this marks the beginning of the holiday season, with many people looking to spend the hot days of summer at a sea-side resort. Due to the early arrival of summer, an unprecedented number of flights leave New York for Mediterranean coastal towns.

On one such flight is Tigin Kaptanoglu (who coincidentally has my name). The flight is sold out. Having booked early in order to be able to get an aisle seat, Tigin is annoyed at being asked to swap seats with the overweight lady who has the window seat next to him. Fearing that her presence so far away from the gravitational center of the plane might tip the plane sideways during the flight, he reluctantly agrees.

The frantic cry of a baby confirms that all the essentials of the flight are in place. The pilot announces: "We are in 178th place for take-off. Please sit back and relax." The passengers obey, and in the summer heat, 500 pairs of shoes come off. A dog barks in the distance.

The three hours before take off fly by in the oppressive heat and lack of room for the claustrophobic Tigin, trapped between the now-snoring lady, the concave surface of the airplane and the non-reclining exit seat. Over the roaring of the lady next to him, he tries to communicate to the flight attendant that the overhead air vent does not work; doing her best to hear Tigin's words, she smiles and says "Sure, I'll fetch you a blanket."

Once over the Atlantic, TSA's ban on liquids makes its presence felt; body odor combines with the lovely aroma of bare feet to create a merry, festive atmosphere. Apart from Tigin and the cockroaches frolicking in the drooling lady's nostrils, every living being on the plane is asleep.

The tranquility doesn't last long; the plane enters a turbulence and some passengers, most notably Tigin's notorious seat mate, wake up. Although a devout atheist, Tigin begins to pray desperately to God as the lady attempts to engage him in conversation. He tries to politely defend himself with begging cries of "No speak English". She has no mercy. She demands to express the difficulty of having a daughter who is married to an Italian high school teacher with a slight limp who once broke a teeth eating one of her cookies but it was really Fred's fault because she always said they should have taken that ski trip to Vail in the first place. Dizzied by the bad breath (toothpaste is banned, remember?), Tigin doesn't realize that the lady is finally losing interest in their monologue and lets slip a "Look, I said 'No speak English', leave me alone will you?"

Ouch!

In a virtuoso performance of gurgling and oozing odors unknown to mankind, the lady sways her bulk and unleashes herself: she demands to swap recipes.

Unable to bear it any longer, Tigin wraps his blanket around her... err.. um... well, he is unable to wrap the blanket around any part of her (credit to him for trying though), but takes her hostage anyway. He demands the plane to be turned around to head for the nearest shower or else he will kill his hostage. Seeing that the flight officials are unable to comprehend and cooperate, Tigin charges in the name of all nasty things that can be prevented by a pinch of pharmacy products, takes control of the plane and crashes it into the Atlantic. His last sight of the world is the blue, refreshing water of the cool ocean. And then he drowns of course.

There are no survivors. A few weeks after the tragic crash, the cockpit voice recorder is fished out of the Atlantic by illegally trawling fisherman who incidentally put many marine species in danger of extinction (there, an ecological message). The final words of the pilot mention a terrorist on board with a hostage. TSA is left with no alternative: all hostages will be banned from flights. Any passanger carrying a hostage will now be stopped at a security checkpoint and asked to check the hostage with their luggage at a ticket counter. Hostages who are in three-ounce or smaller containers will be allowed on board as carry-on items, provided that they are placed in a single, quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag.

At the time of writing, TSA's ears are deaf to the public outcry that the ban on toothpaste be removed. They warn the public that security is no joking matter, and recently arrested a man at a security checkpoint for saying "Did you hear the one about the two Irishmen and the toothpaste...".

Tom RafteryApril 16, 2007 5:54 AM

Ricin is a deadly toxin, (a couple of micrograms is a lethal dose) and a readily available extract of the castor oil bean.

For this plot, you could also substitute botulinum toxin, or any other of the more fast acting, readily available lethal toxins.

Our terrorist, (we'll call him Zack, to avoid racial typing) has access to a few millilitres of the toxin. He bought it online at a 'health' site and concentrated it using rudimentary chemical skills learned in high school.

The toxin is stored in an eyedropper dispenser and after boarding, Zack uses the eyedropper dispenser to coat the edge of his boarding card with the toxin.

Zack now races around the plane slashing at fellow passengers with his boarding card inflicting deadly paper cuts.

The TSA is forced to ban boarding cards!

Jeff RoulstonApril 16, 2007 6:03 AM

The cabin crew chief welcomed the Lebanese mother and her son aboard the flight from London to New York. Had he been asked about them later, he would have recalled that the mother had nice breasts for someone about the age of his mother, and that he had felt a bit sorry the boy had to wear a hearing aid in his teenage years. Unbeknownst to the flight crew, the implants had only been in place 6 months, and the woman had been questioned by security about the small metallic mass next to her heart. She had explained that she had had a pacemaker fitted 15 years earlier to correct an arrhythmia, and produced a doctors certificate confirming exactly that. They took their seats in row 7, the boy against the left side window and the mother on the aisle. Coincidentally they were only two seats from the woman acting as air marshall for the flight.

The flight is now two hours out from New York. The date is 18 April, 2008 – 25 years after the bombing of the US Embassy in Beirut. The significance of the day rested heavily on the shoulders of the mother as she remembered the loss of her first son on that day, one of several collateral losses. He had been only four months old. His loss had prompted her to flee to the UK and begin a new life. The woman coughed and sharply thumped the centre of her chest. For some time afterwards, she rubbed her sternum. Unseen by the other passengers, the initial impact had broken seals in the two tubes connecting the sacs in her breasts, and the rubbing action was operating an in-line pump to manually circulate and mix the gels stored in each sac. She smiled wryly as she felt the warmth generated by the mixing chemicals. She had practiced many times with external sacs to learn to judge the temperature of the mixture. Now that the sacs were internal, it was slightly warmer than she had imagined. What had only hours earlier appeared to be two well-kept mammary glands quickly transformed into two C-cup sized, conically shaped, high explosive charges.

As the flight approached New York, the boy began to take intense interest in the plane’s location, watching the onscreen map and looking out the window. He took out his hearing aid and gave it to his mother.

“The battery is flat, could you please change it for me��?, he said.

His mother reached into her handbag and removed an A76 sized battery. Although it looked exactly like the original, this custom model provided twice the voltage. After removing the original battery from the hearing aid, she flipped a small switch hidden in the battery compartment of the device, turning it into a transmitter. She installed the stronger battery and pressed the hearing aid against her heart with her right hand. With her left she held her son’s hand.

“Look Mum, we’re about to fly over the Freedom tower construction site.��?

She pressed the transmit button, and the device sent a short burst to the detonator near her heart. The rest is history. And that is why passengers with hearing aids, pacemakers or breast implants can no longer fly.

martinApril 16, 2007 6:20 AM

I honstly didn't read all of them. There were just too many good ideas, and my fave so afr was the one with the blades from briefcases
What is not so well thought out, however, is the gun cotton clothing:
Gun cotton requires nitric acid to be made, and as far as I know, Nitrogen residues can be detected with sniffers - I'm quite sure that this is how some bomb detection equipment works.
But as was pointed out, Explsoives need some confinement anyway to work, so explosive clothes aren't such a hot tip.
So I say: Clothes that burn well, bring their own oxygen (Just find something you can rub into the fabric) and give off poisenous gases - just make sure that it burns quickly, so that everybody on board has taken a few deep breats before the gas masks pop out.
You probably wouldn't down the plane, but you would hurt or kill a lot of people on board - spreading fear and panic amog flyers.
The TSA would have to ban any bulky clothing, or maybe all clothing ...

Kirk HaseltonApril 16, 2007 7:04 AM

While "Killer Asteroids" might arguably belong in the movie-plot category, it would be misleading to dismiss this out of hand. It is not really a "plot" as in, evil person wants to do something. It happens, albeit rarely, and wholly without human or other lifeform intention. The consequences are tremendous though. And so do the usual balancing of risk, threats and efforts to identify them. I don't think it comes off as unreasonable to spend modest sums on it (sure, big on my budget, but still modest for NASA or the USA). Quite reasonably we have started with the biggest ones decades ago (Eugene & Caroline Shoemaker, Palomar Observatory & Caltech).

KAKABOI PREZApril 16, 2007 8:25 AM

Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff, recognizing the fiendish talents of two mangy, disenfranchised slackers who immobilized the city of Boston as it defended itself against an onslaught of penlight-battery-operated signage, creates a think tank within Comedy Central writers and cartoonists to identify potential threats to National Security. Unwittingly he has engaged Aliens From Outer Space! Their plan to anesthetize all airline passengers while in flight is implemented immediately and without question. While unconscious, select passengers (chosen for their pivotal positions in industry and public service) receive injections of alien stem cells and a rigorous probing just for the heck of it.
In a matter of weeks the hapless victims evince telekinetic powers and and an insatiable thirst for Tranya. By the time The Mother Ship arrives earthlings are enslaved and The Pitiless Overlords achieve a bloodless coup.

Dy8cokeApril 16, 2007 9:16 AM

This is a Hi-Jacking scenerio:

A note left in the lavatory just saying there is a bomb on board that will be detonated if the plane does not land (at your country of choice)... then to back up the threat, some red cylinders with a wrist watch wrapped around it with something that looks like wires.

We all know that bombs look like dynamite with a timer strapped to them.. just watch TV or movies.

The end result will be the banning of any and all note writing material and anything that can be made to look like a bomb...wristwatches, alarm clocks.. anything that looks like a cylinder.

You get the Idea.

Junto AmericaApril 16, 2007 9:43 AM

Special Agent Reeves stood at the head of the conference room. Hanging beside him on a rack was a cotton, button-down shirt and a pair of slacks.

"This is the latest threat, people. This shirt appears to be a standard all cotton-shirt pressed with heavy starch. The slacks appear to be a normal pair of slacks.

"The shirt is not starched, but is impregnated with a chemical agent. The slacks have a companion chemical. Together they form a powerful binary explosive.

"The plan calls for their operatives to board a plane separately - half wearing the slacks, or jeans work; the other half wearing the shirts.

"Once the plane is in flight, they congregate at the lavatories. They put the shirts and slacks into the toilet, urinate on them to add moisture and urea then a small electrical current ignites the whole thing. A set in each lavatory will rip the plane wide open."

"Could this work with any kind of clothing?"

"Yes. Cotton appears to be the prefered fabric, but anything. Skirts and blouses, dresses, anything"

"We have no choice then. We must ban all clothing. No one must be allowed on board a plane with any kind of clothing whatsoever. It is the only way we can assure the safety of our airways."

Hal LightwoodApril 16, 2007 9:45 AM

A terrorist plot is uncovered to use urine with a very high pH level to activate a very common but unknown other substance that is possibly capable of rapidly oxodizing aircraft aluminum, compromising the structural integrity of the aircraft and causing a crash. It is suspected that 20-30 terrorist members are planning to drink large quantities of certain beverages that increase their pH level just before boarding their flights. Due to the uncertainty of what the other common substance is, the TSA is forced to make the decision to force all passengers boarding aircraft to urinate beforehand. Special urination queues are established at all airports with ultrasound probe to determine the fullness of a passenger's bladder before they are allowed to board the aircraft. Urine will be collected and randomly tested, passengers with abnormally high pH levels may be further questioned or denied access to their flight. Despite the urination boarding requirement it would also be possible for further urine to be produced during the flight from liquid that was recently consumed at the airport . Therefore a mandatory 4 hour waiting period in a "dry zone" at all airports where no beverages are available will also be established. In addition there will be no inflight beverage service and no other liquids of any sort will be allowed on the aircraft.

Daniel GraiferApril 16, 2007 10:27 AM

I too like the termite idea. Powdered Iron Oxide looks like rouge. Powdered aluminum looks like talc. So they would be easy to get aboard separately unless the TSA bans consmetics and deodorant powder. Ignition is a problem, but a small strip of magnesium could be hidden in a myriad of items, say a stiffener in a purse or brief case. It would be easy to get enough on board to burn through the floor and into the fuselage fuel tank, although everyone would kow something was up as soon as it started. It would light up the whole cabin like a photo strobe.

CCCApril 16, 2007 12:00 PM

Well, i have not read all posts, so it is possible this plot has been posted, but well, ¿has anyone think about molotov bombs in an airplane? you don´t even need to introduce anything in the plane, the airline will give you all the material for free.... (alcohol in the form off alcoholic beverages, bottles, even material for the fuse), it would be marvelous that alcohol be banned for airplanes, ¿can you just imagine a trasatlantic flight sober? btw. there is another plot that i think is ideal for hollywood ¿how about a massive attack to the food chain? just imagine, you know mad cow´s disease, you have a farm in middle east or another region where health law are lax, you cultivate prions and generate a powerful contaminant. to import it in some country you only send in suicide terrorist contaminated with it or carrying it inside its bodies in gelcaps or somethin like that. This terrorist simply get a job at a macdonalds or another fastfood chain and inject the burgers one by one when it is prepared.... do it for a couple of years and when begin appearing people infected, publish and take credit... the panic will be incredible and besides, there is no cure, you don´t know how many people are infected, when and where, and the disease don´t have cure...... all this only will cost about 100,000 to 250,000 mainly in the farm and the creation of prions...... talk about a holywood panic....

MarshallApril 16, 2007 12:15 PM

The future of airport security will very different, once they catch the dreaded "Underwear Bomber."

MikeCApril 16, 2007 12:16 PM

For those actually trying to win the contest, I think it's quite difficult. There have been many good, funny ideas - some are really great, though I haven't read them all. The problem with nearly all of them is that they're not easily reproduceable.

The TSA is doing the sneaker checks because putting crap in your shoes can easily be copycatted.

So coming up with a common or necessary item that can cause "believable" damage AND be reproduceable is quite tricky. Also, while
prohibiting something common like toothpaste (while as annoying as that may be), will anyone actually care if they have to spend $2 at their destination to buy a new tube? The trick is to find something fairly common, necessary and not as easily/cheaply replaceable - something that actually causes real issues.

Here's my plot:
Group of nefarious bad-guys devise a small micro-explosive that can fit inside a typical wristwatch. The directions to this explosive device are posted to the internet to ease distribution. The directions explain in great detail the process to create the device and insert it into various models of watches. A larger, more powerful version is created for digital cameras (probably the large removable lenses), which can be stored with the rest of the baggage. These can be set with a timer or remote-detonated.

Since our terrorists will be teams of 4-6 people, they will each have 2 watches - one on their person and one that they can "lose" in various areas of the plane (bathrooms, under seats, etc.). Ideally, they would sit next to the windows so they can rest their arm/watch against the window. The teams will be completely rehearsed and will have their hands by the windows at the pre-determined time.

All watches & cameras explode at the same time. The cabin depressurizes, most passengers die either due to the blasts, the fires that ultimately break out, lack of oxygen or a crash if the plane goes down. At least 1 wristwatch and 1 camera on each plane will be configured to not detonate so that investigators can identify the devices.

Since the plans to make this device are widely distributed via the internet and the device is easy to create & conceal, the TSA will have to ban all wristwatches and cameras. After the initial ban, other small electronic devices such as iPods, Zunes & mini-tablet PCs are used and, subsequently, banned.

doovApril 16, 2007 1:18 PM

Opening Credits:
Title - "Dildos on a Plane"
James Cameron, Director.
Visual Effects, Industrial Light and Magic.
Etc, etc.

Scene 1:
A New York to Los Angeles flight is boarded by ordinary citizens as well as four radical-Islam women and one evil-genius man who are secretly colluding with one another. They have seats scattered throughout the aircraft and are seemingly traveling apart from one another. Some time after takeoff, when the use of electronic equipment can be resumed, a man reaches into his pocket and retrieves a new Apple iPhone and turns it on. He scrolls through some of the applications, types a code into the device and hits "send." Suddenly, one elderly person on board is stricken with chest pains and heart arrhythmia. The plane is instructed to make an emergency landing at the nearest airport and medical assistance is ready for the stricken passenger. After debarking the plane, the evil man once again uses his phone and enters a text message that reads only,"VICTORY," and hits "send."

Scene 2:
Our hero, Jonathan Pingry (played by Bruce Willis) is a former nuclear scientist and currently serves the Department of Homeland Security as a dirty-bomb expert. He is quiet, a thinker and a reluctant hero, and doesn't look the part of someone who could save the world. He is bald and sports a thick moustache and beard and sits pensively reading a report on a certain middle-eatern country's nuclear program. On his computer screen is the latest issue of Crypto-Gram and a small figure of Yoda sits atop his computer monitor. One area of concern seems to be exactly WHAT this country is doing as there really is no evidence of warhead procurement or production or other weaponized uses of their nuclear program, yet their program is also not-indicative of peaceful, civilian intentions.

Scene 3:
The cause of the sick passenger's arrhythmia seems to be related to his pace-maker, which malfunctioned mid-flight. FAA Investigators ask what could have caused such a malfunction other than proximity to a microwave oven.

One crazy, laughable, long-shot theory is that the man could have been in the prescence of an EMP, Electro-Magnetic Pulse, but such a device would be too large to get on an airplane.
Anyway, such a device would really be useless by terrorists in an airplane as the plane's electronics employ Faraday protection...


Scene 4:
The women and man have been identified as being members of a radical Islamic group, and recent intelligence reveals that the man is a former military commander whose last project involved EMP research, and who attempted to bring down the electrical grid of the thriving commercial city of Bangalore, India, using small, portable FCG, flux compression generator, devices.

FCG is a very simple device consisting of an explosives-packed tube placed inside a slightly larger copper coil. Right before the explosive is detonated, the coil is energized by a bank of capacitors, creating a magnetic field.


Scene 5:
After some clever deductive reasoning, Pingry realizes that they have found a way to create and smuggle small FCG devices onto the planes, which will be detonated with an application on the iPhone. The women will be traveling with these devices, disguised at vibrating dildos, in their carry-on luggage. The secret application is really a detonator, but appears as an "Eleanor Rigby" MP3 file on the iPhone.

Scene 6:
Analysis of the attack reveals that FCG devices that operate in the microwave range can, in fact, worm their way around vents in Faraday Cages, which would otherwise protect the airplanes electronics. If such an pulse were to be successful, the plane(s) would literally fall out of the sky. Additionally, the result of the FCGs will produce a pulse that makes "a lightning bolt seem like a flashbulb." They will coordinate the attack with several teams and planes over key areas of North America, which would take out electical power and telecommunications, the residual effects of which would be devastating - effectively bringing the US back to a state of pre-Ben Franklin electricity. It would cripple the nation, leveling the playing field with the terrorists.

Scene 7:
Gratuitious love scene with our hero and Amanda Hunt, a courageous flight-attendant, played by Jessica Alba. She is also an avid "pocket-rocket" collector, and knows a thing or two about modified dildos. They had met at a Star Wars convention and while mocked by her friends and colleagues for being a Star Wars nerd, she also has studied the various techniques employed by Jedis in lightsabre combat, which will ultimately save her and her passengers later on. "Princess Leia's Theme" by John Williams plays in the background during the love scene.


Scene 8:
Our hero and heroine are finally able to convince the government and authorities about what is happening, foil the plot with amazing, if not improbable, action sequences, and save the world. As an homage to one of his previous films, "The Terminator," Cameron has Pingry use this line right before he defeats the terrorists,"You're terminated, FUCKER!"


Real-Life Reaction:
As a result of the fictional events that occurred and the potential disaster thwarted, the airlines ban the presence of all Apple products, MP3 players and electronic personal vibrators and dildos on their flights. The inconvenience and embarassment result in a severe drop in Apple stock, and a huge drop in air travel overall. Within six months, the ban results in over 1 million confiscated iPods and iPhones and 4 billion vibrating dildos. Eventually, the ban on electronics is lifted, but passengers will only be allowed to transport wind-up vibrators and/or clear, lucite dildos that they must publicly declare at security checkpoints. Apple also discontinues its R&D on their i-Dildo, which was to marry the popular media player with a personal massager in one nicely engineered package.

Much of the EMP and FCG info above has been misinterpreted from http://unitedstatesaction.com/emp-terror.htm

NicoApril 16, 2007 2:22 PM

First thing that popped my mind was using dentures but before posing I noticed two users already submitting similar subjects which hopefully does not decimate my chances on winning the book.

My idea was to use high density carbon dentures with vacuum sucker to attach to the windows in a split second. The razor sharp teeth harder then diamonds then are triggered in a rotation, the kinetic energy is derived from 4th generation high amp batteries which can release all their energy almost instantaneously. Once attached its impossible to remove these devices so counter threads of marchals will be futile.

It takes only 3 terrorist passengers for this plot and within 30 seconds the holes are created and the plane. During depressurasation oxygen mask will drop down and then the second attack wave will start. Each terrorist uses its lower denture that transforms into a ninja style throwing star, after pressing the three wisdom tooths simultaneously. (cant help this denture is running M$ CE 4.6 limited Al Qaida version), destoying all masks and killing all travellers except the pilot.

Letting the pilot live is essential to enforce the psychological effect, a media hype will spin of terms like "ghost planes" contributing to the domino effect and so much fear finally all air travel companies go out of business.

the terrorist win again.

HomsansApril 16, 2007 4:24 PM

The Checked Baggage Attack

Checked baggage can contain any object in any size and shape and can have
significant weight. Can house more than enough explosives to blow up a
plane.

All you need are a height detector (pressure sensor), a detonator and
explosives. The pressure sensor acts on descent. Very simple. A small
sealed pot or tin with an exhaust valve, and when the pressure increases
again the lid bends in and actuates a microswitch. This pot can be hidden
inside any legitimate device like a laptop, a shaver, a toy, or whatever.
The detonator is also within the same object. The main explosives are
stacked around the detonator, so they will blow up by chain reaction (any
explosives expert knows how).

It should not be difficult to so shape and camouflage the items that they
are not easily identified as suspect on existing baggage scans.

EVERY suitcase is therefore a potential weapon.

What can the TSA do?

It is no good trying to detect the pressure sensor: there are too many
alternatives, and too many possible implementations. The same applies to
the detonator, small and easy to hide. The only item that could be
detected are the explosives themselves.

1. Better Scans. X-rays, Neutron-rays, MRI, sniffers for explosives, and
any others that exist. But the list is limited.

The terrorist must test each of these techniques, and ensure that his
devices are not easily detected. Even if only 20% slip through undetected
that is unacceptable to TSA.

2. Open and inspect every suitcase. This would have to be done at check-
in, as people will not accept it being done in the baggage area (privacy;
fear of theft and loss; liability of the operator). Just fancy what the
check-in area would become like. Mayhem.

3. Forbid checked luggage. Effectively stops most air travel.

4. Keep cabin (= hold) pressure at sea level to avoid triggering the
pressure sensor. The terrorists' countermeasure: use a vibration detector
or a simple (Lockerbie type) timer.


The are some charming extensions, that would have huge impact at no extra
loss of life. For instance the suicide terrorist on board has the option
of telling the crew and passengers - once at altitude - that the bomb is
there and will explode on descent. Imagine the scene - and no remedy
available. All broadcast live via cellphones. Just might contribute a
little bit to "fear of flying".

Once the threat model is perceived as a serious possibility, mayhem could
be created by suitcases filled with innocuous material designed to trigger
the alarms. The TSA options are either to react to each of them by a full
bomb alert (with disruption to the whole air transport system) or to set a
less critical security trigger level. TSA loses both ways.

Implementation

To make this a realistic threat there is just ONE requirement: someone must
design detonator/explosive setups that are undetectable other than by
opening the bag and unpacking. Not easy, but I would hazard a guess that
this is feasible.

The terrorists would need an explosives expert skilled in remote detection
of explosives, so he can design detection avoidance. He would need copies
of some of the the presently used baggage scanners and explosive sniffers,
to test his designs. He would need a quiet place (workshop, laboratory) to
work in for probably a few months, and a "cover-up" firm to justify having
that type of equipment in house. All that should be feasible within the
budget and manpower suggested.

"Perverse" demonstration

The terrorist could present himself as "A private effort to improve airline
security and show the dismal failings of the TSA". He would fly with a
"proof of principle" demonstration, for instance some "non-functional
devices" or "dummy look-alikes" (e.g. with no link from microswitch to
detonator), but one that - if he wished - could have worked..

At the moment of embarkation, he could release press statements describing
his whole activity, including some technical details. If his suitcase flew
undetected, he could publicly hand it over to TSA on arrival, with mass
publicity. It would probably not keep the man out of prison, but the
proof of "aiming to sabotage air traffic and help terrorism" rather than
"trying to be helpful to security, though in an awfully inept way" would be
hard to make in court.

But the effect would be the same. This scenario would probably oblige TSA
to close down air traffic until they had a remedy, especially as the mass
media would suddenly be aware that "terrorists now know this too". The
cost to the economy would be as big as in a real attack.

Goal attained with no loss of life, and no heavy punishment.

What more can you wish for as a terrorist?

MRApril 16, 2007 4:54 PM

The Credit Card Attack

On a cold November morning, several passengers are going through airport screening. They place their laptops on the conveyer belt, alongside their shoes and carry-on bags.

The first passenger walks through the metal detector, setting off the alarm. Nervously, he is sent back through, removing his wallet, keys and change and placing them in to a dish. A second pass through the metal detector is uneventful and he gathers his belongings and moves though the concourse towards the designated gate.

The TSA agents are unaware that they have just assisted the passenger - and four of his co-conspirators - though security with lethal weapons.


Two hours later a plane crashes into Heinz Field, in Pittsburgh, PA where the Pittsburgh Steelers are hosting the Baltimore Ravens. An estimated 3,000 people, including both teams, are killed in the crash. A dozen more spectators are trampled while trying to flee the stadium.


Seven days after the crash, cockpit recordings are uncovered from the wreckage. Analysis of the recordings - in which both the pilot and copilot are killed - make mention of multiple terrorists carrying homemade weapons... and an odd mention of a credit card.

The television news stations discuss the findings with fervor. Security experts, retired military personnel, and federal agents discuss the ways that common items can be crafted into weapons. One special report follows a reporter into a prison where inmates show off weapons that they have crafted while under the watchful eyes of prison guards.
The mysterious credit card is discussed at length, with several security experts demonstrating how a razor blade could be narrowed and attached to the side of a card, making it into a lethal weapon. In one televised report, a "killer card" is used to decapitate a stuffed animal (representing a child). The reporter also cites several You Tube videos that were found explaining how to create such a weapon.

Congress holds a special session where a bill is written, requiring that credit cards be stowed in checked baggage only. A Senate amendment changes the language to identify "all plastic type objects conforming to an approximate size of 3.370 × 2.125 inches." The bill is immediately signed by the President at an emergency 2 am signing session. The new law is applauded by both parties.

The major credit card companies complain about the loss of revenue due to the new law, yet state that they will assist in the fight against terror. New credit card designs are proposed (some of them developed by celebrity designers such as Todd Oldham and Martha Stewart), but consensus focuses on the circular design, due to it's lack of any potentially sharp corners. Production of the disks proceeds, but the awkward size and shape makes adoption of the new cards extremely show.

Passenger flights resume and passengers are told to discard any credit cards before passing through security. Waste bins are relocated to the front of security lines where television news cameras show business men and women emptying their wallets into the trash. Consumer advocacy groups express outrage when CNN reports that a waste bin, containing several thousand credit cards, is stolen from Boston's Logan Airport. Further panic ensues when a New York Times article cites a rise in muggings in and arround airports as travelers carry cash instead of credit.

A Los Angeles Times business article looks at the new American Express kiosks that dispenses temporary credit cards and questions if merchants will accept the flimsy-looking cards.

A major controversy is sparked two days after flights resume when Kip Hawley, the Administrator of the TSA, appears on Meet The Press. Hawley asks for host Tim Russert's drivers license and makes a show of measuring the size. He then tells Russert that, due to the new law, Russert will be unable to use a driver's license as a form of identification when flying.

The following day, TSA agents begin confiscating drivers licenses at airport security checkpoints. Several reports are made of passengers who chose to forego their vacation rather than give up the identification. A compromise is made where licenses are collected at the gate, sealed in an envelope for the duration of the flight, and redistributed to passengers upon arrival. Several mistakes are made, notably when a fourteen-year-old girl leaves Dulles International Airport with a California drivers license.

Funding is appropriated to the TSA to develop an alternate form of identification for airline passengers. The result, after a rushed four month development time, is a business card-sized piece of paper showing the passenger's Name, Address, Date of Birth, Social Security Number, TSA Identification Number, and Passenger Photo. Airline travellers are required to apply for the identification at least three weeks in advance of their flight. Lack of preparation, massive demand, and confusion expands the waiting period to two months. Foreign travelers entering the United States are also required to have a card, with the average wait period of six months.

Unbeknownst to each other the NSA and the FBI both privately ask for funding to develop a tracking system based on the Airline Passenger Identification Program. Both agencies receive immediate approval.


Thee years after the initial attack on Pittsburgh, another group of terrorists take over a passenger airplane. The airplane is subsequently shot down by Air Force pilots who were on a training mission nearby (though questions still arise as to why the fighters were equipped with live ammunition). Investigations into the attack speculate that the terrorists may have used sharpened door keys to perpetuate the attack. It is still undetermined as to how the keys were passed through security without being screened by the x-ray machine.

ryanbApril 16, 2007 5:01 PM

A quick search of the thread reveals that this has not been mentioned, so here it is. I think this would be very, very easy to get the TSA to ban. Not in movie plot format because, well, I'm not that imaginative. Anyhow here goes:

- You know that ubiquitous clamshell plastic packaging that EVERYTHING comes in these days? It's astoundingly thick, and near-impossible to get open without the aid of a bandsaw, hacksaw, grenade, etc.

- Once you cut open this packaging, it presents a serious sharp edge. Since you cant carry a bandsaw, hacksaw, blade, etc to cut open the packaging, all the enterprising terrorist needs to do is pre-cut it beforehand in a rough blade shape. He can then leave it as "packaging" and tear off the blade-shaped part mid-air.

- One small piece of fine-grit sandpaper, to provide an even sharper edge.

- One roll of standard duct tape for a handle/shank.

You could easily take a couple pieces of this death-packaging, and make a highly effective prison shank/terrorist sticker in a matter of minutes in the airplane bathroom.

comments?

tukeeApril 16, 2007 5:20 PM

These are frightening thoughts, certainly enough to make me reconsider posting my evil plot. Events and depictions included herein are my lame creation, similarities to previously posted submissions is purely coincidental.

=-=-=-=-

On a surprisingly mild late-spring morning, the maintenance crews in Baltimore finish the final touches to the Boeing 777 that had been scheduled for several necessary upgrades and repairs.

These were regular maintenance crew members, assembled by the airline to keep the fleet in operating condition. Little did they know that they were part of an evil plot, designed by the most evil of evil-plot designers.

The aircraft rolls along from the hangar to the loading gates. The maintenance crew meets the new flight crew and turns over the recently upgraded plane. Within 30 minutes, the plane is loaded with over 300 passengers and crew and Flight 813 starts the first of their 5 scheduled hops for the day. The sun is low on the horizon, and the day is warming up.

After several stops and a crew change, the pilots start the last flight of the day, a late afternoon hop to Los Angeles. Passengers hope to be in town in time for a sunset on the beach.

Forty-five minutes outside of Los Angeles, the cockpit crew begins to notice that the air-conditioning system is failing. The cockpit is really starting to warm up, and it doesn't help that it's a sunny day in California.

Over the next 10 minutes, the pilot jokes with LAX that they'll need emergency services at the runway providing cold lemonade. The instrument panel is starting to superheat inside.

10 minutes later, the co-pilot excuses himself to the cabin to get some cool air and ice-water before final decent into Los Angeles. When he returns, the pilot takes a turn to leave. Funny, the co-pilot thought to himself, none of the instrument panels indicate that the A/C system isn't working. It can often get warm in the cockpit, especially when you're parked at the gate in Phoenix. But during the flight the A/C makes the cock-pit comfortable.

As Flight 813 prepares for descent, the heat is unbearable. A slight odor of burning wire bundles begins to creep from the instrument panel. Within seconds, alarms begin to sound. Flames begin to leap from the top of the instrument panel, the temperature instantly rising to over 2000 degrees. Toxic smoke fills the cockpit causing the crew inside to pass out. The plane veers from course and altitude.

Inside the main cabin of the plane, the passengers have been concerned about the continued buzzing of alarms from the cock-pit. A flight attendant nervously approaches the cockpit door, and steps back when she feels the intense heat. The plane starts to veer sharply.

Flight 813 plows into the 24th floor of the Bank of America Building in Los Angeles. Over 1,000 people are killed.

Media coverage over the next 24 hours speculates that terrorists somehow entered the cockpits and piloted 15 different planes into 15 different high population, west-coast targets and struggle to identify the pattern in the evil design.

A year later, investigators finally uncover the details and cause of the now-deadliest attack on America: The replacement of the cockpit windows with magnifying lenses.

=-=-=-=-
The TSA probably can't ban maintenance crews, but they should try to ban little terrorist children from carrying magnifying glasses so none of them get the notion in their head!

BlakeApril 16, 2007 5:47 PM

Hair-Raising Headlines
----------------------


January 2009
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL ANNOUNCES NEW DRUG TESTING PROGRAM - ESPN
New York - MLB Commissioner George W. Bush announced today the launch of a new banned-substance detection program. Players will no longer have go through the inconvenience of periodic blood tests. Instead, players selected for screening will only have to submit hair samples to the MLB drug testing office. In a press conference today, Mr. Bush said, "Recent advances in testing technology have allowed us to do away with those painful blood tests. We found that hair holds traces of whatever drugs and steroids players use. Now players can save time by getting a shave and a haircut with their drug tests!" When asked if the new rules would unfairly impact the perennially clean-shaven Yankees, Mr. Bush declined to comment.


February 2009
MARINE MEDICAL SUPPLY DEPOT RAIDED - FOX NEWS
Baghdad - In a baffling raid, several thousand packages of heart medication were stolen today from the main Marine hospital here. It is speculated that the nitroglycerin tablets, patches, and ointments were being stockpiled for the use of the incoming US Ambassador, Dick Cheney.


March 2009
RECORD SALES REPORTED BY SMIZER - WALL STREET JOURNAL
New York - In today's stock market action, shares of drugmaker Smizer rose almost 25% following an massive jump in sales revenues. In a press release, company officials attributed the increase to unexpected increases in sales of its hair-growth product Rogaine in Eastern European and Southeast Asian markets. A Smizer spokesperson was unaware of any increases in marketing activities in the regions.


October 2009
NEW LOOK FOR OSAMA - GQ
The hot new look, as seen on Al-Jazzera: the clean-shaven chrome dome, top and bottom! That's right, it's time to make friends with your barber again. Even the acknowledged Public Enemy Number 1 of the USA is on board with the no-hair, no-beard look of the moment!


November 22, 2009
PILLOW FIGHT ON PLANE; TERRORIST PLOT FOILED - USA TODAY
Tulsa, Oklahoma - A brazen attempt by terrorists to destroy a SouthwestBlueJet plane flying from Tulsa to Wichita, Kansas was narrowly averted today. In a novel new strategy, the attackers attempted to detonate nitroglycerin-impregnated hair carried in pillows. Nitroglycerin is notoriously unstable and it is well known that low levels of physical shock can cause a devastating explosion. The terrorists began jostling, slapping, and hitting each other with the pillows before any of the passengers or crew realized what was happening . The plot would have been successful if a flight attendant, Stephanie Harrington, had not quickly confiscated the pillows in accordance with airline policy.

In a press conference following the safe return of the plane to Tulsa's airport, Ms. Harrington said, "Well, we charge $5 for pillows so passengers are not allowed to use their own bedding products onboard. As soon as I saw the pillows come out I took them away. I noticed a strange smell so I alerted the cockpit crew."

Co-pilot Rock Campbell, who was an ordnance expert in the US Army, immediately identified the smell as nitroglycerine. "I smelled that and it took me right back to Desert Storm," he said. The plane rapidly returned to Tulsa while the two attackers were restrained by the cabin crews.

It is not known how the terrorists obtained the technology to manufacture exploding hair at this time.


November 23, 2009
PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION - US Department of Homeland Security

Homeland Security Secretary Al Franken Announces Immediate Change To The Nation's Threat Level For The Aviation Sector

Over the last few hours, United States Transportation Security Administration (TSA) authorities have arrested a significant number of extremists engaged in a substantial plot to destroy passenger aircraft flying within the United States. We believe that these arrests have significantly disrupted the threat, but we cannot be sure that the threat has been entirely eliminated or the plot completely thwarted.

For that reason, the United States Government has raised the nation’s threat level to Severe, or Red, for commercial flights originating in the United States. Due to the nature of the threat revealed by this investigation, WE ARE PROHIBITING ALL HAIR, INCLUDING TOUPEES, WIGS, AND HAIR EXTENSIONS, from being worn, carried on, or used on airplanes.

All passengers MUST be verifiably bald before entering secured areas. However, individuals with non-excessive amounts of chest and back hair will be allowed on board, according to the discretion of local TSA officials and subject to shirt-removal at the security checkpoint. Selected airports with a National Guard presence may also have express hair clipping services available.

These measures will continue to assure that our aviation system remains safe and secure. Travelers should go about their plans confidently, while maintaining vigilance in their surroundings and exercising patience with screening and security officials.

AnthonyApril 16, 2007 6:05 PM

The international conspiracy for the promotion of disfunctional religons has assembled thier opening salvo in the war against the barbarian hordes who use aircraft. Twenty-one martyrs in teams of three.

Each of the three is to carry one component of the bomb onto an aircraft. The teams are set to extinguish three of the largest aircraft at the same time, the week before christmas. Additional non-martyr conspirators have managed to get jobs in airport bookstores. A writer has been assigned to write a best-seller about attacking aircraft in the week before christmas. The front of each book is printed with a metalic circuit to resmber a detonator. Except that it is one. Cases of the books have been secretly converted to nitrocelulose (something I did in my misspent youth, not that hard, and they make a big bang.)

Police get an anonymous call that an attack is about to happen and raid the lab where they find timex watches converted into timing devices, Laptop batteries used as power supplies, and stacks of the pocket books. They discover that the circuitry in the book cover works to detonate stacks of the books as a single unit.

Arrests follow, some in the aircraft before takeoff (must have tension, as they halt the last plane on the runway and catch the last team.)

TSA bans books, wristwatches, and laptops. The traveling public riots destroing TSA offices and security stations around the country. TSA is forced to admit they cannot control terror with security screening stations, only by having real intelligence gathering. The president hails the new idea and funds intelligence gathering with the old TSA budget. (OK, this is fiction, no real president would endorse something that works, over something that appears to work.)

The hero gets the girl and all is wonderfull. The evil leader is seen sneaking off to prepare for the sequel.

aaronApril 16, 2007 7:41 PM

2 rows of terrorists board the same plane, destination is less important. So say 12 people all bring the latest gadget with a hard drive that isn't banned yet (xbox, laptop, mp3 players, even stashing a hard drive in a portable dvd player). The maximum drive RPM should be chosen, so 15k RPM SCSI drives will probably be used and swapped out. A BIOS password should be placed on all laptops in case they are checked to make sure they turn on, and that way "No Operating System Found" will not arise suspicion if a hard drive is swapped out.

In preparation the terrorists dismantle the hard drives coating the outside of the platters with rubber. They reassemble them, possibly modifying the screws to be able to use coins to unscrew them on the plane (since tools are banned). A large number of CD's / DVD's are purchased, and the outsides of each are sharpened. Then they are put in cases and spools for travel. Mini CD's might allow for greater distance but less penetrating power when propelled.

Once on the plane the hard drives are taken out of the devices they are concealed in (if you even have to) and the outer drive casing is removed. Using some small strips of metal with screw holes drilled in the right places (hidden in the side of electronics) the hard drives are reassembled vertically with a paper thin gap between the rubber coated platters. Laptop batteries are used to spin up the drives, possibly upping the voltage for the maximum RPM. The hard drives are spun in opposite directions, and are shifted slightly to one side from the center to create rotation and a frisby like effect. This gives sharpened CDs and DVDs fed through the device a speed allowing for decapitation.

Each terrorist should be able to build one of these devices with the luggage they bring on the plane themselves. It should probably be strapped to their forearm, allowing them to feed it with their free hand. This should give the terrorists the ability to kill everyone on the plane with relative ease. Then stealing Stan's idea (April 16th, 2007 12:48 AM) one terrorist can sharpen their hard drive platters instead of coating them with rubber. They can then saw through the cockpit door and fully control the aircraft.

At this point they can do the standard crash into something important. I suggest an airport terminal to double the paranoia about airport safety, and because they might not expect that.

Tim StevensApril 16, 2007 8:51 PM

A group of a dozen committed terrorists purchase cross-country tickets on flights utilizing Boeing 737s. They cruelly starve their babies until arriving at the airport. At this time, the babies are fed large quantities of sweetened milk filled with small plastic spheres containing nitroglycerin. The terrorists, and their babies, pass through the TSA checkpoints unnoticed.

As the flights reach cruising altitude, the terrorist on each plane takes their baby to the restroom at the rear of the Boeing 737 in the galley. Being willing to sacrifice themselves and their babies for their cause, they suddenly stuff their small babies in the microwave oven and turn it on to maximum. At first the flight attendants are too shocked to react. By the time they try to intervene, it is too late as the terrorists fight them off with passionate frenzy, until the nitroglycerin heats to 218 C and explodes. This primary explosion ignites a secondary explosion of the main fuel tank located close to the galley, nearly full at the start of the cross-country flight. The entire aircraft explodes in a massive fireball.

An alert passenger in the rear of one of these planes places a call to the FBI using a seat phone, and narrates the events. This allows the TSA to analyze the attacks, as a more sinister and effective version of the attack on Philippine Airlines Flight 434 in 1994. With no good way to examine babies for ingested explosives, TSA has no choice but to ban babies from flights. As “babies��? comes to be a contentious term with the flying public, TSA subsequently enforces a definition by means of providing a microwave oven at each TSA checkpoint. Trained TSA personnel gently place each baby inside the microwave, and if the door can be closed then the baby is prohibited.

Casting:
FBI inspectors: David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson
Babies: Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes daughter, Britney Spears & Kevin Federline's son, Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitts daughter
Head of TSA: Will Ferrell
TSA inspector: Leslie Nielsen.

Markus KuhnApril 17, 2007 12:08 AM

The most devious plot that I can think of does not even involve anyone getting killed. It merely combines public hysteria and the predictable mechanics of government security bureaucracy into the most effective weapon of mass disruption ever conceived. All you need to organize is a stream of public demonstrations that show everyone how easy and undetectable it is to smuggle plastic explosives on board of planes by rectal insertion, along with clear evidence that there is a group of unidentifiable suicide candidates preparing right now to bring down 24 planes simultaneously over the United States this way. Then the TSA will have no choice but to try restore public confidence in airline safety by ordering complete body-cavity searches for every single airline passenger before each flight. Now that is terrorism ...

Lesser WharkApril 17, 2007 4:11 AM

The terrorists train a vast flock of pigeons to associate food with jet engines, then release them near major airfields. After the ensuing carnage, the TSA attempts to eradicate pigeons from the United States. Sadly, I don't think they'll succeed unless they enlist Wallace & Gromit...

askmeApril 17, 2007 7:02 AM

Does anyone know where we can get little "Security Theater" stickers to put on gray plastic x-ray trays?

TOGApril 17, 2007 10:27 AM

Seeing as I know someone who managed to burn himself quite badly with two AA batteries... (they were in his pocket with keys and loose change, and got into a position where they shorted, discharging in seconds flat and giving him a very nasty burn).

So all we need is a few batteries and a nice bottle of over-proof Scotch. Hey Presto! Instant incendiary device, and all batteries and spirit drinks have to be banned.

This has the virtue of simplicity and practicality.

LesApril 17, 2007 10:43 AM

Since we have a half a million dollars to spend the participants have surgery (80% surviving infections) to remove/bypass some intestine and replace the volume with explosives. A small coil of wire is placed under the skin and attached to the detonator. Now the participant simply goes to the washroom and rubs a magnate over the coil generating a current setting off the explosives. There is no risk of leaking chemicals from the explosive through either end of the digestive track making discovery very difficult. As an alternate trigger a pace maker charger could be used instead of the wire coil. Or even a simple magnetic switch could be used (require the magnet to be rotated to keep it from accidentally triggering.) Perhaps a pressure switch could be added as well in case another passenger decided to fight and delivers a punch to the stomach.

TSA response is to ban magnets or anything containing magnets and people who have had surgery especially those with pace makers. No more in flight headphones! And no punching terrorists!

New TSA question: Any scars to declare :-)

BlobbelApril 17, 2007 12:37 PM

The simpelest way to make a plain explode is, as we all
know, use something normal and turn it into a bomb.
Therefore, you might look at your standard hand luggage
and see what's there: a comb, a belt, a pair of trousers. Still
a lot of metal gets through airport checks. It must be absolutely
forbidden to bring any metal whatsoever on a plane.

Therefore, I have developped the following. I use a lot
of Rubidium. It is easy to work with: it's soft, melts
at about 40 degrees celsius. Only problem: keep away from
air or water. I can easily make a zipper from Rubidium.
And some buttons.

Next I use some water soluble packing material. Pack the
zipper in it and suck out all the oil (keep away from air,
remember?) Next you'll need to find a way to attach the
zipper and buttons to your trousers without damaging the
packing material.

In the plane, when the stewardess comes with the drinks,
take of your trousers and put them in the bucket with ice.
The packing material will melt and the rubidium will
react with the water.

This will probably lead to an obligation for all man to take
off their trousers before flying....

The main risk is that the packing material on your zipper
gets damaged.

TomTomApril 17, 2007 1:36 PM

A terrorist has plastic explosives stuffed where the sun doesn't shine. A string is attached to the latex "container" (so the TSA later doesn't have to do a full cavity search, just ask people to drop their pants so they can check for strings). The detonator and a small battery-powered controller are surgically implanted into another terrorist who carries a note from a doctor stating she has a cardiac pacemaker. The two terrorist make it into the toilet (man/woman wanting to join the 10 mile high club), one of the terrorists breaks a miniature wine bottle (make that champagne!) to use as a knife and removes the detonator from the chest of the other terrorist. He then pulls on the string sticking out below and places the plastic explosives and detonator on the outside wall of the plane and presses the button.

TomTomApril 17, 2007 2:37 PM

This plot will ban hot in-flight meals (wait a second, hasn’t that already happened?). We use a major part of our $500k allowance to bribe an employee at an airline food preparation plant (or we hire a hypnotist, or use mind altering drugs, whatever). We ask the employee to replace the chicken/beef with plastic look-alike (could even be taste-alike, for that matter. Not a difficult task!) explosives that get activated by heat/microwaves.

TomTomApril 17, 2007 3:09 PM

This plot will ban diamond rings, plastic rulers, double sided tape, suction cups, belts and suspenders, watches, golfballs, plastic brackets and large coats. Three of our four terrorist sit together in the Airbus red-eye special, one of them at the window. When the light is dimmed, the girl at the window apparently goes to sleep as she covers her head and body with the large coat. She attaches the edge of the coat to the window perimeter with the tape. Under the coat she goes to work on the plastic inner window. She places the suction cup in the center of the window and attaches the short plastic ruler to it. The plastic ruler has a hole that fits over the end of the suction cup and some sort of attachment for the diamond ring at the other end. In an hour or so she manages to cut a circular hole through the plastic window (she might need to change diamond ring a couple of times). She pulls out the plastic disk with the suction cup. The outer glass window is now exposed. She starts cutting a scientifically designed pattern in the glass window. The two male terrorists next to her remove their suspenders (not real suspenders, but suspenders with industrial strength rubber). Using the window seat in front and their own window seat, they attach the suspenders, making a slingshot. They strap the modified wristwatch to the golfball. The wristwatch has a detachable front that can be reversed, exposing a hardened steel tip. The golfball is placed in the slingshot and shot through the weakened window. The fourth terrorist has been waiting close to the pantry at the microwave ovens. At the agreed time he straps himself to railing in the pantry and places the plastic brackets in the microwave oven interlocks, allowing them to run with the doors open. When the window blows out he starts the microwave ovens, shutting down the fly-by-wire system.

(If we could figure out a compound that reacts with the oxygen now flowing, we could have someone waiting on the other side of the plane ready to blow it up, in case the air-leak and EMC isn’t dramatic enough.... )

BradApril 17, 2007 4:46 PM

My terrorist attack uses several men and perhaps women, disguised as TSA employees, state and federal Senators and Representatives. This way it insures that any future terrorist list would include the people who are supposedly setting it up get hassled just like all the rest of us.

They have smuggled detonating cord onto airplanes. Small, thin, easily hidden in a money belt. Perhaps several girls wearing it as jewelry as it's fairly innocuous looking stuff. Taking their belts and/or jewelery off for a nap, they can stuff it up behind a pillow against a window. Igniting it with an iPod modified to pass a current down the characteristic white headphone wire to an earbud headphone pressed into the pillow concealing a tiny amount of explosive, it then sets off the det cord which was carefully, but quietly behind a pillow tucked around the opening of the window. The ensuing explosion would take out the window, and certainly cause a major problem on the plane, if not actually causing it to crash.

ArtApril 17, 2007 4:57 PM

Scene 1: Bonnie Bopp playing with her little child Bo, showing Bo how to mix silver-looking sparkles into Play Doh to make it better.

Scene 2: Bo showing friends Peep, Ti, and Do the cool new Play Doh modeling clay.

Scene 3: TSA agent Robert watching his wife, Mrs. Balch hold a scrapbooking meeting with her friends in the living room. He shakes his head in minor disgust and goes to work in his wood shop so he won't irritate his wife.

Scene 4: Hale Applewhite works in the kitchen sink, uses an SOS pad until it's out of soap, then puts it in a glass of water and sets it aside.

Scene 5: Ti Emmanuel and his wife looking on an airlines internet flight schedules, an astronomy book open and sitting on the coffee table. They are talking about their son, the chemistry major in college.

Scene 6: Marshall Nettles, standing at a pulpit, talking in a loud yet reverent voice about the coming of the quad-luminary, when the Earth, Venus, and Mercury, form a special triangle with the Earth-Moon pointing to heavenly Mars.

Scene 7: Airport, large scrapbooking-convention gathering of travelers. Bonnie Bopp handing out traveling scrapbooking kits to lots of wives, surrounded by bored husbands and obnoxious and loud children. TSA agent Robert Balch let's the group go past with only minimal screening. The kids are noisy. The husbands are bored. It's just an annoying traveling scrapbooking group going to some convention. Only stuff to amuse the children and keep the wives happy are found in the screening process anyway.

Scene 8: Inside jet. Bonnie, Hale, Mrs. Emmanuel, and Mrs. Nettles hand Peep, Bo, Ti, and Do small, innocent Play Doh containers that are so small and cute that they could only be made for the tired parent seeking to amuse the annoying child. Other mothers appear to be doing the same. Each child also gets very small container of red-dullish powder, child-sized, that looks an awful lot like the remains of rusted SOS pads. Another child-size container of sparkly silver stuff is also handed out. Kids kneed the powders and play dough together. The mother's take a ribbon from their scrapbooks that is colored exactly like those magnesium ribbons so commonly found in hardware stores and college laboratories. The blobs of dough, also called thermite dough, are placed against the airframe in strategic locations. The ribbons are lighted by TSA approved matches.

Scene 9: Outside jet. Holes of fire erupt. Plane structure tears apart in high winds of flight.

Scene 10: TSA announcing Play Doh, Scrapbook kits and scrapbooks, convention travelers, smokers and matches, and little kids are all banned from flying.

Lesser WharkApril 17, 2007 6:22 PM

This scheme costs no terrorist lives, although it will only work if people are paranoid and over-react catastrophically. In other words, it's guaranteed to work.

1. My terrorists infiltrate one of the companies that provide news, films or music recordings for airlines. These companies probably don't run serious background checks; if they do, we take the money and start our own in-flight entertainment provider.

2. We spike a recording with an in-flight announcement ("Weather at our destination is 20 degrees with some broken clouds, but we'll try to have them fixed before we arrive...") which ends in gunshots and screaming.

3. Gung-ho passengers assume a hijacking has begun and charge the cockpit door.

4. Flight deck crew hear the door breaking down and declare an emergency before being mobbed.

5. US Air Force scrambles some fighter planes. They see the mess in the cockpit, consider the plane lost and shoot it down.

6. TSA tries to ban in-flight entertainment, confiscates all headphones, including those on iPods and Walkmen. Passengers go to sleep instead, many die of DVT.

SandyApril 18, 2007 12:05 AM

THE BALONEY BOMB—Screenplay Synopsis
© 2007, Sandy Sandfort

A radical Islamic terrorist cell decides to stage a proof-of-concept attack to prove that airline security is a paper tiger. If they can get a bomb through security and blow up an airplane, several other bombers will immediately be sent on suicide missions on other flights.

They plan to blow up a commercial airliner with a bomb that is /expected/ to set off bomb-sniffing alarms. Their hide-in-plain-site strategy is to encase the bomb inside a common gift item that is normally expected to be full of nitrogen compounds, the chemicals that bomb-sniffers are set to detect.

The bomb is in a gift pack of hollowed out summer sausages. The three men carrying the bomb are Saudis, but pose as Lebanese Christians, to arouse less suspicion. To appear to be Lebanese Christians, the terrorists wear crucifixes and other Christian markers. To make it even more unlikely that they would be recognized as Muslims, the bomb packaging says that the gift pack contains “Jimmy Dean Pure Pork Bologna.��? In reality, they are kosher beef sausages bought—for ironic reasons—from Katz's, a New York Jewish delicatessen. Any actual pork sausage would be /hareem/ (forbidden). The explosion would contaminate the terrorists with pork at the instant of their deaths. This would doom them to /Jahannam/, Muslim Hell—Do not pass GO, do not collect 72 virgins.

One sausage has no bomb inside. The terrorists have opened it and are eating pieces as they go through security to further distance themselves from appearing to be Muslims. Though their bombs set off the chemical (nitrate) detector, they are allowed through after a cursory inspection of sausages. The TSA inspector even notices that the contents listed on the label include pork, nitrates and nitrites.

However, as they walk away from the security check point, one of the TSA personnel yells after them, telling them to stop. The terrorists fear they have been busted, but keep their cool as they stop and face the man. He comes up and asks to look at the sausage. He expresses surprise, because he was unaware that Jimmy Dean made any large sausages. The terrorist leader quickly explains that it's a new product line and that Jimmy Dean is doing test marketing in Albany, Kansas City and Phoenix. The TSA guy smiles, nods understanding and waves them on their way.

On the plane, the three retrieve a standard blasting cap which was disguised as a component inside a functioning hand-held video game one of the terrorists is playing. The blasting cap is shoved into the sausage bomb with the detonation wire protruding from the sausage. To set off the blasting cap—and the bomb—the blasting cap's wires are attached to a standard headset plug. Once the plug is inserted into the game's earplug jack, all that the terrorists need to do is press the game's power switch.

The plan is to blow the bomb just as the plane is on final approach at LAX. This will shower wreckage over business and residential areas and cut a wide swath of destruction as the plane careens down the runway.

The plot is in danger of unraveling, though, when the terrorists overhear a conversation between two Hasidic Jews sitting directly behind them. One is telling the other about an anti-Semitic plot that had just been uncovered that morning. The plotters had bribed a gentile worker in Katz's sausage factory to contaminate the kosher sausages with pork fat. When discovered, the worker confessed everything and said he had been adding pork fat to the sausages for the last eleven months. The two Jews agree that the entire remaining stock of Katz's sausage will have to be destroyed.

The terrorists begin a whispering argument. Two want to abort the mission because they do not want to go to Jahannam when the bomb explodes and blasts them with pork fat particles. The leaders argues that Allah will forgive them and says that they must go through with the attack. This leads to much shouting in Arabic. When the the leader attempts to plug the detonator's wire into the game, the two other terrorists—in total terror themselves—try to stop him. A struggle ensues. The two Hasidic Jews recognize the Arabic and see the men struggling. They look over the seat to see what is going on.

When they see that the terrorist leader is trying to plug a wire into the video game they guess what is happening. They shout that the men have a bomb. Everyone nearby scatters. The leader's fanaticism gives him almost super-human strength. He manages to plug the jack into the game and is struggling to press the power button. At the last second, one of the other terrorists jerks on the game and the blasting cap is pulled out of the sausage and hits the leader's neck, just as he manages to press button. The cap explodes and the leader's carotid artery is severed. The other two terrorists are stunned and injured. No one else is hurt and the plane has suffered no structural damage.

As the leader bleeds copiously, he remembers that they all had eaten some of the pork-tainted sausage at the airport. He pleads for someone to save him as he hallucinates(?) that the fiery gates of Jahannam are yawning open below him and that Satan is coming to take his soul. He continues to scream for help, but no one comes to his. He screams and dies with a gurgling sound.

Passengers capture and hold the remaining terrorists. One of the Jews asks them if there are other bombs. The terrorists refuse to speak. He then grabs one of the tainted sausages and forces it into the face of one of the remaining terrorists. He tells him that if he doesn't tell them everything, he will use the sausage to choke him to death. He tells him he will die and go to Jahannam, just like the first terrorist and then it will be the other terrorist's turn. Both terrorists immediately start babbling the plot, giving up the names of their co-conspirators, their locations, etc.

Airline personnel contact Homeland Security and inform them of the plot. When the FBI goes after the rest of the terrorist cell, all of the plotters are killed or captured. The TSA decides to end the baloney bomb menace once and for all. They banned sausages, franks and all other meats, and meat products, from aircraft carry-on luggage. The TSA's quick and decisive ban thwarted any future baloney-bomb terrorists.

However, that just leads to another terrorist plot to bring down an airliner, using an exploding seeing-eye dog, but that's another story...

###

rob13572468April 18, 2007 12:51 AM

ok here is mine:

the movie title would be H20.. tagline: normally it is the source of life; today its the source of death!

the movie opens with several non-descript techie types passing through security. the TSA inspectors take a look at

the various items that are in some of the mens bags: metal tooth brush holders, shaving cream, laptop computer, but

pauses as they come across a plastic bottle.. inside is an apparently clear fluid. the TSA screener asks one of the

men whats in the bottle. the man responds that its just ordinary water. he takes the cap off of the bottle and starts

to drink it. the TSA screener responds. well theres no liquids allowed on the plane. you can get more water from the

attendant on board. chuckling, the man exclaims," OK i will..."

cut to the jet, now in mid-flight. one of the men takes his carry-on bag and walks down the aisle to the restroom.

once inside he immediately sets to work with his diaobolical plan. First he takes the toothbroush holder and removes

the brush, screwing the container back together he pulls a small piece of metal from what looks like a cell phone: it

appears to be an electrode. He inserts the metal in a hole in the side of the toothbrush holder. he then removes some

ordinary elastic tubing being used to hold a bundle of pens together. its actually small plastic tubing and he

inserts ends into both sides of the holder. next he takes the shaving cream and removes what looks like a fake top.

the shaving cream container passed right through inspection because it had nothing in it. it has been ompletely

evacuated. he plugs one end of the tubing into the shaving cream. he then pulls the battery from his laptop and hooks

a small patch cord from it to the metal piece inserted into the toothbrush holder. the diabolical device is almost

complete. the man pulls the finaly piece form the bag. a fresh bottle of water that he obtained from the flight

attendant.

he places the other end of the tube into the bottle and presses a button setting the terrible chain of events into

motion: the water is drawn into the tube under vacumn from the shaving cream canister where it is electrolized into

hydrogen and oxygen. the H2 is then drawn into the shaving cream canister. we hear a faint hiss as the machine is

working releasing the oxygen while the camera does a close-up cut into the inside of the container where we see the

water violently bubbling off the hydrogen. the next scene shows the man returning to his seat where he covertly hands

the now filled container of hydrogen to the man next to him, presumably the terrorist mastermind.

CUT TO THE CLIMACTIC ENDING...

the dashing air marshall, having singled out all of the techie males and restrained them at the rear of the cabin he

now is frantically looking through the remaining seats for anything suspicious. only then does he realize his

mistake: he profiled the terrorists as techie *males*... he realizes this as he looks over the next seat to see a

techie-looking female holding an open laptop. just next to her on the floor is a carry-on bag with a now assembled

bundle of canisters all filled with hydrogen and the cliche coiled cord linking it to her laptop. as his gaze shifts

to the screen he can make out what looks like a timer: 00:00:03... 00:00:02.... 00:00:01


THE END


khavakozApril 18, 2007 4:27 AM

Well, more of a sketch than a full plot but:

Amanda walks onto a plane at JFK. She has been through the TSA routine inspections, her bottle of Evian water has been appropriately confiscated and dumped in a large bin along with all the other paraphenalia associated with international terrorism - baby food, sun lotion, toothpaste &c.

Amanda takes her seat, as she is travelling alone she is forced to share the cramped space with two alarmingly large tourists, who are complaining bitterly that the Airport security took away their insulin. She smiles and nods, and shares their frustration, even putting aside her iPod to enter into conversation.

An hour after take off, and passing over the North Atlantic, Amanda watches as a woman wearing a bright green headscarf walks along the plane. Noticing her signal, Amanda excuses herself from her new friends, and immediately goes to use a bathroom stall. Removing the items which had been placed inside her body is decidedly uncomfortable, and because the items have had more time to settle, there is actual pain. She laughs to think of some of the women who refused this mission because they would be impure upon arriving in paradise. She mixes the liquids from the bags together, as she has been trained to do, and carefully prepares the tiny detonator device.

Someone knocks on the door - it is the American tourist woman - asking Amanda if she is alright. 'I'm fine' she replies, as she plugs the detonator wire directly into the iPod.

Suddenly, a call of 'Takbir!' echoes around the airplane, as the second team begins their diversionary action. Air Marshalls begin to rise from their seats to tackle the (wholly unarmed) men, but it is too late. In six toilet stalls, six women respond to the call, shouting 'Allahu Akhbar' as they finally detonate the explosive each of them had hidden in a place no airport security crew would ever dare to examine.

++ ++ ++

It takes several months, and dozens of downed planes, before the authorities finally discover this latest weapon smuggling tactic. By that time, the airline industry has become bankrupted, as millions seek alternative transport. A law is passed to force all air passengers to undergo ultrasound testing, with detailed internal examination for those with unsatisfactory results, but it is too late, the few who had persevered with flying, under all its dangers and unpleasantness, draw the line at this latest craziness, particularly when the ultrasound machines (all built by the lowest bidder) begin to give false positive results.

gregcApril 18, 2007 7:55 AM

It is not common knowledge that if you mix ordinary salt with ordinary vinegar you get a weak hydrochloric acid mixture. This is sufficiently strong enough to clear rust off a nail.
The plot as defined in this scenario involves terrorists that discover an additive to this mixture that makes the mixture behave slightly differently. It now attacks the material the windows are made of. The additive is made from common food ingredients. It is slow however. Terrorists board the plane, sit at window seats, obtain the necessary quantities for salt and vinegar from the served meal, mix it, add the additive and using a suction device attach it to the window discreetly. They then pull the window blinds down and go sleep. The mixture compromises the window causing it to break. This causes a complete depressurization and the plane to perform an emergency descent, possibly crashing. Due to the slow speed of descent, people are oxygen deprived and suffer brain damage.(Plot described in a book, can’t remember the name)
The same thing is repeated on hundreds of flights. No cause for the broken window can be found due to the corrosive being like food in every way, which it is. Panic breaks out, airlines go bankrupt and all food and drink is banned from flights

OliverApril 18, 2007 7:57 AM

Ok,this sounds funny.

Unfortunately I don't have time or writing skills to complete it to 'skript level' so basicaly just the 'evil mad objects':

The plasic ballpoint pen refill will be filled with BC stuff (Anthrax, Smallpox etc... or 'flesheating bacteria' for better movie usability ;-) ) and then used inflight like a blowgun to evaporate the stuff killing everybody or taking them hostage.

Specialy manufacured coat zippers (from evil foreign country, makes up for nice exotic locations in movie) are covered with diamond powder thus transforming them in ultra effective bandsaws to cut hydraulics or other plane-tech-blabla.

Making the lace eyes of your shoes and every other metallic object on clothing of the 'terror team' from magnesium and collecting it inflight and igniting it (will meke up for nude scenes of the attractive busty terrorist'ess), melting a hole in a window.

Exchanging the chemicals for the toilet with the infamous liquid explosive.(Funny movie, with blowing up toilets?!)

Infecting stewardesses with STD and so slowly killing of all club goers, milehigh members etc in major airport cities. (Ok, this will end up with an R or even X rating, but what the hell...)

My 2ct

DaveyApril 19, 2007 8:40 AM

Second Annual Movie-Plot Threat Contest entry:
don't try this at home!


Juniper and Frank : The Romance
----------------------------------------------
As the couple idled, lying on the warm Carib sand, tickling each-others' ePass scars, Juniper commented - "well Frank, if it wasn't for that crazy Swedish grandmother we'd never be here together!, how interesting is life!"
Frank mused "So true Juni', who could ever have guessed that after that London Airport hit that the TIA plan and that Random Secret Algorithm would give us this"
TIA was the new ICAO initiative , an acronym for Take-It-All-Away, the heavily enforced new safe travelling system where flight check-in was made in the car-park of all world airports, whilst Naked. (Clothes were neatly vaporised in a green heat-pump to power the ePass interrogators)
The ex-little-old-lady had dutifully queued up for 75 minutes, until she was in the exact heart of the London Airport security screening hall, a vast space the size of several swimming pools, before she shouted , was it "Global Hexbollah!"?? or was it a curse in her native tongue. We will never know , as few remains are left of the scene. Who could envisage that a (tired) coffee grinder and a hundred-dollars worth of nickels could be slowly transformed into what experts call "liquid death". How had this old lady done it?, with a team of 20 or 30 radicals and 500 grand?, if only the dusty Victorian chemistry books and her yellow pet Canary could sing the truth...?
What is known is that somehow she carried the 7 kilos of tetracarbonyl in her hand luggage, triggering at the centre of the "security queue" - probably with her iPhone and some Marilyn Manson track. 383 were the victims just from the blast - then the Upper Shopping Village and MacDonalds - thoughtfully built immediately above the screening area, or target, collapsed, upsetting many a Happy Meal and leading to hundreds more victims. The fact that so many first responders died after the incident was another shock, it is rumoured now that the sale and trading of Canaries is closely being watched. There is a suspicious Canary salesman on eBay , who WILL accept payment in nickels, very dodgy, DoHS is now up-to-speed and monitoring.
Juniper coughed, feeling an allergy coming-on just by remembering last-years' story, overall, she thought, flying without clothes is an improvement. She would never have met her 300 pound soul-mate Frank, if her embedded ePass hadn't randomly allocated her a disrobing space near Frank, and how she'd admired Frank's TJKMax sports-underwear - exactly what SHE was wearing. In the new culture, being nearly Naked with strangers - to break up any organised teams - was slightly un-nerving, but after their hesitant , embarrassed attempts at chat - they'd discovered a shared passion for Snakes On a Plane , the best movie in the last decade.......and all after that was in soft-focus.
Now ICAO was making everyone safe, talk on the streets was that ICAO might take over the UN and maybe even the US executive and mandate TIA all the time, everywhere. One Joker on the 777 had said that he'd heard that ICAO wanted to de-invent all aircraft - but he was led away by serious Men wearing bulging dark socks. Life WAS becoming interesting.

AutonomousApril 19, 2007 8:49 PM

In a world full of water bottles...no, wait.

In 2038, war was beginning...no, that's not it either.

The initial scene starts out on an airplane in flight. Most people are sleeping, but one man is secretively cutting his finger nails. Although he goes unnoticed by most, three shifty-eyed men who may be of Arabic dissent have noticed. As one, they rise and almost too quickly for anyone to react, they restrain the man and take his nail clippers.

A stewardess attempts to intervene, but one particularly swarthy looking terrorist brandishes the clippers and makes little clipping motions; she recoils in terror. Another terrorist goes to one of the kitchenettes you find on large jets and pulls out an empty bottle labeled Evian. Quickly, he begins filling it with water; once full, he walks back into the cabin and brandishes it. Planewide panic ensues.

The scene shifts away to two men watching the events unfold on a television. As a voice from the television overlays the pandemonium and explains how it is every citizen's duty to comply with TSA regulations, one of the men makes approving noises. He is a Senator from Alaska(Let's call him Bob), and he is happy with how this commercial to be shown at airlines will encourage compliance and feelings of safety. His aide is not so optimistic, and wonders if regulation banning so many specific yet common items really makes people safer. "Don't worry, Bruce" Bob says reassuringly, "This is the Federal Government you're talking about. We know what we're doing."

A few scenes show Bob with his family man, being a fair man, etc. It quickly develops that he is to fly to an important destination. His son will fly with him, because he has a little league championship that he will attend.

Senator Bob passes through the security checkpoint using his special pass, but they forgot to clear his son, so he must wait in line with the rest of his team. The teammates are arguing whether aluminum or wooden bats are better. Behind him are several men and women in business suits, who use their plastic national IDs to pass through without the security hassle.

The men and women are, of course, terrorists. Some men have carried small amounts of magnesium ribbon or powdered aluminum onto the plane. They each also have a rusty object. The women are wearing wire-bras. Some are carrying laptops.

The plot is simple. They plan to use the laptop batteries to set off the magnesium and aluminum. They will connect the two via removable metallic wire from the bras, and set off a chemical reaction, and burn holes into the plane all over resulting in quick loss of pressure. They hope this will kill most passengers. To hold off anyone who is alert, the fake national IDs are snapped down the diagonal and tied to little solid sticks, creating shivs.

The plot is, of course, foiled by the Senator who learned Ju Jitsu as a hobby and is a SEAL Trainer (the soldier, not the animal) in his spare time. His son helps him at a critical moment by smacking one terrorist in the back of the head with a wooden bat. Other terrorists see this; a few grab some of the shiny aluminum bats from the other teammates, but the senator grabs his son's spare wooden one, and they manage to fight off the terrorists. Various obligatory minority characters help too.

The movie ends with Bob who has "earned his lesson. As he explains to his aide Bruce, he's now demanding that the TSA require the inspection of all bras prior to boarding. Laptop batteries (although not laptops themselves) and national ID cards are forbidden, but bats are okay. Not aluminum ones, though; after all, everyone knows that terrorists use aluminum.

RobertApril 19, 2007 11:07 PM

The terrorists spend their money on pilot training and martial arts training. They don't bring weapons, they ARE weapons. In the air they can easily frighten crew and passengers. A sky marshal may take out one or two terrorists (and a bunch of passengers in "collateral damage", which frightens the remaining passengers even more). Ultimately, the air marshals are killed by the martial arts tourists.

Since a good karate black belt can chop wood with his bare hands, the cockpit door doesn't last long either. The pilots get killed. A terrorist trained as a pilot flies the plane to wherever it does a lot of damage. Superbowl, big cities, whatever.

The TSA bans people from flights. After three days of airlines protests they have to revoke that ban again. At least, commerce is more important than security. And who would want to pay all the TSA people's salaries if nobody's flying anyway?

Instead, all seat belts on the plane are replaced with special seat belts which can only be opened with a key (which the air marshal has). After boarding, people are locked in their seats. The flight attendants check all belts that nobody can slip out. When somebody needs to go to the restroom the air marshals escort him at gun point.

Pilots are instructed to fly unsteadily, and 'encounter a lot of turbulences'. Since rides are so bumpy now, TSA can pass the new seat belts off as "for the passengers' safety". Air travel reaches maximum discomfort and inconvenience.

NicoApril 20, 2007 1:38 PM

TSA TO BAN VISA CREDIT CARDS AND COINS ON AIRPLANES !!!!!!!!!!

Following last week's terrorist attack that blew up 3 intercontinental flights which left countless dead.

As the investigation continues, more information is becoming available on a daily basis. So far, the reconstruction of events is as follows:

All the events occur on Friday the 4th of August.

1. At 10:04 am, Ahmed Khalil boarded fateful place US Airlines 4356 at New York's JFK airport, en route to Las Vegas. Several other muslim looking individuals also boarded the plane, all first class, for a weekend away of gambling and other lustful activities in Nevada, their wallets full of cash and credit cards.

2. At 10:32am several (5-10?) muslim looking men boarded flight US Airlines 237 at Los Angeles airport, en route to Houston for an oil conference. Again, posing as rich middle eastern men, their wallets were full of cash and credit cards.

3. At 11:21am, an unknown number of muslim men (the airline company seems to have lost the passenger lists) boarded flight Cheap North Airlines 7635 at Smallville airport, Nebraska, en route to new York for a shopping spree for their wives (new arrivals of Italian shoes).

4. What happened next was pieced together by post crash experts assisted by FBI special investigation units specializing in small bomb making techniques:
"It appears, says Captain Chief Super-Intendant Michael H. Thornpike Jr the IIIrd, that the following terrorists used a very new type of IED (improvised explosive device). Indeed, it appears that remnants of credit cards and coins were found at the crash sites, and once tested, were found to be C4 explosives. Several clues were also found at the scene. The way the terrorists constructed the bombs is quite ingenious: every member of the terrorist group, acting insidiously as rich arabian men (no women since we all know in America that women are not allowed to have money in islamic cultures), carried an extensive array of VISA credit cards along with small change.
The small change was found to be of the type known as a "hollow shell" which is commonly found in magic gimmick coins to hide other coins inside. However, in this instance, these coins contained high explosive detonators.
The VISA credit cards were not real credit cards!! This would have fooled anyone in America since no-one would ever suspect the life giving credit cards to be a threat to our lifestyle. Each credit card was slightly thicker than normal, and each men carried around 8-12 credit cards with them (to help with their credit score and blend into american society, this is why databases did not flag these guys earlier). I have an example of one right here, which did not seem to have been used in the attack and was found on the body of one of the men.
As you can see, the face of the credit card can be peeled off!! Behind it can be found a thin layer of C4 explosive. At the back, this magnetic strip can actually also be peeled off and turns out to be a wiring mechanism. Several of these mechanisms can be connected together to direct the charge of the detonator to the various C4 packets. Each credit card can be combined in a kind of stack (imagine a layered soap) to provide a more powerful bomb.
We believe that these packs of explosives were assembled in the toilets, including detonator charges from the coins and wiring boosters from the magnetic strips. Once all of these devices were assembled, the terrorist groups moved as one to strategic locations on the airplanes (while pretending to chat the stewardesses, who incidentally are not trained well enough in counter terrorism and did not apparently recognize the threat of middle eastern men chatting them up): the doors, the floor, near the rear of the plane where the tail is (weak point of the aircraft).
When each man was at his location, a signal was given and each men detonated their charges. What followed as we all know is this immense tragedy..."

5. At 01:02pm flight US Airlines 4356 disappeared from the radar screens and crashed in the Nevada desert.

6. At 01:07pm flight US Airlines 237 crashed in the new Mexican desert.

7. At 01:15pm flight Cheap North Airlines 7635 crashed in Lake Michigan.

It is a relief to all that these men did not detonate the planes above large occupied cities. It seems that the government's plan to issue erroneous maps to all foreign looking individuals at US port of entries fooled the terrorists into detonating the planes above unoccupied american territory rather than above large cities.

The TSA has announced that from now on, coins and other forms of metal currency will not be allowed on airplanes. They have also stated that ALL (without exception) VISA credit cards will be confiscated at airports and cut up immediately. This measure is to prevent this type of attack from occurring again and is necessary despite the foreseen backlash on the US economy and the dramatic reduction of credit spending in this country, followed by the nose dive of credit scores for almost all americans.

TSA has clarified that all other types of major credit cards will not be confiscated as it seems only VISA credit cards seem to be the terrorists weapon of choice...


Repairman JackApril 21, 2007 1:48 AM

Teflon is the trademark name of polytetrafluroethylene. Essentially it's a long string of CH2 molecules, where each Hydrogen (H) atom is replaced by a fluorine (F) atom.

If Teflon is heated to over 425 degrees C, it depolymerizes into perfluoro-iso-butylene, a highly toxic gas.

Teflon is commonly available as teflon tape in any hardware store. Additionally, blocks of it are occasionally machined as parts for use in electronics: as insulators for instance. It's easy to get.

100 grams of teflon, heated up by either magnesium (from a laptop computer case) or thermite (hidden in a laptop battery) would easily be enough to kill an entire planeload of people many times over. The effect is quick enough that all passengers would be fatally poisoned before anyone realized what was going on.

Even if the pilot "dumped" the cabin atmosphere it would be too late. A single whiff of PIB is (eventually) fatal.

(This is why teflon pans come with warnings about putting them in electric ovens on the self-clean setting.)

Check out the data sheets, the toxic levels are somewhere in the .01 ppm level:

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/ipcsneng/neng1216.html

Perhaps Teflon should be on the banned items list?

RogerApril 21, 2007 10:39 PM

pocket lint. If highly compressed it just might burn with great fury. Imagine having checks for excessive pocket lint at security gates? Create a grade B movie built around bumbling idiots trying to get thru airport security with large amounts of pocket lint.

Paul KooistraApril 22, 2007 7:58 AM

Most scenario's use fictious or really dificult to obtain materials (Anthrax bacteria, for one).

I have been thinking of a few different scenarios, as uncomplicated as possible, using easy to obtain (and to smuggle) materials.

Scenario 1:
Buy a pound of Kalium. When mixed on a 1-on-1 ratio with sugar, this burns rapidly - beter yet, it *SMOKES*. A kilogram of this mixture is easily enough to blank out an entire airplane, to the point that it will be impossible for pilots even to read their instruments. Beter yet, it is easy package the Kalium in an innocent looking medicine bottle (anti-acid or something like that). No explosions needed, just a small fire. All solids will need to be banned from luggage.

Scenario 2: Disrupt all ground-to-air radio traffic, using a small wide-band radio transmitter inside a video camera. Do this coordinated in 20-30 airplanes approaching LAX; the resulting panick ('do we shoot down all these planes') is bound to trigger accidents. All electronics will be banned.

Scenario 3: Natrium powder. Pack it in a medicine bottle, and flush it down the toilet; the resulting explosion will probably be enough to bring down the airplane. As is that is not enough, one of the resulting gasses is H2 - higly combustible.

Billy camlinApril 23, 2007 5:40 AM

Not much of a script writer but let me throw these ideas against the wall and see what sticks.

Ideal concealment for anything flammable or virulent;
COLOSTOMY BAG!
This needn't be real as what "pat down merchant" is gonna pay too close attention to a bog of pooh!

Foodstuffs are screened and aircrew are purposely given different meals. What about those little paper sachets full of salt and pepper etc. They could be filled with anything. Sauce sachets could be filled with alcohol gel or any other agent.

Possible payloads for these items could be anything from combustible materials through the whole gamut of bio-chemical threats. Personally I like the sound of Fentanyl as used by the Russians to such spectacular but unintended effect during the Moscow theatre siege. I belief there is a simple antidote that can be consumed before or during the attack.
Triggering is the most problematic issue, and here is my kicker. Lets just toss our baggy/sachets in the microwave found in flight attendants' galleys and wait for it to go ding/bang/splat!!!

The weak link in any security are the lowly paid service personnel. Do you guys remember the strike by the meal preparation staff at GATE GOURMET that grounded so many long haul flights all over Europe. Take a look at the picket line pics. Do you note a certain ethnocentric aspect to them. Yeah, predominantly ethnic minorities, in the case of the UK mostly from India/Pakistan and there colleagues in Paris of mostly North African extraction. All on minimum wage, all regularly visiting their local mosques, all with relatives and connections in the world's favourite terrorist hangouts. So some distant cousin needs a job, a favour ???????
Check this out http://libcom.org/tags/gate-gourmet

Scared yet?

Assume we now have control of our aircraft, where we gonna land it. Well blowing it up or flying into a high profile building is a bit passé. What about we force the military to shoot it down! Yeah that's gotta make an impact. Targets of interest would be any military base or platform. Flying into an aircraft carrier or two at a prominent naval base. What about a nuclear sub base? Usually find 3 or 4 all in a nice line, all armed up.

So here it is then they will have to ban microwaves from aircraft!
They will not ban colostomy bags as this is impractical but they may have to invent the security passed bag issued to the boarding colostomy wearer (i.e. a de facto ban on all standard bags!)
They ban all condiment sachets!

Thanks for watching folks!

Billy CamlinApril 23, 2007 5:43 AM

Anyone know what happens when you put a laptop battery in a microwave at say 1Kw for a few minutes. My girlfriend has vetoed any experiment in this area but I'm sure it must explode quite magnificently!

Joe WintersApril 23, 2007 6:31 AM

Place Semtex in the hard cover of Jewish, Christian and Muslim prayer books.
These can simply be detonated by using the electric current of an ipod, a cell phone or even a pen. This is untraceable.
BOOOOM!
The TSA now has to ban religious books and is consequently in deep trouble with the US Constitution and human rights, Jewish, Christian and Muslim groups.

Doug KesslerApril 23, 2007 2:43 PM

Sneeze-krieg

Islamo-fascists contract smallpox, baord planes and commence sneezing.

FAA rapid response rule: all passengers will wear nose clips and masks and will fill out a form declaring they have no recent exposure to smapllpox. Security staff to check no fingers or toes are crossed when making dclaration.

'Aaah- Aaah' detectors on airplanes. US Marshall shoots before you can get to 'choo!'.

Another catastrophe averted.

Don MartiApril 23, 2007 7:16 PM

Using a relatively simple probe, it's possible to differentiate metals without touching them. You can tell copper pipes and steel studs apart, through the sheetrock. The probe is nearly flat, and can be built into the back panel of a laptop.

Probe plans: http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/6201

This tool will let the terrorists detect a steel handgun even on the other side of an aluminum-framed seat. A terrorist builds the probe into the back of a laptop and uses it to detect the weapon of the air marshal sitting in front of him. When the terrorist does detect the air marshal's weapon, he signals his partner, who throws hot coffee in the air marshal's face while the first terrorist reaches forward to restrain him. They get the weapon away from him and take over the airplane.

We must ban laptops and coffee from airplanes!

MotherApril 23, 2007 9:03 PM

Young women, dedicated to Jihad, have been trained to blow up airplanes. They board a number of different airplanes at different airports (like the 9/11 terrorists), carrying their newborns, and they get to board first.

They have spent the previous few weeks very carefully grinding sodium perchlorate (or any other white oxidizer, like ammonium nitrate) with a household mortar & pestle, then carefully adding flour and a whiff of real baby powder, and refilling the baby powder tins.

They put the powder tins, and several cloth diapers, toys, etc., in their ubiquitous baby bags.

They and their babies go to Jihad heaven, and the TSA is condemned to banning or checking out every tin of baby powder every mother probably carries in her baby bag.

JeffApril 23, 2007 10:07 PM

Sorry I'm also not a script writer.
The basic plan.
1. Broadcast relative high power (enough power) to jam the GPS spectrum used by aircraft. This could be quite easily done by concealment in a mobile phone.
2. Broadcast relative high power (enough power) to jam the air to ground and ground to air Traffic control system used by aircraft. This could be quite easily done by concealment in a mobile phone.
Desired outcome of plan.
1. If done on a random basis for intermittent periods of time. This should be recorded as faults with the airline. Depending on fault escalation process. Research into these faults will be escalated to a government department. Time money will be required to investigate these faults.
2. Release to Media of the GPS navigation and Traffic Control system faults would have public outcry.
3. At some stage the modified Mobile phones would be discovered.
4. Mobile phones and laptops would have to be banned from all flights including stored luggage, unless all Laptops and Phones are scanned to detect modification.
5. This can be escalated to total Blanking of GPS reception for X period of time or after plane has reached a preset altitude. (by use of a Laptop or altitude sensing device). This can be done across multiple planes simultaneously.
6. The disruption to the civil aviation industry will impact industry, government and the public.
7. Costs associated with detection and an implementing a solution.
Equipment.
1. Mobile Phones (Modified to transmit at GPS frequencies).
2. Laptops (Set to turn on and off at set times. Laptop battery will give mobile phone extra running time).
3. Laptops modified to transmit at GPS frequencies and or Traffic control frequencies.

TomTomApril 24, 2007 1:38 PM

"Anyone know what happens when you put a laptop battery in a microwave at say 1Kw for a few minutes. My girlfriend has vetoed any experiment in this area but I'm sure it must explode quite magnificently!"

Try cutting openings in the case and drop it in a bucket of water.
This site claims it would be spectacular:
http://www.electronics-lab.com/articles/Li_Ion_reconstruct/index.html
This site tones down the expectations a bit:
http://pcpitstop.com/pcsafety/video.asp

FireFoxApril 24, 2007 3:18 PM

Several terrorists, both male and female, dressed in standard western business attire board the airplane. Once airborne the male terrorists, who happen to be highly trained martial arts experts, take over the passenger cabin. The female terrorists remove their super elastic pantyhose and bras. They are tied together and then tied to the two aisle seats in the front row, forming a giant slingshot. One of their laptop computers, made with a special titanium frame, is loaded into the slingshot and stretched back to aisle 10 before being fired at the cockpit security door. After two or three hits the door is breached and the male terrorists overpower the flight crew. Having taken over the plane they are now free to crash it into whatever the most popular target of the day is.

The TSA is forced to ban pantyhose, bras, or any elastic clothing, and any carry-on heavy enough to be used as a projectile.

loom CApril 24, 2007 11:31 PM

Most of my best thoughts have already been thought of, but! "News Flash" Ralph Hansen of TCA working at LA International has received both a letter of prase together with a 60 day suspension for catching Amoud Sunkler before he was able to detonate an explosive device on Air A flight 264. Amoud was originally flagged for an extra check by the ticket agent as he has the same first name as the well known terrorist Amoud Clunk who was killed in London last year. During the close inspection, TCA agent Hansen noticed that the passenger had ten extra-large "Mars Bars" and four rolls of nickels in his carry-on baggage. Having missed lunch because of a fowled up vacation scheduel, agent Hansen helped himself to one of the "Mars bars" thinking the passanger would never miss just one.
As the passenger walked away, agent Hansen quickly discovered that the "Mars bar" package contained something that neither looked, smelled, or tasted like a "Mars bar". TCA called an armed agent and arrested passenger Amoud Sunkler before he was able to assemble the explosive device. According to the drawing found in the passengers case, he was to stick all the explosives together and then stick the coins into all sides except one which was to go into the battery compartment of the passengers I-pod which had been turned into a detonator.

TCA imediately bans I-pods and all food or candy plus loose change of more than four coins. The ticket agent is commended for flagging the passenger using the list of known names.

cingeyedogApril 25, 2007 10:24 AM

12 oz. soda cans, pencil and shoelaces. If one rotates the pull-tab, one can carefully cut out a small circle with the pull tab (by pulling on the pull-tab). It is very sharp. With the use of string or shoelaces (and a pencil for the handle), one can make a cat-of-nine-tails. (The soda cans come from the beverage cart, since travelers cannot carry on more than 3 oz bottles).

Another weapon could be the fold-down trays. They can be ripped off the back of the chair and the metal posts can be tied together with shoelaces for nunchaku (also called nunchucks).

Sandpaper. These can be used to sharpen wooden items (pencils or parts of the airplane seat). The sandpaper could be on a ping-pong paddle or as the sole of shoes.

Coffee maker used to scald people into submission.

Plastic cable ties for handcuffs.

Hand exercise things. The ones with the coil of metal and two handles (one squeezes it to strengthen ones forearms). The clip that keeps the coil from unraveling will be pried loose. The metal coil will unravel and now one has a long metal rod.

All of these items is to subdue the main cabin of the airplane. To get into the cockpit, the bad guys bring on all the ingredients to make black powder (saltpeter, sulfur, and charcoal). Each of these items will be carried on by different people. It can be ignited with a flint and steel.

(NOTE: Flint and Steel can be used to make a huge bonfire in the main cabin. All paper products banned, including toilet paper from the bathroom).

The beverage cart can be used as a battering ram.

Fire extinguisher and the oxygen tank (from the onboard emergency kit) used as distraction or large, blunt, heavy objects. Use the oxygen tank as a blow torch (i am not a welder, so i am not sure if this will work, but could be believable in a movie).

cingeyedogApril 25, 2007 11:01 AM

12 oz. soda cans, shoe string, and a pencil. Rotate the pull tab and use it to cut out a small circle in the top of the can. The resulting cut will be very sharp. Use the items to make a cat-of-nine-tails. (The cans will come from the beverage cart, since we are not allowed to carry on items with over 3 oz of fluid).

Or, rotate the pull-tabs on full cans. Tie the string/shoelace on the pull tab. Now one has a heavy object to swing around.

Use salt (in the meals or bring your own). Throw into peoples eyes.

Use the fold-down tray as a weapon. Rip off the tray and use the metal posts. Tie them together with shoestring and have a pair of nunchucks.

Plastic cable ties for handcuffs.

The fire extinguisher and oxygen tank (on the onboard emergency kit) can be used as large, heavy, blunt objects. The oxygen tank can double as a blow torch (for getting into the cockpit). (I am not a welder, so i am not sure if this will work. Could be believable in a movie).

Sandpaper. Either on the soles of shoes or small scrap or on a ping-pong paddle. Used to sharpen wooden objects. Pencils, parts of the cabin chairs.

Flint and steel. Used for fire making. Toilet paper from the bathroom used as fuel. (This could be minimized if we only get one square of toilet paper per person!)

Beverage cart used as a battering ram (for cockpit door).

Onboard coffee maker. Used to scald passengers into submission. String/shoelace could be tied to the carafe for a mace like weapon (I think the carafes are made of metal).


Each bad guy brings one ingredient to make black powder (sulfur, saltpeter, charcoal). Make the black powder at seat. Use to open cockpit door. Flint and steel to light.

Using a power adapter for plugging in a laptop to plane power supply, cut the wire and touch the (+) and (-) together. Could create a spark or take out all electrical power to the plane or ...

To just bring down the plane, bad guys sit on exit rows over wings. Open the emergency doors and throw doors into engines. Done in a large urban area.

pyromaniacApril 25, 2007 5:56 PM

The budget of a half million will get us about 20 teams, ready to wreak havoc and bring the planes down. All of them, for some time.

Each team is divided into two units. Each unit consists of "mommy", with a youngest jihadi ever in tow and 3 pounds of finely ground flour packed into box from well known baby powder and "daddy", with a "tourist" blow-dryer.

At specific time, daddy turns on his supercharged blow dryer and mommy feeds the powder into the air stream. Soon the cabin is full of fine mist. Once ignited, that mist becomes fuel-air explosive... cue 7 minute slomo shot of fiery blast wave going along the cabin and tearing the fuselage to pieces.

For greater glory of Allah, the second team does the same at the other end of the plane.

As a dozen planes drop down in flaming pieces, all the flights are grounded. The skies are empty, save for Air Force One, carrying the president to the deepest secret bunker...

The TSA has now to ban baby powder and similar substances and blow-dryers. And young couples with kids (that wouldn't be too bad ;-)).

AidanApril 26, 2007 9:39 AM

The Ancient Mariner’s passport

“It is an Ancient Mariner and he stoppeth one of three.
‘By thy long grey beard and glittering eye, now wherefore stopp’st me?’

Insiders within the organization making passport microchips insert additional functionality into every third unit despatched to issuing offices. It works in conjunction with a set of Trojan Horse PC viruses for which it a trigger. It is undetectable in an individual passport, only becoming active when the document is scanned at passport control. That’s when the passport chip’s clock starts. One on its own is harmless. A minimum of five infected passports are required to generate enough power to wreak its terror. Within months, every third passport carries the virus. By then the probabilty of any flight having at least five becomes virtually 100%.

Both the passport chip and the infected PCs behave completely normally until they are in combination. This makes it impossible to test passports and laptops to see if they pose a danger. The organisation programming the virus are able to design an endless set of different scenarios to pose new problems.

The flight departs and the clock ticks down. One hour into the flight an infected laptop detects the presence of the passports. The Trojan Horse awakens. It takes over the laptop and, depending on its style, jams the aircraft systems sending flight instruments into disarray and de-compressing the cabin. Apart from onboard terror, its aim is to bring the world Air Traffic Control system to a complete standstill by forcing an endless stream of emergencies. Neither the flight control systems nor Air Traffic Control can be relied on to avoid collisions in the air and on the ground.

There is media outrage. Randomness itself becomes terror. Passports and laptops are banned on all flights. People refuse to carry passports at any time in case new targets are developed. No one carries a laptop in public. It takes governments six months to restore any degree of faith in flying. By which time enhanced terror capabilities have been developed triggered by the magnetic strip in boarding cards.
WAW/JRS
25 April 2007

Eric SchneiderApril 26, 2007 9:13 PM

It's a normal day. Passengers are getting on a plane. All of a sudden, the metal detector beeps! "That's my retainer," says the passenger. "Okay," the guard says.

This would be the worst mistake of his life.

Once on the plane, the passenger, let's say Bob, removes his retainer. The wires are quickly bent into a small hook.

Voila! It's a lock pick! And Bob spent $400,000 on training!

This skill allows him to open the cockpit very, very, very quickly. The other 25 members of the assault team swarm in and take control of the plane.

The TSA was, after this episode, forced to ban all retainers and braces. To ensure total effectiveness of this ban, if the passengers resist, the guard must forcibly rip the braces out.

The response to criticism? "Do you want another Attack of the Bob?"

WallyApril 27, 2007 7:05 PM

Only Domestic Terrorists can figure this one out.

They have figured out how to shape and disguise explosives in solid anti-perspirant Deodorant containers. These bombs are fired off using laptop batteries and the wiring is disguised as the mobile power supply. (Or they have a violent reaction with carbonated water - another form of the infamous water bomb.)
The TSA starts banning carry-on solid Anti-perspirant (they already ban the gel) and carry-on baggage is again a relic of the past.
The road-warrior is caught between stinking up meetings or using the hotel deoderant.
The terrorists change tactics and start planting their bombs in supermarkets and drugstores where they can get the benefit of massed explosives. America is stopped in it's tracks as we suddenly start smelling like the rest of the world and our people stop assembling in theaters and at work, subways are a nightmare and airplanes, well I can only recall that Aeroflot flight in the '70s without airconditioning and the other passengers had little ability to keep clean. No longer will basketball fans cheer a three pointer in the traditional fashion of two raised arms.

M.Z.April 28, 2007 7:57 AM

In my opinion, TSA should seriously think about banning FINE GRAINED POWDERS like COFFEE, WHEAT FLOUR maybe even BABY POWDER on flights. Otherwise non-flammable, these products develop a dangerous explosiveness when pulverized and distributed densely enough into the air.

The German "Berufsgenossenschaftliches Institut für Arbeitsschutz - BGIA" maintains a publicly accessible database with the experimental results of over 4'000 dust probes (http://biaonline.hvbg.de/explo.htm). Following list shows some daily-life products and the minimum concentration in the air required to turn them into devastating firebombs:

Ground coffee: 100 g/m3
Wheat flour: 125 g/m3
Talcum powder: 200 g/m3
Wheat flour/powdered sugar (50:50): 60 g/m3

An airplane cabin holds maybe 100 m3. So for a good blast we need about 6 kg of the flour/sugar blend. How about adding some black powder as an accelerator?

As a scenario, have 5-6 people run through the cabin and spill each a kilo or so of the powdered material into all directions. Dispersal could be enhanced by swaying card boards or similar. When the concentration is high enough ignite the deadly dust cloud by electric spark or lighter (still permitted?).

In order to carry out the job efficiently the attackers should wear sars masks for breathing protection. I could imagine the use of an 'application device' such as a hairdryer mounted onto a powder bag.

What do you think? I personally rate this risk higher than the risk imposed by liquids. If you ban liquids, you should ban powders too. Maybe it's not been banned yet because it makes such a bad movie-plot?

Amit PatelApril 28, 2007 4:00 PM

All of the above laptop-battery ideas involve a small number of batteries controlled directly by terrorists.
My terrorist plot instead involves a large number batteries controlled indirectly.

We've all heard about the laptop battery fires in the past year. Can you trigger a fire via software? Perhaps, if you update the battery firmware with the wrong voltage/current tolerances.* So imagine a terrorist using an ActiveX malware to infect everyone's computer with a delayed system update for battery firmware. (Naturally in the movie the terrorist will be using a 3d interface to infect everyone's computers within a matter of minutes, and there will be a huge progress bar in the middle of the screen.) When it reaches a certain time, all infected computers around the world will install the malicious firmware, causing the batteries to explode.

Ten million laptops catching fire simultaneously — that's your movie plot moment. Yes, most laptops will be in homes and businesses, but every airplane will have a few, so you have a point in time when every flying airplane contains at least one fire (or explosion, in the movie version). There's no way to figure out why or who's behind it. Lots of terror.

And to satisfy the movie plot contest, all flights will be halted for a few weeks and then after that the TSA will ban all laptops. Next week: the terrorists infect cell phones and cause their batteries to catch fire.

[* Apple made me think of this idea with their recent software update that alters the battery firmware on my Mac laptop.]

dustbunny44April 29, 2007 2:19 AM

It is 2014. Air transportation terrorism scenarios have so paralized the industry, planes are allowed to fly only if passengers are shackeled to platforms on the plane for the duration of the flight, naked to ensure they are carrying no contraband, or in fact anything at all.

Nevertheless, a secret terrorist cell has discovered a combination of substances that, when eaten, cause an eruption of flatulence gasses so powerful and so deadly that when combined in an enclosed space lead to painful and fatal results. The real genius behind this plot lies in the chemistry of the packaging of these comsumed subtances, allowing the timing of their digestion to ensure that the planes will drop from the sky over cherished American cities.

In our story, Amy Mathers, a soon-to-be college graduate, has decided to forsake her shyness and fly with her fiance to his parent's home in Colorado for Thanksgiving. She has just settled down to eat the burrito served to her by the shifty-eyed swarthy person behind the counter of the Logan airport food court counter who has cleverly cross-referenced her picture to his list of passengers on flight 1765 .....

jockoApril 30, 2007 12:09 AM

Terrorists use non-dairy coffee creamer to blow up an airplane. They carry the powder on or get it from the flight crew. They create a dust explosion by suspending the creamer in the air by popping paper bags containing creamer or maybe even mailing tubes and dust-off. Ignite the dust with a cell phone battery or maybe an old magnesium flash bulb carried on by the antique camera collector.

Boob! Yikes! No more non-dairy creamer, paper bags, mailing tubes, dust-off, cell phones, or flash cameras.

(reference http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/15.01/start.html?pg=5 )

BrentApril 30, 2007 12:39 AM

There was nothing unusual about the twelve terrorists who passed through screening that morning. Nothing to trigger any extra interest from the TSA security. They had their boarding passes, photo IDs, perhaps a passport, and that’s about it. Maybe a few of them had one or two more photo IDs than a typical passenger, but why should that be a cause for concern?

As the plane rolled down the runway 11 of the 12 began slowly folding their licenses across a diagonal, slowly folding them in, and folding them out—not enough for anyone to notice anything odd—in and out, until the hard laminated plastic would break with a clean sharp edge. They did this first with their drivers licenses, then their student ID’s, then their backup ID’s. By the time drinks were being served they each had at least 4 sharp laminated-plastic edges—lethally sharp.

The 12th terrorist was not bending a photo ID but had instead borrowed a pen from the steward, saying that he wished to fill out the purchase form in air mall magazine. This 12th terrorist begin drawing tiny pictures in the corners of his passport. When the pictures were finished he used the edge of the pen to peel off his passport photo, revealing another photo beneath. By this time the other terrorists had long been ready, waiting for the artist—but he was a really good artist and everyone knows that great art cannot be rushed.

The eleven nearly-simultaneous stabbings, came quickly. In most cases the terrorist were successful in jabbing the sharp-edge of at least one broken photo ID into the jugular of at least one fellow passenger—and if not a jugular, the plastic broken IDs were good for taking out an eyeball or two. The initial horror and confusion left all other passenger in a shock for the few minutes that the artist needed.

The artist slipped his slightly modified passport under the locked cockpit door. The pilots looked at the photo there, and the message “flip through the corners of this passport to see your special movie��?, and soon opened the cockpit door to let the terrorist take control. The picture the pilots saw in that passport was one of their own families, bound and gagged in an unidentified locker, guns pointed their way. Each pilot expected to be flying home to his family that day, like any return flight. In the corners of the passport the artist had rendered a movie—he was really quite talented, and when the pages were quickly flipped the movie was horrifyingly realistic—depicting the atrocities that would be rendered to their loved ones if the pilots did not give up control.

When, a few hours later, the plane crashed into the city hall of Peoria, IL. The nation was at first confused, then horrified to realize the message: Nowhere is safe.

The TSA reacted quickly with a new regulation: Photo IDs of any kind would no longer be permitted on flights: no licenses, photos, or any other form of identification. And definitely no passports.

Ironically, this restriction on photo IDs actually did, over time, prove to make flights safer, as the TSA agents were now free to focus on other, pertinent, issues.

Dan IchovApril 30, 2007 9:19 AM

Her hands were shaking so badly, Alice had to dial the familiar number three times. Dear god, she prayed, please let Bob answer.

"Hello," boomed a male voice from the cell phone.

"Oh Bob, thank goodness you're there," gasped Alice in a distraught whisper, "and for god's sake keep your voice down."

"OK OK," said Bob, his voice dropping to a hushed, conspiratorial level. "Why are we whispering? Aren't you supposed to be on your flight to Pittsburgh? Are you trying to sneak a cell phone call? Don't you know that using cell phones in an aircraft is against the rules. Naughty naughty, girl. I'll need to spank you when you get home," he teased.

"You pig. Why can't you ever be serious? This is no joke," said Alice coldly, "my flight has been hijacked."

"Hijacked!" shouted Bob through the tinny earpiece.

"Keep you voice down or you'll get me killed," she gasped. "They don't know I have this phone. You know that new rule where passengers have to check their cellphones as baggage? I forgot to check mine. I don't know how they missed it at security, but I'm glad they did miss it. Anyway, honey, you need to hang up and call the police or 911 or somebody to let them know what's going on here."

"Slow down, Alice, you said hijacked. That's a pretty strong word. Are you sure? Who's hijacking you? How?"

Alice's composure begins to crack. Here eye's began to tear as she stole a glance down the aisle to the horror just two rows up. "Yes, Bob, I'm s-sure," she stammered, gaining a grip on herself. "I think they've killed all the flight attendants and two of the passengers. There's an dead man in the aisle not 10 feet away from me. They shot him, then after he was down, they... Oh my God, Bob, we're going to die!"

"KI..." blurted Bob, in surprise. Then, again under control he continued, "My god, Alice, how many of them are there? Do they have guns or something? How could they get guns on a plane?"

"I don't think they have guns. I didn't see much of it. When it started there was some shouting, a few dull thumps, and some screams. That's it. Nobody knew what was going on till they made the announcement. They called themselves the People's Front of Judea. They told us they had control of the plane and that nobody else would be hurt if we cooperated."

"Oh god!"

"Yes Bob. Everyone's seen the movie United 93. We know what a lie that is. So it wasn't more than 10 seconds after that announcement that a few of the younger men started discussing a plan to take back the plane. They rushed down the aisle as a group, but they were stopped. Shot. Two died right away. A couple more were nicked and probably will die too."

"Stopped? Shot? Shot how? You said there were no guns."

"I didn't see it myself, but the lady across the aisle from me had a better view. It's hard to describe – you'll think I'm crazy – but they're using a kind of a dart system. I don't know what to call it. Like a crossbow."

"You're not making sense, Alice. I'd better call the cops now," said Bob.

"Let me explain, first. You know those silicone wristbands everyone wears? The one's with "Find the Cure" or "Support the Troops" embossed on them?"

"Yeah, 'awareness bracelets', sure."

"They have one of those stretched over the spine of a book. Then they pull it back like a bowstring and load it with a Sharpie pen."

"You're joking?"

"No, Bob, I'm serious. There's a dead man in the aisle in front of me and he... His eye... He has a Sharpie marker..." Unable to continue as her emotions overcome her, Alice sobs quietly into the phone.

"It'll be all right... We'll get you out of there. They've got a lot more security since 911. The TSA will know what to do. I'll call now."

"Bob," said Alice, slowly regaining the ability to talk. "I think they have p-poison in the pens."

AlexApril 30, 2007 1:32 PM

TAS will have to identify and ban passengers with fake breasts.

A buxom female passenger arrives on a plane, a little sore from the cosmetic surgery resulting in her gigantic busoms, but the pain killers are kicking in, and the anti-anxiety pills. As evening approaches she brings out her little battery powered reading aid, a magnifying lens with a small light she places against a book. Except this one has a small pin attached with a wire connecting it to the batteries. It's an electronically activated firing pin that, when the time is right, she jabs into one explosive packed DD breast implant, setting off a cantelope sized mass of explosives, rupturing the cabin at it's highest elevation and causing a crash that no-one survives.

Robert EachusApril 30, 2007 1:58 PM

Lots of good ideas, and some impractical ones. Yeah, I know this is supposed to be a movie plot, not real life. But still, will the suspension of disbelief required to make a movie successful be ruined by terrorists getting into all the lavatories at the same time? On most flights they would still be waiting when the plane landed.

My favorite, I guess, was the sodium metal. The terrorist could probably get enough water in the lavatory sink to make it work. Of course, for a neat (but gross) movie plot, the terrorist would swallow the sodium covered in wax or varnish. Stomach acids would quickly dissolve the covering, and there would be a two-stage explosion--first the stomach, then the hydrogen/cabin air mix as the hydrogen diffused down to explosive levels.

But again, this is the movies. The plot might show a chained goat with a small spark to set off the explosion. (The main title should have a "No goats were harmed in the making of this movie," line.) The terrorists could then practice burping (using soda not beer) and flicking their Bic at the same time. The explosive mixture range for hydrogen gas and air is pretty wide, so, at least in the movies it should work every time.

Also note that if the air is moist, UV light can trigger an explosion. Not the most reliable trigger, but the "Say cheese" line would make it irresistible for script writers.

My original concept though is to use one of the nastiest explosives known. In addition it doesn't use nitrogen or any easily detectable chemicals. I'm talking about Xenon trioxide. Xenon hexafluoride is stable as long as it is dry. Put it in water and you get xenon trioxide and hydrofluoric acid. Hydrofluoric acid will etch glass and that might be used in the movie as a plot device. The movie will probably need a narrative scene where the super-villain explains and demonstrates the chemistry and practical effects to the financial backers. The most important effect is that XeO3 in solution is a powerful oxidizer, but otherwise relatively harmless. Once it dries out, an ant walking on it would be enough to set it off.

Later in the movie when a first class passenger adds a white powder to a glass of water and the glass turns cloudy, the audience will know what comes next--the drink will be spilled on the carpet in the aircraft. In reality it will explode before it finishes drying, and even a small amount will blow holes in the aircraft top and bottom. (What you have is a flat sheet of explosive, which will provide the most destructive force perpendicular to the explosion.)

This allows the protagonist to notice the etching of the glass, explain everything to the chief stewardess, and have the rest of the cabin crew trying to keep the stain wet during an emergency landing. Better make the protagonist an Air Marshall, so the crew believes him.

The plot should have the usual twists of the terrorist trying to get free or get the carpet dry. The pilots while heading for an emergency landing will also be looking for moist air.

Final scene, the hero and heroine are walking away from the now empty plane. The stewardess asks the Air Marshall if it will be possible to clean up the aircraft. "Maybe...(airplane blows behind them)...then again maybe not."

If someone were to do this for real, smuggling the Xenic acid (XeO3 in solution) through security has its advantages. You have to be crazy to do that--but that is already a requirement for blowing up a plane with you on it. Chemical sniffers have nothing to sniff--Xenon is a (very minor) component of air, and oxygen accounts for around 20%.

What about the 3 oz. rule? Not a problem. Well, there is where the fun begins. Put the Xenic acid in a Murine or other eyedrop container--or better contact lens cleaning solution. A three (liquid) ounce container could easily hold six or more ounces (by weight) of Xenic acid. So now the TSA has to weigh all those small bottles they make us carry. Worse, they are going to have to do actual math for those bottles that are partially full. ;-)

Tigin KaptanogluApril 30, 2007 4:46 PM

Panic! Scandal! Outrage! And this time it's not about Britney Spears.

A hijacked plane crashes into Times Square at 11:55pm on New Year's eve. Hunreds of thousands die. Public goes mad. Whatever the terrorists possessed during the hijacking, they want it banned.

As it turns out, they had instructions on how to hijack a plane written down on a small piece of paper. No, no. Read on. Not daring to ban paper from flights, TSA decides to check every single piece of paper at security checkpoints. This involves reading all books that all passengers carry. A good way to have an educated security force but turns out to be slower than expected. Silly as it is, TSA have no choice but to ban paper; it is easier, cheaper and more practical than teaching all TSA officers how to read. Now that paper is banned, the 500-page inflight magazines have to be carved in stone. Planes can't take to the air because of all that weight. Not being able to fly, they can't crash.

All in a day's work for TSA.

bstarkApril 30, 2007 7:37 PM

Operation Jigsaw,

which adds "solid" to the banned states of matter.

When we first meet our team of stereotypical engineer-hijackers, they are going on a shopping spree throughout the luxury stores of Hamburg, Germany (their place of residence). They are buying cases and accessories for the longest journey of their lives, and they are particularly asking for quality materials. Aluminum, steel and carbon fibers sound especially promising. Whenever something appeals to them, they purchase multiple identical items.

Later, they stop by a hardware store. On Sunday, they pay a visit to the local flea market and start arguing vigorously with a somewhat shady guy who sells electronic equipment of dubious provenience.

In a rented garage, we see them cutting knife-shaped pieces out of the metal cases. The knives are then sharpened, tested on tomatoes and other vegetables and finally re-embedded into the cases with two-component epoxy glue. After some grinding and polishing and a paint job, the cases look completely innocuous. But since the epoxy glue is intentionally weakened by slightly skewing the ratio of the two components, the knives can easily be retrieved.

Lockpicking tools are now made and embedded in the same way, not only into cases, but other items as well - even laptop computers with structural parts made of aluminum will do.

Enter the shady guy from the flea market. He brings a bulky device - which turns out to be an X-ray machine, similar to those used at airports.

Our future hijackers now "screen" their prepared baggage.

At first, the X-ray images conspiciously show the outlines of the embedded weapons and tools, but now the optimizing begins. Powdered metal is added to the glue to match the density of the surrounding material, enhanced geometry and the addition of distracting objects do the rest. Finally, the X-ray screens show nothing but perfectly acceptable carry-on baggage.

The plan is now to board flights with the prepared cases, to gain control over the cabin with the weapons, to try to open the cockpit doors, possibly resorting to brute force or even old-style threatening of the crew and passengers in case the embedded lockpicking tools fail, and of course to finally crash the planes into OMG Pearl Harbor!, yadda yadda.

But in fact, that's all just added bonus. The plot doesn't have to succeed at all to make every solid object suspicious. Carry-on baggage will be restricted to absolutely necessary things like passports and prescribed drugs, which will have to be carried in the already familiar transparent plastic bags. And even these will probably be banged full-force against a wall as part of the screening process, lest they disintegrate into weapons.

Enjoy your flight.

Greg AAApril 30, 2007 7:43 PM

This movie plot starts with the abduction of ordinary citizens from all over the country. These people are from all races, cultures, ethnicities, etc... There are no ransom demands, these people have just disappeared. Flash ahead to the near future... A rash of airliner crashes have begun. Authorities have determined these crashes to be deliberate, terrorist attacks. The crashes are found to be caused by strategically placed, small explosions of plastic explosives. Authorities are perplexed as to how this material is getting aboard the planes. Maintenance personnel are suspected, pilots and other air-crew are suspected, all are exonerated. One strange fact, the people that have previously disappeared are showing up on the manifests as passangers. Massive amounts of manpower are invested in trying to determine a connection between the missing people, their disapperance and the attacks. Finally, someone discovers one innocuous fact, all the missing persons had prosthetic eyes. Seems, these people were abducted, brainwashed, their "glass eyes" replaced with ones packed with explosives and placed aboard airplanes ...

alienApril 30, 2007 7:58 PM

46DD-Day

On April 30, 2007, two large women stood in line at the security checkpoint in JFK international airport. One was pulled aside for further screening. The female TSA security attendant later recalled, “She seemed nervous, but there was nothing in her purse other than a wallet and cell phone. She did have an awful lot of facial hair, though.��?

The “women��?-- Al Qaeda operatives-- wore antennae disguised as underwire in their 46DD bras. When activated, the antennae amplified transmission of wireless signals from customized “cell phones.��? These signals were designed to mimic GPS satellite signals, causing errors in airplane navigational equipment.

The two women boarded Delta Airlines flight 8978, bound for Israel. Later analysis revealed that four similarly hairy women also boarded Continental Airlines flight 90 (Newark), and Delta Air Lines 152 (Atlanta), also bound for Israel.

Just before landing in Tel Aviv at approximately 4PM on Tuesday, May 1, each flight veered sharply off course. The pilots on two flights sent distress signals indicating that GPS equipment was malfunctioning. Navigational problems were exacerbated by a mild dust storm on the ground, which lowered visibility. Delta Air Lines flight 8978 made a successful emergency landing. After several hours in a holding pattern, Continental Airlines flight 90 ran out of fuel and crashed during an emergency landing. Three hundred and fifty-eight people were killed. There were no survivors.

The third flight, Delta Air Lines 152, veered off course and then disappeared over Syria. Hours later, a group of terrorists claiming to be part of Al-Qaeda released footage of passengers. They demanded the release of prisoners from Guantanamo Bay or the hostages would be killed.

To protect Americans from similar terrorist plots, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) subsequently banned the use of underwire bras on all domestic and international flights. Passengers attempting to pass through security wearing underwire bras were escorted to a special changing room, where the dangerous lingerie was confiscated.

After the security checkpoint, passengers were provided the opportunity to purchase special TSA-approved lingerie, embroidered with “46DD-Day – Never Forget.��? Following public outcry, six months later TSA lowered restrictions, permitting underwire bras up to size 34 on board.

A TSA spokesperson said the agency was “absolutely committed to supporting American citizens.��?

adinApril 30, 2007 11:51 PM

Drat, ran out of time to finish this. Well, here's the draft so far....

What about explosives made to look like wasabi? Or better yet, mixed with wasabi, so that it's perfectly safe to eat, in small doses. In larger doses, well, it brings new horrors to the phrases "explosive diarrhea" and "projectile vomiting".


7. 4. 09.

"Wasabi Day"

The terrorists quietly and slowly open "in terminal" sushi franchises at LAX, San Francisco, and Seattle. They eventually use their slighly profitable franchises to finance and smuggle their deadly sushi onboard various airlines...in an alliance between the asian cartels and islamic radicals. They'll eventually be able to smuggle explosives from right inside the terminals...mixing the explosives into real wasabi to mask the smell and make it edible.

They initiate their nefarious plot by routinely putting small amounts of explosive-like chemicals in *all* the wasabi served over several months, creating an environment full of false alarms, rendering bomb sniffing dogs and residue detecting machines completely worthless.

Then on Wasabi Day, they increase the amount of explosives in *all* the wasabi, (which is served inside *every* piece of Sushi, Sashimi, and Sushi rolls). At each airport no one notices the nondescript arabic men that order "wasabi specials" over the course of the day.

The only out of ordinary events in the hours leading to the attack is the increased number of passengers getting sick, presumably from yet *another* e-coli outbreak. Only in the aftermath of the events of 7-4-09 do they realize that all of the sickened passengers noticed unusually large amounts of wasabi in their sushi.

While the health department and airport security was busy investigating the rash of food poisionings, the "wasabi specials" had already made their way onboard their targets all over the western seaboard.

In what initially appeared to be several middle-eastern men merely sharing sushi, the day turns into every flier's nightmare -- the staff is already swamped with passengers suffering from the tainted tasty sushi, leaving an opening for one of the passengers to slap something green and sticky on the door....*boom*, the cockpit door blows as several members of the Asian Islamic Terrorist Front stand up. Armed with green-wasabi explosive bombs and titanium sporks (from thinkgeek, nontheless! who knew?), they're able to keep the poisioned passengers at bay.

And before the day was done, thousands were sick, hundreds killed, and several planes flown into various west coast locations -- from the seattle space needle to the refining plants littering the Californian coast, south of LA. There was also one "bonus death" -- one man ordered the full sushi boat and scarfed the entire platter of 50 Sushi pieces in a desperate run for a flight he had thought was going to be delayed. The fatal flaw was his partially blocked GI tract causing a fatal case of constipation; his laptop battery sparked just as the built up methane escaped his nether-regions. All the passengers on the plane were considered martyrs to Allah for their unwitting sacrifices.

Once the confusion settled, the TSA realised that they could no longer allow any passenger to bring food on board an aircraft. They also had to criminalize production of titanium sporks. The owners of thinkgeek were charged (and convicted by a military tribunal) with "providing aid and comfort" to terrorists, and sent to Guantanamo Bay.

The TSA also realizing that "food" might be smuggled onto the airplane via the GI tract, instituted mandatory gate scans for food remaining in the GI tract. If any food was found inside the body via CT scan, they were immediately restricted from boarding, strip searched, and orally administered 12 fluid ounces of potassium citrate (anyone that's had a colonoscopy should know the stuff).

KMay 1, 2007 1:57 AM

It's not rocket science. Human nature will always respond to pain and suffering.

Simply plant a team of people onboard as passengers with no guns, no bombs, no sharp objects... then start to choke any and every random female onboard... I'm sure if the "planted team" frequent any Gold's Gym then a little windpipe won't be much resistance.

At some point the plane will land. The "planted team" will be jailed &/or executed but the scare will happen... and all with nothing but brute force which cannot be detected by any body checks @ the airports.

Although this is a very boring movie... how about poison airline food... it's close enough already! (Unless you're flying domestic ... then you starve). :-)

yoyomaMay 1, 2007 12:32 PM

Three teenage terrorists board the plane with yoyos and a plastic deck of cards. The first wields a yoyo like a mace to knock out a few passengers while the second uses the yoyo as a garrote on the incapacitated passengers to force the rest into submission. The third keeps any do-gooders at bay by throwing the cards (with sharpened edges) like ninja stars.

The TSA is forced to ban all children’s toys

Bren FlibigMay 1, 2007 3:27 PM

Sorry I missed the deadline, but my obvious plot is a behavior-altering virus, appearing much like a common cold, but that causes gradually increasing aggression and paranoia in its victims. Behavior-altering viruses exist, and it would just take a little genetic tweaking...

end result - no one with a cold, or cold-like symptoms, is allowed on a plane. Lo and behold, this forces the airlines to increase their air quality to stop inducing these symptoms in a large number of otherwise innocent passengers - REAL disaster.

tordrMay 2, 2007 2:31 PM

I know I am over the deadline as I have been busy subverting airline security during my airline trips in April, so I only want to get my thoughts written down before I forget them.

Plot for jamming airliners and maybe even bringing some of them down.
The screeners at airports are on the lookout for people of Arab origin and using racial profiling. So the terrorist will not bring the contraband into the plane themselves but rather use unsuspecting youth for the job.

The plot starts by the terrorist setting up a travelling agency and hiring a Christian white boss, he will only be a figure head of the agency and have no real power in the agency, but he will look impressive in the advertisements.

The travelling agency will do a start up campaign, where they advertise for incredibly cheap travels to far away countries. Lots of sun and parties, this is to attract young people that want adventure. They can even do targeted campaigns where they target children of people in important positions. The trips are so cheap that they gets lots of applicants and can pick and choose who they want to have on those trips. They will even offer the youth a laptop if they are well behaved tourists.

All the trips will be at roughly the same dates, with a common return date. So all the terrorists will be busy acting as local tour guides for a week or two. The way to make a perfect holiday is simple. Just feed the youth with lots of cheap alcohol keep the youth at a common hotel and give them a bus tour or two when they are sober, also give them possibilities to contact home so no frighted mother will suspect anything out of the ordinary.

Then at the return date all youths will be awarded a free laptop to take with them home for being such good tourists. Nobody says no to a free laptop, especially when this was one of the things that made people sign up in the first place.

You inform people that the laptops will have to be recharged and that due to a mixup they will get their rechanger when they return home, you also inform about how unreliable air plane baggage handlers are so they keep the laptops in their on-board baggage. One terrorist then travels with each group of youth carrying no suspicious laptop, but only a phone or two. When the plane is in the air the terrorist turns on his mobile phone which is actually a remote trigger for all the laptops. The laptops are not functioning computers but rather fully charged EMP (electro magnetic plus) transmitters activated by a wireless signal. The 20-30 EMP transmitters on each plane then to their best to fry the electronics on-board the plane. (The laptops can also be fitted with other nice features, like igniting and spreading harmful gases before they run out of power).

Note: When screening the application's the terrorists will do well to avoid any geeks, but rather go for more none-technical people. This is because a geek might ruin the plans, by dissecting a computer as soon as he gets his hands on one of them. Also for authenticity each computer can have an on-board ROM that displays something like standard Windows start up screen before displaying "low power" and going black.

DebMay 2, 2007 8:48 PM

BTW, I've been meaning to write for months, re: the last contest: Anyone ever see the Hitchcock movie "Saboteur"? The spies wanted to blow up the Hoover Dam, but got thwarted by our hero (Bob Cummings). It's almost shocking that an attack like this hasn't happened yet.
Good luck to all the contestants!

t.k.May 10, 2007 2:38 AM

(Way past the deadline but who cares)

God said let there be light. And there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good. Then he tried to switch it off but the damn button wouldn't work, so he called the stewardess. He saw her legs and they were good.

God said let there be food service. The stewardess (Wanda) said this was a domestic flight and a meal would cost 5 bucks... and that wasn't good. Nevertheless, He opened up His suitcase full of used twenties and ordered pasta and a whole crate of wine. The stewardess was suspicious and asked Him where He got all that money. He replied: "The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away and depositteth in an anonymous bank account in Switzerland." The stewardess asked Him: "Are you always like this?"

After a few bottles down the Hatch, the stewardess saw Him playing with His mobile phone. She tried to make Him turn it off but He kept on about "just thought of an eleventh commandment" and "got to e-mail the newsgroup before I forget".

When the plane safely landed, security taketh Him away. All the while He was still on about "Thou shalt not look at Wanda, I saw her first".

And so it came to pass that God was banned from flights.

(I hope I didn't offend anyone here... all in good fun.)

Hanging on to the edge of my seatMay 16, 2007 11:53 PM

Anxiously awaiting the announcement of the winning entry. Red rocket glare and bombs bursting in air are optional but add a bit of a pizzaz to the announcment.

BrianMay 22, 2007 3:16 PM

Scene One: Terrorists purchase several used cars, preferably cars with large keys. Go to numerous hardware stores and get copies made of these keys.

Scene Two: Terrorists use grinders to hone the edge of their keys to give them sharp edges. Be careful not to change the shape of the keys, or to make the sharp edge too obvious.

Scene Three: After plane takes off, terrorists take out keys on a decent sized key ring, place key ring on palm of hand, and make a fist, being careful to put the sharp-edged keys between their fingers, making something like brass knuckles. Jump up and start slashing throats of passengers and crew with sharp keys. Lots of blood, especially when arteries in the neck are slashed.

Postscript: TSA bans all keys on all flights.

AndrewJune 2, 2007 1:48 AM

Contest over!

The real-life TB airline passenger saga beats any fictional story here. We've got the CDC, a drug resistant disease, the ineffective no-fly list, border guards relying on profiling, and homeland security theater all contributing to a gigantic fiasco.

2EasyJune 5, 2007 1:01 PM

A terrorist walks to the emergency exit door mid-flight and opens it. Plane depressurizes and goes down.

TSA must either ban passengers or remove emergency exits.

BillJune 6, 2007 5:10 PM

First, grab Mick Shrimpton, drummer for Spinal Tap.

Bring him aboard plane.

Await spontaneous combustion.

No drummers allowed on flights. TSA sets up a drumming simulator. Anyone with aptitude doesn't get on the flight, but CAN be signed up as one of the rotating drummers in the Flock of Seagulls touring band.

StvamasterJune 15, 2007 8:32 AM

"water must be banned"...

Saliva, blood, urine could be used with similar exploding results, with metalic state sodium.

NicabodJuly 15, 2007 4:07 PM

Metallic sodium is highly reactive; it tarnishes quickly in air. It's also quite soft, like fairly-hard cheese, maybe. Don't regard it as an ordinary metal; it isn't.
Apologies if this duplicates other comments like this.

SawJuly 16, 2007 6:29 PM

Winning plot was nice fantasy but poor on facts. Sodium and water releases hydrogen and heat and the H2 mixed with air will explode.

Now get yourself some sodium and water and containers and play with it awhile. Really experiment. The threat is very low unless you have alot of Sodium and a very large container.

Now throwing some sodium into the lav or the vacuum lav may produce better results.

MegJuly 16, 2007 6:36 PM

Statistically why not just ban all Muslims, Arabs, Palestinians and like people with a 6th century mindset from all access to modern technology of ANY kind.

Sorry that would solve the problem, and we do not want to solve problems.

linoleumJuly 25, 2007 10:12 AM

Terrorists make a large donation to the Republican party, get invited to the White House for dinner, and use martial arts to beat up all the other guests at the dinner.

The only connection with airplanes is that they got to D.C. on an airplane, so they'd have to ban people who make donations to the Republican party.

Duo 9July 25, 2007 2:58 PM

Realistically, Meg DOES have a point, however blunt she may be. But that's not what this forum is about...

This is about the horrible terrorist plot that took place on August 18, 2007, where seven terrorists, armed with bars of soap in socks, managed to take control of the passengers of a flight from Phoenix, Arizona, to New York City, New York. After killing or incapacitating the first class section and taking hostage one of the stewardess', they proceeded to shove plastic silverware and other common utensils under her fingernails and tortured her until she opened the cabin using the keypad. The plane crashed in downtown Chicago, killing thousands. Unfortunately, there were several other similar attacks using steel toed boots as flails and a false diabetic’s “insulin��? syringe. A sad day for America indeed, as we can no longer have soap, socks, boots, or our medicine.

Jonadab the Unsightly OneAugust 5, 2007 3:12 AM

> Coat an emery board (nail file) in crystalline hydrofluoric acid.

Granted, HF *is* fairly nasty stuff, you have that part right. (Among other things, it's not high on the list of stuff you want in your lungs.) However, it's a room-temperature gas unless you know something I don't, and I'm not at all sure it's of any practical use for airplane terror plots, due to the difficulty of transporting it unobtrusively and without incident.

> Using electrolysis to split water into Hydrogen and Oxygen and then igniting the mix
> with a spark from the same power source.

This is completely unworkable. Even if you could smuggle on sufficiently sophisticated lab equipment to get 80% efficiency in capturing the released gasses and keeping them isolated from the air in the room and thus pure (a fantastically unlikely proposition), you'd still get less energy output than what was contained in the battery in the first place. You could probably get a bigger bang by just igniting the charged battery as it stands, and forget the water.

> couple of ounces [of Na], that would be enough to blow out the side
> of a plane, enough for what we’re seeing here.��?

No, it wouldn't, at least not if you just drop it in an open cup of water. A piece the size of a thumb will temporarily deafen everyone on the plane and spread the remaining water over a several yard radius very rapidly, but to blow a hole in the side of the fusilage, you're going to need a rather larger piece, or else the reaction has to be contained, probably both.

And as for what would get banned, screening for stuff that reacts with water would be *much* easier than screening for water. For starters, the screeners could have fine-mist spray bottles full of water and mist anything that looks vaguely like it could potentially be made of alkali metals. The small amount of water from the misting would not cause any explosions, but it *would* reveal elemental sodium pretty quickly. Water is another matter: the attackers could just drink a couple of quarts of iced tea on the way to the airport, and about takeoff time they'd have a supply of slightly-impure water ready to use. Believe me, it's the alkali metals that would get banned, not the water.

As a general rule, almost all of the chemistry-related ideas are either too complicated to be workable or require materials that for one reason or another are not practical to carry around and/or hard to get through a screening. I mean, yes, if you had a gallon of liquid potassium/magnesium/mercury alloy onboard there are probably a lot of ways to use it to bring down a plane, but let's get real here: actual terrorists are going to go for something rather more mundane.

metaddictaApril 1, 2008 10:36 PM

I believe the most likely scenario that could occur would at least prevent passenger terrorism in a personal way. Have them all drugged and placed in a cylinder. Package these neatly, and the airlines can make a larger profit by eliminating snacks, bathroom breaks, onboard luggage or in flight movies. All luggage can be sent on seperate flights to insure that no packed items can cause the demise of these passengers. Two flights cheaper than one when so efficient. Safer. All you need now is to have secure passenger preperations at the check in, weather control, prevent missle attacks on take off and landing, prevent small plane suicides into the larger planes, protect the fuel and maintenance and get auto-pilots that cant be programmed into islamic terrorists. Then the TSA can spend all the time figuring out how to spot who is out to get them. Multiple security check points needed spread far apart with low population density maintained to prevent large scale mayhem from any local bombers trying to infiltrate the check points. We can all line up and take our nap, wake up feeling fine, or never know the difference if they succeed.

lunaticMay 6, 2008 11:42 PM

Using a well rehearsed, calm, oratory, that includes references to Thomas Jefferson, you convince everyone on board, including the pilots to join a cause and hijack the plane.

The US outlaws oratory as a result, and all copies of early US revolutionary literature are confiscated.

Bruce Lee number 2May 21, 2008 4:42 PM

A well trained team of martial artists boards the plane and uses lethal techniques to kill the entire planeload, then take control of the plane and escape.The government will then have to sedate everyone who boards a plane.

GurudaDecember 3, 2008 5:43 PM

This is a Hi-Jacking scenerio:

A note left in the lavatory just saying there is a bomb on board that will be detonated if the plane does not land (at your country of choice)... then to back up the threat, some red cylinders with a wrist watch wrapped around it with something that looks like wires.

We all know that bombs look like dynamite with a timer strapped to them.. just watch TV or movies.

The end result will be the banning of any and all note writing material and anything that can be made to look like a bomb...wristwatches, alarm clocks.. anything that looks like a cylinder.

You get the Idea.

Dyson Dc25January 1, 2009 10:19 PM

BTW, I've been meaning to write for months, re: the last contest: Anyone ever see the Hitchcock movie "Saboteur"? The spies wanted to blow up the Hoover Dam, but got thwarted by our hero (Bob Cummings). It's almost shocking that an attack like this hasn't happened yet.
Good luck to all the contestants!

Idiots plotApril 5, 2009 12:08 PM

A dumb plot that could work,
Train suicide ducks or geese flocks to fly into jet engines. Then the TSA will have to deal with birds and this is not so easy to do. They will try to develop Bird Flu to kill them off and cause pandemic as an outcome. Realizing they can't do anything to save all flights they resume to follow normal procedures. Scary.

CanusNovember 24, 2010 12:45 PM

This isn't exactly involving an object that the TSA can ban but, ok. I'd imagine that a terrorist could surgically place a bomb inside him. It would have to be a large man, so the bomb cannot be detected. Once in the air, the bomb can be detonated remotely.

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