First take off your shoes.
Then show us your liquids.
Tell me you didn’t see what comes next.
Act 1 – The Adaptive Enemy
A guy tried to kill Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, the Saudi deputy interior minister. “[T]he bomber obliterated himself but the prince survived shaken but unharmed.”
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula said they were behind the attack. “No one will be able to know the type of this device or the way it was detonated,” they simpered.
According to the Star Times story, however, the U.S. private sector intelligence group STRATFOR learned “the terrorist adopted the novel tactic of concealing an improvised explosive device (IED) in his anal cavity.”
[Pause here to reflect on what this could mean for future airline boarding procedures.]
Dr Carl Ungerer, from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said the anal device “does pose real issues for airline security if the bomb is inside the person.”
STRATFOR agreed: “One other concern about such a device is that it would likely have a catastrophic result if employed on an aircraft, especially if it were removed from the bomber’s body and placed in a strategic location on board the aircraft.”
[STRATFOR's strategic analysis of the incident, written by Scott Stewart, can be found here. If for some reason you can't get access to that site, it is also posted on a fishing website called "Stripersonline." And yes, I had to check a dictionary to make sure "stripers" and "strippers" were two different words. But I digress.]
The New Zealand article ended with an uncomfortable reminder about the link between prevention and response:
“In 2001 a man on a US Airlines flight was caught trying to set off an IED concealed in his shoe. Passengers on many routes must now remove shoes and subject them to X-ray screening.
In 2006 British authorities thwarted a plot to smuggle liquid explosive aboard trans-Atlantic airliners. There are now limits on quantities of liquids passengers can take aboard international flights.”
Obviously an anal explosive device can radically alter the culture of preparedness.
As Australia’s Dr. Unger concluded, “That’s why perhaps there is now going to be a real push for these scanning type machines.”
Wait a minute.
What push? What “scanning type machines?” I didn’t see anything in the story about scanning machines.
I wondered what kind of devices he had in mind.
Act 2 – Enter the Boss
Anal secreting – if that’s the right term – has been used by drug smugglers and prisoners. So I figured there must already be a technological fix for this threat.
Not knowing quite where to begin, I stumble across Chris Irvine’s story in the Daily Telegraph, noticed and slightly re-titled by the ever vigilant “White-Pride-World-Wide” folks at stormfront.org: “Anus Scanners to be Introduced in UK Prisons.“
The story highlighted a chair-like scanning machine called the B.O.S.S. — short for Body Orifice Security Scanner.
[Pause here to wonder if the people who named this machine "The BOSS":
A) have a sense of humor,
B) are into S&M – not that there's anything wrong with that,
C) acknowledge the sociology of prison culture,
D) are completely tone deaf, or
E) all of the above.]
What is a Body Orifice Security Scanner? Well, you can let your imagination loose, or you can go to the B.O.S.S. website and get the facts.
The video shows you how to operate the BOSS. It also includes helpful operational details like what the default password is for the BOSS and, once you have control of its computer brain, how to modify the sensitivities of the various scanning parameters.
I’m absolutely certain, however, that someone who owned the BOSS would change the default “1-2-3-4-5-6″ password to something else.
Well, fairly certain.
Caution: If you do watch the video, be aware that near the 3 minute mark the film’s music track gets a bit disturbing. It starts to sound in places as if a cat were — well– being “Bossed” (in a manner of speaking).
Act 3 – A Gift from the American People
You’re a busy homeland security professional. What do you do if you come across a story headlined “U.S. State Department to give El Salvador anal and vaginal scanning systems”?
Do you read it or do you go back to your regular job keeping America safe?
Propelled by both scholarly and prurient interest, I read the August 11th story by Government Security News’ Jacob Godwin. It had more information about the BOSS:
“This [the BOSS scanning chairs] is actually a gift to the El Salvador government,” said a spokesperson for the company that received the State Department contract. The scanners will be used in several El Salvadorian prisons to prevent people from smuggling contraband.
The company spokesperson “sees a growing demand for these metal detection security scanning devices, particularly in the United Kingdom, where British officials have recently mandated their use in various courts and prisons.”
With apparently no sense of irony, the spokesperson also told Government Security News, “This chair is only penetrating 15 percent of its potential market.”
Act 4 – A Gift From Canada
The BOSS is designed to find metal objects. But what if metal is not used? Is there any technology available to find other anal cavity threats? Is this something TSA’s millimeter wave whole body imaging machines can catch? Does this mean more funding for those scanners?
The questions just kept coming.
At this point my wife suggested I take my head out of my own anal cavity and work on something a bit more productive.
“Ok,” I compromised, “just one more search.”
A few minutes later I discovered United States Patent 4393974, better known by its more formal name: “Waterproof plastic container.”
The patent was issued to a Canadian named Michel Levesque on July 19, 1983.
You can read a detailed description of Mr. Levesque’s device here. But perhaps an excerpt from the abstract will suffice for now:
His waterproof plastic container is “A utility capsule that is characterized by its simple and watertight construction and a smooth outer surface to be harmlessly concealed in one’s anus for transportation of small things such as could be used by secret agents, swimmers or any other person.”
Act 5 – A Gift From Shakespeare
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in’t!