Let's just set aside for a moment the obvious questions one might want to ask about a package sent from Yemen to a Synagogue in Chicago. I'm pretty sure that's a shipment that was flagged for additional security, and if for some inexplicable reason it was not, it is now. That, as they sing endlessly in the commercial, is Logistics. The only advantage that mailing a bomb in a box from Yemen has over a more traditional terrorist attack is that it is safe. Now, I don't know about you, but when I listen to the American Political Right these terrorists are brilliant, lethal, they can't be bargained with. They can't be reasoned with. They don't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And they absolutely will not stop, ever. But safe? They told me they WANT to die, to die in jihad is something something something. And, of course, it's all bullshit.
Nobody wants to be caught. You can convince people to die for your cause, but it's important to remember that most of the 9/11 hijackers had no idea they were on a one way mission. But its another thing entirely to sit in Yemen and put a ninety dollar bomb on UPS and say, hey, let's see what happens. That's pathetic. Dudes. You'll have to engage America from American soil, and you'll have to be willing to die or spend your life in prison. But beyond that, the tactics available are obvious.
I'm going to assume two things here. One, even at this point, they don't have trustworthy operators on US soil, and two, they want to carry out a real attack, not just some symbolic threat. So, first, getting your operators to US territory. The one thing the jihadis have, and really, the only thing they need is money. Money will get them everything else. Come on, they HAVE to know this, don't they? Having trouble getting operators on US shores? The North Koreans will happily make you a Cambodian or Thai or even Japanese passport for US dollars. You can buy virtually everything you need IN the US, weapons, ammunition, operational gear, communications gear, surveillance gear. You can buy Norinco AKs that are not difficult to convert to full auto. If you need to bring in specialized equipment, pre-built suicide vests, grenades, RPGs, Semtex, detonators, you can easily pay the Mexican cartels to bring it in. And weapons and explosives are cheap. If your shipment gets interdicted, hey, it was a cash transaction, just try it again.
If you game it out from the terrorists viewpoint, it's pretty easy to figure out how to approach it. And there are a million variations, from Canada to Montana transfers to freighters offloading off a deserted Oregon beach. But they chose, instead, to cross their fingers and ask that eternal question "What can Brown do for you?" There's really only two possibilities at this point. Either they are WAY smarter than we think, and they are walking a fine line of keeping the American population fearful without actually DOING something that might invite massive retaliation, or they are just hopeless, so beaten down by years of relentless American violence and vigilance that they just don't have a Plan B. It's hard to know, but given what we've seen, we have to arrive at two simultaneous conclusions. One, it's harder to attack America than it looks. And two, they may not realize how vulnerable we are to a few coordinated, small bore attacks. As long as they think they have to bring down giant skyscrapers to make a point, we're safer than we think...
We have now been informed that the bomb was built into a small desktop laser printer, with the toner cartridge packed with PETN explosive and wired to a cellular phone. Now, I have no idea what systems UPS has in place, but you can buy a laser printer in Chicago for less than $100.00. I can think of NO scenario where it would make any sense to ship one from Yemen to the US. Shipments like this, that are unreasonable on their face, certainly should require some additional security, it seems to me.
The additional question is why a cell phone detonator instead of just rigging the package to explode when opened? Wouldn't someone have to be quite nearby to actually observe the delivery in order to time the detonation correctly? That's got to be extremely difficult to coordinate.
Violence Resumes At Sea
6 hours ago