Explosions on planes: How serious is the security threat?

After it was published that ISIS developed tiny bombs that can be activated via laptops, Channel 2 News spoke with Israeli security expert Pini Schiff, who explained the seriousness of the threat and ways to combat it.
Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

According to CNN, the intelligence community in the United States is concerned that ISIS and other terror groups have developed the ability to hide explosive materials inside electronical devices. In a conversation with Israel’s Channel 2 News, Pini Schiff, an airport security export, clarified: “Ben-Gurion Airport has been prepared for this possibility since the 1970’s. We were not surprised.”

Schiff explained that attempts to infiltrate explosive materials of various types into what appears to be innocent electronic devices is not new: “At the end of the 1980’s, Libyan agents succeeded to board a Pan Am flight with an electronic device containing 450 grams of explosive materials. The plane crashed to pieces. In international airports, for years, they have already been dealing with checking different electronic objects.”

“In this case, the publications speak of the incapability to disclose security measures,” Schiff noted. “It can be that technology cannot give a response for it. Having the ability to discover it is not enough.”

According to Schiff, it is very important to coordinate technology with human manpower: “They must connect technology to the human factor, which is almost more important than the technology itself. If we take the best technology and place a worker who is not skilled, who does not know enough about the ability to clear explosive materials from innocent technological devices, we won’t succeed to prevent explosive materials from getting on flights.”

“There are two things that are possible to do,” he added. “First of all, don’t fly these objects. If they are not on the plane, there is no danger. Second of all, it is possible to do more strict testing; for example, to check if the electronic device is working or to have its interior taken out.”

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