A U.S. official has told CNN that security concerns have risen since the recent publication of an al-Qaida magazine outlining the construction of new explosives. Despite this, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) declares that there are no specific terror threats targeting holiday weekend travelers.
The latest issue of Inspire, al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula's (AQAP) English language magazine and guide for aspiring terrorists contains an article, "Technical Details," in which AQAP explosives expert Ikrimah al-Muhajir outlines the construction of a relatively new type of bomb constructed from PETN. This material, along with other security evasion techniques, creates a device that is difficult to detect with traditional security measures. The magazine also boasts that the explosive has been tested in real terror attempts, namely the October 29th cargo plane bomb plot and the downing of a UPS aircraft in September.
CNN's unnamed government official also expressed concerns about al-Qaida's new "strategy of a thousand cuts." The organization has expressed its desire to use a wider range of small-scale attacks, capitalizing on the use of small, cheap explosives sent through the mail.
Although AQAP's new strategy deliberately uses remote-controlled devices that Inspire magazine says "do not require us to put a mujahid on board a plane," TSA is taking no chances. Administrator John Pistole defended the enhanced use of body image scanners and full pat-downs. Recent restrictions also prevent passengers from flying with toner cartridges, the explosive casing used in the most recent plot.
An IPT article about Inspire magazine's recent threats can be accessed here.