Washington, D.C. – Aboard an international flight, a man disappears into the bathroom. Minutes later a small explosion rips through the plane, sending it spiraling into an American city. A terrorist attack. The bomb – one liter of liquid explosive secreted in the man’s large intestine.
Such is the scenario envisioned in a classified Transportation Security Administration memorandum entitled “Guidelines for Enhanced Internal Screening,” released today to news media by SweetLeaks.
The Guidelines anticipate “an internally secreted attack is highly likely foreseeable in the future.” To prevent that attack, the TSA plans to install a new screening device at airports – the PAL 9000.
The PAL 9000 is described as an “artificial intelligence imaging machine” developed by PAL Laboratories in Urbana, Illinois. The Guidelines state the device has “100 mm detection capability” designed to “examine passengers at key access points in their anatomy.”
Instructional diagrams indicate two points in men and three in women.
“No robot is getting all in my business!” Shaunte Green exclaimed, waiting to board today at Dulles International. Fellow passengers agreed another invasive security measure was too much to bear. “At some point, enough is enough,” Chad Sanders said. “If some terrorist nutjob got a bomb up his butt, you gotta throw up your hands. The world’s gone to shit.”
TSA Administrator John S. Pistole defended the probing plan. “We were late on the shoe bomber and the underwear guy. We need to get ahead of the terror curve. We’re going on the offensive.”
Experts agreed a large volume of liquid can be stored in and retrieved from the human body. “I saw a guy smuggled in six gallons of whiskey one time,” Ken Wiggins, Chief Inspector of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, said. “Ran a bar right out of his cell. Anything that can be regurgitated, eliminated, or…you know, it’s been done, I’ve seen it. Weird stuff too, like pudding.”
However, some counter-terrorism officials have denounced the TSA plan. “We can’t react to every threat, real or imagined, by layering on security,” said Bob Clarke. “After Richard Reid, the shoes come off. After the underwear bomber, strip search body scanners and genital pat-downs. Gels, liquids, ink cartridges… We can play defense all day, but if we don’t win the battle of ideas, the struggle for hearts and minds, it’s only a matter of time.”
Others, like Security Institute analyst Martin Nash, support more proactive data-based profiling, in line with the Israeli procedures. “The underwear bomber bought a one way ticket in cash with no bags and was on a watch list. Raise any red flags?”
Civil rights advocates are up in arms against any probing. ACLU Director Adrien Marcel excoriated the PAL 9000 as “an unparalleled invasion of privacy.”
But Administrator Pistole insists the PAL 9000 is effective and 100% non-intrusive. “The computer hovers over the relevant access point and scans internal anatomy. Deep inside. If the picture is clean, the passenger proceeds, it’s that simple. Nobody looks at anything inappropriate. PAL does everything.”
Passengers can also decline PAL 9000 screening. According to the Guidelines, “manual inspection” by TSA representatives will be alternatively available.
“We’ve got some holes in airport security,” Pistole continued. “You know that, I know that, and the terrorists know that. We’re taking a hard look at those holes, and one way or another, we’re going to fill them.”