FBI Catalogs Potential Weapons
August 7, 2003 Washington -- The FBI is urging airport security personnel to watch for dozens of seemingly everyday items -- from hairbrushes
to crucifixes -- that can conceal knives or other weapons terrorists could use to hijack an airliner.
Many cost less than $20, are readily available and can be difficult to
detect using airport screening devices, according to an FBI statement accompanying the 89-page catalog which has been converted
into a compact disc and circulated to airport screeners and law enforcement around the country amid heightened vigilance intended
to prevent another suicide hijacking by al-Qaida.
"It was designed to raise security awareness for law enforcement and airline
security," FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said.
US law enforcement officials previously have warned that al-Qaida might
use improvised or easily obtained substances to mount attacks, especially chemicals that are dangerous when mixed. What makes
the FBI weapons list unusual is that most of the concealable knives, pepper spray devices, and other items are inexpensive
and can be purchased from manufacturers in the United States and other countries.
Knives can be concealed in belt buckles, hairbrushes and combs, working
cigarette lighters, crucifixes, lipstick cases, canes, umbrellas, keychains, pens, mock credit cards and money clips. While
many of the blades are small, others can be over 4 inches long and some are sword-length.
Among the more exotic items is a deck of fake playing cards made of metal,
with sharp edges, that can be thrown with deadly results. One fake key made in Japan conceals a knife and a smaller key that
could be used to escape from handcuffs.
One device, called a "shuckra," is a metal tube containing a wire that,
when locked into place, becomes a hardened spike that could be used as a dagger.
There are false name-brand soup, hairspray, shaving cream, and cleanser
cans with hidden compartments the FBI calls them "can safes" where weapons or dangerous substances could be placed. Fake books
with hollowed centers are used as safes.
Each item in the catalog is shown with a ruler to give security personnel
a sense of scale and an X-ray image of how it might appear when viewed in a screening device at an airport or building entrance.
The FBIs collection was purchased through catalogs, at knife shows and
through other commercial outlets. Officials said none of the items was confiscated from passengers. -- Excerpted from the full article with video and graphics at MSNBC