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PETN is a white powder that resembles a less-shiny version of sugar and is used by the military and commercial mining outfits.
"So anywhere people are allowed to handle explosives, it's there, and it's usually there in quite a bit of abundance because it's present in detonating cords and sheet explosives," said Jimmie Oxley, an explosives expert at the University of Rhode Island.
PETN was widely used in terrorist plots in the 1970s and 1980s, and as a result was among the first detectable explosives when tests were developed. PETN can be easily detected with today's airport screening technology, but it usually requires that a passenger or their luggage be singled out for screening, Oxley said.
According to investigators, Mutallab was not screened for explosives in Amsterdam.
Experts have also speculated that a new full-body screening method employing millimeter waves, or MMW, could have also detected the explosives, or at least the packaging affixed to Mutallab's body.
But unlike currently employed screening machines, which can identify banned chemicals directly, MMW scanners are only "anomaly detectors," said Oxley, who is a co-author of the book "Aspects of Explosive Detection."
MMW scanners can see through clothing to reveal metallic and non-metallic objects or other suspicious things on a passenger's body, but they cannot identify explosives by their chemical signatures.
Originally posted by jimmyx
this isn't rocket science!! all the above, have been associated with airline bombers, and it has been 9 years since 9/11!!!...........no, don't seach old, white, balding guy from kansas.........because.........he's NOT on a watch list, he DOESN'T have a middle eastern sounding name, and he's an OLD, WHITE, BALD GUY FROM KANSAS!!!! none, absolutely no... old, white, bald guy from kansas HAS EVER!!! joined up to blow the hell out of americans in airplanes.
[edit on 28-12-2009 by jimmyx]
...Investigators say 23-year-old Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab hid an explosive device and the chemical explosive PETN on his body while traveling from Amsterdam to Detroit aboard the Delta flight on Christmas day.
Originally posted by JIMC5499
reply to post by jimmyx
That would be profiling! We can't have that! The ACLU would have a heart attack! Too much common sense being used, we can't have that in a government agency!