In announcements of near misses that we are most certainly glad of (but also, to be honest, look upon with a certain dose of cynicism, because you never know who’s angling for what), Scotland Yard has issued a statement saying that the toner-cartridge bomb discovered on a cargo plane in Britain in late October (bound for a synagogue in Chicago) may have been intended to explode over the U.S. East Coast.
“Forensic examination has indicated that if the device had activated it would have been at 10:30 hrs BST on Friday, 29 October 2010,” the Scotland Yard statement said. “If the device had not been removed from the aircraft the activation could have occurred over the eastern seaboard of the U.S.”
What that sort of in-air explosion would do over the East Coast, aside from, of course, blow up the cargo plane upon which the device was located, is not being commented on. The New York Times points out, “Because it is not clear that shipping times could be predicted with great accuracy, it remains unclear whether they would have known where the bomb would have detonated.” Beyond that, flight patterns change, which means that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, who’ve claimed responsibility for the plot, couldn’t really have predicted whether the plane would have been over Canada or, say, South Jersey, at the time of an explosion.
The good news is, now that said plot’s been discovered, large ink cartridges are banned from planes. Because clearly they’re going to try that again. Maybe with a large ink cartridge in someone’s underpants.