Covert way to collect samples

2008-10-12

in Bombs and rockets, Security

A clever way to learn who in a town is making bombs: start a laundromat, send coupons to every house that are marked to identify each, then test the clothes and bedding for residue from explosives or explosive precursors. You can start with coupons specific to each street, then move to another set numbered for each house once the proper streets are identified.

Apparently, the British used this tactic against the IRA.

As with many security-related things, I learned about it from Bruce Schneier’s blog.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah October 14, 2008 at 3:19 am

That’s pretty cool, though of course less effective if people rarely use public laundries, which tends to occur as they get wealthier. Of course wealth probably leads to more dry cleaning, but I doubt one makes bombs in dry clean only apparel. Back to the drawing board…

Milan October 14, 2008 at 8:47 am

The story suggests it worked at the time.

The fact that the story is being told suggests that they no longer expect it to be an effective strategy.

Milan October 14, 2008 at 8:52 am

“After confirming addresses, authorities with the SAS teams swooped down on the multiple homes and arrested multiple personnel and confiscated numerous assembled bombs, weapons and ingredients. During the entire operation, no one was injured or killed.”

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