This the second prominent attack on a plane by underwear. Intimate apparel has been responsible in the past for the destruction of romantic moods, reputations, and a mother's pride. Not until recent history have unmentionables become serious threats to safety -- second only to hooded sweatshirts, which are currently the nation's foremost attire-related dangers.
In 2009, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian Islamist, tried to activate plastic explosives embedded in his underpants on Northwest Flight 253, en route from Amsterdam to Michigan. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) took credit for organizing the attack. The group is also suspected of orchestrating Monday's plot in Yemen.
Abdulmutallab was detected by passengers when he returned to his seat after 20 minutes in the lavatory. They claimed to have heard popping noises, smelled a foul odor, and saw Abdulmutallab’s trouser leg and the wall of the plane on fire.
A flight attendant who was present on Flight 253 explained: "Many of the passengers had come from Ghana before transferring in Amsterdam. And if you've ever had Banku -- with that spicy sauce they pour all over it -- loud popping noises, stench and flames are pretty common side effects. Fortunately, Dutch people from the Netherlands, unlike their counterparts in South Africa, have little about ethnic foods. They've probably only ever seen black people in Will Smith movies, so the behavior roused suspicion."
Details of this latest attempt, as well as the identity of the would-be bomber, remain unclear, but authorities say the plot was known in advance and followed closely. In fact, a deputy spokesperson for the National Security Council said that President Obama had been alerted to it last month.
"We wanted to make sure Mr. Obama was in the loop, and we were also hoping he could lend us some insight into what Africans put in their underpants, since he would have more intimate details on what natives of that region do," the spokeswoman said.
A Threat Beneath the Surface
CIA operatives investigating the case say that while al Qaeda may have improved its weapons delivery capabilities, it remains in the Dark Ages where fashion is concerned. And because this is the second time underwear has been deployed tactically, the CIA is focusing efforts on possible sympathizers in the United States who may be providing these "personal package delivery systems" to Islamic terrorists.
"We first looked at Hanes," said Grayson Hollisk, the agent leading the task force overseeing the clothing investigation. "Hanes typically peddles practical briefs at affordable prices. Based on al Qaeda's budgetary constraints and weakened network, we figured Hanes made sense. But the drawers we examined just didn't measure up to the same quality, contour or swagger. You know, they were basic white briefs, scratchy elastic waistbands, those weird overlapping folds in the front that you can never open, so you end up peeing all over yourself. You can't allow for that much moisture on the detonators. So, we ruled out Hanes."
Fruit of the Loom garments, according to investigators, more closely matched the higher end style of the underwear discovered. But the CIA also uncovered more evidence this afternoon that further raised red flags.
"When the company started back in 1851, I'm sure quality undergarments were the goal," Hollisk continued. "But that all changed in 2002, approximately six months after the attacks of 9/11, when Fruit of the Loom was purchased outright by Berkshire Hathaway. Who controls Berkshire Hathaway? Warren Buffett, America's most dubious 'capitalist.' Can't count George Soros, because he's Hungarian. Which makes him quite an anomaly as a generator of wealth. If he were Greek, we'd really be monitoring him. Anyway, Buffet is a proven communist. He's in favor of taxing the rich, he dumps cash into Democratic campaigns, he promotes a public option for health care, he openly admits to being a philanthropist, and he's on cordial speaking terms with his secretary. There's no way you get to be one of the world's wealthiest people with those ideals. It's well within reason to suspect that he could be funding the anti-capitalist, anti-West terrorism of al Qaeda."
Hollisk said he also feels that Buffett's famously ironic sense of humor lends itself to the symbolism of panties exploding a phallic shaped vehicle full of what al Qaeda sees as "a**holes and d**ks."
(c) 2012. See disclaimers.