Anti-terrorism Vigilance Heightened Following Osama bin Laden Death
Excitement over the killing of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden is being tempered by security experts concerned that al Qaeda will strike in revenge. That worry is compounded by a statement from the Taliban over the weekend, announcing the beginning of a new campaign to attack U.S. led coalition forces in Afghanistan. As a result of these events, security experts in the Middle East, Europe and the United States are pointing to new technologies that can detect person-borne concealed objects, such as “suicide bomb vests,” from safe distances, as a needed measure of protection.
Concern that al Qaeda will soon strike comes directly from the White House. In his Sunday evening address to the nation, President Barack Obama warned, “There's no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must and we will remain vigilant at home and abroad."
European experts are likewise on alert. British Prime Minister David Cameron says the West must remain watchful in the coming weeks. INTERPOL is predicting increased risk, and France will remain on a “red alert” for a terrorist strike.
"The scourge of terrorism has undergone a historic defeat, but this is not the end of al Qaeda," French President Nicolas Sarkozy said, shortly after U.S. Special Forces raided the compound where bin Laden was living, killing him and four others.
News of bin Laden’s death quickly overshadowed another week of terrorism, including multiple incidents of suicide bomb attacks. The most recent one on Sunday was conducted by a 12-year-old boy wearing an explosive vest. The preteen blew himself up in a southeastern Afghanistan province, killing four people including a local council chief. Other suicide attacks last week claimed 12 lives in a Baghdad mosque, and 15 others in Moroccan tourist district.
“We are grateful to U.S. Special Forces who risked their lives to ensure justice was served. At the same time, escalating acts of terror, worldwide, require us to remain guarded,” said Richard Salem, CEO of Thermal Matrix USA, the maker of suicide bomb detection technology. “Now more than ever we must deploy this state of the art technology to keep both troops and citizens safe.”
One such system is ACT, Access Counter IED Technology. By incorporating long range infrared sensors, the Thermal Matrix ACT system can identify a suicide bomber regardless of his clothing or uniform, giving that warning long before a terrorist is able to reach the intended target.
“Real time, standoff detection, sets this system apart from all others in the industry,” says Thermal Matrix Executive Director Michael Reinpoldt. “Powerful IR sensors enable the ACT computer system to instantly analyze and determine if a subject is hiding a concealed object, including the powder, plastic, liquid and gel explosives all being used by suicide bombers.”
Portability and ease of setup are also major attributes to the ACT system. The system is designed to be used by a single operator, indoors or out. With a set-up time of less than ten minutes, ACT is designed for multiple applications in a wide range of environments. In addition, there are no privacy concerns, as infrared imagers are not x-rays, but instead analyze the surface of clothing.
“We fear suicide bombings will continue until we prove to terrorists that we can stop them,” Salem said. “Fortunately, with the ACT system, we now have the technology necessary to do just that.”