TSA Chief: Bad Hygiene 'Degraded' Underwear Bomb

Would-be bomber wore it for weeks, and it apparently got damp

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 25, 2014 7:17 AM CDT

(Newser) – You likely remember the failed underwear bomb aboard a 2009 flight to Detroit that sent Umar Abdulmutallab to prison for life. What you may not know: The plot seems to have failed thanks in part to lousy hygiene. In a panel discussion yesterday, TSA chief John Pistole said Abdulmutallab had been wearing his underwear bomb for more than two weeks, the Telegraph reports. (That was apparently to get used to it, Detroit's WXYZ previously reported.) When asked whether the bomb's fuse had become "damp" as a result, Pistole said, "Let's say it was degraded," as the audience chuckled. "We're getting kind of personal now."

Pistole agreed when his interviewer joked, "Thank goodness for poor hygiene, right?" The TSA chief also said there's no timeframe for lifting new security measures at overseas airports, including a focus on phone and shoe bombs, reports Fox News. He also worried about the perimeters of some foreign airports being vulnerable to shoulder-fired missiles, though he didn't go into specifics.

This December 2009 photo released by the U.S. Marshal's Service shows Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in Milan, Mich.
This December 2009 photo released by the U.S. Marshal's Service shows Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in Milan, Mich.   (AP Photo/U.S. Marshals Service, File)
This undated 2009 file image obtained and provided by ABC News shows underpants with the explosive used on a failed plot to blow up an airliner over Detroit on Christmas Day, Friday, Dec. 25, 2009.
This undated 2009 file image obtained and provided by ABC News shows underpants with the explosive used on a failed plot to blow up an airliner over Detroit on Christmas Day, Friday, Dec. 25, 2009.   (AP Photo/ABC News, File)
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