• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 41s

U.S. issues toothpaste tube terror warning

By CBS News 4:15 PM February 5, 2014

The alert came after the arrests of female Chechen suspects in Austria and France as part of a probe into an alleged terror organization that was talking about smuggling explosives onto aircraft

The United States has warned airlines that terrorists looking to disrupt the Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, could conceal bomb-making components in toothpaste tubes or skin care product containers, CBS News confirmed Wednesday.

The worry is that teams of operatives could smuggle those tubes on board a plane along with other component parts and then assemble an improvised explosive device while the plane is in flight, U.S. officials said.

They said the potential threat is aimed at Russia and the Sochi Olympics, which kick off Friday.

Russia on Wednesday banned all liquids from being brought on board flights in carry-on baggage, a U.S. intelligence source said. Anything containing liquid, no matter how small an amount, must be in checked luggage.

The Department of Homeland Security has issued the warning to U.S. airlines and some foreign airlines as well.

Officials said there is no indication that the United States or Americans would be targeted, but the warning was given to U.S. carriers operating direct flights to Russia and flights between international cities and Russia during the Winter Olympics.

“Out of an abundance of caution, DHS regularly shares relevant information with domestic and international partners, including those associated with international events such as the Sochi Olympics,” the warning said.

The alert came after the arrests of female Chechen suspects in Austria and France as part of a probe into an alleged terror organization that was talking about smuggling explosives onto aircraft, sources said. The suspects in Austria were released due to lack of evidence.the suspects in France are still believed to be in detention.

The U.S. currently has regulations banning passengers from bringing on board any containers with more than 3 fluid ounces of any liquid or gel. That includes toothpaste containers.

Officials are not aware of any specific threat involving toothpaste tubes, a federal terrorism official told CBS News.

“To make people aware is a good thing,”  the source said.

“Technically, toothpaste tubes could be used to conceal bomb-making ingredients, just like printer cartridges or a shoe. This may be the new hot item,” the source said.

While Russia says it has established a “ring of steel” around the Olympic venues, there have been widespread concerns that Muslim militants from the Caucasus could attack the games.  Some U.S. athletes have said they have asked their families to stay home.

Russian authorities have issued wanted posters for so-called “black widows,” women whose husbands, brothers or fathers have been killed by Russian security forces and may be seeking revenge.

Russian security services have waged a take-no-prisoners assault in Dagestan, just a few hundred miles from Sochi.  Dagestan, along with neighboring Chechnya, is home to an Islamic insurgency that has been battling Russian forces for years.

It’s where Tamerlan Tsarnaev lived for months before authorities say he and his brother launched a bomb attack on the Boston Marathon last April.

The State Department has advised Americans traveling to the Olympics to “remain attentive regarding their personal security at all times.”

Latest Stories

  • News

    Tears, laughter and healing: Murdered teen remembered at Palmer vigil

    by Bonney Bowman on Dec 09, 22:23

    Hundreds of people braved single-digit temperatures to remember David Grunwald, the Palmer teen murdered almost one month ago. Family friends organized a candlelight vigil as a way to not just mourn the 16-year-old, but to take steps toward healing from the pain of his passing. “We just want to get back to the core of […]

  • News

    Troopers: Remains of passenger in plane crash near Fairbanks recovered

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Dec 09, 22:09

    Alaska State Troopers were able to recover the body of the only passenger on a plane that crashed Wednesday near Fairbanks. The agency is waiting to provide positive identification of the passenger on board until after the autopsy. But Gov. Bill Walker identified the passenger as former Alaska lawmaker Mike Kelly earlier this week. In […]

  • Lifestyle

    Climate change film ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ gets a sequel

    by Associated Press on Dec 09, 21:56

    LOS ANGELES (AP) – Al Gore’s climate change documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” is getting a sequel. Paramount Pictures said Friday the follow-up to the Oscar-winning original will premiere at next January’s Sundance Film Festival. In the new documentary, former Vice President Gore examines global warming’s escalation and the solutions at hand, Paramount said. In a […]

  • News

    Father and children headed to Anchorage for volleyball tournament when plane disappeared

    by Lauren Maxwell on Dec 09, 21:20

    A statement released from family members of a father and two children, who likely died in a plane crash near Port Alsworth on Wednesday, said they were traveling to Anchorage to attend the Alaska State Volleyball Championships. The National Park Service has identified the pilot as 25-year-old Kyle Longerbeam. The passengers are identified as 45-year-old […]

  • Surveillance footage captures attempted break-in at Anchorage bike shop

    by Eric Ruble on Dec 09, 21:04

    The general manager of The Bicycle Shop, on Northern Lights Boulevard, said other local businesses should be on the lookout for a man who attempted to break into the shop Tuesday morning. Surveillance footage shows a man using a crowbar to try to pry open the front door of the business. “The doors looks like you […]

  • Colony Christmas brings community together after teen’s murder

    by Shannon Ballard on Dec 09, 20:33

    In the wake of Palmer teen David Grunwald’s murder, the mood around his hometown has been rather grim. Organizers of a longtime holiday tradition want to put a bit of hope back into the season. Colony Christmas kicked off Friday and continues through Sunday. Each year visitors and locals flock to downtown Palmer to enjoy […]

  • News

    National Park Service: Parts of missing plane bound for Anchorage recovered in lake

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Dec 09, 18:43

    Last updated at 7:40 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9 Parts of the missing plane were recovered Friday, according to Lake Clark National Park and Preserve chief of interpretation, Megan Richotte. Richotte said three wheels and a co-pilot seat were found in Upper Lake Clark, near where the family’s luggage was found and about 11 miles […]

  • 4 additional teens charged in connection to Grunwald murder

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Dec 09, 17:45

    Last updated at 8:22 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9 Four additional teenagers were charged Friday in the killing of 16-year-old Palmer teen David Grunwald. According to online court records, Dominic Johnson, 16, Devin Peterson, 18, and Austin Barrett, 19, and Bradley Renfro, 16, face multiple charges in connection with Grunwald’s kidnapping and murder. Johnson is charged […]