... undetectable bomb could be made for laptops, a remote trigger could not
'intelligence community had told him that although an "undetectable bomb could be made for laptops, a remote trigger could not".'
Whichever idiot said that has an entire planetload of scientists, engineers, bomb-makers , chemists and electronic engineers laughing heartily.
There are so many miniaturisable, disguisable, effective and reliable ways for creating detonators that the statement must have been made by someone of exceptional stupidity and/or ignorance. You can fit a ultra-low-power timing circuit or a barometric sensor or even a tiny RF receiver into something no bigger than an electrolytic capacitor. A microscopic piece of thin wire, indistinguishable from the 75,000 other interconnects in a laptop, acts as the final detonator.
Let's be honest: the idea of putting the stuff in the hold was witheringly stupid and did nothing to make anyone safer. Indeed, packing extra Lithium-battery devices in there probably made everyone LESS safe.
This was the predictably hysterical, ill-considered, ill-informed over-reaction to a piece of dubious "intelligence",and it merely happened to coincide with causing unnecessary inconvenience for countries the US doesn't like and airlines which it thinks unfairly compete with its own.
Sometimes stupidity is just regular dumbness, but sometimes it's enhanced by the presence of politicians and their weasel brains.