back to article MIT student walks into airport wearing circuit board and wires

An MIT student was arrested at gunpoint today at Boston's Logan International Airport after she entered the building wearing a black hoodie with a computer circuit board and wiring attached. Star Simpson, 19, claimed she was just at the airport to pick up her boyfriend, and was charged with possessing a hoax bomb device. "She …


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  1. Morely Dotes

    @ yeah, right

    "nobody over there seems to think this is a bad thing."

    Wrong. The general citizenry think it's a bad idea. Unfortunately, Herr Fuehrer Bush and Herr Reichschancellor Cheney think it's a wonderful idea. And since they have the military power to enforce their hare-brained ideas, the rest of us are patiently waiting for the next election.

    One nation, under surveillance.

  2. Andy Bright

    For god's sake your not really defending this are you?

    Tell me she wasn't having a joke and a laugh and pretending to be a suicide bomber and you're as full of shit as she is.

    It IS totally against the law to do what she did, regardless of how implausible the so-called suspect device was. And only the most fucking retarded individual would pretend she didn't know what she was doing was against the law, and would then hope anyone would believe the excuses of a 4 yr old.

    It's as stupid as walking into a police station waving a pretend gun around - she deserved to have her brains blown out as a warning to morons everywhere.

    I hate people like this, they're the same type of idiot that thinks its fine to test airport security with fake weapons in their bags. No it isn't okay - they have people to do that, and it doesn't tell us anything we don't already know, that airport security is as shit as it's ever been.

    Fucking retards like this need to have some sense soundly beaten into them. The worst part is that they give ammunition to spineless politicians, the kind that passed the Patriot Act. They give ammunition to over-zealous security, the kind that banned bottles of water on planes.

    She's just another spoiled brat that thinks she has the right to do anything she wants. Hope she gets to learn at last that there are consequences to your own actions. Fucking with airport security is a crime, and if she really is so stupid that she didn't know that, she's about to learn the very hard way.

    Sympathy? Fuck off.

  3. Jared Vanderbilt

    Nerd Hazing

    This was a simple hazing incident by upperclassmen. The scheme was constructed by electrical engineering students nursing on a keg of beer.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So we should have the freedom to walk around with fake bombs, without fear of them being taken seriously?

    > On my way home this evening I hope to find a liberal (And please pay

    > attention to this because it's quite subtle and very clever.) Do a "Barrymore"

    > on them, after which they'll be unable to walk and bleed to death, provided

    > they don't drown first.

    Should I have the freedom to walk around claiming that I'm planning to bugger people to death? How do you know I don't mean it?

    Someone on this list suggested civil disobedience, that the airport should be inundated with fake bombers to overload their security. How fucking stupid can you get? Airport security is not just for the hell of it, people have tried and manged to blow planes up before. With many more dead, and far smaller cost than it'd take to blow up a building or a home.

    I'm sure there are things that the dead of the London, Lockerbie or New York attacks would have died for. But I doubt many of them would have sprung for

    `I'll die for somone else right to call all security guards "you wankers"',

    And to be honest if that was all that their life was worth, then they were no great loss.

  5. Morely Dotes

    Stupid student, stupid cop, stupid El Reg reader

    "If the cop had shot her it would have been on their conscience for the rest of their life"

    Uhm. Are you aware that most of the "real" suicide bombers have a "deadman switch" that causes the device to explode if they let go (e.g., they've been shot dead and the had relaxes)?

    If the cop had shot her *AND* she had actually been wired with a bomb, chances are the cop - and everyone else within 15 meters - would be dead or critically injured.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It seems to me that even in the good old pre-GWOT days ...

    ... this sort of "art" would not be tolerated.

    What was different back then was the lack of an appreciative audience.

  7. JC

    Nobody's THAT stupid

    Whatever this girl's problem is, she was obviously misguided and looking for attention, nobody is stupid enough to put a makeshift circuit board on their shirt and walk around an airport if they weren't looking to be taken into custody.

    As for the fellow who felt it didn't look like a bomb, yes it would be stupid to draw attention by displaying the electronic parts which are unrelated to a bomb yet still foreign enough to the average person to alarm them, but isn't that exactly what someone toting a bomb would want you to think, that it's obviously not one? Depending on how large a bomb, there is no requirement for it to look like what you would see on some hollywood movie, at least not externally.

  8. John Utz

    posessing electronics is not a crime!

    i strongly urge those of you that consider the arrest of star simpson to be legitmate to consider the following things.

    Mossad used to make some highly effective and stealthy cell phone bombs that they used with great effect.

    people carry these and other larger electronics items into airports all of the time and none of them get arrested.

    many people have accomplishments that they are very proud of. sometimes they like to share them with loved ones.

    I am an electrical engineering graduate and i took my first ever working circuit home to show my wife and child and they did not have me arrested.

    I am completely certain that many people who are characterizing the arrest of star simpson as legitimate behavior have:

    1. been proud of their technological accomplishments and choose to display their pride by wearing a tux shirt or something that says MSCE on it.

    2. purchased and wore those goofy led id badges that where popular at nerd conventions. perhaps you had your name programmed into it or you had it programmed to say 'i heart star trek' or something.

    3. carried cell phones and laptops and other electronic items into airports while wearing your nerd shirt.

    the only differnce between u guys and her is that she made her OWN nerd gear herself and you guys PAID for yours.

    you where not arrested. she was. the fact that she was arrested is a huge mistake and she should be apologized to and compensated for her trouble.

    Now lets talk about the REAL PROBLEM: Lack of Law enforcement training. An 8 hour tutorial on recognizing electronics would have vastly lowered the possibility of this mistake *and* the aquateen hunger force fiasco.

    Please do something constructive with this! Please urge your local public safety profesionals to work with your local electronics education professionals to create a 1 day electronics seminar combined with some IED recognition training.

    If you take a few minutes to do this, you wil make ALL OF US SAFER!

    tnx for reading!


  9. call me scruffy

    @john utz

    As for the phone, yes with

    a large budget,

    specialist resources,

    lots of imagination

    a great deal of time,

    it is POSSIBLE to duplicate a piece of consumer electronics, but with a usefull explosive in it. It isn't just a case of putting a cheapass batery in your phone! AND It's out of the scope of most terrorists.

    Now for the geek aspect...

    You'd be proud of a BREADBOARD?!

    A PCB perhaps, I've had a lot of fun etching boards. (As my housemates will attest to) but a breadboard? I've built so many things on breadboards I don't have time to be proud of any of them.

    Having looked at the pictures, and with a postgraduate degree I wouldn't bet _my_ life that that mess wasn't malicious, let alone anyone elses life! And you think you can explain the significant points in eight hours?

    Saying that frontline security should be able to determine that this isn't dubious is like saying that frontline helpdesk should be able to talk you through a linux install on any given piece of kit.

    The best that they can hope for is that front line security spot anything that's dubious, and pass it over to an expert, which this time they did.

  10. Smallbrainfield

    Quoting Adam Azarchs...

    " Do I have to label all my positions "not a bomb" just in case? (actually, that would be a really bad idea, but my point stands)"

    Posessions, Adam, not positions.

    If you labelled your positions, that would be akin to "The Joy of Sex" or the Kama Sutra, something I'm sure everyone would rather not see happen, let alone have to think about.

  11. Simon

    @Voice of reason

    Don't believe everything you read in your liberalist papers either....

    Both of the facts I quoted can be verified by a little research on the Internet. Look at some of the official crime figures for London...

    Also read this article for more information. The figure quoted here is that 70% of muggings are carried out by black youths which would *still* be vastly disproportional even if the population was 50% black. Police Commissioner Paul Condon even famously quoted that ‘80% of muggers are black’. Can you really dispute this?

    Operation Trident for example was set up to deal specifically with BLACK gun crime in London. There is no equivalent initiative to deal with white gun crime. This is because it's not so much of a problem....

    Most recent terror attacks have been carried out by Muslim males. That's an undisputable fact.

    It's not racism, it's just the way it is. Stop playing the race card…

    Big Love,


  12. Peter Mellor

    Re: Is it or isn't it?

    Is it or isn't it?

    Posted Monday 24th September 2007 15:21 GMT

    "Seems there was a guy named Richard Reid who had wires running out of his clothing. If not for some alert individuals taking some action, we would have had another airliner falling in pieces from the sky."

    My recollection of the Richard Reid case is that he was detected and stopped when the passenger in the adjacent seat to him noticed that he was apparently trying to light the ends of his shoelaces with a match.

  13. call me scruffy


    It always amuses me that bleeding heart arguments hardly ever understand, let alone USE statistics.

    Simon, who I agree with, has quoted a statistic that 70% of muggers are black.

    This is utterly distinct from claiming, that 70% of black men are muggers.

    Still let them have their fun. Soon they'll start complaining hat men are far more likely to be suspected of rape than women.

  14. call me scruffy


    You're onto a losing horse there mate!

    Your typical liberal sincerely believe that The Independant is actually independant, The Observer reports what it sees, and the Guardian protects anything other than it's own arse. These sources are pristene, sincere, pure, god's own truth that needs no corroboration. They know these facts to be true because they were in the "ladybird book of genuine truths that all liberals must know" that they parents taught them to read from.

  15. Peter Mellor

    Why the different reaction to the MIT fiasco and the attempted bombing of Glasgow Airport?

    I can't help being struck by the different tone of the reaction to the hoax bomb (if that is what it was) by the young MIT student, from that of the reaction in The Register which followed the attempt to ram Glasgow Airport. The reaction to the MIT student seems to be at least 50% in favour of punishing her, or that it would have been her own fault if she were shot.

    The reaction in these pages to the Glasgow attack (and to the preceding attempted vehicle bombs in London by the same gang) was overwhelmingly that we were stupid and alarmist to take such inept attacks seriously. Most commentators adopted the bloody stupid attitude that these attacks should be laughed off, although the attackers DID intend lethal attacks, however incompetent they were *this time*.

    The problem with incompetent attackers is that they (or their comrades, if they do not survive) learn with practice. We might not be so lucky next time.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Yeah, obviously.


    Simpson was "extremely lucky she followed the instructions or deadly force would have been used," Pare said. "She's lucky to be in a cell as opposed to the morgue."

    Is a bit more in line with with what you would expect from a police state.

    Frankly, being American, I am a hundred more times concerned about being killed by an over reacting Peace Officer, or another heavily armed American, than I am by a "terrorist". I think the stats now stand at well over 100k Americans killed by armed (hand guns, rifles, and assault weapons) Americans since 9/11. Violent country this one. Always has been, really, but it's getting a lot worse.

  17. Angry Conservative

    A larger collection of altruistic asswipes won't be found....

    Stupid girl trying to prove a point apparently hadn't realized that you do something that would obviously put fear into the hearts of people will get you smacked down.

    I hope more morons from the free love generation strap on their own homemade circuit boards and play-doh mock explosive devices and rid the world of their pathetic whining puss-filled waste of space lives.

  18. Josh

    Was this posted on Drudge or something?

    I'm seeing a lot of really dumb pro-police state commentary.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Was this posted on Slashdot or something?

    I'm seeing far more knee-jerk pro-dumb ass commentary!


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