WASHINGTON –Since the Sept. 11 hijackings, an FBI
lab here has been compiling a database of easily
concealable knives – including long, fixed blades
hidden in canes, retractable short blades hidden in
keys and lipstick tubes, and others made of nonmetal
composites that can escape detection by airport
magnetometers and X-ray machines.

Most of the nearly 90 samples photographed in the extensive
database of concealable weapons are commercially available for less
than $20, the FBI says. [This .pdf FBI document contains a gallery of photos and takes about 1 minute to download.]

“These knives should be treated as potentially
dangerous weapons,” warns the “FBI Guide to
Concealable Weapons 2003.”

The booklet, put together by the Firearms
and Toolmarks Unit
of the FBI Laboratory Division
at Quantico, Va., includes X-ray images of the knives
to show how they might look if concealed in a carry-on
bag and passed through a scanning device. Those made
of plastic composites appear “invisible.”

“It got a wide dissemination” in the federal
government, FBI spokesman Ed Cogswell said of the

Transportation Security Administration spokesman Brian
Turmail says he is not aware of the booklet, however,
and could not say for certain if it has been
distributed to all the federal security directors at
the nation’s major airports.

The hijackers who took control of commercial jetliners
and crashed them into the World Trade Center and
Pentagon were armed with box cutters.

The foreword to the FBI booklet says it is the “first
installment of a continuing effort to collect and
distribute information on knives that otherwise may be
dismissed as nonthreatening items.”

See photo gallery of FBI’s most dangerous concealable weapons.

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