Intelligence: The Secret of Sniffing Hands


October 10, 2007: One of the more important intelligence tools in Iraq and Afghanistan are the instant gunpowder residue tests the troops have been carrying with them for the last two years. Now a new test, that detects if someone has been handling fertilizer explosives, is available. This one involves swiping a cotton swab across a suspects hand, and then spraying the swab with the detection spray. If the swab turns red within a few seconds, your suspect just became more suspicious. The gunpowder test has already caused an outbreak of repeated hand washing in the terrorist community. That will only intensify with the new test. Actually, the hand washing doesn't help that much, but troops know they are on to something if they spot guys with very clean hands. Scented soap is also very popular in this part of the world, so there's some hand sniffing going on as well.

All this seemingly odd behavior not only takes terrorist gunmen off the street, but provides interrogators with a large number of people who are likely to be involved in questionable behavior. That makes the intel job a lot easier.


Article Archive

Intelligence: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close