Judicial Watch • TSA Misses Luggage That Explodes After Flight

TSA Misses Luggage That Explodes After Flight

TSA Misses Luggage That Explodes After Flight

DECEMBER 29, 2010

Despite a $98 million infusion for state-of-the-art baggage screening machines, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) somehow missed a suitcase filled with explosives that blasted after a three-hour domestic flight.

The shameful gaffe is simply the latest of many for the beleaguered Homeland Security agency charged with protecting the nation’s transportation system. A checked bag on a flight from Boston to Miami contained hundreds of bullet primers that exploded on the tarmac after the plane arrived in south Florida. Primers provide the spark that detonates the gunpowder in bullets.

The bag belongs to a 37-year-old man, said to be a naturalized U.S. citizen, who was scheduled to catch a connecting flight to Jamaica. When an airline baggage handler in Miami moved the suitcase on the tarmac, it ignited. The FBI was quick to point out that there were no injuries and immediately ruled out any sort of terrorism threat.

Authorities initially attributed the incident to an aerosol can exploding inside a passenger’s checked luggage, which led one local news agency in south Florida to sarcastically report that a “can of hairspray caused a bit of a scare at Miami International Airport. “ Another labeled it as a “freak accident” though Boston media took the incident more seriously with a headline that read: “Luggage that left from Logan explodes in Fla.

The alarming event caps a series of never-ending TSA blunders that have severely compromised national security in the last few months. While the 50,000-member agency harasses honest citizens with invasive, genital-groping personal searches, it ignores real threats and persecutes its critics.

Just this week the agency went after a commercial airline pilot for exposing security flaws at a major U.S. airport. The veteran pilot from northern California actually posted video on the internet showing ground crews entering the airfield without undergoing any sort of screening process at San Francisco Airport. Now he’s the target of a TSA investigation for revealing “sensitive information.”

A few days ago a mainstream newspaper reported that the TSA fails to meet federal standards by not screening cargo and passengers on hundreds of thousands of planes that fly over the U.S. annually. This could allow a terrorist to explode a plane with a dirty bomb, biological or nuclear weapon, according to a veteran U.S. intelligence operative quoted in the piece. A few months ago bombs concealed in printer cartridges were designed to detonate during U.S.-bound flights from Europe and Dubai.

Other recent TSA lapses include guns and bombs regularly getting past inept screeners during random tests at major U.S. airports, approving background checks for illegal immigrants to work in sensitive areas of busy airports and clearing dozens of illegal aliens to train as pilots just as several of the 9/11 hijackers did. In the meantime, President Obama has given the agency more than $3 billion in recovery funds, including $98 million for “advanced technology X-ray units” that screen baggage.


 

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