Sunday, November 04, 2007

This is a test of the emergency shoe bombing system...

From Pajamas Media: Shoe Bomber Alert: The Catch and Release Program.

Fed up with having to take your shoes off when passing through airport security? Annie Jacobsen says there are more suspicious shoes found - and more suspicious people let go - than you might think.

For example:

July 11, 2005: McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada

An Iraqi national was stopped at McCarran Airport on July 11, 2005 after a TSA screener discovered a 3-inch serrated knife hidden in his shoe. According to a leaked memo: “[Name withheld] was stopped at D checkpoint with a concealed sheetrock cutting knife concealed inside his shoe. [Name withheld] was born in Iraq. He claimed not to know the knife was there. Subject was traveling on American Airlines Flight #1806 LAS to Chicago. Metro PD ran an NCIC check, which was negative. [Name withheld] was allowed to continue his travel.”

December 2, 2005: John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York

A 50-year-old Egyptian man, who claimed to be a student at Iowa State University, and whose name was Gamal Al Badawi (not to be confused with the USS Cole bomber in today’s headline news), arrived from overseas wearing high-top sneakers bound with tape and with unusual rubber protrusions. Badawi’s shoes were tested for explosives; the sneakers tested positive five times. “The reading for explosives was off the charts,” CBS News’ Scott Weinberger reported, quoting a federal source, who called explosive reading, “the highest ever.” The TSA kept the modified sneakers but let Badawi continue on his travels. When the embarrassing story broke, FBI officials tracked down Badawi somewhere in the mid-west, interviewed him and deemed the case “officially closed.”

June 26, 2006: William P. Hobby Airport in Houston, Texas

Mohamed Bataineh, age 31, was stopped by TSA officials at the Houston Hobby Airport wearing suspicious shoes. Upon examination, federal officials discovered that the “entire soles of both [Mohamed Bataineh’s] shoes were gutted out.” The TSA screener who examined the shoes told local media, “The shoes had been tampered with and there were all the components of [a bomb] except the explosive itself.” Bataineh, who hails from Jordan, was briefly detailed and then allowed to board a flight to Atlanta.

This does not give me a warm, fuzzy feeling.