July 10, 2006, - 6:37 am
By Debbie Schlussel
On this site, we’ve detailed several of what surely must be dry run terrorist attacks . . . in Buffalo, Tampa (see also here), and now Houston.
Our do-nothing response to these dry-runners shows, in spades, that we are NOT serious about fighting terrorism. Not a single thing has happened to any of the malefactors involved, all Muslims. The latest one, in Houston, is a joke. Only the joke is on us. So it isn’t funny.
Reader Phil and several Federal Air Marshals alert me to this alarming story from the Houston Chronicle, with the headline that says it all:
HPD [Houston Police Dept.], airport security at odds over incident: Man allowed to board aircraft appeared to have bomb components
. . . [A] confidential TSA report obtained by the Houston Chronicle details a dispute between screeners and a police officer on duty at the airport.
The report states that a man with a Middle Eastern name and a ticket for a Delta Airlines flight to Atlanta shook his head when screeners asked if he had a laptop computer in his baggage, but an X-ray machine operator detected a laptop.
A search of the man’s baggage revealed a clock with a 9-volt battery taped to it and a copy of the Quran, the report said. A screener examined the man’s shoes and determined that the “entire soles of both shoes were gutted out.”
No explosive material was detected, the report states. A police officer was summoned and questioned the man, examined his identification, shoes and the clock, then cleared him for travel, according to the report.
A TSA screener disagreed with the officer, saying “the shoes had been tampered with and there were all the components of (a bomb) except the explosive itself,” the report says.
And here’s the rub. The FBI cleared the man to fly. Cleared him? Cleared him?! The guy lies to TSA screeners about his laptop, his shoes have been tampered with and have bomb components, and he has a Koran and a 9-volt battery attached to a clock (timing device, hello . . .?). Sound to you like a guy who should be “cleared?”
Then, there is the bickering between dueling law enforcement authorities. Sound familiar (as in pre-9/11 bickering between the FBI and CIA)?
Houston police and the federal Transportation Security Administration disagree over who is responsible for allowing a man with what appeared to be bomb components board an aircraft at Hobby Airport last week.
Although the FBI eventually cleared the man of wrongdoing, police officials have transferred the officer involved and are investigating the incident while insisting that the TSA, not police, has the authority to keep a suspicious person from boarding a flight.
Frankly, if the TSA was not going to clear this man for travel, why did the Houston PD feel the need to allow him to fly? I mean, why do we have the TSA, if the HPD are now expert airport screeners?
Says reader Phil:
Middle eastern man with hollwed out shoes and bomb components minus the actual explosives was not arrested!?!?!
EXACTLY. But don’t worry the FBI and Houston PD felt the guy was A-OK. No probable cause at all. No biggie that he lied to federal law enforcement officials. Incredible:
FBI Special Agent Stephen Emmett in Atlanta said agents there investigated the passenger.
“It was looked at and deemed a non-event,” Emmett said, declining to give further details.
Meanwhile the officer involved in the dispute, J.O. Reece, has been transferred to a desk job, “the same place they send officers who are relieved of duty,” said Chad Hoffman, attorney for the Houston Police Officers Union.
Hoffman said Reece doesn’t understand why he was transferred “when it seems clear from the onset of the investigation that he didn’t have probable cause to detain anybody and that his actions were consistent with the law and HPD policy.”
A new shoe-bomber and they let the dude go. Don’t you feel safe? Federal Bureau of non-Investigation.
Tags: Atlanta, attorney, Buffalo, Central Intelligence Agency, Chad Hoffman, Debbie Schlussel On, Delta Airlines, Dry Run Terrorist, Federal Bureau, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Hobby Airport, Houston, Houston Chronicle, Houston PD, Houston police, Houston Police Officers Union, laptop computer, law enforcement authorities, machine operator, officer, police officer, Special Agent, Stephen Emmett, Tampa, the Houston Chronicle, Transportation Security Administration, x-ray, X-ray machine operator