March 7, 2007, - 3:17 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
**** UPDATE, 03/08/07: “ZAB” is apparently Zabdiel J. Santiago Balaguer. Balaguer delivered guns and drugs to Puerto Rico several times himself and offered to pay Munoz as much as $5,000 to make the delivery to Puerto Rico. This time, it’s just a small gun-running and drug-runing operation. But at any time, it could be a terrorist operation by those with such motives. A giant, gaping hole in the system. All Airport employees must be screened. As I’ve noted, only airport employees at Atlanta’s Hartsfield airport are screened and that’s only done randomly, not universally. ****
I’ve written several times before about the TSA’s inadequate screening and random checks of airport employees, who usually have badges that get them access to dangerous places (like planes).
The arrest, Tuesday, of Thomas Anthony Munoz, a Comair customer service agent, is more evidence that we aren’t safer. We’re less safe.
Munoz brought 13 handguns, an assault rifle (M-16), and eight bags of marijuana on a flight from Orlando to Puerto Rico. And he wasn’t caught or arrested until his flight made it safely to San Juan. Munoz took money from another Orlando Airport employee–identified only as “ZAB” in a government affidavit–in exchange for getting the guns on the plane. Who is ZAB? Is he a Muslim? Was it a dry run for terrorists? (Watch both frightening video news reports from Orlando’s Local 6 News.) Even if not this time, next time it could be.
The passengers on Munoz’s flight were lucky. He didn’t try anything. But what if he was an Arab Muslim employee of Comair or some other airline, with a jihadist disposition and the same all-access badge to get around security?
Munoz’s weapons weren’t caught by the TSA because he DIDN’T GO THROUGH THE TSA SECURITY CHECKPOINT. He didn’t have to, because of his credentials.
The TSA says “no passengers were ever in danger.” Uh-huh. They might have been. As I’ve written before, members of the Detroit Terror Cell worked at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, as did a TSA screener who openly supported Bin Laden (and had been discharged from the Air Force for that very reason).
One day, someone like them will choose to do what Munoz did. And lives will be lost. All airport employees, except federal agents, should be forced to go through passenger screening . . . like the rest of us.
Tags: Air Force, airline, Atlanta, Atlanta's Hartsfield airport, bin Laden, Comair, Debbie Schlussel, Detroit Metropolitan Airport, J. Santiago Balaguer, M-16, Orlando, Orlando Airport, Puerto Rico, San Juan, THE TSA SECURITY CHECKPOINT, Thomas Anthony Munoz, USD