Monday, July 09, 2007

TSA screeners confiscate water bottles, miss bombs

I still recall the Jesse-like words of the deposed former Senate Dem leader Tom Dasshole: "You don't professionalize unless you federalize." From Albany, NY:
Federal inspectors were able to slip a fake bomb through a checkpoint at Albany International Airport during a test of the facility's Transportation Security Administration screeners, according to individuals familiar with the incident.

The unannounced inspection by TSA officials took place early last week. The airport's security measures failed in five of seven tests, most of the problems occurring at the passenger checkpoint, the sources said.

In one test, TSA inspectors hid the components of a fake bomb in carry-on luggage that also contained a bottle of water. Passengers are prohibited from carrying containers holding more than three ounces of liquids, gels or aerosols through airport checkpoints.

The screeners at Albany International confiscated the water bottle but missed the bomb. In all, the inspectors slipped four banned items through the main checkpoint during the test, sources said.

The TSA, which took over security at the nation's commercial airports after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, conducts random tests of its workforce on a regular basis and failures are common, officials said.

Paul Varville, the TSA's security director at Albany International, could not be reached for comment.