Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

TSA on the ball again

HT to Captain Ed Jules Crittendon reports on the guy who faked out TSA officials and a state trooper into believing he was an armed DHS agent:

Fed wannabe/medical supplies salesman flashed his assistant harbormaster badge, told the airline ticket agents and the state trooper at Boston’s Logan International he was an armed Homeland Security agent, and was escorted around TSA security checks onto the plane, where the flight crew helpfully pointed out who the air marshals were, FBI charges. Affidavit says imposter who claimed to have a gun was even let into the cockpit. Al-Qaeda, you listening? Boston Herald:

State police and airline ticket agents whisked a Rockland man who claimed he had a gun around TSA security checkpoints at Logan International Airport, putting him on a plane after he flashed a Chatham assistant harbormaster’s badge and claimed he was a federal agent, an FBI affidavit said.


Federal prosecutors yesterday charged Stephen Grant, 48, of Rockland with impersonating a federal agent. Grant is a medical supply salesman who worked summer weekends in Chatham monitoring boaters.

Grant told the Herald last night he is innocent, claiming a misunderstanding, and said the situation was settled nearly two years ago after he admitted to mistakes and paid a $4,000 fine. He said at no time did he carry a gun.

A state police spokesman declined to comment about the apparent security breach last night, referring calls to the U.S. attorney’s office. Transportation Safety officials declined comment.

The affidavit states that on a January 2007 trip from Boston to San Diego, Grant told American Airlines ticket agents he was armed and worked for the Department of Homeland Security. He filled out a flying-while-armed form in which, the FBI says, he listed his occupation as DHS. In reality, the salesman volunteered on the Cape and Island Homeland Security Subcommittee. On two flights, crews following federal regulations identified for him everyone who was armed on the plane, including two air marshals. On one plane, he was taken into the cockpit.

The affidavit says the error began when the ticket agents at Logan, asking for Grant’s identification, were satisfied with his harbormaster’s badge, and a trooper only looked at Grant’s form and his badge before signing Grant in the TSA log book and letting him board his flight via an exit door. Though required by federal rules, at no point did Grant show them a letter from the Department of Homeland Security, his supposed employer, stating the reason he needed to carry a gun, the affidavit said. A gate agent in San Diego spotted the error, and the FBI met Grant at Logan.

Grant, insisting the matter had been resolved, said last night, “I put everything behind me. This call comes back again today. I have nothing to hide. . . . Somewhere along the line there’s been a mixup. Why now? Why after two years when all this stuff was settled with a fine? It was a stupid thing to have happened.”

Everyone, save the gate agent in San Diego, should be fired for this lapse in security. While Mr. Grant obviously wasn't a guy working for al Qaeda, looks can be deceiving. We've seen this before, and Captain Ed gives a rundown of the times where those looks have almost cost us again. Richard Reid, anyone, and you'd be wise to remember that Reid's plane landed at Logan; granted, he was subdued by then.

But two of the four planes that flew out of Logan on the morning of 11 September were used in that attack. We're with Captain Ed on this. One would think that security people at Logan would pay just a tad bit more attention to people flashing credentials, and be a bit more serious about security. The last thing this nation needs is another 11 September, or worse yet an attack that rivals that fateful day.

Publius II

1 Comments:

Anonymous Joe Gringo said...

It seems as though they are more concerned with taking away my shaving cream and shampoo.

You and Marcie have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Headin' up to Prescott w/ the Boy Scouts sat. am to pick a few truckloads of mistletoe for their fundraiser this Christmas.

November 26, 2008 at 2:53 PM  

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