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Topic: Security Breach At EMA?
Username: Ciro
Posted 2004-05-22 21:10:34 and read 3223 times.


It is interesting that coincidences just keep happening in the same bad day. However, could a mixture of messy procedures in tackling details really be described as a potential security breach pitfall? Unfortunately yes.

I returned this afternoon to Toulouse, where I work and reside, from East Midlands Airport, UK. While checking-in with BMI Baby, my valid Brazilian passport and French working VISA were promptly presented to a very friendly lady, who was handling all the procedures herself for that particular flight and was clearly exhausted. Even though my papers were fine and the EU and Brazil shares a common VISA waiver program, neither she nor the back-office had a single clue if the document entitled me to board back to France and they were obliged to hold the line for over 10 minutes until the proper clearance was authorized by some senior worker who was called in London.

The poor lady was not properly trained and the growing line probably stressed her a bit, as she failed to ask me the standard security questions like “has anyone handled anything for you to carry onboard?” and “Did anyone else pack your suitcase?”.

I left the scene and passed through security check. Once again, it did not go well. For a better understanding, it is important a quick self-description: I am a tall, dark-skin Latino guy, aged 27, fairly ugly, always travelling alone, with similar Arab looks. I definitely match the ideal terrorist biometric features that most scared passengers (and probably airport workers) would pay close attention to.

But as I passed the lap top and its bag through the x-ray, there were no male guards to touch-inspect my clothes and the lady guards, obviously, did not offer themselves to do so. Instead, they went searching for nasty knifes and guns that could have been carried by granny and her 15-year old blond English girl who were right behind me. They were probably returning from a weekend family-gathering.

So, when the situation truly required more awareness of “who is who” and “what is the real purpose of this guy taking such flight?” there was no one available to properly double-check it.

Now it comes the worse… After arriving home, I realized that my toilet necessaire was missing after empting the suitcase, but then the surprise: I’ve mistakenly placed it (my fault), when rushing to the airport, in the lap top’s bag. It would not be such a deal, if it did not contained very sharp razor blades. The security guards failed to detect them through the x-ray.

Bad coincidences, leading to a security breach, happened to be the final piece of this domino’s chain fall-down.


[Edited 2004-05-22 21:21:57]

Topic: RE: Security Breach At EMA?
Username: Jran225
Posted 2004-05-22 21:18:01 and read 3192 times.

Hey Ciro,

this is a very interesting (and surprising) story you have here. I agree that the airport athorities often do not manage their security forces well. They fail to detect razor blades, yet they interrogate spotters who are standing a few hundred feet from aircraft with their Cameras and Scanners.....pretty ironic if you ask me!  Sad

-Omar S.

Topic: RE: Security Breach At EMA?
Username: Jaspike
Posted 2004-05-22 21:19:19 and read 3185 times.

Similar thing happened when I went to SFO from LHR. My friend had some razor blades in his hand luggage by mistake. His bag was scanned at the normal security checks, and by the gate. They were still there, in his hand luggage, when we got to the hotel at Lake Tahoe. Makes you wonder what could happen one day.


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