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Houston Police Officer Demands Apology From TSA  
User currently offlineFlyingTexan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 5871 times:

From the Houston Comical

Officer demands apology in airport case
Policeman says he was vilified after a suspicious man was allowed to board plane

By HARVEY RICE
Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

A Houston police officer wants an apology from federal screeners at Hobby Airport who he says made him a scapegoat after a Jordanian with suspected bomb parts was allowed to board an aircraft.

Officer J.O. Reece was transferred to a desk job after he was blamed for allowing Mohamed Ahwar Bataineh, a Jordanian living legally in Houston, to board a Delta Air Lines flight for Atlanta on June 26.

A TSA report obtained by the Houston Chronicle appears to blame Reece for the incident, which began when screeners at a checkpoint asked Bataineh whether he had a laptop computer in a computer bag.

Bataineh shook his head, but an X-ray machine operator detected a laptop and alarm clock with a nine-volt battery taped to it. They also said Bataineh was wearing shoes that they suspected had been "gutted out."

"The shoes had been tampered with and there were all the components of (a bomb) except the explosive itself," according to the report.

Instead of detaining Bataineh or calling the FBI as they could have and should have done according to security officials, a TSA official asked Reece to investigate.

Reece examined the shoes and found no reason for concern, then put the battery in the clock and found that it functioned properly, according to Hoffman.

Reece found no reason to detain Bataineh and allowed him to enter the boarding area over the protests of screeners, according to the report.

=====


 splat 

17 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineKanebear From United States of America, joined May 2002, 953 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 5700 times:

TSA doesn't follow procedure, hands the matter off to HPD which isn't the correct agency, and then they blame the officer??? Uh.. ok. Sure the officer should've likely bounced it back and said "Call the FBI" but it never should've gotten to him anyway. WTG DFA (Dumbest F*cking Agency) :golfclap:

User currently offlineLemurs From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 1439 posts, RR: 4
Reply 2, posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 5667 times:

It also sounds like he didn't find anything. The most obviously suspicous thing there is that he denied having a laptop. (There's no mention of his English skills.) I'm also curious what the definition of: "Everything needed for a bomb except the explosives" mean. Does an alarm clock and a laptop really count as everything? If so, that would include a lot of people in the world. I agree it's suspicous enough to warrant an extra search, but it all sounds fishy how convincing this evidence was.


There are 10 kinds of people in the world; those who understand binary, and those that don't.
User currently offlineFuturecaptain From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 5650 times:

So...

1. TSA finds a laptop, alarm clock, and battery in carryon luggage. (none of which is illegal)
2. (i'm assuming) TSA searches passenger and finds nothing illegal.
3. Local police officer searches person and finds nothing wrong.
4. PAX, whom has been searched at least twice if not more is allowed to board an a/c because nothing dangerous was found.

So...whats the problem here? Is it his name or nationality?
If the screeners objected they could have called some other law enforcement agency and not let the man enter, but they didn't. So who is really to blame here?


User currently offlineZvezda From Lithuania, joined Aug 2004, 10511 posts, RR: 64
Reply 4, posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 5546 times:

What is "tampering" with shoes? The shoes I'm wearing at this very moment have been resoled. So what?

User currently offlineIkramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21478 posts, RR: 60
Reply 5, posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 5373 times:

Quoting Futurecaptain (Reply 3):
4. PAX, whom has been searched at least twice if not more is allowed to board an a/c because nothing dangerous was found.

5. Flight progresses without incident.
6. Life goes on.

Right? Or did I miss some tragic news?



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineVEEREF From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 5370 times:

So now the Houston PD is supposed to do the TSA's job?
Oh yeah that's right, he wasn't a crew member, 4 year old kid or 80 year old grandmother, so no reason for the TSA to be suspicious of him.


User currently offlineCoronado990 From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 1597 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 5341 times:

Sounds like the Houston Police Officer actually used COMMON SENSE. Something the TSA probably does not appreciate.


Uncle SAN at your service!
User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29792 posts, RR: 58
Reply 8, posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days ago) and read 5044 times:

Quoting Coronado990 (Reply 7):
Sounds like the Houston Police Officer actually used COMMON SENSE. Something the TSA probably does not appreciate.

You have to understand, the TSA didn't hire people who where smart enough to use common sense.

If you use common sense the rulebook doesn't get followed.



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineMCOflyer From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 8664 posts, RR: 15
Reply 9, posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days ago) and read 5026 times:

I'd be surprised if the TSA apologises to the IAH PD.

MCOflyer



Never be afraid to stand up for who you are.
User currently offlineAntiuser From Italy, joined May 2004, 657 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 4923 times:

Quoting FlyingTexan (Thread starter):
A TSA report obtained by the Houston Chronicle appears to blame Reece for the incident

The plane didn't blow up, nothing illegal was found on the guy... so how is this an incident?



Azzurri Campioni del Mondo!
User currently offlineANCFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 4885 times:

Quoting Coronado990 (Reply 7):
Something the TSA probably does not appreciate.



. . . . . or possess I'll wager.


First ? Why did the TSA hand this guy over to HPD? Is that standard for HOU or IAH?

Second ? Why didn't the HPD Officer get in touch with the appropriate LEA? Which should be the Airport Police or FBI?

Third? Where was the TSA Supervisor personnel during this 'incident'? And why does the TSA have their panties in a wad because the Officer did THEIR job?

TSA = Thousands Standing Around = Losers


By the by. . . .where is member IAH777 - an HPD officer. I would like to hear his take.


User currently offlineMEACEDAR From Lebanon, joined Oct 2006, 753 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 3829 times:

Quoting FlyingTexan (Thread starter):
Instead of detaining Bataineh or calling the FBI as they could have and should have done according to security officials, a TSA official asked Reece to investigate.

Its the government, they never follow procedure. They always have "another way."


User currently offlineJumboJim747 From Australia, joined Oct 2004, 2464 posts, RR: 44
Reply 13, posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 3675 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

We are living in an increasing paranoid world .
God help us all if this continues some people might not coincide flying to save themselves the embarrassment in the future
Cheers



On a wing and a prayer
User currently offlineAirfoilsguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 3504 times:

The first thing I thought of was some one was testing the system. If I was a terrorist leader I would have sent a person just like him out to test security. If he got past with out question I would have found a weak spot that can be exploited. The man acted suspicious in that he 1. Lied about the lap top 2. had shoes that appeared tampered with. 3. Had batteries taped to the out side of the alarm clock ( would look like a bomb on an x-ray machine). The system both passed and failed at the same time. The screeners found the suspicious articles PASS. Screeners had no idea what to do when they found those articles FAIL. Anyone who knows anything about law knows that a local law enforcement agency has no jurisdiction over a federal agency. I don't like to bash people but the TSA, as an agency, is seriously lacking in both leadership and skill.

User currently offlineRiddlePilot215 From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 318 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 3298 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

TSA = Tracking Suspicious Americans


You know this is the kind of thing that airlines really need to take a stand against....You know this ridiculous kind of profiling...Because in the long run this is bad for business. If you hear stories about generally innocent people being harassed by underpaid, undereducated, unmotivated government employees...who for the most part stand around in small groups, talking very loudly (in at MCO they speak SPANISH to one another...wtf is up with that?), and being inadvertantly short and rude to oncoming passengers, then nobody is going to want to fly....Especially now that the price of gas is starting to come down to reasonable levels......

Those TSA employees are just pissed, b/c now they won't get to be in the company newsletter, that highlights their little racist crowning achievement.



God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.
User currently offlineCRJonBeez From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 317 posts, RR: 3
Reply 16, posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 3225 times:

Quoting VEEREF (Reply 6):
So now the Houston PD is supposed to do the TSA's job?

why not? here at SBN, the police and airport operations are the ones that have to come inspect all vehicles going through the SIDA gates. every time i have to go through the gate for fueling purposes, they must come out to check for explosives. if i planned to do damage of any sort, does anybody think a flimsy gate would be what holds me back?

when i asked operations why they had to do the job that TSA enacted, she told me "the TSA doesn't want to pay somebody to inspect vehicles." instead, i get stuck watching the a/c sit at the gate while i try and get through, but must wait for ops because they are doing their job, which has them on the OTHER SIDE OF THE FIELD! the TSA is absolutely ridiculous. if something happened once in a while, it wouldn't be an issue, but every week there are new stories of what stupid things they've done.

they come to the FBO i work for on notre dame football days and slap us on the wrist for having access to the ramp. when you have 200+ a/c crowd a ramp in 3 hours, there's no way to check every ID or lock the doors. the point of biz jets is to get to where you're going on YOUR clock, without all the hassles of the airport screeners, ticket agents, lost bags, etc.

the last time TSA claimed they got on the ramp, i was sitting in a fuel truck with my eye on him the whole time. he began pissing and moaning to the supervisor, so i stepped up, told him exactly what he did on the ramp. every move he made, which direction he stepped in. he told me i need to challenge him if i see somebody i don't know on the ramp. does that mean i must challenge every guy on the ramp in a suit and tie? god knows NOBODY wears those clothes getting off a BUSINESS JET!

they constantly yell at us, but offer no solutions to our "problem." when asked who we need to speak to about figuring something out, the guy told us the AOPA!!! if the AOPA is the one to help us, why should you be here to say or do anything on my ramp?


User currently offlineAsstChiefMark From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (7 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 2400 times:

It sounds to me like Bataineh was doing a dry run.

Quoting FlyingTexan (Thread starter):
screeners at a checkpoint asked Bataineh whether he had a laptop computer in a computer bag. Bataineh shook his head, but an X-ray machine operator detected a laptop

Bataineh lied.  redflag  #1

Quoting FlyingTexan (Thread starter):
...and alarm clock with a nine-volt battery taped to it.

Not really a  redflag  in itself. Sounds like a logical option. Removing the battery from the clock would prevent it from alarming during the flight. Taping it to the clock would prevent it from becoming lost. Might be a  redflag  if the clock was attached to the computer in some manner.

Quoting FlyingTexan (Thread starter):
They also said Bataineh was wearing shoes that they suspected had been "gutted out." "The shoes had been tampered with and there were all the components of (a bomb) except the explosive itself," according to the report.

 redflag  #2.

Quoting FlyingTexan (Thread starter):
Instead of detaining Bataineh or calling the FBI as they could have and should have done according to security officials, a TSA official asked Reece to investigate.

Reese responded to a request, which is OK. However, he should have called the FBI himself.

Quoting FlyingTexan (Thread starter):
Reece examined the shoes and found no reason for concern, then put the battery in the clock and found that it functioned properly.

Has Reese been trained as a terrorism or explosives expert? Would such an expert have seen things differently? Is it SOP to energize or power up a questionable electrical device?

Quoting FlyingTexan (Thread starter):
Reece found no reason to detain Bataineh and allowed him to enter the boarding area over the protests of screeners, according to the report.

The Golden Rule for public safety professionals when confronted with a dilemma is to choose the safest option. Maybe Reese should have listened to the screeners and detained Bataineh and called in the FBI (or HPD supervisor).

I don't think the TSA should apologize. I also think Houston PD did the right thing by transferring him to a desk job. It's standard procedure to temporarily assign an officer to the desk when he/she is the focus of an investigation.

Mark


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