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Incredible Incident at Houston’s Hobby Airport

Posted By Douglas J. Hagmann On July 10, 2006 @ 6:27 am In Domestic Terrorism,Douglas J. Hagmann,Suspicious Incidents | Comments Disabled

TSA, FBI, Houston Police & Airport Security allow a Middle Eastern male to board a Delta commercial passenger aircraft, despite possessing potential bomb components, wearing shoes intentionally hollowed-out, and lying to federal screeners.

By Douglas J. Hagmann, Director
director@homelandsecurityus.com

10 July 2006: TSA and other federal officials were less than helpful when I contacted them about an incident that took place at Houston’s Hobby Airport (HOU) on Monday, June 26, 2006. A Middle Eastern man who was carrying a laptop computer, a clock with a 9-volt battery taped to its exterior, and a copy of the Qu’ran in his carry-on luggage was permitted to board a commercial aircraft at Houston’s second largest airport, even after lying to federal authorities about the contents of his carry-on baggage. As if that was not sufficient cause for concern, a TSA screener examined the man’s shoes and determined that the “entire soles of both shoes were gutted out,” according to an incident report authored for law enforcement purposes. This took place at an airport where the TSA, FBI, a division of the Houston Police Department and airport security maintains a presence.

The man had a ticket for a Delta Airlines flight to Atlanta and was pulled aside by TSA officials due to the findings. They then notified the Houston Police Department at the airport who dispatched an officer to the area and questioned the potential passenger. The officer was informed of the situation, questioned the man, examined his identification, the hollowed-out shoes and the clock, and then cleared him for travel. When a TSA officer objected to the officer, stating that the shoes were tampered with and the man possessed all of the components of a bomb except the explosive itself, the officer retorted, “I thought y’all were trained in this stuff.” At that point the TSA screener contacted Delta officials, and again spoke to the responding officer who reported that he was “unable to check the passenger’s criminal background because of computer problems.”

The FBI was ultimately called and an agent and eventually cleared the man of any wrongdoing, adding that no federal laws were broken and the man did not pose any risk to the aircraft or its passengers. FBI Special Agent Stephen Emmett in Atlanta said agents there investigated the passenger, adding, “It was looked at and deemed a non-event.”

According to a recent report by The Houston Chronicle, “the officer involved in the dispute, J.O. Reece, has been transferred to a desk job, ‘the same place they send officers who are relieved of duty,’ said Chad Hoffman, attorney for the Houston Police Officers Union.” Hoffman said Reece doesn’t understand why he was transferred “when it seems clear from the onset of the investigation that he didn’t have probable cause to detain anybody and that his actions were consistent with the law and HPD policy.”

Investigators from the Northeast Intelligence Network have been investigating the incident and have tentatively identified the passenger who indeed has an Arabic name, identified the security officers involved and confirmed the contents of the carry-on luggage through the law enforcement sensitive report. Although no one is “officially” talking, our investigation into the incident continues.

UPDATED 10 July 2006: Federal officials have yet to respond to our inquiries for further information pertaining to this incident…

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