Erie International Airport Security Incompetence

22 October 2003: Tom Ridge Field, Erie, PA– It took place at the airport named after Erie’s own Tom Ridge, Director of the United States Department of Homeland Security. A man possessing a knife in his carry-on luggage, and a razor, box cutter type sheath hidden in his shoe was “briefly” detained Tuesday, 21 October 2003  by federal airport screeners. However, he was STILL allowed to board the plane bound for Pittsburgh, PA, then scheduled for Fort Myers, Florida despite having tried to board the plane with the hidden items.

According to airport security chief David BAGNONI, federal screeners contacted his department who searched the man and confiscated the knife and a cutting tool hidden under a cushion in his shoe. BAGNONI stated that the airport police had “little choice” but to let the man continue on his flight because “he didn’t break any local or state laws and federal authorities had not requested that he be held”. Quoted in the Erie Times News,BAGNONI characterized the incident as a “procedural error” “The problem lies in the gray area,” BAGNONI said.

The man was ultimately detained Tuesday morning at his layover in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania according to FBI spokesman Bill Crowley. At the time of this writing, it is unclear whether he would be charged with any crime.

Douglas J. Hagmann, Director of the Northeast Intelligence Network calls for the IMMEDIATE RESIGNATION of David BAGNONI, son of former Erie City Councilman, former Erie Detective, and the center of much prior controversy. Press Release

SPECIAL THANKS to Syndicated Talk Radio Host Mike Gallagher for reporting this story NATIONWIDE on Thursday, 23 October 2003

SPECIAL THANKS to Talk Radio Host Patrick Campbell for reporting this story in depth on  22 October 2003

24 October 2003: Airport Director Kelly Fredericks “Praises Security” The CEO of the Erie Municipal Airport- Tom Ridge Field, Mr. Kelly FREDERICKS, praised airport security and defended the decision to allow an armed passenger to board a plane, despite possessing weapons at the airport. Jeremy SLITER, 23, of Warren County, Pennsylvania was found carrying a knife in his carry-on luggage and a “boxcutter” (razor) under the cushion of his shoe. SLITER admitted knowing about the knife in his luggage, stating that he was “unaware” of the weapon in his shoe. He reportedly speculated that “friends” might have “planted” the weapon prior to his departure for a “diving vacation” in Fort Myers, Florida.

SLITER was allowed to board the aircraft after he was disarmed. David BAGNONI, the head of airport security, (quoted here in the Erie Times-News, 23 October 2003), said SLITER’S demeanor was “calm and cooperative,” and further stated “They (officers) determined that the guy was not going to be a risk to anybody on the plane.” “I am very pleased with the actions of our public safety department.”