A New York man calling himself Bin Laden grabbed some attention when he told an Air France ticket agent he had a bomb in his bag, but the security reaction was a bit delayed. Law enforcement was furious when they realized that forty minutes had passed before cops were called, and the luggage was already aboard a Paris-bound jet.
John F. Kennedy Airport was the scene of the bungling, when a drunk Christian Boncorps, 61, was asked by a reservation clerk what he was carrying in his bag. His answer? "My name is Bin Laden and I have a bomb in my bag."
The New York Post reports that, rather than call the Port Authority agents immediately, the clerk ushered Boncorps to a screening site, where he was put through the standard procedures. By the time police arrived, he was putting his shoes back on.
Ann Davis, a spokeswoman for the TSA responded. "TSA continues to look into the circumstances surrounding this matter...However, travelers can be assured that every TSA and airport employee is trained to take any and all threats seriously and notify law enforcement to ensure the safety of the airport and air travelers."
Paul Nunziato, President of the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association, was furious. "Countless lives were placed in jeopardy by the TSA"s failure to follow its own security protocols. If the statements made by the passenger warranted calling the police, then that call must be made immediately and before the passenger entered the screening point."
He also berated PAPD supervisors for failing to notify the Joint Terrorism Task Force. "Simply put, the public expects and deserves more. These policies were created to ensure safe travel for all passengers. Security policies cannot be selectively applied."
Complacency is a danger to all, and this is a prime example. From the frail and elderly to babies and toddlers, airline security frisks, pokes, prods, screens, and, many claim, molests passengers. To bumble around for 40 minutes with an obviously drunk and disturbed man is mind-boggling. Heads should roll for this lapse in security, especially those who placed the "bomb in the bag" on board.
Boncorps was charged with filing a false report, pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, and paid a $250 fine.