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Security Test Puts Explosives On Plane

From a bemused Associated Press:

Tibor Mako, head of the Slovak border and foreign police, talks to reporters in Poprad, Slovakia, on Wednesday, Jan 6, 2010.

Slovak security test ends with explosives on plane

By VERONIKA OLEKYSN and KAREL JANICEK

January 6, 2010

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia

A failed airport security test ended up with a Slovak man unwittingly carrying hidden explosives in his luggage on a flight to Dublin, Slovak officials admitted Wednesday — a mistake that enraged Irish authorities and shocked aviation experts worldwide.

While the Slovaks blamed the incident on "a silly and unprofessional mistake," Irish officials and security experts said it was foolish for the Slovaks to hide actual bomb parts in the luggage of innocent passengers under any circumstances.

The passenger himself was detained by Irish police for several hours before being let go without charge Tuesday.

The Irish were also angry that it took the Slovaks three days to tell them about the Saturday mistake and that the pilot of the airplane decided to fly to Dublin anyway even after being told that an explosive was in his aircraft’s checked luggage.

After being informed by the Slovaks, Irish authorities shut down a major Dublin intersection Tuesday and evacuated people from several apartment buildings as Irish Army experts examined the explosive. The unwitting passenger was identified by Irish police as Stefan Gonda, a 49-year-old Slovak electrician who lives and works in Ireland…

Security experts said the Dublin episode illustrated the inadequacy of the screening of checked-in luggage — the very point Slovak authorities had sought to test when they placed bomb components in passengers’ bags…

Slovak Interior Minister Robert Kalinak expressed "profound regret" to the Irish government for the oversight and the delay in alerting them.

But his ministry, in a statement, still claimed that "no one was in danger (during the flight) because the substance, without any other components (detonators) and under the conditions it was stored, is not dangerous."

The ministry said it ordered an immediate halt to such tests and took steps to prevent a repeat, while Tibor Mako, the head of Slovakia’s border and foreign police whose people carried out the exercise, offered his resignation. There was no word on whether it would be accepted.

"The aim of the training was to keep sniffer dogs in shape and on alert in a real environment," the ministry said.

Still, details emerging from the failed exercise heightened concerns that basic precautions were not taken, with the ministry saying that when Slovak authorities realized their error and told the pilot of the Danube Wings flight, he still decided to take off with the explosives on board.

It was not clear what any other airport or airline officials, either in Slovakia or Dublin, knew about the failed security test. Slovak authorities said the officer who overlooked the planted explosive only told his superiors about the incident Monday.

Even the basic facts of test were in dispute Wednesday.

Irish officials said the Slovaks told them nine real bomb components were placed into the bags of nine different passengers at two airports, including Bratislava Airport and Poprad-Tatry Airport in central Slovakia. Eight items were detected, the Irish said, adding that one bag had two bomb components in it.

Slovak officials say they only attached two caches of explosives onto the outside of one man’s bag.

The sniffer dog found one explosive but the police officer in charge failed to remove the second, which was not detected by the dog, from the bag because he was busy, the Slovakian interior ministry statement said.

That allowed 90 grams (3 ounces) of RDX plastic explosive to travel undetected through security at Poprad-Tatry Airport onto a Danube Wings aircraft. The Slovak carrier launched services to Dublin last month.

"The police officer made a silly and unprofessional mistake, which turned the good purpose of protecting people into a problem," the ministry statement said.

Slovak border police subsequently traced the man and told him where the explosive was planted so that he was able to find it Monday evening, said the ministry. Kalinak, the interior minister, called him to apologize.

But the Slovak ministry admitted it did not contact Irish authorities and explain the situation until Tuesday. That prompted Irish police to raid the man’s Dublin apartment and detain him for several hours.

Irish police said they initially were led to believe the man might be a terrorist until the Slovaks explained the situation further.

Irish Justice Minister Dermot Ahern said Dublin police eventually confirmed that the explosive "was concealed without his knowledge or consent … as part of an airport security exercise."

The Slovak statement criticized the Irish police.

"For an incomprehensible reason for us, they took the person into custody and undertook further security measures," it said.

Slovakia was considering "new forms of sniffer dog training" to avoid a repeat of the scare, the ministry said

Gee, ya think?

Still, the TSA must be so relieved that there is a security screw-up without their fingerprints on it.

That is assuming they haven’t done the same dumb thing, or worse.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, January 6th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

5 Responses to “Security Test Puts Explosives On Plane”

  1. Rusty Shackleford says:

    I certainly hope the terrorists are keeping up with this. Nice to have this info provided for mass consumption.

    • U NO HOO says:

      Having worked in the real world, in my opinion, some stuff matters, and some stuff doesn’t matter.

      This report doesn’t matter. Yep, now the bad guys know we screw up.

      The LESS the bad guys, and good guys, know about how much we succeed and how much we fail the better.

  2. Liberals Demise says:

    Hey!!

    Their system works too!!

  3. misanthropicus says:

    “London breeding Islamic terrorists/Robert Leiken, Special to CNN/ January 6, 2010”

    STORY HIGHLIGHTS
    * Would-be Christmas Day suicide bomber was radicalized in London –
    * London is haven for foreign jihadi preachers, organizers, agitators –
    * British security said AbdulMutallab communicated with extremists in London –
    * British turn blind eye; “once-glorious culture of tolerance lost its bearings” –

    (CNN) — In assessing blame for the Christmas Day terror scare, we point fingers at Yemen, at the Amsterdam airport, even at corruption in African airports. But no one mentions where the would-be suicide bomber was radicalized: London, the capital of the ally we take for granted.

    Last weekend, British security agency MI5 revealed that Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab had “multiple communications” with Islamic extremists in London, that the Nigerian reached out from London to a worldwide network of jihadi contacts and that he was “on the periphery of a past incident.”

    Why was this 3-year-old information apparently not shared with U.S. authorities until more than a week after the near-fatal flight?

    Probably the reason is that UK security agencies are overwhelmed by the dimensions of the terrorist threat in Britain. Two years ago, MI5’s director revealed that there were 4,000 people known to be “involved in terrorist-related activity in the UK” in more than 200 terrorist networks. A year later, authorities said the threat was growing “increasingly complex” and the numbers “even higher.”

    Since the mid-90s, London has been a haven for foreign jihadi preachers, organizers, agitators and propagandists, many of them recipients of generous welfare benefits.

    “Londonistan” attracted second-generation British Muslims who spurned the folk Islam and customs of their immigrant parents but were repelled by a British culture they regarded as decadent and racist.

    London has become a fertile field in the jihadi playground, along with Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia. […]

    More, at:

    http://www.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/01/04/leiken.abdulmutallab.london/
    ———————

    We made it, so far – but I think that we’ll assist at a few interesting things in the, not so distant future –

  4. GL0120 says:

    TSA has now endorsed this as a bombing prevention measure; after all, what are the chances of two bombs on the same plane?


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