Get your Junior Deputy badge and play DHS agent!
posted at 2:26 pm on November 26, 2008 by Ed Morrissey
And you can get a tour of the cockpit and bring guns onto the airplane! I just love stories like this when I’m between flights. I’ll blame Jules Crittenden for noticing the fact that no one bothered to check an imposter’s badge or follow procedures, but just took the imposter’s word for it while pointing out all of the air marshals and letting him into the cockpit — on two flights:
State police and airline ticket agents whisked a Rockland man who claimed he had a gun around TSA security checkpoints at Logan International Airport, putting him on a plane after he flashed a Chatham assistant harbormaster’s badge and claimed he was a federal agent, an FBI affidavit said. …
The affidavit states that on a January 2007 trip from Boston to San Diego, Grant told American Airlines [AMR] ticket agents he was armed and worked for the Department of Homeland Security. He filled out a flying-while-armed form in which, the FBI says, he listed his occupation as DHS. In reality, the salesman volunteered on the Cape and Island Homeland Security Subcommittee. On two flights, crews following federal regulations identified for him everyone who was armed on the plane, including two air marshals. On one plane, he was taken into the cockpit.
The affidavit says the error began when the ticket agents at Logan, asking for Grant’s identification, were satisfied with his harbormaster’s badge, and a trooper only looked at Grant’s form and his badge before signing Grant in the TSA log book and letting him board his flight via an exit door. Though required by federal rules, at no point did Grant show them a letter from the Department of Homeland Security, his supposed employer, stating the reason he needed to carry a gun, the affidavit said. A gate agent in San Diego spotted the error, and the FBI met Grant at Logan.
Stephen Grant now faces charges of impersonating a federal agent, which could bring him three years in prison. He claims he already paid a fine to resolve this violation, but apparently federal prosecutors have no record of a settlement, at least not at the federal level, which would have jurisdiction. Grant claims a “mixup”, but with his record in this instance, he’s not the most reliable of sources.
At the same time, TSA should fire everyone who handled Grant short of the one agent in San Diego who smelled something fishy. All Grant had to do was to show a badge and fill out a form, and everyone believed him to be authorized by the DHS to travel while armed. The procedures specify that any DHS traveling armed has to have a letter specifically authorizing the agent to carry a weapon, yet no one who vetted Grant required him to produce authorization, or even look closely at the badge.
Jules reminds us that two of the four 9/11 flights originated out of Logan Airport. One might expect the TSA agents there to take security a wee bit more seriously, considering. How many other people get to board flights while packing by flashing badges that no one inspects? Why are we only hearing about this two years after it happened?
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