Date registered: Apr 2004
Location: The BlueGrass State
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Report: Fake pass foiled MSP security
By PAUL WALSH, Star Tribune
October 20, 2008
A first-class traveler was allowed through security with a fake Twin Cities-to-Washington, D.C., boarding pass for Northwest Airlines, no photo identification and wearing an Osama bin Laden T-shirt under his coat as part of a test of airport security in this post-9/11 world.
The security breach, assisted by longtime airport security critic Bruce Schneier, is outlined in a first-person account in the November issue of Atlantic magazine. The article was written to illustrate that the federal Transportation Security Administration "represents an egregious waste of tax dollars," author Jeffrey Goldberg wrote.
Goldberg added that he has circumvented security numerous times by "bringing bad things" through security at airports in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Chicago and Wilkes Barre/Scranton. Among the items he said he brought on flights: pocketknives, matches from hotels in Beirut, dust masks, nail clippers, an inflatable Arafat doll and box cutters.
Arriving at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport for Northwest flight 1714 to Reagan Airport just outside Washington, D.C., Goldberg began his real-life experiment standing in a bathroom, ripping up fake boarding passes and "waiting for the social network of male bathroom users to report my suspicious behavior." No one piped up, he said.
From there, he said, his mission was to "try to pass through security with no ID, a fake boarding pass, and an Osama bin Laden T-shirt under my coat."
He splashed water on his face "to mimic sweat" and wore a coat on a summer day.
With driver's license hidden, he approached security with his bogus boarding pass and told security that he had lost his ID but still hoped to board.
The security employee called for a supervisor.
"I can't find my driver's license," Goldberg said.
After showing the supervisor his fake boarding pass, Goldberg said, "I need to get to Washington quickly."
He was asked for more identification. Goldberg said he produced a credit card with his name on it, a library card, and a health-insurance card. "Nothing else?" the supervisor asked.
"No," Goldberg said.
"You should really travel with a second picture ID, you know."
"Yes, sir," Goldberg said.
"All right, you can go," he said. "But let this be a lesson for you."
Twin Cities airport spokesman Pat Hogan said today that he has read the article but declined to comment, saying, "The things that [Goldberg is] calling attention to are more appropriate for the TSA to address."
Kip Hawley, head of the Transportation Security Agency, was quoted in the Atlantic article as saying: "There are vulnerabilities everywhere, in everything. The question is not 'Is there a vulnerability?' It's 'What are you doing about it?' "
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