Thursday, March 23, 2006


A Los Angeles screenwriter is claiming that the Department of Homeland Security has informed him that he may not use the agency's name "or any of the Department's official visual identities" in the script for his film, Lady Magdalene, despite the fact that the film presents a positive image of the DHS.

The writer, J. Neil Schulman, said Tuesday that he had received a notice from Bobbie Faye Ferguson, director of the NHS's office of multimedia, informing him that his "project does not fit within the DHS mission and that it is not something we can participate in."

In response, Schulman wrote to Ferguson that he had already received assistance from a special agent of the NHS's air marshal service while he was preparing his screenplay and that the agency's notice to him now represents a violation of his First Amendment rights.

"Merely the claim that you have the power to restrict such official images is chilling to the process of writing and producing a movie -- and certainly to an independent film in pre-production with a start date for principal photography only six weeks away," Schulman said.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Airline screeners fail government bomb tests

21 airports nationwide don’t detect bomb-making materials

WASHINGTON - Imagine an explosion strong enough to blow a car's trunk apart, caused by a bomb inside a passenger plane. Government sources tell NBC News that federal investigators recently were able to carry materials needed to make a similar homemade bomb through security screening at 21 airports.

In all 21 airports tested, no machine, no swab, no screener anywhere stopped the bomb materials from getting through. Even when investigators deliberately triggered extra screening of bags, no one discovered the materials.

NBC News briefed former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean, chairman of the 9/11 commission, on the results.

"I'm appalled," he said. "I'm dismayed and, yes, to a degree, it does surprise me. Because I thought the Department of Homeland Security was making some progress on this, and evidently they're not."

Investigators for the Government Accountability Office conducted the tests between October and January, at the request of Congress. The goal was to determine how vulnerable U.S. airlines are to a suicide bomber using cheap, readily available materials.

Investigators found recipes for homemade bombs from easily available public sources and bought the necessary chemicals and other materials over the counter. For security reasons, NBC News will not reveal any of the ingredients or the airports tested. The report itself is classified. But Lee Hamilton, the vice chairman of the 9/11 commission, says the fact that so many airports failed this test is a hugely important story that the American traveler is entitled to know.

NBC News asked a bomb technician to gather the same materials and assemble an explosive device to determine its power. The materials for the bomb that exploded a car's trunk fit in the palm of one hand. NBC News showed the results to Leo West, a former FBI bomb expert.

"Potentially, an explosion of that type could lead to the destruction of the aircraft," said West.

The Transportation Security Administration would not comment on the tests, but issued a statement to NBC News, saying "detecting explosive materials and IEDs at the checkpoint is TSA's top priority." The agency also said screeners are now receiving added training to help identify these materials.

That’s not soon enough for Tom Kean.

"They need to do it yesterday," Kean said, "because we haven’t got time."

Given hardened cockpit doors and other improvements, experts say explosives now are the gravest threat posed by terrorists in the sky.

Saturday, March 11, 2006


One can only wonder what is required in the area of CHARACTER when you apply for a security sensitive position with the Transportation Security Administration under the watchful eye of The Department Of Homeland Security?

Thats what I wonder when I came across this San Jose Mercury News article and discovered the very SAME HARRY MUNRO who was disgracefully removed from San Jose Police Department was hired as a SUPERVISOR for TSA in the San Jose Mineta International Airport then PROMOTED TO SCREENING MANAGER...

If you have BAD CREDIT TSA doesnt want you, but if you appear to be a person who the police don't want working for them, well COME ON DOWN...

Doen't believe me, just read below and judge for yourself...

San Jose Mercury News San Jose Mercury News (CA) January 19, 1995

S.J. COP'S FIRING UPHELD AFTER TEEN COMPLAINS PONYTAIL WAS CUT OFF Author: BETTY BARNACLE, Mercury News Staff Writer Edition: Santa Cruz/MontereySection: LocalPage: 8B

Article Text: An arbitrator has upheld the firing of a San Jose police officer after a 1992 incident in which he and two other officers were accused of roughing up a teen-ager and then cutting off his ponytail. The ruling against former Officer Harry J. Munro was made public this week by San Jose police officials.

The ponytail incident led to an internal police investigation that turned up several allegations of misconduct against Munro. Although authorities ultimately dismissed criminal charges against the former officer, arbitrator Norman Brand concluded that Munro committed misconduct and violated department regulations in five instances.

Accusations listed According to police Lt. Dennis Luca, the arbitrator said Munro:

Committed assault under color of authority while on duty -- the ponytail incident.

Possessed 15 California driver's licenses and identification cards that were not properly booked as evidence.

Had less than an ounce of marijuana in his personal equipment bag without properly booking the marijuana as evidence.

Had less than an ounce of marijuana in his police locker, also not booked properly.

Had explosive fireworks devices and a stun gun in his equipment bag, also not booked or recorded in a crime report.

Munro had been an officer for 27 months when the ponytail incident occurred Aug. 18, 1992. He initially was fired June 2, 1993, but he filed an appeal. The incident began when Munro -- along with officers Nicholas Martinez Jr. and Isaac Cabrera -- arrested Joe Michael Gomez, then 19, on suspicion of stealing a coffee maker and a fire extinguisher from a downtown restaurant.

The officers also booked Gomez on suspicion of public intoxication and battery on a police officer.

Eventually, however, the district attorney's office charged Gomez with petty theft. Gomez claimed the officers drove him in! a police car to the rear of a fast- food restaurant, where they took off his leg restraints and beat him. Gomez also said the officers kicked him and cut off his thin, braided ponytail. The district attorney's office filed misdemeanor assault charges against all three officers, but those charges were dismissed last January.

Prosecutors said they had insufficient evidence: Some witnesses had disappeared, and others couldn't agree on the facts, including whether Gomez had a ponytail at the time. Exonerated by ruling After the charges were dismissed,

Munro and his attorney obtained a court ruling last summer that formally exonerated him of involvement in the ponytail case, according to Deputy District Attorney Frank Carrubba and Munro's lawyer, Larry Peterson.

Munro is "extremely disappointed" with the arbitrator's finding, Peterson said this week. He said his firm has not decided whether to take further action. Officer Martinez also was fired, and he appealed. But a judge ruled Martinez could be fired without specific cause because he had been an officer just 17 months and was considered a probationary employee.

Cabrera was dismissed in connection with a 1992 incident in which he was accused of lying to protect a sergeant who eventually was fired after allegedly fondling a suspect during a search. Copyright (c) 1995 San Jose Mercury News Record Number: 9501040909
LaGuardia terminal evacuated; departures halted!

Man disappears after being singled out for security screening

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The Delta terminal at LaGuardia Airport in New York City was evacuated for about two hoursFriday after a man whose shoes provided an initial positive alert for explosives left the screening area, the Transportation Security Administration said.

Authorities gave no indication whether the man had been found.

TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis said the man had taken off his shoes for the test, but then put them back on and left about 2:50 p.m. before authorities had finished screening him.

"TSA Security and Port Authority Police are searching for him now," she said at the time. "He's going to have to come out at some point."

Davis said she was not sure why the man had been targeted for what the TSA calls a secondary screening -- which involves security officers passing a metal-detecting wand around a person's body.

The TSA said an electronic trace detection machine returned a positive alert for explosives, but such machines also can give an alert on benign substances.

Authorities said they were stopping all outgoing flights from terminal D until the man is found, and Delta spokesman Anthony Black said takeoffs should resume around 7 p.m. Inbound flights were not affected.

Passengers were allowed back into the terminal at around 5 p.m., and everyone was in the process of being screened again, said TSA spokesman Darin Kayser.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Abdul again has airplane issues

Paula Abdul, a judge on "American Idol," won't get high marks from her fellow airline passengers, and she might be hearing from Homeland Security officials.

According to an Abdul spokesman, the former pop singer and dancer was running late Thursday, trying to make her Southwest flight at McCarran International Airport, when a group of fans mobbed her.

A Southwest representative at the scene whisked her through a back access, bypassing security, and onto the Los Angeles-bound plane.

However, upon arrival in Burbank, it was announced that security had been breached, and no one could leave the plane until the re-screening process was completed.

Abdul, whose six No. 1 hits included "Rush, Rush," was trying to make the flight so she wouldn't miss Thursday's live "Idol" show.

A Southwest representative who was asked to respond did not return a call by deadline.

In January, two employees at the Silverton accused Abdul of having them fired from their graveyard-shift jobs because she says they caused her to miss a flight.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

NTSB: Pilot Error Caused Flight Attendant To Be Sucked From Plane

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Federal investigators have concluded that pilot error led to an American Airlines flight attendant being sucked out of a plane during an emergency landing more than five years ago, killing him.

American Flight 1291 took off from Miami for Port-au-Prince, Haiti, with 121 passengers on Nov. 20, 2000. During the emergency descent back to Miami, there were pressurization problems, and the captain ordered the evacuation, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

When the plane was on the ground, flight attendant Jose Chiu, 34, of New York, struggled to unfasten the front cabin door, and it exploded open. He fell two stories to the tarmac.

NTSB investigators concluded that pilots had not used a manual control to depressurize the plane. As a result, excessive pressure built up in the cabin causing the door to suddenly open.

The accident investigation was completed three years ago, but the "probable cause" statement was not released until Wednesday because of a Web site glitch, said NTSB spokesman Paul Schlamm.

"It was an extremely isolated and rare incident," said Tim Smith, spokesman for Forth Worth-based airline said Thursday. "We changed both our training and our procedures as a result of the situation to make sure people followed the procedure to avoid this happening."

Smith said the airline doesn't believe any other flight crew has failed to depressurize a plane since the accident.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Last year, airlines lost a million more pieces of luggage than the year before.Millions of Americans believe that the overhead bins are a safer bet than the baggage hole.

The transportation department backs them up in a new report which says 2005 was the worst year for wayward bags since 1990. For many travelers their first stop after landing is the lost luggage line. The reasons are that travel is up, airline staffing levels are down and security is tighter.

As a consequence the number of bags lost by US Airways for example rose a whopping 80.5% over 2004, Southwest 26.9%, American 25.2% and Delta 37.1% or 573,419 bags lost in one year. To be fair to the airlines all these loses amounted to fewer than 10 complaints for every one thousand customers....
'We're Going To Crash!'

A stewardess caused panic by repeatedly screaming "We're going to crash" when a packed plane hit turbulance.

The Virgin flight hit bad weather three hours into a journey from Gatwick to Las Vegas.

Some passengers were sick and others thrown from their seats as luggage, drinks and trays were tossed around.

Those using the toilet at the time were stuck in the cubicle while others prayed and cried.

And their ordeal was intensified by the screaming stewardess.

Passenger Paul Gibson told The Daily Mirror: "She began screaming every time the plane shook.

"She shouted at the top of her voice, 'We're going to crash! We're going to crash! We're going to crash!"

The un-named woman - in her mid 20s - also lobbed sick bags across the cabin when poorly passengers screamed for more.

Crew members say it was the worst turbulance they had encountered.

A spokesman for Virgin said no complaint had been received.

"Turbulance can be a very frightening ordeal," he added.