Say what you will about LA Airport (I really hate flying through there) and its airport staff but at least they found this nutcase who somehow Japanese and Korean airport authorities missed. This is just scary on all levels:
What alerted agents to check his suitcase? It might have been the bullet-proof vest or the flame-retardant pants that he was wearing under his trench coat.
According to ICE, a search of his checked bag turned up the smoke grenade as well as “three leather-coated billy clubs, a collapsible baton, a full-face respirator, various knives, a hatchet, body bags, a biohazard suit, handcuffs, leg irons, and a device to repel dogs.”
Wonder what the excuses are going to be?
It appears that he was checked in Incheon but still managed to slip through. According to the AP (Via Lubbock Online):
South Korean security officials screened a man with a bulletproof vest before he got on a flight to Los Angeles, but they never detected a banned smoke grenade in his checked luggage with a cache of knives, handcuffs, a gas mask and other weapons, a U.S. official said Wednesday.
It goes on to state that the U.S. could take strong measures against Incheon Airport such as banning flights from that airport but most likely won’t because it was just a slip up.
“This clearly looks like an error. Something slipped through that should not have slipped through,” Blank said of the grenade.
Many of the other belongings authorities say they found in Harris’ luggage — including the hatchet and knives — wouldn’t violate TSA guidelines for property in checked luggage. Also, bulletproof vests and flame-resistant pants like the ones Harris was wearing aren’t listed among prohibited items aboard flights.
I liked these two paragraphs:
An intrusive pat-down by security or the discovery of a too-big bottle of tanning lotion can leave a passenger feeling violated, while Harris, outfitted in a bulletproof vest, flame-retardant pants and knee pads underneath a trenchcoat, with an arsenal in his luggage, appears to have triggered no suspicion before arriving in Los Angeles.
“The one thing that concerns me is he was able to board a plane internationally with all these weapons and whatnot, and nobody in Japan, nobody in Korea, bothered to find these things until he got to America,” said Gadisa Goso, 29, a school administrator and neighbor of Harris’ mother in Boston. “That’s a big concern for, like, for the U.S.”
Needless to say, Harris is not cooperating with the authorities and will not explain what he was doing with all the material. He recently started working in Japan – wonder what his occupation was?