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Man claims TSA ignoring weapons made inside airport terminals

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SEATTLE -- A security researcher claims the TSA is ignoring his claims that anyone can easily make weapons and explosive devices from items bought at gift shops after a passenger passes through the security checkpoint at airports.

Evan Booth claims a "MacGyver-esque" attacker can use trinkets, toiletry items, toys and other items bought at duty free shops, restaurants and magazine stands to "wage war on an airplane".

To prove it, he's produced a series of videos demonstrating the weapons and explosives he's made. He's also speaking about his research to anyone who will listen, even the TSA. But for more than a year, Booth says he has not heard back from TSA about his findings.

"I've sent them all the documentation and have heard no response back," said Booth, who runs his own software development and consultancy firm in Greensboro, North Carolina.


Booth began producing his videos in 2013 and has refined them over the last year. There's the thermos bomb called the Fragguccino, a shotgun he calls the Blunder Business Class, nunchucks called the Chunks of Liberty, a slingbow he calls Planned Parenthood to name a few.

He's created 10 weapons based on three self-imposed rules: Only materials found inside the terminal after the security check can be used, only cash and a travel-approved multi-tool can be carried into the terminal and "anything in the airport you'd get yelled at for taking or messing with is off limits."

Booth believes the TSA is ineffective, costing taxpayers $7 billion a year for security checkpoints while leaving a gaping hole in security once passengers enter the terminal.

"I want it to be effective and as it stands -- it's just not," he said. " Why are we ok with that is a question I would want people to ask after looking at my research."

An airport security consultant who has been critical of TSA for years echoes those concerns. Rafi Sela, president of Israel based A. R. Challenges, says the devices Booth has created are "not unknown" to terrorists.

"If you have the knowledge, you can actually do a lot of harm on an airplane because you can buy all kinds of stuff at the terminal," said Sela.

He said the TSA is focusing its efforts too much on a single security checkpoint in an attempt to prevent passengers from bringing bombs on board a plane in the a carry-on luggage.

"The real effort needs to be before the passenger ever gets near the terminal, like they do in Israel," said Sela.

He said airport security officers in Israel are trained to look for "intent" at multiple stages before a passenger ever gets near a plane.

"We really don't care what you carry in your personal luggage, Israel can catch those guys because we can figure out their intent," he said.

We watched Booth create several weapons from elements that are easy to find at gift shops. He demonstrated to us the ability to make explosive devices that used delayed fuses made from items found in an average toiletry bag.

A spokeswoman for TSA did not want to answer questions specifically about Booth and his research.

Lori Dankers, spokeswoman and Public Affairs Manager for TSA for several western states, said in statement, "TSA is dedicated to keeping individuals and items that can cause catastrophic damage to an aircraft off of airplanes. Transportation Security Officers are focused on detecting high-threat items such as explosives and/or improvised explosive device (IED) components."

She also added, "TSA employs multiple layers of security to protect the traveling public, both seen and unseen by the public. 

Booth knows people may accuse him of providing ideas and methods for wannabe terrorists. He doesn't see it that way.

"TSA has a lot of procedures in place right now, but the ends don't justify the means," he said. "I just want people to look at my research and judge for themselves"




  • Guest
    NunYa Monday, 03 November 2014

    The way our government is working nowadays, this guy will get snatched up and vanished to Guantanamo, and treated like a suspect, even though he's actually trying to help prevent problems.

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Guest Tuesday, 25 February 2020