It's hard to tell whether this is more terrifying or embarrassing, but thanks in part to forgetfulness and a lack of organization it took TSA screeners at New York's La Guardia Airport six hours to call in a bomb squad to deal with some suspected pipe bombs. It turns out the bombs weren't real -- they were some part of a "homeopathic medicine" kit -- but the TSA can't get away from the nagging hypothetical of "What if?" The whole affair started at 11:30 a.m. Monday. “When I saw the image, I took a step backward and said, ‘What’s that?!’ ” one startled TSA employee said, according to the New York Post's police sources. The Post also notes, "Another screener saw the objects, one gold, the other silver, and both 6-inches long with 'springs' inside, and thought they could be bombs." (The Post has images of the suspicious cylinders). TSA officials let the passenger catch his flight, but appear to have left the pipes on a radiator and then forgot them. According to CNN, "When the next shift arrived, one officer saw the items and mistakenly believed they were test objects, used to check screener proficiency." Combining both the Post's and CNN's accounts, it seems the new shift of screeners didn't call in the bomb squad until 3 p.m., and it took another couple of hours for them to arrive. TSA officials said the checkpoint was not closed, nor was the terminal evacuated, during the incident. The bomb squad was called "out of an abundance of caution," the TSA said.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.