Jan 23 2010
As long as I can remember, rumors of people being framed for smuggling have gone around. The urban legends go something like this: an unlikely sort gets stopped at the airport/border/bus terminal by a security officer who happens to be holding a piece of his/her luggage. The security officer produces a weapon/drugs from the bag/backpack/suitcase/duffel bag, claims that the traveler was carrying them and places him/her under arrest. It later turns out that the security officer planted the contraband him/herself for (insert dastardly reason here - making their arrest quota for the month, fun, making some poor schmuck sweat, what have you). It's the sort of thing that keeps one up at night just before one goes back on the road.
When it actually happens, though, it's enough to make you sweat like Kevin Mitnick at a traffic stop.
On the fifth of January, 22 year old Rebecca Solomon was flying back to Detroit by way of Philadelphia for school after winter break. Arriving at Philly International 90 minutes early as advised due to the new travel restrictions, she ran her carry on luggage down the x-ray conveyor belt, stepped through the metal detector, and was then stopped by a TSA worker while collecting her personal effects. The worker pulled a small baggie of white powder out of her carry on and asked if it was hers.
At moments like this Time itself seems to stop, and the only thing you can hear is the sound of your heart hammering double-time in your ears.
Twenty seconds later, the TSA agent cracked a smile, told her that he had put it there himself, and told her to move on. It had been a joke.
Please bear in mind that Solomon was flying on Northwest Airlines, the same airline upon which Captain Sparkypants tried to blow up a plane with 80 grams of PETN packed around his junk just a few days before. Air travel is bad enough around the holidays, moreso after some jackass with high explosive sewn into his gutches blows a black op and puts everyone's nerves on edge, and this dumbass decides to play a cute Penn and Teller prank on a co-ed when he should be doing his job by making sure that someone isn't trying to be the star of Underwear Bomber II: From Briefs To Boxers?? Ann Davis, the regional rep for the TSA says that she's seen no evidence to contradict Solomon's story, and the unidentified-by-policy security worker is no longer employed.
It's no wonder why people are loathe to travel anymore; not because they're afraid of terrorism, but because they're afraid of the Keystone Kops that were hired to work sitesec for the airports.