FBI: Hunt continues for suspect in bomb threats against jets

26 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

FBI: Atlanta Bomb Threat That Drew CPD Response Unfounded.

ATLANTA (AP) — An FBI agent says law officers are continuing to pursue a suspect after someone made bomb threats targeting two jets bound for Atlanta, prompting F-16 fighter jets to escort the planes. (STMW) – A pair of bomb threats from someone claiming to be from Chicago that grounded two planes Saturday at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport were unfounded, the FBI said.

A person using the handle @kingzortic tweeted that bombs had been planted on a Delta flight from Portland and a Southwest flight from Milwaukee, claiming they would be exploded “as part of a nationwide State agreement.” The Twitter user also asserted that an airport security employee helped with the operation. “As part of a nationwide State agreement, a bomb was placed on SWA2492,” the user said in a subsequent tweet directed at Southwest. “It will be detonated at a random time of my choosing…” F-16 jets escorted the flights to their landing Saturday afternoon, and all passengers deplaned safely, Atlanta’s Channel 2 News reported. Special Agent Britt Johnson said: “When the threat came in through Twitter, something was suspicious enough about it to make that determination that caused someone to elevate it to the point that it caused the scramble of the fighter jets and the notifications that occurred,” ABC News reported. Airport officials say the threats targeted Southwest Airlines Flight 2492, which arrived at Atlanta from Milwaukee, and Delta Air Lines Flight 1156, which arrived from Portland, Oregon. The FBI found no explosives and interrogated all the passengers, and the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force continues to investigate the threats. “Oh yes, that’s it. 1156, thanks. FBI officials interviewed passengers before they were allowed to leave the airport and bomb disposal experts searched the plane and passengers’ luggage, but found nothing unusual according to officials.

It was smuggled through one of the back entrences [sic] because the airport didn’t…I had one of the airport security help me because he’s an old friend who now works for The State. The jets were sent from McEntire Joint National Guard Base in South Carolina at 1pm local time and escorted the passenger aircraft until they landed, they then returned to their base. Larkin and other passengers said they received little information about what actually was happening, but other riders said they followed the events on their phones. The threat follows heightened security concerns at the Atlanta airport, where five people — including an airplane baggage handler — were charged last month of illegally shipping firearms on passenger jets between Atlanta and New York. The Department of Homeland Security’s TSA recently visited Atlanta’s airport to “to help assess potential vulnerabilities related to site security at airports nationwide behind the sterile area,” spokeswoman Marsha Catron told the Washington Times.

In the past, the TSA has claimed that such screening would be too complicated, since many employees go back and forth between secure and unsecure areas.

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