(U//FOUO) TSA Transportation Suspicious Incident Report (TSIR) August 2010

Transportation Security Administration Office of Intelligence

  • 13 pages
  • For Official Use Only
  • August 5, 2010

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(U) Summary of Suspicious Incidents

(U//FOUO) Field reporting continues to capture incidents or activities in transportation modes that may be construed as suspicious – as defined by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). For this reporting period, 21 incidents were considered suspicious.

(U//FOUO) The vast majority of suspicious incidents are not terrorism related. Incident reporting continues to reveal most involve members of the traveling public who do not have intent to cause harm. Intoxicated passengers, people traveling without proper identification or with propaganda materials, and persons with mental health needs are generally not considered suspicious and are generally not included in the weekly summary. However, some incidents are more serious and are reported for situational awareness. Incidents involving notable drug or weapons concealment, possible surveillance, laser targeting of aircraft, possible insider collusion, exploitable gaps in security, and some unusual behaviors at transportation venues are discussed as they may involve technologies or tactics which may lend insight to future terrorist tradecraft.

(U//FOUO) NO-FLY MATCHES: There was 1 match to the Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) No-Fly List during this reporting period.

(U//FOUO) On 21 July, TSA-OI received notification from an airline of a match to the TSC No-Fly List. The passenger was attempting to board an international flight (Toronto, Canada – Frankfurt, Germany) that would transit U.S. airspace. TSA-OI, in coordination with the TSC, confirmed the passenger to be a positive match to the TSC No-Fly List and the airline denied the passenger boarding. The TSC, in coordination with the nominating agency, determined that the subject would remain on the TSC No-Fly List.

(U) Surface Incidents

(U) People’s Republic of China: Passenger Deliberately Sets Fire to Airport Shuttle Bus. On 21 July, at least 2 people were killed and over 10 injured when an airport shuttle bus in Changsha, China caught fire—reportedly after an unidentified passenger deliberately ignited a bag containing combustible material. The bus caught fire near an expressway toll gate as it departed the Changsha Huanghua International Airport.

(U//FOUO) TSA Office of Intelligence Comment: Individuals intentionally setting fires on Chinese passenger buses using gasoline or other accelerants are not uncommon. At least two incidents have been reported in the past year.

(U) In March 2008, a passenger on a China Southern Airlines flight was reportedly confronted by the crew who discovered her in a lavatory with two gasoline-filled soft drink cans she smuggled on board the flight. She apparently intended to ignite the fuel while in the lavatory, which was located near the wing of the Boeing 757.

(U) Surface Incidents

(U) People’s Republic of China: Passenger Deliberately Sets Fire to Airport Shuttle Bus. On 21 July, at least 2 people were killed and over 10 injured when an airport shuttle bus in Changsha, China caught fire—reportedly after an unidentified passenger deliberately ignited a bag containing combustible material. The bus caught fire near an expressway toll gate as it departed the Changsha Huanghua International Airport.

(U//FOUO) TSA Office of Intelligence Comment: Individuals intentionally setting fires on Chinese passenger buses using gasoline or other accelerants are not uncommon. At least two incidents have been reported in the past year.

(U) In March 2008, a passenger on a China Southern Airlines flight was reportedly confronted by the crew who discovered her in a lavatory with two gasoline-filled soft drink cans she smuggled on board the flight. She apparently intended to ignite the fuel while in the lavatory, which was located near the wing of the Boeing 757.

(U//FOUO) California: Prohibited Items Artfully Concealed in Toys. On 22 July, TSA TSOs at San Diego International Airport (SAN) detected a box cutter and two pocket knives artfully concealed inside a toy stuffed animal. Two additional pocket knives were found inside a deck of cards. The prohibited items were discovered in the carry-on bag of a minor passenger (San Diego-Nashville) who was traveling with her father. Local LEOs confiscated the items and interviewed the father who stated that his daughter had concealed the items on her own. The passengers were allowed to continue on the flight.

(U//FOUO) TSA Office of Intelligence Comment: There have been several incidents since at least 2003 where TSOs detected weapons that had been artfully concealed inside stuffed animals. This tactic has also been successfully used by drug smugglers, and in at least one instance, by a terrorist. In 1995, dolls and toy cars filled with explosive materials were found in the residence of a terrorist who was later convicted for his roles in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and a subsequent plan to bomb U.S. airliners transiting the Far East (Manila Plot).

(U//FOUO) Note: See also TSA Office of Intelligence TIG: Concealment of Explosive Devices in Toys, Other Items (December 2007); and EPIC Transportation Unit Bulletin (EB07-51 / October 2007): Toys Used to Smuggle Drugs.

(U//FOUO) New York: Artful Concealment of Knives in Baby Seat and Walking Cane. On 27 July, TSOs at LaGuardia International Airport (LGA) detected two knives that had been artfully concealed in the lining of the infant car seat of an identified passenger (New York LaGuardia-Fort Lauderdale). Another knife was found in the walking cane of her traveling companion. Local LEOs interviewed the passengers who stated that the knives belonged to a relative who had just passed away and they were aware of the items. Both passengers were cited on a state charge: “Possession of a Knife over Four Inches.”

(U//FOUO) TSA Office of Intelligence Comment: Terrorists might employ similar tactics, techniques, or procedures (TTP – e.g., travel with an infant car seat, stroller, diaper bag, and children) as a means to smuggle an explosive device or weapon aboard a passenger aircraft. In the 1980s, a member of the 15 May Organization and his wife were known to travel with their child, possibly as a way to draw less attention during security screenings and inspections. In August 1982, the family boarded a flight from Baghdad to Tokyo (Pan Am 830). The extremist placed an improvised explosive device under a seat cushion, and once on the ground in Tokyo, he and his family got off the plane, which continued to Honolulu. The resulting in-flight explosion killed one passenger and injured 14 others.

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1 comment for “(U//FOUO) TSA Transportation Suspicious Incident Report (TSIR) August 2010

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