Would-Be Bomber Caught at Orlando Airport
Oddly enough, I flew into Orlando Airport on Tuesday night, hours after TSA and police caught Kevin Brown -- not the baseball player -- with bomb-making equipment in his checked luggage. (Yes, checked luggage. He was bringing it to Jamaica, not planning on blowing up the plane he was on.) Seems like someone trained in behavioral profiling singled him out, probably for stuff like this:
"He was rocking left to right, bouncing up and down ... he was there acting crazy," passenger Jason Doyle said.
But that was a passenger remembering Brown after the fact, so I wouldn't put too much credence in it.
"This is not him," she said in a phone interview. "It has to be a mental issue for him. I know if they looked through his medical records...I'm sure they will see..."He's not a terrorist."
Brown married Holt's daughter, Kamishia, 25, about three years ago. They met while serving in the Army and separated a year later. Brown wasn't the same after returning from Iraq, her daughter told her.
"When he doesn't take it [medication], he's off the chain," Holt said. "When you don't take it and drink alcohol, it makes it worse."
Doesn't sound like a terrorist, but this does:
According to the affidavit, Brown admitted he had the items because he wanted to make pipe bombs in Jamaica. It also indicated he wanted to show friends how to make pipe bombs like he made while in Iraq.
Federal agents said federal agents found two vodka bottles filled with nitro-methane, a highly explosive liquid, as well as galvanized pipes, end caps with holes, BBs, a model-rocket igniter, AA batteries, a lighter and lighter fluid, plus other items used to make pipe bombs and detailed instructions and diagrams. He indicated the items were purchased in Gainesville where he lived at one time.
Ignore the hyperbole; nitromethane is a liquid fuel, not a high explosive. Here's the whole affidavit, if you want to read it.
Even with all this news, the truth is that we just don't know what happened. It looks like a great win for behavioral profiling (which, when done well, I think is a good idea) and the TSA. The TSA is certainly pleased. But we've seen apparent TSA wins before that turn out to be bogus when the details finally come out. Right now I'm cautiously pleased with the TSA's performance, and offer them a tentative congratulations, especially for not over-reacting. I read -- but can't find the link now -- that only 11 flights were delayed because of the event. The TSA claims that no flights were delayed, and also says that no security checkpoints were closed. Either way, it's certainly something to congratulate the TSA about.
Posted on April 3, 2008 at 9:02 AM • 39 Comments