View Full Version : Fear Mongering At Its' Best

08-18-2006, 08:40 AM
Suspicious Liquid Found at W.Va. Airport


By SHAYA TAYEFE MOHAJER, Associated Press Writer
Fri Aug 18, 2:20 AM

CEREDO, W.Va. - A West Virginia airport terminal was evacuated Thursday after two bottles of liquid found in a woman's carry-on luggage twice tested positive for explosives residue, a Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman said.

Chemical tests later Thursday turned up no explosives in the bottles, said Capt. Jack Chambers, head of the State Police Special Operations unit. The airport was reopened after nearly 10 hours.

"It looks like there were four items containing liquids," said TSA spokeswoman Amy von Walter. A machine that security checkpoint screeners use to test for explosives registered positive results for two containers, and a canine team also got a positive hit, she said.

The TSA screening looks for a range of explosives residue, some of which can be found on common household items, said TSA spokesman Darrin Kayser.

Airport manager Larry Salyers said he was told the woman was a 28-year-old of Pakistani descent who had moved to West Virginia from Jackson, Mich.

No charges were filed against the woman, who was taken from the airport by federal authorities at 5 p.m., Salyers said.

The woman was cooperative, officials said.

The woman's mother told the Associated Press that her daughter, who is four months pregnant and lives in Barboursville, W.Va., was targeted because of her nationality and Islamic headcover.

"It was not only a false alarm, it was racial discrimination because there was nothing," Mian Qayyum said, refusing to name her daughter.

"She just had water to drink because she is pregnant and she had a face wash that had a drop of bleach on it," Qayyum said from her home in Jackson.

The FBI did not immediately return messages Thursday night seeking comment on the racial profiling allegations.

A screener noticed a bottle in a woman's carry-on bag as she was going through security before her 9:15 a.m. flight to Charlotte, N.C., said Tri-State Airport Authority President Jim Booton.

One bottle contained a gel-type facial cleanser, FBI spokesman Jeff Killeen said.

"Anytime a prohibited item is brought to a checkpoint, then you are going to be immediately more interested in that bag," Kayser said.

The woman had purchased a one-way ticket to Detroit by way of Charlotte on Wednesday, Salyers said.

The flight was allowed to leave for Charlotte, and the terminal was evacuated at 11:25 a.m., officials said.

Commercial airline service was suspended, and about 100 passengers and airport employees were ordered to leave the terminal, Booton said.

Two airlines _ Comair and US Airways Express _ serve the airport.

After the evacuation, many passengers decided to stay and wait it out.

"We bought them pizza, soft drinks ... tried to make them comfortable as could be in this situation," Salyers said. "We had them in the parking lot, under trees, in conference rooms, the firehouse."

U.S. authorities banned the carrying of liquids onto flights last week after British officials made arrests in an alleged plot to blow up U.S.-bound planes using explosives disguised as drinks and other common products.

Joy and John Cloutre of Ulysses, Ky., were waiting to begin the first leg of their trip to the southeast Asian country of Brunei when the evacuation order came.

Joy Cloutre told the Herald Dispatch of Huntington that her family didn't want her to leave because of terrorism in the region. "And then we don't even get out of Huntington without something like this happening."