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01/16/2014

Please hand over your belt, shoes, pipe bombs. Have a good flight.

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                                                                                                  LUCAS OLENIUK / TORONTO STAR

 

The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) really needs to say more. They need to explain how an 18-year-old was allowed to board a flight from Edmonton to Mexico after it was discovered that he was carrying a pipe bomb. They need to explain why a security guard, upon discovering the pipe bomb, tried to give it back to the teenager. You make us take off our shoes and belts. It's only fair.

According to details that came out in court and were first reported by CBC's Briar Stewart, the CATSA guard was seen on video pushing the device back to Skylar Vincent Murphy. Reportedly, Murphy was told “You can keep it.” ... And cue the polite Canadian jokes.

Stewart reported that Skylar Murphy, who pleaded guilty to possessing explosives, told the court he built the pipe bomb with a friend to blow up as shed. The bomb was in his camera bag and he forgot about it until boarding that flight to Mexico last September. 

Okay put aside how strange that is (I mean I carry a camera bag. Here's a helpful guide on how to pack like a foreign correspondent: http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2013/07/15/howto_guide_16_ways_to_thrive_in_todays_world.html. General idea is to avoid attention), how could that possibly not have raised red flags, when tweezers do?

Police were contacted four days later, which a CATSA spokesperson has admitted was a mistake and said that screening employees were suspended.

Apparently there will also be some extra training.

Hoping this doesn't influence the recent easing of restrictions at airports, which have been imposed in the decade since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Pipe bombs have always been forbidden - even before 9/11.

Michelle Shephard is the Star's National Security correspondent and author of "Decade of Fear: Reporting from Terrorism's Grey Zone." She is a three-time recipient of Canada's National Newspaper Award and producing a documentary on the Uighur detainees due out this year. Follow her on Twitter @shephardm

 

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