FBI: TSA TAT Probe Climb Not a Criminal Act

 - August 27, 2008, 11:26 AM

According to the FBI, federal laws against tampering with aircraft do not apply to the bizarre situation that occurred at Chicago O’Hare Airport on August 19, when a zealous Transportation Security Administration (TSA) inspector decided to “test” the security of unoccupied American Eagle ERJs. After Eagle mechanics saw the TSA inspector trying to climb onto a jet bridge using the ERJs’ TAT probes as hand- and foot-holds, the airline delayed 40 flights and tested probes on nine airplanes for damage. “If not observed by vigilant Eagle employees in Chicago,” American Eagle noted, “the actions of this inspector would have been unknown and could have jeopardized the safety of our customers and crew.” According to a spokeswoman in the FBI’s Chicago office, “We are not investigating this matter. The damage was accidentally done by a TSA inspector. It was determined to be not intentional nor was it a criminal act in any way.” On August 21, American Eagle and the TSA issued a joint statement, assuring the public that the “TSA and American Eagle are working together to achieve the right security results and resolve any security gaps that have occurred.”