Tuesday, January 5, 2010


A red bag used by baggage terminal employees caused a major scare at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport today.

"I think that we're going to continue to have these scares -- it comes with the territory," said consumer travel expert Chris Elliott.

The red bag in question is what is known as a "last bag," used by baggage handlers to signify that all the bags have been moved through. In other words, it was an ordinary bag used routinely by the airport employees.

Bags are not the problem.

As we saw on an earlier post, Israeli security experts stress that the key to security is to control who comes into the airport. Accessing people and their intentions is the essential job of security. If a person has no ill intention, it matters not what he has in his bag. Consistently making correct judgments is a goal that trained individuals can achieve, and is the best deterrent to terrorism. But this cannot be achieved if security personal have to worry about the political ramifications of making screening and denial of entry decisions.

An unaccounted bag should never frighten the public and close an airport. If it does, the terrorists are more than halfway home.

Asked if the practice of using such a bag would end because of this, Hogan said he didn't think so. But, "this particular bag won't be used again."


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