Airport security in the US has never been tighter. Or is it? The Transportation Security Administration here has tightened up its rules on liquids, gels and indeed solids, instituting new tighter policies for inspection of larger handheld electronics like Gameboys and such. They’re worried. After all, the head of the Homeland Security Department, Mike Chertoff, recently told a television chat show that he had a “gut feeling” about the the bad guys and that they were planning something bad. Chertoff, whose agency is in charge of the TSA, ordered even more shoe inspections after that. One’s feeling of well-being was reassured perhaps, though it has been shaken by the various bits of news about minor security breaches at airports around the country, including this latest bit of monkey business.
The most interesting of these have not always been so minor: TSA officials at LaGuardia airport in New York City are questioning an arriving passenger who made it into the airport with a little monkey under his hat. Worse, the monkey, and the man, apparently boarded in Lima, Peru, stayed around after landing in Fort Lauderdale and were not officially detected until the plane got to LaGuardia. According to the carrier, Spirit Airlines, other passengers noticed the monkey on the Peru-Florida flight but didn’t think it unusual enough to tell the authorities. Having been in South Florida, we find this thoroughly credible. A Spirit spokeswoman said the monkey was well-behaved on the flights, and evidently didn’t check any bags or ask for extra peanuts or water. Authorities in New York are investigating. No word if Chertoff plans to order hat inspections (hat checks?) to go with the shoe checks.