Houston Passenger Brought Loaded Pistol on Plane

A Houston businessman has a cautionary tale for Transportation Security Administration (TSA) authorities just in time for the busy holiday travel season. Iranian-American Farid Seif says last year he boarded a Continental Airlines flight with a loaded handgun in his carry-on.

Seif says he passed through security at Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport during last year's holiday season without realizing he had forgotten to unpack the gun – a loaded snub nose Glock pistol – in his empty computer bag.

TSA screeners did not spot the weapon.

Seif says he was shocked when, after the three-hour flight, he arrived at his hotel room and found the gun.

"There's nothing else in there. How can you miss it? You cannot miss it," Seif tells Houston's KTRK.

Seif says he contacted the TSA to report the incident.

Homeland Security has warned about threats al-Qaida during the holiday season, and advised travelers they can expect to see heightened security at airports including the use of full body scanners and enhanced pat downs.

Clark Kent Ervin, former Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security, tells ABC News that weapons can still slip through airport security.

The results of "red team tests," where undercover agents test what weapons and other banned items they can get through airport security, are classified. But the failure rate approached 70 percent at some major airports in recent tests, ABC News reports.

The TSA screeners who missed the gun in Houston were reportedly disciplined, but not fired.

Aviation Security Expert Jim Conway tells KTRK the screeners have a tough job and can experience job fatigue.

"Look, this is simply human error," Conway said. "When something like this happens, it's human error. I mean, these folks are doing the best job they can."

Photo, rafelmarquesz, flickr
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