Memos Detail TSA Officer’s Cocaine Pranks

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NOVEMBER 2–The Transportation Security Administration worker who earlier this year was canned for falsely claiming to have discovered cocaine in the luggage of travelers was a bomb appraisal officer who was supposed to be evaluating new screening equipment at the time he was pranking his unsuspecting targets, records show.

TSA documents released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request provide further details about the January incidents at the Philadelphia International Airport. The name of the bomb appraisal officer has been redacted from the material, though one memo indicates that when the worker was confronted, “He did say humbly that he was completely wrong and he made a mistake.”

The TSA officer was working near a passenger screening checkpoint “collecting data for several new pieces of equipment that are currently being evaluated by Northrop Grumman,” according to a TSA memo. Since individual data collection phases could each take up to ten minutes, the worker apparently decided to fill up the time by pranking travelers: “While the data was being collected,” the bomb appraisal officer “began to engage passengers.”