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Airline insecurity story of the day

By Michelle Malkin  •  February 3, 2010 01:14 PM

The San Diego News Network reports that TSA allowed a phony U.S. marshal to log in at San Diego’s international airport with bogus ID, escort a “prisoner” through security, and leave the facility no questions asked:

A Hemet man who passed himself off as a U.S. Marshal was able to enter the international airport in San Diego with a “prisoner” after convincing airport security officers he was a federal agent, a TSA spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday.

Suzanne Trevino, spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration, said in a telephone interview that an investigation has revealed that someone who presented “falsified law enforcement documents” was able to get past security and eventually make it to a gate with a prisoner. The individual presented himself as a law enforcement officer and followed the proper procedures, including logging in, she said.

The agency learned about the incident after being contacted by “local law enforcement” about the potential breach in security.

“We are working with law enforcement and other departments to make sure this does not happen again,” Trevino said.

Trevino declined to discuss what law enforcement officers are required to do to verify their status, or what policy changes have taken place since the incident.

After the “prisoner” took off in a plane, Trevino said, the individual left the airport.

The Transportation Security Administration, which is responsible for security at airports, and the U.S. Border Patrol were informed by Hemet police about the incident after investigators learned that a woman had been “deported” by someone who claimed to be a U.S. Marshall, said Lt. Duane Wisehart.

Gregory R. Denny, 37, was booked last month and booked on suspicion of kidnapping, false imprisonment and impersonating a peace officer, Wisehart said. John Hall, a spokesman for the Riverside County District Attorney’s office, said Monday the case against Denny is still under review and he did not have an estimate on how soon a decision will be made on whether charges will be filed.

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