Air Security Intensified

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

The government Friday ordered intensified security checks of the entire U.S. commercial air fleet after small plastic bags containing box cutters and other suspicious items were found on two Southwest Airlines planes.

A 20-year-old North Carolina man was being questioned by the FBI in connection with the incidents, according to a congressional official and a senior law enforcement official, both of whom spoke on condition of anonymity.

The congressional official said the man, described as a college student, had informed the Transportation Security Administration that he planned to put packages on planes in an effort to expose gaps in aviation security.

"It doesn't appear to be a terrorist event,'' FBI Director Robert Mueller said.

Still, as a precaution, the government ordered intensified searches of the roughly 7,000 commercial aircraft.

The checks were expected to be completed by Saturday, with no disruptions to service. The suspicious bags were hidden in lavatory compartments aboard Southwest Airlines jets that landed in New Orleans and Houston. They were found late Thursday by maintenance workers.


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