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Water Bottle in WV Airport Positive for Explosives

Breaking News: Explosive Substances Believed to be Found at West Virginia Airport

The Transportation Security Administration reports that a passenger's water bottle screened positive for an explosive material around 9:15 this morning. A second test was confirmed at 11:25. TSA is waiting for further testing to determine the exact substance.

NBC News reports that federal screeners found four containers of liquids inside a woman's carry-on bag during the screening process this morning. Larry Salyers, Tri-State Airport Director, tells WSAZ the woman is of Pakistani origin, lived in Jackson, Michigan and most recently lived in the Huntington area. She is being detained for questioning.

The flight in which the woman was going to board was on its way to Charlotte, North Carolina with a final destination of Detroit, Michigan.

A bomb-sniffing dog reacted to her water bottle, which also tested positive on an explosives detection machine. She is a Pakistani with a one way ticket. We are hearing about this as many as 6+ hours after the fact.

Conjecture: After last week's exposure of the UK airline terror plot and the high-profile security in place since, a direct attack would seem illogical for a risk-averse organization like al-Qaeda and their ilk.

It is possible that her bottle, while testing positive for explosives, indeed contained simply water. If this proves to be the case, it means that where she came from, either her home or from among friends, there is possibly an explosives lab / bomb assembly operation running - somewhere in or near Huntington, West Virginia.

In the approximately 6 hours since the initial detection (9:15am) and the time the story was reported (3:30pm), the Pakistani woman's background was most certainly traced and her home and those of her connections paid an unceremonious visit at both ends of her flight (Final Destination: Detroit, Michigan).

First reaction to this event, if indeed the dog and machine are not giving simultaneous false positives, is that it likely may simply be sloppiness on the part of a group with sinister intent, but that this plane may not have been an intended target.

ThreatsWatch will have more coverage as the story develops.

Update: This AP report notes that not one but two bottles belonging to the Pakistani woman tested positive twice, reducing the likelihood of false positives.

See also Charlotte Observer and Wizbang

1 Comment


This one seems to be a moving target, perhaps indicating that detection of liquid explosives is so problematic.

No explosives in US airport alert

Tests on suspect liquids that led to the evacuation of an airport terminal in Huntington, West Virginia, have shown no explosives, officials say.

A number of key indicators were present:

- the suspect was Pakistani

- the suspect had a one way ticket

- liquids

Apparently though the security at the Tri-State Airport is described as "not too sophisticated."

I saw one article in the last day or so that raised a very important point, though. This incident, whether BBC has it right, or not, indicates why even smaller airports and regions need funding from DHS.