Thompson Calls for Security Probe at Airport

In the letter to Richard Skinner, the Congressman alleges supervisors would tell screeners the exact hour when they expected the undercover testers to come through. At that point the most skilled screeners were allegedly placed at checkpoints during the time they expected a test. In response, the Congressman told WLBT News, "The notion that someone would compromise the integrity of that system just to make themselves look good is something we can't afford." He is pressing for specifics. He wants to know if at any time, have administrators at Jackson-Evers International Airport had been told when investigators and auditors are coming through the airport to test the airport's systems. Also, if so, by whom, in what manner and for what purpose.

His letter to the Inspector General continues to state; As you investigate these specific allegations, I would also appreciate you looking at the record keeping process on when local and Federal law enforcement, other than Federal Air Marshals, are allowed to fly armed at Jackson and other airports. The letter says, there has been so me controversy around the logbook process that is in place and whether it can be altered to cover up when an individual who may not be eligible for Law Enforcement Officer Status, as defined by TSA, is allowed to fly armed.

Jackson Mayor Frank Melton says he boarded a commercial flight armed. The mayor said during an on-camera interview with WLBT News, "I did not take a gun on an aircraft, I take two guns." Congressman Thompson says, Melton is absolutely not authorized to have a weapon on an airplane. The mayor also said he was escorted around airport security. The Jackson TSA personnel are under the direction of Federal Security Director Larry Rowlett. On Mondays' 9/11 anniversary Rowlett would not confirm an investigation. But he did tell reporters this, "You're welcome to e-mail me your questions and problems." We requested an interview Mr. Rowlett, he told us he could not talk on advice of the Transportation Safety Administration in Washington. A spokeswoman with TSA did not return out calls regarding the probe. The Congressman said Mr. Rowlett is in charge and he has to, quote, " Ultimately be accountable for whatever occurs under his watch."

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