Nepali Man Tries to Board Aircraft with Knives, Mace and Stun Gun : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Maybe this is old news for some....

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN)

A man who tried to board a United Airlines flight armed with nine knives, a can of Mace and a stun gun was re-arrested by the FBI, after being released earlier by local authorities, officials said Monday.

The man, Subash Gurung, 27, was arrested Sunday night on a federal charge of unlawfully taking a weapon into an airport, and he is expected to be arraigned in district court later Monday.

Gurung had been arrested Saturday night and charged with unlawful possession of a weapon and attempting to board an aircraft with a weapon, both misdemeanor charges. Gurung, who said he was from Nepal, was initially released on bond and told to appear in court December 19.

FBI spokesman Ross Rice declined comment on why Gurung had been released and then re-arrested.

Meanwhile, seven airport security workers were fired in the wake of the security breach, which drew the condemnation of the nation's largest flight attendant union.

The security breach has drawn the attention of the Bush administration. Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta, in Chicago for an unrelated matter, is expected to talk about the incident Monday afternoon.

The incident also comes as Congress continues to debate ways to overhaul airport security across the nation.

Last week, House Republicans, with the help of a handful of Democrats, pushed through a version of an airport security bill that does not mandate that passenger screeners at airports be federal employees. Instead, the Bush administration could use private companies to perform security checks on passengers, with stronger federal certification and oversight.

While President Bush supports the House position, the Senate unanimously passed a competing bill that would make screeners federal employees in the nation's larger airports. The Senate and House must now hammer out a compromise in a conference committee.

Authorities probe connection with other detained man CNN has learned of an apparent connection Gurung has with one of two men who were detained in Texas after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Gurung listed the same West Hollywood Avenue apartment address in Chicago as Ayub Ali Khan, who is being held as a material witness in the September hijackings.

Khan and Mohamed Jaweed Azmath were arrested in Fort Worth, Texas, on September 12 on an Amtrak train heading to San Antonio. Found in their possession were $5,500 cash, two flat box-cutter type knives and hair dye. Azmath also had copies of numerous passport photos.

The hijackers of the planes that crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon used similar box cutters as weapons, authorities said.

On the day of the attacks, Khan and Azmath were on a TWA flight from Newark to San Antonio. The flight was diverted to St. Louis when the FAA closed the skies to commercial aircraft after the terrorist hijackings and attacks.

Khan and Azmath lived in Jersey City, New Jersey. But a records check by CNN also found a Chicago address for Khan sandwiched between two New Jersey addresses used by him. The Chicago address is for the same apartment building as Gurung.

A government source told CNN that Khan never actually lived in the apartment in Chicago and never worked there.

But, the source said, "many phone calls were made to and from that apartment, and credit card bills were paid from that address."

Weapons found during random search At O'Hare, the fallout from the incident was immediate.

Monique Bond, a spokeswoman for Chicago's aviation department, said a security screener removed two knives from Gurung's pocket when he initially went through the security checkpoint. He was then allowed to pass through.

The other seven knives, the Mace and the stun gun were found in his carry-on luggage during a random search before boarding United Airlines Flight 1085 to Omaha, said Officer Thomas Donegan of the Chicago Police Department.

United Airlines fired at least seven people -- security screeners and a supervisor -- after the incident with Gurung, according to Bond. Those employees worked for Argenbright Security Inc. That firm reached a settlement earlier in October with the Justice Department, in which it admitted it failed to complete court-ordered background checks on its employees.

That move came less than a year after three Argenbright managers pleaded guilty to breaking FAA rules by allowing untrained employees -- some with criminal backgrounds -- to operate airport checkpoints.

Violations were again discovered during the probationary period, when a Department of Transportation audit of the company's operations at 14 airports found the company was still employing numerous airport screeners who had been convicted of crimes that should have disqualified them.

In an interview with CNN affiliate WLS-TV in Chicago, Gurung said he was in a hurry and had carried the weapons in his bag by accident.

He said he was on his way to Omaha to visit friends and he had bought the weapons in Chicago to protect himself. He first said he was unemployed, but then told the reporter he worked in a warehouse.

-- Steve Mcclendon (, November 05, 2001


Deport him and any others that fit the same MO that are not citizens.

-- Steve McClendon (, November 05, 2001.

Let's give Gurung a free ride to "another" country...and no parachute.

-- (, November 05, 2001.

Just a few days ago “his onra” Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago criticized publicly on Chicago TV the FBI and the US Attorney for telling the metropolitan areas in the use to be alert for suspicious activity. Daley himself is responsible allowing his attitude to trickle to the bottom of disregarding the warning. The workers who got fired today are should blame the big mouth Daley for casting doubt on the Fed’s counsel. Daley is at blame for having the culprit released. Rick V. from the Chicago Area. Former

-- Rick V (, November 05, 2001.

I might be wrong Rick, but I thought Daily criticized the Feds for issuing the kind of alert they did but then not encouraging the FAA to grant the extention of the no-fly zone around the city that he requested. Nothing like telling the mayors that they are at risk and then tying their hands regarding reasonable percautions. How many seconds to you think it takes a jet to fly 2 miles??? Would you care to be in the Sears Tower???

-- diane (lurkergal@the.homestead), November 05, 2001.

Daley did that earlier in the week.

This is a new newscast I saw Daley getting goofy about the alerts.

-- Rick V (, November 05, 2001.

Headline: Airline security still winging it

Source: Carl Hiaasen, Miami Herald columnist, 7 November 2001

URL: /090911.htm

Just when you thought it was getting safer to board a commercial jetliner, along comes Subash Gurung and his mystery bags.

Last weekend, the Nepalese national was stopped at a security checkpoint at Chicago's O'Hare International. Two knives were found in his pockets.

So far, so good.

You might assume that the discovery of potentially lethal weapons would have inspired security screeners to spend more time with Gurung, but you'd be wrong.

The crack sleuths used by United Airlines didn't even bother to search his carry-on bag, and evidently didn't strain their eyes examining the contents with the X-ray scanner.

After confiscating the two blades, the checkpoint crew cordially allowed Gurung to proceed to the gate where his flight to Omaha awaited. Fortunately, a guard there decided to take a peek inside Gurung's bags, in which the following items were found: seven folding knives, a stun gun and a can of pepper spray.

The embarrassing incident couldn't come at a worse time for President Bush and Republican House leaders, who last week pushed through a bill that leaves airport security in the hands of private companies.

Citing the continuing risk of terrorism, the Senate previously had voted 100-0 to put trained federal officers in charge of baggage and passenger screening. But House Majority Whip Tom DeLay and another ultraconservative Texan, Rep. Dick Armey, attacked the Senate plan for increasing the reach of big government.

They insisted that, with proper supervision, private firms can do a fine job of defending the skies against madmen and terrorists -- a position endorsed by the White House.

The outfit responsible for the debacle at O'Hare is Argenbright Security, which holds contracts at most of the country's large air hubs, including Miami International. Argenbright previously has attracted attention by hiring convicted criminals to perform airport security duties -- a practice that continues, according U.S. prosecutors, despite the company being fined more than $1.5 million.

In Miami, a recent audit of Argenbright's American Airlines operation found no criminal background checks in any of the personnel files examined.

How reassuring to know that the safety of thousands of daily air travelers rests with a so-called security company that doesn't even screen all its own employees.

There's a reason that Argenbright hires just about anybody with a pulse: It's cheaper than recruiting experienced law-enforcement types.

And cheap is the name of the game when security firms compete for contracts with the airlines. The prize usually goes to the lowest bidder, who isn't inclined to shave profits by raising hiring standards.

One result is frightening screw-ups such as the case in Chicago. ''A failure of dramatic dimensions,'' acknowledged Norman Mineta, Bush's secretary of transportation.

Incredibly, Argenbright didn't think the O'Hare incident was serious enough to warrant any firings. Instead, the company has suspended eight employees and announced a tough new policy. From now on, its checkpoint workers will be required to search the carry-on bags of anyone found to be carrying a knife or other suspicious item. What a brilliant idea!

While officials say Subash Gurung isn't a known terrorist, they're not sure why he came to the airport with the stun gun, pepper spray and a total of nine knives. One may presume he wasn't flying to an audition for Benihana. Gurung, who is unemployed, said he carries the weapons for personal protection, and meant to pack them in his checked luggage. He's being held without bond.

Stationing federal employees at airport terminals won't guarantee that armed passengers will never make it onto a plane. It will, however, insure a modest level of training, competence and accountability.

Considering what happened on Sept. 11, it's boggling that Bush would allow important air-safety legislation to be hijacked by right-wing ideologues like Armey and DeLay.

Americans don't want amateurs running airport security. They want men and women with real badges and real law-enforcement training. It's a simple concept that has nothing to do with politics: Americans want to feel secure again when they take their loved ones on a flight.

And they definitely don't want to be sitting next to Gurung when he reaches into his bag of goodies, for whatever reason.

-- Andre Weltman (, November 07, 2001.

Fas anyone mentioned him as being a Gurka. FBI try to do some reasearch.

-- Rick V (, November 08, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ