Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Officials Rebuke Lambert Security Sloppy Records Cited in Bomb Test Flap

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Officials Rebuke Lambert Security Sloppy Records Cited in Bomb Test Flap

Article excerpt

Sloppy record keeping at Lambert Field in St. Louis contributed to a nine-week delay between the crash of TWA Flight 800 and the discovery that explosive chemicals had once been loaded on the plane, authorities said Saturday.

The Boeing 747 was used to train bomb-sniffing dogs June 10 at the St. Louis airport, and authorities say the explosive chemicals loaded on and off could account for chemical traces that have been found on some wreckage.

But TWA officials and airport security at Lambert said it was not their fault that the word was not relayed to the FBI until Thursday. "The FBI and the FAA requested all of our information about our training for our canine detection details, and we sent them all of that a month or so ago," said Marie Yancey, a spokeswoman for Lambert. "We gave them everything we had on it - all of our records." Crash investigators, still puzzled by the cause of the July 17 explosion, are trying to determine why it took nine weeks to uncover the test. FAA explosives expert Ed Kittel said poor bookkeeping by the St. Louis airport police had contributed to the delay. Authorities in St. Louis had the wrong identification number recorded for the plane, he said. Yancey said she was unaware of any errors in the reports submitted to federal authorities. Airport Director Leonard Griggs and Leroy Adkins, head of the airport police, could not be reached for comment. Another crash investigator called it amazing that airport police did not tell the FBI about the test. "The news of this investigation has only been on the front pages for nine weeks," said the source, who spoke only on condition of anonymity. "It is baffling why the local police department did not bring this to the attention of the FBI." The search for alternate ways that the explosives PETN and RDX might have turned up on the plane began shortly after traces of the two chemicals were discovered, Kittel said. The discovery was first reported Aug. 22. After hearing about the discovery, FAA investigators checked at 10 airports where canine training is conducted. Twice, when they checked with St. …

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