Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport police closed down the ticketing area on a busy Saturday after a backpack was discovered that tested positive for explosives, and new documents that revealed Wednesday why airport officials were so concerned.
The incident happened at the United Airlines ticket counter. A lone backpack was left on the scale. New police reports now reveal the bag tested positive for TNT, but the documents also show what really concerned police was who was walking out through the
According to reports, a United Airlines passenger left the untagged and unmarked backpack at the ticketing counter thinking he had checked it through to Houston. When police arrived to investigate, they routinely swiped it for explosives residue. The reports showed how a TSA agent came back to the officers with "a piece of paper in her hand that had "TNT" written on it."
The documents also said that at approximately the same time, India's ambassador to the United States, Dr. S. Jaishankar, was walking through the adjacent Checkpoint 3 exit corridor.
The documents indicated that while he just left the area, "[…] the fact that the backpack had been left approximately 15 feet from the exit corridor was also concerning."
With that knowledge, the police sergeant in charge ordered the evacuation. It turns out the evacuation was so efficient and fast that the owner of that backpack never got through security. The Bloomington bomb squad eventually determined there was no threat. Police eventually tracked down an interviewed the passenger who "appeared embarrassed and surprised." He also stated, "he did not have any contact with any type of explosive materials prior to arrival at the airport,” the report said.
The bomb squad X-rayed the bag and searched it. Inside they found a laptop computer, some clothes and a police documents reporting a lost passport. This was nothing more than a false alarm, the documents disclose how quickly police connected the dots.