More Airport security problems.

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by Doglips, Jul 6, 2002.

  1. Doglips

    Doglips Guest

    I just love articals like this...makes me feel so safe...warm and fuzzy. Security problems dont happen they area caused by stupid people doing stupid this. Of course I wounder how smart it is to let people photograph your security areas...

    Saturday, July 6, 2002


    Security may depend on luck of the draw
    Traveler photographs solitaire on airport computer monitor
    Related stories

    Adam Lynn
    Staff writer
    Photo courtesy of Mike Rothermel
    Mike Rothermel says he took this photo of the communications center at the Spokane airport on Thursday. Solitaire is running on the computer monitor, center.

    A police dispatcher at Spokane International Airport may face disciplinary action after someone took photographs of her apparently playing computer solitaire on the job.

    The photos were taken Thursday, when the FBI and other federal agencies were on a heightened state of alert because of reports that terrorists could strike Independence Day celebrations.

    Airport spokesman Todd Woodard said Friday that Airport Police Chief Pete Troyer would launch an investigation into the matter next week. Neither man has seen the photographs.

    "That's obviously something that they should not be doing. It goes without saying," Woodard said of the woman, whose job entails dispatching airport police to calls for service and monitoring feeds from security cameras stationed across the airport.

    "You don't play computer games at work, either in the private sector or the public sector, and especially not in this line of work," he said. "It's obviously very embarrassing. We're on a heightened sense of security because of the holiday, and here you have an employee playing computer games. Well, what more can you say?"

    Neither Woodard nor Troyer, who was traveling Friday and unavailable for comment, knew the name of the dispatcher caught on camera. Troyer will be reviewing duty logs and schedules next week to determine who the woman is, Woodard said.

    "He will be taking some form of progressive action in this case," said Woodard, who talked to Troyer by telephone Friday after learning of the photographs from a newspaper reporter. "He doesn't condone that kind of behavior or activity."

    A spokeswoman with the federal Transportation Security Administration, which was created to oversee airport security nationwide following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, said the agency had no comment on the incident. "We consider it a local matter," said Dierdre O'sullivan of TSA.

    A Boulder, Colo., man who flew into Spokane International said he took the photos Thursday morning through the windows of the airport's police communications center.

    The center is located near the baggage claim, and the inside is clearly visible from the airport's main corridor.

    "I was waiting for my bags, and I started wandering around," said Mike Rothermel, 25, who flew to the Inland Northwest to visit relatives over the holiday weekend. "I saw the security booth and thought it might be interesting to look inside. It's right there, right in plain view."

    So was a computer screen full of images of playing cards, Rothermel said.

    "I thought it was kind of cute. Here we are on July Fourth, on heightened security alert, and this woman, who's in a uniform of some kind, is in the security booth playing solitaire," he said.

    Rothermel said he pulled out his digital camera and took two shots.

    The first photo shows a wide-angle view of the inside of the communications center. The back of a woman's head is visible in the lower left-hand corner of the photo. She's facing a bank of video and computer monitors, nine of which are visible in the photograph.

    The second shot is a close-up of the monitors, only six of which are visible.

    The top three monitors show various feeds from security cameras, including those trained on the passenger screening areas at the concourse entrances.

    Of the bottom three, one is blank and one shows some sort of Microsoft Windows-based software program.

    The third, which is between the other two and under a green label emblazoned with the word, "DISPATCH," clearly shows a game of solitaire in progress. Whoever is playing has the opportunity to play the 5 of Clubs on the 6 of Hearts, the photo shows.

    Rothermel said the woman in the communications center didn't see him taking the photographs, but another airport employee did.

    "She came up to me and asked if I'd been taking pictures in there. I didn't say anything. Then she told me, `Don't be taking a picture of that,"' he said. "I just walked away. I was busted."

    Rothermel sent copies of the photos to two local newspapers, including The Spokesman-Review, and also posted them on a Web site he runs in Colorado.

    He said he has no intention of turning copies over to airport personnel, saying that he was just trying to make a point about what he sees as misplaced security priorities.

    "Two minutes before, I saw security officers hassling a guy who couldn't get out of his wheelchair," Rothermel said. "Not far away, there's some security employee playing solitaire. Doesn't it seem like there's something wrong there?"

    • Adam Lynn can be reached at (509) 459-5583 or by e-mail at [email protected].