Federal Investigators, Meanwhile, Accused of Enjoying Work a Little Too Much
WASHINGTON D.C. ( — In a troubling sign that investigators may be getting bored with their success smuggling guns and knives onto airplanes, the U.S. Department of Transportation today disclosed that its agents have recently cleared airport security checkpoints with an M1 tank, a beluga whale, and a fully active South American volcano.

Investigators smuggle a beluga whale
An undercover DOT investigator attempts to sneak a beluga whale past security at Kennedy Airport.

DOT investigators also boasted that they have repeatedly slipped past screeners with a six-burner Viking stove, the Field Museum of Natural History, and actor Sidney Poitier, whom they had gagged and, for some reason, painted bright blue.
The revelations were disturbing for DOT inspector general Kenneth Mead, who praised his employees for their previous work in uncovering security lapses, but suggested investigators had perhaps lost sight of their original mission. At a staff meeting yesterday, Mead urged agents to “give it a rest,” and, at some point, return the Washington Monument.
“Oh yeah, that was a good one,” said Mitch Kerling, one of hundreds of DOT field personnel assigned to test security. “Twelve out of 13 airports. Zoom. Right through. Only got caught at LAX because this one screener thought it was a knife.”
Like Kerling, other DOT agents said they weren’t ready to comply with Mead’s cease-and-desist order, arguing that more serious lapses have yet to be discovered. But Argenbright Security CEO David Beaton, who runs the nation’s largest airport screening company, said he failed to see how sneaking the Central Park merry-go-round past security was productive.
Replied DOT field analyst Diane Corliss: “So?”
In defending his staff, Beaton insisted employees weren’t trained to spot geologic catastrophes or Sidney Poitier, although he conceded a routine hand check should have detected former R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck, whom agents had set on fire and placed in a golf bag. However, Beaton claimed investigators have also overlooked many security successes. In particular, he praised one employee for recently confiscating a pair of scissors from a man attempting to board a flight for Phoenix.

The man, actually an undercover DOT investigator, noted in his report that the scissors were taken, but added that he was then allowed to board the plane while driving a mobile rocket launcher.
“Security thought that was a sweater,” Beaton explained.
Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration, meanwhile, said safety should improve by November, when federally-employed screeners are slated to be in place at all 429 commercial airports in the United States. DOT investigators, however, said they were up for the challenge, and had already mounted the remains of 16th Century French theologian John Calvin to a live cow.

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