Saturday, July 16, 2005

Rapping Baggage Screener

HOUSTON -- When Bassam Khalaf raps, he's the Arabic Assassin. His unreleased CD, "Terror Alert," includes rhymes about flying a plane into a building and descriptions of himself as a "crazy, suicidal Arabic ... equipped with bombs."

Until last week, Khalaf also worked as a baggage screener at George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

"I've been screening your bags for the past six months, and you don't even know it," said Khalaf, who also said Thursday that he is not really a terrorist and that his rhymes are exaggerations meant to gain publicity.

Andrea McCauley, a spokeswoman for the regional Transportation Security Administration office in Dallas, said the agency checks criminal records before hiring screeners, but it does not investigate what people do in their spare time.

"We have eyes and ears in the workplace," McCauley said. "Once we discovered these Web sites, we fired him."

An Internet search of Khalaf's name brings up Web sites that feature his obscene, violent and misogynistic raps that threaten to fly a plane into a building on Sept. 11, 2005.

Khalaf, 21, was hired on Jan. 16 and fired July 7, according to a TSA termination letter that cited his "authorship of songs which applaud the efforts of the terrorists on September 11th, encourage and warn of future acts of terrorism by you, discuss at length and in grave and alarming detail various criminal acts you intend to commit, state your belief that the U.S. government should be overthrown, and finally warn that others will die on September 11, 2005."

Full Story...

I am speechless.