Man: Weapons easily made with merchandise found in airport shops

By Bill Spencer, Investigative Reporter, bspencer@click2houston.com
Published On: May 14 2014 10:10:57 PM CDT
Updated On: May 14 2014 10:17:00 PM CDT

May 14, 2014: The Transportation Security Administration security checkpoint at the airport is loaded with officers and high-tech machines, but is that enough? Bill Spencer reports.

HOUSTON -

The Transportation Security Administration security checkpoint at the airport is loaded with officers and high-tech machines. Try to get through the area with clubs, knives, nunchucks, guns or bombs and you'll get caught.

But that's not a problem for Evan Booth, who said he can build those very same deadly weapons out of stuff anyone can buy at all of those mall-like stores that now stretch across every major airport in the country -- stores that are located in the area you enter after going through TSA security.

"I use stuff like magazines, Scotch tape, dental floss, lithium metal batteries and cans of Red Bull," Booth said.

A computer programmer by trade, Booth calls himself an independent security researcher who has been hired by different corporations to defeat their security systems.

Recently, Booth launched a year long study he calls "Terminal Cornucopia."

After a year of research, Booth said he discovered that he could make deadly, dangerous weapons out of simple things like Axe Body Spray and metal coffee tumblers.

Booth has built a total of 10 weapons, including what he calls the "Blunder Business Class" -- a small cannon -- and the "Fraggacino" -- a handheld grenade he made using travel coffee cups.

The only item Booth brought with him to the airport was a small, travel-approved, multi-tool; the rest he bought at airport stores.

"So it's simple," Booth said. "You go through security with nothing but cash (and that multitool) and you have everything you need to build deadly weapons on the other side."

Local 2 Investigates was skeptical, so we asked Booth to build some of these weapons right before our eyes.

Like a real-life MacGyver, he used dental floss and latex condoms and water and batteries, and he built these powerful devices.

We watched as he built a grenade in less than 10 minutes. And we took cover after he built a small cannon using marbles as projectiles and fired it at a grouping of pop bottles placed on several cement blocks.

Booth built the weapon and then fired it using a remote controlled detonator that he built from a hair dryer.

Why is he doing this? Booth said he did it to alert the TSA and the FBI that this threat to our safety exists.

Booth has submitted reports to both federal agencies, detailing his work and discoveries, but he said nothing has changed.

"Because honestly, if the person responsible for the security is not willing to fix it or address it, the people who fly have a right to know," Booth said.

When asked if he is helping terrorists by giving them a guidebook to bringing down an airplane, Booth said, "No, not at all. All of this information is available on the Internet for anyone looking to get it."

Local 2 Investigates contacted the TSA for comment on what Booth is doing.

TSA officials responded with this statement:

"The mission of TSA is dedicated to keeping individuals and items that can cause catastrophic damage off planes. Transportation Security Officers continue to focus their efforts on finding high threat items such as explosives and/or improvised explosive device components.

"TSA employs multiple layers of security to protect the traveling public. On board aircraft, these layers include reinforced cockpit doors, federal air marshals, federal flight deck officers and a vigilant public."

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