SEATTLE — Federal officials were investigating a possible security breach Monday at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
An American Airlines passenger said he inadvertently passed through a security checkpoint several times while carrying box-cutters — knife-like tools that authorities believe were used in the terrorist hijackings on Sept. 11.
The passenger, an electrician, said he uses the box-cutters in his work and had forgotten they were in his backpack until he reached into it to pull out his cell phone.
"I went back and forth in and out of security like three or four times waiting for my plane, to go out and have a cigarette," the man told KOMO-TV of Seattle. "It’s not something that was done intentional."
The checkpoint is the responsibility of Alaska Airlines, which has hired a private security firm to operate it, said Alaska spokesman Jack Evans.
"We are investigating it right now," Evans said Monday evening. "We have no confirmation yet that a breach occurred."
The man called KOMO, which alerted Port of Seattle operations.
The man was not allowed on the flight and was taken to meet with officials from the Port of Seattle, Federal Aviation Administration and U.S. Marshals Service.
Telephone messages left Monday night for an FAA duty officer, the marshals service and Alaska Airlines were not immediately returned.
Port of Seattle police referred calls to airport spokesman Bob Parker, who said he was not involved in the case.
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