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The Woman Behind One Of The Biggest Airline Security Breaches Since 9/11 Speaks.
The woman who was at the center of one of the nation's biggest airlines security breaches since 9/11 has decided to come forward to shed light on what happened.
On Sunday, August 5, 2012, on her way back home from Peru, Meedon was singled out by agents from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). They asked her to undergo a random security check. Part of that check involved swabbing the palms of her hands to test for trace explosives.
"A TSA agent swabbed my hands as I waited right next to him. A minute later, the TSA Agent turned to me and said I was good to go. I thanked him, got my things, and jogged off to my plane. I was making a connecting flight after going through customs and only had a few minutes to board."
What Meedon never knew as she jogged through the airport to her plane was that her swab test came back positive for explosives. The TSA agent cleared her before confirming or properly reading the test. And with Meedon gone from the security station, TSA had no way of confirming or following up on a test which is known to produce false positives.
For their part, the Newark Port Authority didn't figure out what had happened until Meedon's plane was already on the ground in Cleveland. In an abundance of caution, the Authority shut down Newark airport, canceling 100's of flights and stranding people for as much as seven hours. Meedon had all of her bags and was calmly driving home from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport by the time Concourse C was locked down.
Meedon said, "As I made my way home, I had absolutely no idea that there was any problem at all. It wasn't until a few days later that I got a call from a detective from the Port Authority. After assuring me I did nothing wrong, he told me that the TSA agent didn't wait long enough when he read the test and that it actually came back positive after I had already left. I was totally shocked. I'm a musician, not a terrorist!"
While talking with the detective , Meedon learned that they spent days of police work to find her. She also learned that many things can cause the swab test for explosives to read false positive. In her case, the detective speculated that hand sanitizer, not a bomb, was to blame for these incredible events.
As a musician who frequently travels in support of her original music, Meedon is no stranger to air travel. Still she had no idea about the unexpected consequences of using Purell.