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Cablegate: Security Breach at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS MONTREAL 000233

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR S/ES-O, WHA/CAN AND CA/OCS

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

E.0. 12958:N/A
TAGS: EAIR ASEC CASC CA
SUBJECT: SECURITY BREACH AT PIERRE ELLIOTT TRUDEAU AIRPORT

REF: CG ALLEN TELCON OF 02/12/2004 WITH S/ES-O

1. SUMMARY. A SECURITY BREACH AT PIERRE ELLIOTT TRUDEAU
AIRPORT (AKA DORVAL) AT APPROXIMATELY 5:45PM (1745 HOURS) ON
THURSDAY (FEBRUARY 12) GROUNDED ALL OUTBOUND AIR TRAFFIC TO
THE UNITED STATES FOR ALMOST TWO HOURS. SEVERAL PLANES IN
FLIGHT WERE RECALLED TO DORVAL FOR RESTERILIZING. THE
RESCREENING OF PASSENGERS AND BAGGAGE REVEALED NOTHING,
PERMITTING THE RESUMPTION OF OUTBOUND FLIGHTS AROUND 8:00PM
(2000 HOURS). END SUMMARY.

2. PER REF TELCON, A PASSENGER (WHO WAS IN MONTREAL FOR ONE
OF POST'S SPEAKER'S PROGRAMS) CONTACTED POST'S PRINCIPAL
OFFICER (PO) AT APPROXIMATELY 6:00PM (1800 HOURS) TO REPORT
THAT THERE HAD BEEN A SECURITY BREACH AT DORVAL AIRPORT.
CONSEQUENTLY, SHE REPORT THAT HER OUTBOUND PLANE WAS IN A
HOLDING PATTERN ON THE TARMAC AND THAT OUTBOUND TRAFFIC WAS
GROUNDED FOR AN INDEFINITE PERIOD.

3. PO CONTACTED DHS INSPECTORS AT THE U.S. PRE-FLIGHT
FACILITY TO CONFIRM THE REPORT AND LEARNED A BAGGAGE CHECKER
AT DORVAL HAD REPORTED THAT A MALE PASSENGER'S CARRY-ON
BAGGAGE (A LAPTOP COMPUTER) HAD YIELD POSITIVE RESULTS FOR
EXPLOSIVE MATERIAL. THE BAGGAGE CHECKER REPORTEDLY ASKED
THE MALE PASSENGER TO WAIT SO THAT THE LAPTOP COULD BE
RESTESTED, BUT SOMEHOW LOST SIGHT OF THE PASSENGER AND THE
LAPTOP AT APPROXIMATELY 5:45PM. ALSO, THE BAGGAGE CHECKER
COULD NOT PROVIDE A GOOD DESCRIPTION OF THE MALE PASSENGER.
CONSEQUENTLY, ALL OUTBOUND TRAFFIC THAT HAD TAKEN OFF IN THE
WINDOW FROM 5:45PM TO 6:00PM WAS RECALLED TO DORVAL AND ALL
OUTBOUND PLANES ON THE TARMAC AFTER 5:45PM WERE GROUNDED.
THE SEVERAL RETURNING FLIGHTS WERE RESTERILIZED (ALL
PASSENGERS AND BAGGAGE WERE RESCREENED), BUT NOTHING WAS
FOUND.

4. AT APPROXIMATELY 7:35PM (1935 HOURS) OUTBOUND FLIGHTS
THAT HAD BEEN WAITING ON THE TARMAC WERE ALLOWED TO TAKE
OFF. INBOUND TRAFFIC WAS NEVER AFFECTED. THERE WAS BEEN
MINIMAL PRESS COVERAGE OF THE INCIDENT.
ALLEN

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