US airport worker charged after terror threats made

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 September, 2013, 4:10am


An airport security screener in the United States has been charged with making threats as authorities scrutinised a website linked to the suspect that contains rambling letters criticising America as evil and promising something more devastating than the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.

The letters were posted on a website apparently operated by Nna Alpha Onuoha, 29, who was arrested late on Tuesday, hours after he quit his Transportation Security Administration job at Los Angeles International Airport.

Onuoha, born in Nigeria, was charged with one count each of making a false threat and making threats affecting interstate commerce. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.

The threats prompted a brief shutdown of parts of the airport on Tuesday, although nothing dangerous was found.

Authorities were looking at the website, which includes Onuoha's name and a birth date that matches public records for him. The site contains letters celebrating Jesus and Israel, condemning al-Qaeda and lamenting that Satan has corrupted so many. There also are photos of Onuoha posing with crosses.

In one posting attributed to Onuoha, he said a message would be released on September 11 and America "will be reduced to nothing." "Do not expect another 9/11," it said. "What will unfold on this day and on the days ahead will be greater than 9/11."

That passage is part of a lengthy letter apparently written to the father of a 15-year-old girl whose treatment by Onuoha during screening at LAX in June led the TSA to suspend him. Onuoha was upset by the girl's attire and said: "You're only 15, cover yourself."

The incident drew attention when the girl's father, Mark Frauenfelder, wrote about it on boingboing, the blog he founded. He said his daughter was humiliated and shamed.

He posted a photo of her in the outfit, modest by modern standards, and said he had complained to TSA.

A federal official confirmed the incident was the reason Onuoha was suspended for a week in July. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to talk about the case publicly.