FBI arrests ex-TSA worker after LA airport threats

  • Article by: GREG RISLING
  • Associated Press
  • September 11, 2013 - 4:40 PM

LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles International Airport security screener arrested on suspicion of making threats appears on a website that contains rambling letters criticizing America and a promise of something more devastating than the 9/11 attacks.

Nna Alpha Onuoha, 29, was arrested late Tuesday, hours after he quit his Transportation Security Administration job. He was being interviewed by federal investigators and charges could be filed Wednesday.

The website shows Onuoha posing with crosses and includes several letters filled with religious references. An Aug. 25 posting attributed to him said a message would be released on Sept. 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."

Federal authorities are looking at the site, which includes postings with Onouha's name and a birth date that match public records for him.

On Tuesday, federal officials said Onuoha made two calls to LAX after resigning and told officials to evacuate terminals. Parts of the airport were cleared and searched. Nothing was found.

Onuoha, originally from Nigeria, had worked for TSA since 2006 but was suspended recently, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said. He showed up at LAX on Tuesday afternoon, resigned from his job and left behind a package at TSA's airport headquarters that was addressed to another agency employee, she said.

A bomb squad found no explosives or harmful contents in the package but discovered an eight-page letter in which Onuoha expressed disdain for the U.S. and referenced the event that led to his suspension, Eimiller said.

Onuoha was suspended for a week in July after he made inappropriate comments to a 15-year-old girl at LAX, said a federal official who requested anonymity because he wasn't authorized to talk about the case publicly. The official said the reason cited for Onuoha's resignation was personal and his last day of work was in late August.

The official also said Onuoha owned two handguns.

Later Tuesday, a man believed to be Onuoha made two phone calls to TSA saying certain airport terminals should be evacuated, Eimiller said. During one call, the man told an employee he would "be watching" to see if authorities evacuated the terminals as instructed.

A search of Onuoha's apartment in Inglewood, near LAX, found no dangerous materials but did turn up a note containing unspecified threats that cited the anniversary of the terror attacks, authorities said.

Onuoha was arrested in Riverside about 65 miles away. The church parking lot where his minivan was parked was cleared and a bomb squad robot conducted a search in and around the vehicle. Nothing dangerous was found.

TSA spokesman Ross Feinstein declined comment, referring questions to law enforcement investigating the matter. It could not be immediately determined if Onuoha had a lawyer.

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