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LA airport worker charged over 9/11 threats

12 September 2013, 14:31

Los Angeles - A disgruntled airport security screener was charged on Wednesday with making chilling threats against Los Angeles International Airport on the anniversary of 9/11, officials said.

Nna Alpha Onuoha, aged 29, was detained late Tuesday by members of the Los Angeles Joint Terrorism Task Force after triggering an alert at the airport which was partially evacuated, the FBI said.

"On the day that I release the message...even the once mighty American government that gloats with arrogance will be reduced to nothing just like the nothing that she is," said an online rant cited by The Los Angeles Times.

Onuoha, said to be a Nigerian immigrant naturalised in the United States, appeared briefly in court on Wednesday afternoon. He was ordered to remain in custody pending a bond hearing on Monday. He was not asked to enter a plea, and could be arraigned on 1 October, prosecutors said.

He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted on two federal charges of making threats to terminals at LAX airport, according to criminal complaint issued by the US Attorney's Office for the Central District of California.

‘Greater than 9/11’

Onuoha, a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employee, called the airport on Tuesday afternoon and warned a TSA manager that they needed to evacuate the airport.

In the telephone call Onuoha conveyed "either a bomb threat or another threat of violence to the airport," said an affidavit. The manager "believed the most credible scenario was an 'active-shooter' situation at the airport".

Onuoha had resigned from his TSA screener job on Tuesday after recently being temporarily suspended from the position, FBI spokesperson Laura Eimiller said. He was reportedly reprimanded in July for scolding a 15-year-old girl over her clothes, telling her she should "cover up".

The run-in made headlines when her father wrote about it on his blog.

Bomb squad officers were called after Onuoha left a package at the TSA's LAX headquarters addressed to an employee. The package was harmless but contained a letter in which Onuoha spoke of his "disdain for the United States".

When anti-terrorism officers raided Onuoha's apartment they discovered a note taped inside a closet reading: "09/11/2013 THERE WILL BE FIRE! FEAR! FEAR! FEAR!" said the affidavit.

According to The Los Angeles Times, police were investigating a website which appears to be linked to Onuoha. Several rambling letters signed by him included references to 9/11 and the "end of the world," the newspaper said.

A 34-page letter talks about his devotion to Jesus Christ, his "divided spirit" and war with Satan, while another 17-page letter takes aim at the United States, it said.

"America is nothing but a great Harlot that corrupts the innocent," said the letter, dated 25 August, vowing to deliver a "real message" on the anniversary of 9/11.

"Do not expect another 9/11. What will unfold on this day and on the days ahead will be greater than 9/11."

As well as up to 15 years jail, he could face fines and other penalties, officials said.

Shortly before his court appearance on Wednesday, bomb squad officers were dispatched to Onuoha's home to deal with a suspicious package addressed to a counsellor who works in the apartment building, which was partially evacuated.

The package was found to contain nothing dangerous, said police spokesperson Oscar Meija.



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