Perhaps now we have an explanation about why US President Barack Obama personally escorted Netanyahu to his car. Could there have been a security concern? It became evident that "LAX security" is quite an apt name for the services at Los Angeles airport which let four Glocks pistols vanish from Israeli luggage.
Luggage belonging to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's security detail crisscrossed America until finally turning up, four handguns short, U.S. sources reported Wednesday, according to the Batsheva Sobelman's blog on the LA Times. A spokesperson for Israel's General Security Services told Reuters that the handguns were part of the equipment sent ahead of Netanyahu to Washington "and got lost." The official added that Israeli and U.S. authorities were investigating.
Netanyahu's bodyguards landed at JFK, where their luggage was rechecked to continue to Washington -- including two suitcases containing seven handguns between them. But while the security guys continued on to Washington, their luggage went west, putting in an appearance at LAX before being sent back to Washington via Chicago, Reuters said. The bottom line is that four stops later, four guns -- said to be Glocks -- were declared missing-in-transit. The additional 3 pieces checked into the other of the two suitcases were recovered..
At what stage this happened isn't quite clear. American Airlines handled the luggage at JFK and LAX, said reports quoting airline officials who said they were refraining from commenting publicly so as not to hamper a security-related situation.
Losing luggage can happen to anyone. Evidently, so can losing guns. In February, the Boston Globe reported that Homeland Security personnel had 289 of their weapons stolen from them between 2005 and 2008, or lost by miscellaneous negligence such as leaving them on car bumpers and at bowling alleys.
But airports are more security-sensitive than bowling places and concerns are deep enough without having to second-guess personnel entrusted with the safety of millions. U.S. airport security has been challenged repeatedly in recent years; questions were raised again after the attempt to bomb a Northwest flight on Christmas Day. Experts have suggested that U.S. airports adopt Israeli security models.
At least one airport that briefly hosted the bodyguards' suitcases does already work with Israeli airport security experts. When visiting Israel in 2008, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signed an agreement contracting Israeli experts to make two yearly visits to help with LAX security
Above: U.S. Marine Corps Col. James Cooney fires a 9-millimeter Glock 18 machine pistol . Credit: Wikimedia Commons.