TSA agent charged with kidnapping

| 4/14/2006

Less than a week after a Homeland Security official was charged with attempting to solicit an underage girl online, an official with the Transportation Security Administration has been charged with second-degree kidnapping.

But in another twist to an already strange story, authorities say they aren’t even sure who the man is.

Though he was arrested under the name of Robert Harrison and charged with the abduction of a 10-year-old boy, national media reported that the man was found in possession of personal identification documents – including Social Security numbers – for several separate individuals.

Police said the boy was kidnapped on Monday, April 10, but was able to escape. Harrison was identified through a detailed description provided by the boy and was arrested on Tuesday, April 11.

The boy was reportedly unharmed and showed no signs of sexual assault.

KTVB-TV, a local NBC affiliate, reported that Harrison moved to Idaho in late 2005 and went to work at the Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey, ID.

Local police told KTVB-TV that there is evidence to suggest that Harrison may have engaged in other criminal activities in his past. They did not specify what the evidence or criminal activities might be.

Police Chief Cory Lyman of Ketchum, ID, told the Idaho Mountain Express and Guide newspaper that officers went to the suspect’s home Tuesday and arrested him without incident. Harrison was booked into the Blaine County Jail and bond was set at $500,000.

According to the Idaho Mountain Express and Guide, the TSA’s regional public affairs manager, Carrie Harmon, said that Harrison has been working at Friedman Memorial Airport as a transportation security officer, commonly referred to as a screener. He’s been working for TSA for three years, having been in the Walla Walla, WA, area until about a year ago when he moved to Idaho.

Harmon told the newspaper that all security screening personnel go through a background check, and that the agency has a "zero tolerance" policy for criminal behavior.

“The employee has been placed on indefinite suspension without pay,” Harmon said. “The TSA revoked his government I.D. and credentials.”

Harrison’s preliminary hearing has been set for April 18. Second-degree kidnapping carries a maximum sentence in Idaho of 25 years in prison.