A US Airways passenger whose claim to have a surgically implanted device led to the diversion of a cross-Atlantic jet is not listed on terrorist watchlists or law enforcement databases, according to a congressman briefed on the incident.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, said Wednesday that the woman, whose identity has not been released, has been "checked through all of the databases" and "her name has not shown up anywhere."
On Tuesday, the Boeing 767 from Paris to Charlotte, N.C., was diverted to Bangor, Maine after the woman had handed a note to a flight attendant saying she had a surgically implanted device. U.S. authorities warned airlines last summer that terrorists might surgically hide bombs inside humans to evade airport security. King told CNN the woman did not have such a device.
He said that while terror groups like the al-Qaida branch in Yemen had probably not yet conducted any "test runs" of airline passengers implanted with bombs, "we do believe they have the capacity to do it." He said such a bomb would be able to bring down a plane.
At the same time, King said, a person with such an implant would probably display some signs, such as being stooped over or appearing to be in pain or discomfort, which might alert authorities.