Fake boarding pass creator warns of security flaw

Alex Sanz

Eyewitness News

Bloomington - It was an admitted attempt to expose perceived flaws in aviation security landed Christopher Soghoian in trouble.

The Indiana University Graduate Student told us, "Any undergrad could have thrown this together in thirty minutes. It was a trivial computer program."

Soghoian developed a website that let travelers print out fake Northwest Airlines boarding passes in an effort to prove the Transportation Security Administration didn't take airline security seriously. The TSA shut the website down, The FBI raided his home and launched a more than month-long investigation. But Soghoian says talk of the boarding pass generator overshadowed what he considers a much larger issue.

"You can walk into an airport. You buy a ticket in a fake name. You go to the security checkpoint. And you say. I don't have any I. D. I forgot it today. And they'll search you. They'll search you vigorously. But then they'll let you on the plane," he said.

The use terrorist watch list, he says, is fundamentally flawed, and he hopes his run-in with the FB. is a wake-up call to the flying public.

He says, "The ability to fly without I. D., and the no-fly list, cannot cooperate together. One neutralizes the other. And, so, my goal, is to highlight this huge failure of the no-fly list. My goal here is to improve airport security. And I'm really, really hoping that TSA actually listens and doesn't just brush this one under the carpet."

Though the FBI says no criminal charges are being filed, the U.S. Attorney's office says civil charges are still possible. And that's because the Transporation Security Administration is conducting its own investigation.

As for Soghoian, he plans to continue his research, and advocate for more stringent airline security.

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