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On Thursday, July 9, Reuters news industry reported from Jerusalem: “Netanyahu bodyguards’ guns go missing on U.S. visit.”
The New York Post headline on that date: “Search continues for missing guns from Netanyahu’s luggage.”
There were similar news stories on this in both USA Today and the Los Angeles Times on July 9.
But from Monday through Friday of that week, I was unable to find one word of this undeniable news in either The Washington Post or The New York Times.
“Several pistols belonging to bodyguards of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took an unexplained cross-country U.S. detour this week, before four of them went missing altogether. …
“A spokesman for Israel’s Shin Bet security service confirmed that the four handguns ‘were part of the equipment sent ahead (of Netanyahu) to Washington, and got lost.’ He added that Israeli and U.S. authorities were investigating.
“A U.S. source familiar with the matter told Reuters that two suitcases bearing seven handguns in all – four in one bag, three in the other – arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York with Israel’s security detail and were rechecked for a flight to Washington.
“But neither bag made it there. Instead, both bags were later retrieved at Los Angeles International Airport, then were flown back to Washington through Chicago. When the two suitcases were reopened in Washington, the four guns from one bag were discovered to be missing, but it remained unknown where along the line the firearms were taken.”
The New York Post characterized this as:
- “an incredible comedy of errors spanning four days and deeply embarrassing U.S. officials”;
- a “massive security screwup”;
- a “multi-day international snafu”;
- an incident that “has left American officials red-faced.”
“The search for those four 9mm semiautomatic Glock 17 pistols now ‘is priority No. 1 in American law enforcement,’ a Port Authority police official told the Post. … The FBI and Secret Service have joined the probe, which is being led by the Port Authority.”
“The Post has learned that American Airlines – whose corporate-affiliated plane was supposed to be carrying the missing guns on a flight to Washington Sunday – has authorized a search of workers’ lockers at JFK Airport because of the possibilities the guns were stolen and then stashed in one of those lockers. Police are also interviewing American Airlines’ workers.
“The multi-day international snafu began Sunday, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security team landed at JFK between 5 and 6 a.m. on an El Al flight from Israel.
“The weapons then were transported from the El Al plane, and were supposed to be placed in the American Eagle plane to Washington, D.C., on the same day. …
“A videotape taken by the Transportation Safety Administration shows both cases and the guns being examined by airport personnel and then resealed after being removed from the El Al plane, according to law-enforcement sources.”
All this incredible mess begs a number of questions:
- Why should either the U.S. Secret Service agents who guard our president or the Shin Bet agents who guard Israel’s prime minister ever be required to be without their weapons? If U.S. marshals aboard airliners are armed there, why not Secret Service and Shin Bet?
- While the problem of lost luggage on airlines may have been reduced in general, this case boggles the mind – with an incredible unscheduled (and very big) side trip from New York to Los Angeles, then Chicago to Washington, D.C.
- Presumably, those four Shin Bet agents whose pistols are still missing were rearmed by the Israeli Embassy in Washington.
- Let us hope and presume that Israel does not ever require our Secret Service presidential detail to so disarm when our president goes to Israel.
Let us also hope that when such an incredible snafu takes place on a Sunday that by the following Friday The Washington Post and New York Times will not have missed or censored – again.