Is Scientist Behind Miami International Airport scare a Terrorist?

September 4, 2010

(ChattahBox US News) – The scientist who sparked a security alert at Miami airport for storing a metal bacteria canister in his luggage has apparently been let go for now, but his past leaves one wondering if the FBI might have been a bit hasty. The discovery of a metal canister in Dr. Thomas Butler’s luggage triggered a bomb scare, which shut down airport activity overnight. Security officials issued a pipe bomb alert and suspended operations at four of the airport’s six concourses.
Butler told local police the canister was used for medical testing, and the FBI confirmed it was used to transport dead bacteria samples. However, the 70-year-old world-famous Texas scientist who specializes in infectious diseases, was once charged for smuggling plague bacteria into the U.S. In 2003, Butler reported 30 vials of plague were missing from his lab at Texas Tech University, and he was later accused of illegally transporting plague samples, theft, embezzlement and fraud. He was found guilty of exporting the vials, lying to federal agents and stealing research funds. He served about two years in jail but was later acquitted of illegally exporting the vials.

Butler who was reportedly coming in from Saudi Arabia to Miami, in this latest incident, was released from questioning and hasn’t been charged so far. NBC Miami sources report that authorities escorted Butler back to one of the terminals at MIA where he’s expected to board a plane to Puerto Rico. An FBI official said the item was still being tested at a lab to determine what, if any, danger it posed.


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