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Security screener suspended for sleeping

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WINDSOR LOCKS, Connecticut (AP) -- The Transportation Security Administration has suspended a federal security screener for allegedly falling asleep while checking baggage at Bradley International Airport.

State police said co-workers saw the screener sleeping in front of the X-ray machine screen at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, when he was supposed to be checking carryon luggage for guns, knives and other dangerous items.

Since authorities did not know how long he had been asleep or whether dangerous items passed through security, the checkpoint at the concourse in Terminal B was closed and passengers rescreened.

"It's a very serious situation, and one that we don't take lightly," said Mark Hatfield, a spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration. "If one bag even went through to the sterile area (inside the concourse), that is going to require this kind of action."

Hatfield said the employee was suspended for "failing to maintain his post."

Two flights were delayed for less than an hour as passengers were rescreened.

State police examined the area with bomb-sniffing dogs and found no contraband, police said.

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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