November 19th, 2010
08:44 AM ET

German minister: Suspicious bag was 'test device'

[Updated at 1:02 p.m.] A suspicious piece of luggage that was about to be loaded onto a flight in Namibia was a "test device" from a U.S. company that sells products designed to test security, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said in a news conference Friday in Hamburg, Germany.

Namibian Police on Friday warned that whoever is responsible for planting the device among the luggage of an Air Berlin flight Wednesday would be severely dealt with, warning that Namibia was not to be used as an unauthorized testing ground for aviation security.

"The preliminary investigations have revealed that the suspicious parcel does not contain any explosive substances; however, it is an explosive simulation training device, manufactured by an American-based company, 'Larry Copello Incorporated,' " Lt. Gen. Sebastian Ndeitunga, Namibia's top policeman, told reporters Friday at a news conference in Windhoek, the capital.

The device is a training aid to help screeners identify explosive devices, Larry Copello, founder and CEO of Larry Copello, Inc., told CNN Friday. Copello described the device as "non-hazardous ...not a threat to anyone."

Copello said his company sells such devices to law enforcement agencies, governments and corporate clients, but did not know to whom this particular device was sold. He learned of the Namibia incident on Thursday when the FBI called him. He said he is cooperating with the investigation.

An official with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration said Friday that they are working with German and Namibian authorities to determine the origin of the device and the reason it was to be transported on the plane.


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Filed under: Germany
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Andreas Moser

    Not only does Al-Qaeda have continued recruitement problems (, but now governments even have to do the terror scares themselves.

    November 19, 2010 at 7:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Chaos

      Greg's favorite drink is Kool-Aid.

      November 19, 2010 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
    • pismire

      what kind of reporting is this? There is not one investigative shred of proof cited in this report that indeed this "package" was part of a us test... How could CNN run this report and not offer proof supporting the statements made... CNN S*CKS

      November 19, 2010 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave


      "what kind of reporting is this? There is not one investigative shred of proof cited in this report that indeed this "package" was part of a us test... How could CNN run this report and not offer proof supporting the statements made... CNN S*CKS"

      CNN did not report it was a test, they reported that Germany claimed it was. And if CNN "S*CKS" as you claim, why are you reading it?

      November 19, 2010 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
    • musings

      no, chaos – I think it is you who are slightly misinformed

      November 19, 2010 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
  2. sean ruiz

    i don't understand.

    November 19, 2010 at 7:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Canada Guy

      Understand FEAR!!

      Panic the world is ending because of the Taliban.....seriously on a funnier note, it seems people that live in caves has beaten the West yet again. If I was Taliban I'd be jiddy with how paranoid our society has become. They've won, and we've lost everything.

      November 19, 2010 at 7:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      Indeed Canada Guy, we LOST the second (here in the USA anyway) that legislation was passed that changed the way we travel, etc.

      November 19, 2010 at 7:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Canada Guy

      @Greg, unfortunately to be good neighbors and allies, the minute the US passed that law, Canada followed suit to keep the borders flowing. Funny how something like this could happen, and now it's too late. All those freedoms both Canadian and American soldiers fought for seems to be going out the window. It's sicknening really.

      November 19, 2010 at 7:52 am | Report abuse |
  3. T.H. Mann

    what the article doesnt clearly state though is was it A: a US Test device FROM a US agency .. or B: a US Test device FROM a terrorist disorganization –Testing to see if it would make it through for an eventual try on the USA? CNN - Please clarify on this point.

    November 19, 2010 at 7:48 am | Report abuse |
  4. JOHN

    The U.S. government is out of control. Period.
    They have taken the threat of terrorism too far.
    Have any doubts?

    November 19, 2010 at 7:49 am | Report abuse |
    • diane

      Not sure why you say the U.S. Govt is out of control. Why does it not make sense to test the security of another country's airport if the airlines are flying to the U.S.? This is something that should be done, and no, the governments of those countries should NOT be informed ahead of time when it will happen. They should expect that their security be tested, they can be informed after the fact. They are not idiots, supposedly.

      I expect that all U.S. airports test the screening procedures of our now federalized screeners, even the little bitty airports as they are the most vulnerable.

      To not test international airports would be irresponsible. And you don't test by telling them ahead of time when it will happen.

      November 19, 2010 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
    • JT

      Diane, would you the same if other countries started sending fake bombs to test the US security without our knowledge!

      November 19, 2010 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
    • kidkoala

      John, perhaps the government has credible information of potential terror attacks and are taking preventative measures? Unlike how they did prior to 9/11, when there were a lot of red flags. Would you prefer a repeat?

      November 19, 2010 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  5. da Man

    Excellent. I'm glad to see the US is testing security measures at airports outside the US that Americans may be on. Good job and thank you.

    November 19, 2010 at 7:50 am | Report abuse |
    • edward

      yeah, but you don't test those security measures by planting a fake bomb and hoping someone spots it, all the while failing to notify the top officials at government agencies you are supposedly testing. this is some BS on behalf of my government.

      November 19, 2010 at 7:58 am | Report abuse |
    • David M

      @EDWARD: You said "this is some BS on behalf of my government." So you're just assuming the govt did it. It's just possible the US had nothing to do with it, but you're already badmouthing them. Why don't you wait for the facts before doing that?? Of course, we don't have any facts to work with here, so it's all supposition.

      November 19, 2010 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
  6. iceaxdave

    That's what Obambi probably did after the election disaster...loaded "test" devices in the mail to detract from the election happened the day after the election. Coincidence? Methinks not!

    November 19, 2010 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
  7. saywaaat

    first claim that there will be an attack against germany,then send a bomb their way!!! n t w,namibia is very bclose to south africa and many israeli agents roam around there.i wouldnt be surprised if mosad was behind it and when the bomb was discovered the united states takes the blame and says that it was just a test!!!

    November 19, 2010 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
  8. JT

    With all the real threats, now the US has to manufacture fake ones. And then tell the world. Why don't you just draw up a plan and give it to the enemy.

    November 19, 2010 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
    • David M

      One person said it was a US test device but offered zero evidence that it was. And you believe him? Maybe he was correct, but with no evidence why should anyone believe him? Just because it was said on TV does not make it true.

      November 19, 2010 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
  9. amy

    ok this is very unclear to me... is the a test initiated by the US, or this is a test by the terrorist intended for the US? not quite clear on this. i dont think this artical was written very well. come on CNN you need to start editing a bit better

    November 19, 2010 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
  10. Mike

    Sorry Greg. Can't hear you while I'm flying around in my black UN helicopter.

    November 19, 2010 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
  11. David M

    This is just more horse manure. The German Interior Minister makes a statement but does not give any kind of evidence to support that statement. I'm not a journalist, nor do I play one on TV, but did anyone ever think to ask 'what do you base that statement on'???? I guess politicians of all stripes are allowed to just put a statement out there unchallenged.

    Maybe the US did plant it as a test. So what? Better it be some government buffoon than a real terrorist. I'm surprised that no one on here has accused George Bush of doing it though.

    November 19, 2010 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Per Sjoblom

      Yes you are right and I hope you agree if the Germans do the same and plant a test device on a US plane?

      November 19, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. musings

    How very interesting – "Just testing." And it kind of inconvenienced a few passengers, and was reported before a full explanation could be made. Was it a passenger which got out the word before a disclaimer could be made? Enquiring minds want to know.

    November 19, 2010 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
  13. Chris

    So the US plants an apparent bomb in luggage at a German airport, without telling anyone? That's not a test. I believe the technical term for that is "act of terrorism".

    November 19, 2010 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Skeiron

      It was discovererd in Namibia, not in Germany.
      Apart from that the device was identified as a test device produced by U.S. company, but who brought it to the airport is unknown.

      November 19, 2010 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
    • David

      Unclaimed luggage with a clock and some exposed wiring is terrorism? You sir, are a nit wit.

      November 19, 2010 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
  14. Dan Halen

    This article is not clear at all and is sloppy reporting on the part of CNN. Was it a "U.S. Test Device" that was placed there by U.S. officials? or was it a "U.S. Test Device" placed there by potential terrorists to "test" an attempt to get the device into the U.S.?

    November 19, 2010 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
  15. KILLER

    The article does not say that the device was being used in a test. It says it is a test device. I'm not jumping to conclusions.

    November 19, 2010 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
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