France’s top cop, Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin, called the incident “totally reprehensible and scandalous” and said all those involved would be punished.
Police have put a stop to the practice of placing explosives in unsuspecting travelers’ bags, something they admit to doing as a routine training exercise for several years. The idea was that a scenario carried out in a real airport setting was the best training.
Two officers put a small block of explosives the size of a cell phone into the side pocket of a navy blue suitcase that was traveling along a conveyor belt at Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Paris. One K-9 successfully found the explosives in the bag. But the officers involved in the exercise lost track of the luggage when they went to look for a second K-9 to take part in the training.
Although police say the explosives pose no immediate danger because they are not fitted with a detonator, French aviation officials issued a global alert to airports to watch for the bag.
Despite a search by authorities at major airports in Los Angeles, New York, and elsewhere, neither the explosives nor the suitcase have been found.