Baggage Screener By Day, Rapper Terrorist By Night

Who screens the screeners?

HOUSTON — When Bassam Khalaf raps, he’s the Arabic Assassin. His unreleased CD, “Terror Alert,” includes rhymes about flying a plane into a building and descriptions of himself as a “crazy, suicidal Arabic … equipped with bombs.”

Until last week, Khalaf also worked as a baggage screener at George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

It’s difficult to lead two separate lives. He can’t celebrate terrorism with one personality and protect against terrorism with another.

Khalaf, 21, was hired on Jan. 16 and fired July 7, according to a TSA termination letter that cited his “authorship of songs which applaud the efforts of the terrorists on September 11th, encourage and warn of future acts of terrorism by you, discuss at length and in grave and alarming detail various criminal acts you intend to commit, state your belief that the U.S. government should be overthrown, and finally warn that others will die on September 11, 2005.”

Khalaf, who was born in Houston and is of Palestinian descent, said working as a baggage screener was the best paying job he’s ever had. He said he hoped to use any extra money he earned to produce his CD.

“Controversy sells,” Khalaf said. “It brings a lot of attention. Everybody wants to label all Arabics terrorists just because a couple of people messed up. Well, I’m going to play along with that character. I’m going to let you think I’m one.”

Well, ok, if you insist. I think you’re a terrorist.

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