On March 9, security forces at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport discovered “an object resembling a mortar shell with a fuse” in the luggage of a US Embassy employee departing to London. The situation caused an alert and a bomb squad was called in. After the further research on the secen, it emerged that the mortar shell had no explosive compound inside with only small traces of a blasting agent remained on its surface. Despite the incident, the US citizen used his diplomatic immunity to depart to London.
In turn, the US citizen explained the situation by claiming he bought an empty mortar shell without an explosive compound for his “private collection.” This verion was later supported by the US State Department.
The Russian Foreign Ministry described the incident was a “provocation” and demanded explanations. The foreign ministry emphasized that taking into account the security measures employed by the US since 2001, it’s hard to imagine that the embassy employee did not understand what he was doing. The ministry pointed out that the US may have tried to test security measures by this attempt.
Some experts voiced concern that the incident may have been a part of preparations for a terrorist attack in the airport. In the event of a successful delivery of “a mortar shell with a fuse” to the area, it would be much less complicated to deliver an explosive compound and stage an attack in the airport.
At the same time, if the version about the “private collection” is the truth, this move is just a clear example of idiocy and the further fall of professional competence of employees of US embassies. In fact, the US intelligence and diplomatic community has been discussing the ongoing fall of professinalism and erudition of US duplomats and embassy employees for some time already. This issue is especially obvious for non-Arabic regions. Since the fall of the USSR, the Middle East has been the most interesting and money-making direction for ‘young diplomats’. Therefore, a majority most of the high potential staff was involved in operations and activities in this direction. China is the second-priority directions. In own turn, embassies in Russia and European states were bolstered by a leftover principle.
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