IU Student, Focus Of FBI Probe, Speaks Out

An Indiana University student at the center of an FBI investigation speaks out after he created a Web site meant to expose holes in airport security.

Investigators have dropped a criminal case against Christopher Soghoian, 25, but not before his life was turned upside down, 6News' Jennifer Carmack reported.


Soghoian said he knows more than the average person about airport security, and he doesn't like what he sees.

As a research project, the student created a Web site that generated fake Northwest Airlines boarding passes.

"Flying is dangerous. There is a risk of terrorism, and I want them to fix the problem," Soghoian said. "Any first-year computer science student at this fine university could put it together. It didn't take my technical knowledge."

Soghoian's site garnered plenty of attention, including some from the federal government.

"They wanted to find out if anyone had collaborated with me, if I had been paid to do this, if someone asked me to do this," Soghoian said. "Over the course of a few weeks, my lawyers and I were able to convince them that this really was a research project."

The case was dropped Tuesday after the FBI determined that Soghoian's project did not have malicious intent.

"I never flew with a fake boarding pass. I never even printed one out. This was an academic project as part of my dissertation research," Soghoian said.

The student said he is relieved that he won't go to jail but added that he won't rest as long as loopholes exist in the Transportation and Security Administration process.

"If they fix the airport security problems ... then this entire process has been worth it," Soghoian said. "If they don't fix airport security, then ... what was the purpose?"

Soghoian said fake boarding passes wouldn't be an issue if identification was required and checked to travel. The student said he has been able to get on four flights without showing ID.

More Info: Soghoian's Web Journal

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