HOUSTON (AP) -- When Bassam Khalaf raps, he's the Arabic Assassin. His obscenity-laced 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 two weeks ago, Khalaf also worked as a baggage screener at George Bush Intercontinental Airport.
''I've been screening your bags for the past six months, and you don't even know it,'' said Khalaf, who also said Thursday that he is not really a terrorist and that his rhymes are exaggerations meant to gain publicity.
Andrea McCauley, a spokeswoman for the regional Transportation Security Administration office in Dallas, said the agency checks criminal records before hiring screeners, but it does not investigate what people do in their spare time.
''We have eyes and ears in the work place,'' McCauley said. ''Once we discovered these Web sites, we fired him.''
Khalaf's CD has yet to be released, but an Internet search of his name brings up Web sites that feature his obscene, violent and misogynistic raps that threaten to fly a plane into a building on Sept. 11, 2005.
Khalaf, 21, was hired on Jan. 16 and fired July 7, according to his termination letter from the TSA.
''Your 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, are all in violation of every aspect of this directive,'' TSA's Deputy Federal Security Director at the airport, Hector Vela, wrote in the letter firing Khalaf.
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.
''I kept my music and my job separate. I told a couple of people, who I thought was cool with me at work that I rapped, but I never sat there and told them lyrics or anything,'' said Khalaf, who started rapping three years ago while attending a Houston community college. ''I guess somebody probably told them that I had a Web site.''
Khalaf said his terrorist-themed rhymes are more about marketing.
''I feel like controversy sells. It brings a lot of attention,'' he said. ''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.''
Khalaf said his songs are art and pointed to other rappers who have rhymed about terrorism. He specifically cites Eminem's song, 'My Dad's Gone Crazy,' which discusses blowing everything on the map up except Afghanistan and says: ''There's no tower too high, No plane that I can't learn how to fly.''
''What if I called myself the Mexican Assassin?'' Khalaf asked. ''I'm proud to be Arabic. ... I know I brought it on myself, but it is for attention.''
In his raps, Khalaf says things like: ''My name is Bassam, a one man band, I came from sand, affiliated with the Taliban.''
He also raps on another song that he'll show no mercy, and people should be ready for him to crash a plane into a building in 2005.
''I live up to the reputation of a crazy suicidal Arabic,'' he raps. ''You know I'm equipped with the bombs and the grenades, the AK's. Now ... make my day.''