Monday, May 5, 2008

So What Exactly Happens To All Of That Stuff?

As every passenger and visitor to this blog probably knows, hundreds of thousands of items are identified each year by our security officers that are prohibited from being carried onto an aircraft. Of course, occasionally, items get through, but that’s a whole different post.

There are two classifications of items, prohibited and illegal. The prohibited category includes things like knives, scissors (larger than 4 inches), some tools, chain saws, swords, boulders, replica guns, bottled water, soda, toothpaste, hair gel, snow globes and on and on.

Illegal items are obviously guns, brass knuckles, switch blades. When discovered at the checkpoint, we contact law enforcement and they do what they need to do, maybe arrest, maybe a citation,…. it really depends on each jurisdiction.

We often refer to prohibited items internally as Voluntary Abandoned Property. Passengers call them confiscated…, either way; these items become possessions of the federal government, and are deemed excess government property.

While it may seem like we enjoy taking this stuff, the fact is passengers have choices. A passenger can go back to the airline and place the item in his/her checked bag. Some airports have mailing facilities or mail back programs so travelers can mail the item home. The item can be given to a loved one seeing you off at the airport or, if you drove yourself to the airport, you can go place the items in your car. Or for that matter, a passenger can go throw the items away in a nearby trash can. If they decide to do none of these and "surrender" the prohibited item to a security officer, they are considered excess government property.

Now before you go and post a comment about the options, I’m not saying they are good or bad options, I’m just pointing out that there are options. I know if someone is late for a flight, the last thing they are going to do is go back to their car, and wait in line again. Can we just agree these are options? Of course, the best option is to know what is in your bag and not bring a prohibited item to the checkpoint to begin with, but that’s not the point of this post

Of interesting note, of all the items I have seen, most, almost all, could have made it from Point A to Point B, had the passenger simply taken the time to place it in a checked bag.

Depending on the size of the airport, each day, week or month, the items are picked up. Because the items are excess government property, we must follow General Services Administration guidelines for the disposition of the material. Many airports use a TSA-provided contractor who collects the “stuff” and disposes of it….. quite literally, throws it away. Or, as some airports do, we donate items to approved, non-profit organizations in accordance w/GSA regulations.

We have heard of local schools receiving the scissors. We have heard of local police departments training with the mace. Some VA hospitals sell some of the items to help make ends meet. Some non-profits, including several state surplus property divisions, sell the material on the auction web site eBay, and put the profits in THEIR coffers. TSA does not sell or profit in any way from the selling of this voluntarily abandoned property.

There have been references to this practice on this very blog, but the fact is, those news reports are plain wrong. Again, we are required to follow GSA guidelines for the disposition of this property and we do.

Now liquids are another story. As you can imagine we have voluminous amounts of liquid items surrendered daily and from airport to airport the disposition is different. Some airports have the local janitorial staff pick up the trashcans. Some are collected and picked up by our contractor and in some airports, both can happen, depending if a passenger throws the item away prior to screening or in the security checkpoint. Either way, it’s disposed of … that goes for liquor, water, lotions and everything in between.

Early on, there was a move to donate the liquid items to local homeless shelters but we were forced to suspend that practice after the determination was made that there is a liability risk. We couldn’t continue to donate items and not know if the if the water was truly water or if the shampoo was truly shampoo. While unfortunate, the litigious world in which we live forced the abandonment (pun intended) of that process. So now, those items are tossed out.

It is important to note, that currently there is a California state senator-sponsored bill that would require all California airports to donate these liquid items to homeless shelters. While it is unclear exactly how that would work, an effort to actually put these items to use is in the works; at least in one state.

A question raised many times on this blog is how can we justify throwing all of these liquids away in a trash can near the checkpoint if they are such a danger. While a fair question, the answer has been available in many different threads though not directly answered, so here it goes.

We have said since the institution of the liquid ban that the fear or threat is the combination of items, including liquid explosives while in flight to create an improvised explosive device. That combination means explosives, detonator and other components to have a fully assembled bomb. Take one component away and you have a collection of harmless items. Of course we don't want liquid explosives anywhere near us but without the other components, they're not causing catastrophic damage.

That’s why it is safe for us to store the items together in a trash can near the checkpoint and that's what we do with prohibited items.

Nico

TSA EoS Blog Team

143 comments:

Anonymous said...

"A passenger can go back to the airline and place the item in his/her checked bag."

HA!!!

I can't believe this line keeps getting used whenever the TSA ties to spin that you have options when you bring a prohibited item to the check point. You do of course realize that by the time I arrive at the check point my bag is already back in the baggage handling section of the airport. How am I supposed to put my prohibited item in it?????

Abelard said...

Please provide links to peer reviewed research showing how a feasible liquid explosive could be constructed inside an airplane without access to a lab.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, how about just removing the cap/lid to the 'donated' liquids prior to 'donating' those liquids?

Bob said...

HA!!! I can't believe this line keeps getting used whenever the TSA ties to spin that you have options when you bring a prohibited item to the check point. You do of course realize that by the time I arrive at the check point my bag is already back in the baggage handling section of the airport. How am I supposed to put my prohibited item in it?????
May 5, 2008 8:35 PM


I've talked with passengers after they returned from checking prohibited items. They have told me if you don't have a bag, the airline will often provide a box of some sort. I'm sure it varies by airline.

Bob

TSA EoS Blog Team

Anonymous said...

So, isolated HAZMAT items - as long as they are not combined - are okay to give to the homeless?

Either they ARE a danger, or they are not... combined or uncombined, it makes no difference... you cannot have it both ways. If it truly IS water, then let me through the checkpoint. If you suspect that is isn't then confiscate it and handle it like the HAZMAT you have just declared it to be.

Litigious? You bet! I would be too if you gave me some "donated" HAZMAT.

DoogieSD said...

An anonymous Coward said..

Either they ARE a danger, or they are not... combined or uncombined, it makes no difference... you cannot have it both ways. If it truly IS water, then let me through the checkpoint. If you suspect that is isn't then confiscate it and handle it like the HAZMAT you have just declared it to be.

Tell you what complainer.. talk to Dean Florez (D-Ca)

Discarded checkpoint items sent to local homeless shelter

You whiners need to remember Bob and Crew are following orders, you got a problem go talk to your congressmen...or AT LEAST provide constructive "peer reviewed" input not just bitching for the sake of bitching...

Jim Huggins said...

Sorry, Bob ... forgive me, but I can't resist ...

Of interesting note, of all the items I have seen, most, almost all, could have made it from Point A to Point B, had the passenger simply taken the time to place it in a checked bag.

Except that, of course, I'd have to put that item in an unlocked suitcase, which anyone between Point A and Point B could open in order to steal the item in question.

I suppose it's better to take the chance on the baggage handlers being honest than the absolute certainty of having the item denied by the TSA in my carry-on. But let's be careful not to claim more certainty than exists in the system as it currently is executed.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reply Bob. But now that more and more airlines are charging for a 2nd bag I'm not sure that checking a box will be a viable option.

I'd rather just see some sanity brought back to security.

I'd also love to see the economic cost of people loosing their purchased property.

Ayn R. Key said...

So all one has to do is throw away one bottle of each of the liquids at once and DUH! you have the exact same problem that we've been asking you and you almost answered.

So yes, one half of the mythical binary liquid explosive in a trash can is safe. What about both halves, brought in by two people, disguised as water?

CBGB said...

so how are the puppies? How bout the baggies? are those to related?


on a more relevant note (trying to bring your blog back on track). Care to expand on discipline policy for those TSO's found in violation of the flight safety rules?

Jim Huggins said...

Sorry, Bob, but I have to chime in again ...

I've talked with passengers after they returned from checking prohibited items. They have told me if you don't have a bag, the airline will often provide a box of some sort. I'm sure it varies by airline.

Ahh, but notice ... "often", and "it varies" implies uncertainty. You said "A passenger can go back to the airline and place the item in his/her checked bag", not "A passenger often can go back", or "In various airports, a passenger can go back".

Call me a stickler for accuracy ... but if there isn't a universal rule that all airlines have to give me a box for my prohibited item, then I can't count on it as an option.

Darrien said...

I wonder how much a confiscated MacBook Air would go on eBay? :D

Keep up the good work guys. I know alot of times it seems like all you people do is make us late for out flights but in the end I think its worth it.

Anonymous said...

Well Bob, see your hanging out in this thread instead of your Blog Post on Privacy and Safety. So Bob, when will you address the remarks you made about the images from the MMW WBI being ok for pre-schoolers? When will you post these images that are ok for Readers Digest?

Got all the time you need Bob. Not going anywhere!

Oh, the explanation for combined liquids in the common trash bin, just pure rubish. If the liquid is flammable or has dangerous fumes then the material should be treated as hazmat. Otherwise it should be safe to pass. Just a 3rd rate theater production.

Nico said...

Jim,
There is also uncertainty in the options if you don't have a car in the parking lot, if your loved one didn't see you off, if there isn't a trash can near the checkpoint. Certainly you aren't suggesting the TSA implement all the tools necessary to make each option a reality. The point is, there are options, whether or not they are viable, is another question given each travelers unique circumstances.

Dunstan said...

"So What Exactly Happens To All Of That Stuff?"
The stuff that goes missing? You know, stolen?

Abelard said...

Hmmm, how about just removing the cap/lid to the 'donated' liquids prior to 'donating' those liquids?

Which liquids would those be? It just can't be that difficult to provide links to research showing that someone could take down a 757 with some sort of liquid that could be detonated on board a plane.

As has been pointed out over and over again, there is no evidence that the London bomb plotters had a snowball's chance in Phoenix of ever getting their "liquid bomb" to detonate and, in fact, the idea that you could construct a liquid TATP bomb on the airplane is so absurdly laughable, it is a wonder it keeps getting repeated over and over again.

So, again, I ask: where is the evidence that a feasible liquid explosive could be constructed inside an airplane without access to a lab.

Show your work.

Anonymous said...

In some other comment thread, wasn't there some thought that the liquid ban is really a reaction to the potential of a nerve or other chemical agent? That since the binary liquid issue does not seem to be actually feasible, the TSA must be reacting to the idea of another threat that they are not currently revealing? In this view, these open dumping bins become much more nefarious. And surely there's no rule as to opening containers right before you throw them in. As others have said: treat 'em like they're the HAZMAT you say they are or revise your policies.

Sandra said...

Where are the MMW frontal images?

Anonymous said...

You do of course realize that by the time I arrive at the check point my bag is already back in the baggage handling section of the airport. How am I supposed to put my prohibited item in it?????

Fantasy is part of theater.

Jim Huggins said...

Nico,

The point is, there are options, whether or not they are viable, is another question given each travelers unique circumstances.

An option which isn't viable isn't an option at all, and shouldn't be treated as such.

Look, don't get me wrong. While I'm not a "frequent flyer", I do fly about 3-4 times a year. I've never had a problem with stuff getting confiscated, because I know not to bring the items in question to the checkpoint in the first place.

But when TSA officials say to passengers, "Look at all these options you have to abandoning your property", and then give a long list, it makes it look like every passenger has 5-6 alternatives to abandonment ... when, in reality, most don't have that many options.

If I take a taxi to the airport by myself, and the airport doesn't have a "mail-it-home" service, and my airline won't give me an extra box to check my prohibited item, then my choices are down to just two: abandon my property, or miss my flight. This is mostly my fault, of course, because I brought the item in question. (Except, of course, when the item in question really isn't questionable, but a rogue TSO doesn't understand the rules. But we've beat that issue to death already in other items.)

I'm just asking that we all be realistic about what the chances are of a passenger being able to find an alternative to not-flying or abandonment. Some passengers will be lucky enough to find easy alternatives. Others won't. IMHO, the latter is more likely.

Anonymous said...

Abelard said...
Please provide links to peer reviewed research showing how a feasible liquid explosive could be constructed inside an airplane without access to a lab.

Please see GAO report 08-048T Vulnerabilities Exposed through Covert Testing of TSA's Passenger Screening Process which reads in part
Using publicly available information, GAO investigators identified two types of devices that a terrorist could use to cause severe damage to an airplane and threaten the safety of passengers. The first device was an IED made up of two parts—a liquid explosive and a low-yield detonator. Although the detonator itself could function as an IED, investigators determined that it could also be used to set off a liquid explosive and cause even more damage. In addition, the second device was an IID created by combining commonly available products (one of which is a liquid) that TSA prohibits in carry-on luggage. Investigators obtained the components for these devices at local stores and over the Internet for less than $150. Tests that GAO performed at a national laboratory in July 2007, in addition to prior tests in February 2006 that GAO performed in partnership with a law enforcement organization in the Washington, D.C., metro area, clearly demonstrated that a terrorist using these devices could cause severe damage to an airplane and threaten the safety of passengers.

Signed - A TSAer involved with the report.

Anonymous said...

Jim Huggins said...
Sorry, Bob ... forgive me, but I can't resist ...

Of interesting note, of all the items I have seen, most, almost all, could have made it from Point A to Point B, had the passenger simply taken the time to place it in a checked bag.

Except that, of course, I'd have to put that item in an unlocked suitcase, which anyone between Point A and Point B could open in order to steal the item in question.


That hand lotion is the first thing the baggage handlers are going to slip out of your luggage. Black market for your bottle of after shave can keep those thieves rolling in the green for decades.

By the way, for all the people accusing TSA security personnel for luggage theft, did you know that anyone can use a pen to open up your locked luggage?
Go to youtube, the title of the video is How to have access to any luggage with a pen, just type that in the search window and you will see how easy it is.

Brett said...

I was not offered any of these alternatives to confiscation when I forgot to remove my multi-tool from my backpack. I was told, "No, it's gone" even as I requested to take it outside of the secured area. My mistake and your employee's apparent lack of training cost me a favorite tool.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9:09 am said:
Please see GAO report 08-048T Vulnerabilities Exposed through Covert Testing of TSA's Passenger Screening Process ...

See? That wasn't so hard. And the document is available to the public by Googling the title.

Anonymous said...

I do adore good theater, especially when it is just so funny.
True, options are not options unless they are viable, and stupidity is still stupidity no matter who causes it. But for crying out loud, can we get both sides of the aisle to start thinking instead of just bickering back and forth? Hrm.. for a second there I thought I was talking about politics.

Anonymous said...

You had to have known this would come up. You're providing the same answer and that answer has already been shown to not be good enough. At least to anyone with an ounce of common sense.

You're declaring these liquid items too dangerous to take on an airplane, so how is it that they are safe enough to be thrown out, donated, or treated in ANY way other than as the highest potential threat? So what there aren't detonators? What if the bottle had liquid sarin in it? Or pesticide? Or any number of dangerous chemicals that aren't explosive? The way these liquids are treated proves that TSA is perfectly aware that they are harmless, yet they are still taken. Talk about security theatre, I call this security farce. It's pathetic, and so is the way you guys continually repeat the party line over and over. What do you take us for?

Nico, Bob, whoever, will you please actually answer this question? And just in case the question isn't clear enough, here it is again:

You're declaring these liquid items too dangerous to take on an airplane, so how is it that they are safe enough to be thrown out, donated, or treated in ANY way other than as the highest potential threat?

I have asked this question at least 3 times on this blog, the first time I was given the same answer you gave on this entry, only it was a weak analogy involving slingshots. Try again.

Jim Huggins said...

That hand lotion is the first thing the baggage handlers are going to slip out of your luggage. Black market for your bottle of after shave can keep those thieves rolling in the green for decades.

Ahh, nothing like the bait-and-switch.

What about the $80 multitool I have to check, because it contains a knife blade? What about the $300 bottle of cognac I have to check, because it's a liquid? What about the $300 cordless drill I have to check, because it might be used as a weapon?

This isn't just about $0.99 bottles of aftershave, my anonymous friend.

Abelard said...

Please see GAO report 08-048T Vulnerabilities Exposed through Covert Testing of TSA's Passenger Screening Process which reads in part

That is NOT a peer-reviewed study. That is a GAO report. They cite doing their work in a "national lab" and never name the names of the researchers or the names of those involved in a peer review. There are no links to the actual data showing the exact steps needed to reproduce their findings.

Did they need a Bunsen burner? Were the liquids required to be kept at a specific temperature? Would the detonator work in a pressurized cabin.

Again, where is the peer-reviewed research showing taking down an airplane with a liquid explosive is feasible?

Ayn R. Key said...

Anonymous, May 6, 2008 9:09 AM, (aka. A TSAer involved with the report.)

Please see GAO report 08-048T

Actually it is 08-48T which is why my initial Google search came up empty.

GAO investigators identified two types of devices that a terrorist could use to cause severe damage to an airplane and threaten the safety of passengers. The first device was an IED made up of two parts—a liquid explosive and a low-yield detonator.

We know that binary liquid explosives exist. We also know that they are difficult to manufacture in a fully equipped laboratory, much less an airplane.

Look, actual non-government Chemists have examined the TSA's claims, and found them wanting. That is why all the reports of exactly which chemicals you are talking about have been classified as "just trust us you don't need to know if we tell you we are also telling the terrorists."

According to the report you are citing, all you need to do is ban detonators. According to the report, a detonator can function as an IED. All the liquids do, providing that you can actually assemble them in an airport or on a plane (which you can't) is amplify the already destructive force of the detonator.

Those of us with a background in intelligence know the reasons something gets marked SSI. The only reason, of course, is that you don't want people to see what is being so marked, but there are many reasons why you don't want people to see. Sometimes revealing vital information is dangerous, but that is not the case with the TSA and 3-1-1. Sometimes revealing what is marked secret would be embarassing, because the secret is "we were wrong."

That's the case here. If people with PhD's in Chemistry actually know Chemistry then the big secret on the SSI for 3-1-1 that contributed to your report is "we were wrong but don't want to admit it so we will mark it secret."

How much contempt do you have for the public?

Marshall's SO said...

to: Signed - A TSAer involved with the report responding to Abelard.

Unfortunately, your quote doesn't answer Abelard's question as it does not name the liquids and above all it says:

"Using publicly available information, GAO investigators identified two types of devices that a terrorist could use to cause severe damage to an airplane and threaten the safety of passengers.

No mention of bringing down a plane, just "severe damage" - which is relative.

Further, if tests were done in February 2006 why was it not until August of 2006 that liquids were restricted?

About those MMW images..........

Anonymous said...

TSA is pathetic -- the liquid policy is pointless and unnecessary and the fact that you keep piling lie on top of lie is one of the many, many reasons no one trusts you.

Trollkiller said...

Make a few more blog posts and that pesky MMW issue will be pushed off the front page. Then maybe it will go away.

NOT

I am sure most of you have heard the parable about the widow and the judge, if not I have included it below. If you are familiar with the story feel free to skip over it.

Luke 18:1-8
Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, "In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, 'Grant me justice against my opponent.'

For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, 'Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.'"

And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?"


The TSA is the Judge, we are the Widow. The opponent we are seeking justice against is lack of disclosure.

As you may have noticed there is a growing number of "widows" on this site that refuse to go away until we get justice.

Judge TSA you have two choices, either wait until us widows wear you out, and we will, or just show the image.

CBGB said...

what do you do with confiscated puppies and duty free bags?

Anonymous said...

They've already claimed (more or less) that the frontal MMW images are SSI, so we're never going to see them. Doesn't mean I think we should stop asking though.

It's amazing how much you can get away with when you get to respond to every criticism or question you get with "that's SSI", or "that's classified", and there's no way for us as the public to confirm such.

Anonymous said...

One of my co-workers, a very frequent flyer, had an interesting experience yesterday at the checkpoint for Airtran at LGA. He had an odd object (a bathroom scale) in one of his bags, so it was given swabs for ETD. It came up positive. And did so multiple times. The screener said that it was likely due to some cosmetic. However, he nevertheless couldn't take the bag as a carryon, but would have to check it. Unfortunately, the line to check the bag was such that he wasn't able to catch his flight, but that's not the point of this post.

My question is: if the bag was ETD positive so that there was a question of whether it was an explosive device, wwhy was the suggested approach to check the item? It would seem that either it's dangerous or it isn't.

Anonymous said...

PUT YOU PROHIBITED ITEM IN YOUR CHECKED BAGGAGE BEFORE YOU GET TO THE AIRPORT!!!!!!!!

K.I.S.S.

KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID

Anonymous said...

For TSA's liquids policy to make sense every single bottle of water and every single tube of toothpaste would have to be shipped in hermetically sealed containers to a lab where each would be identified and properly disposed of, whether it was the quite possibly fictional liquid binary explosive component or a bottle of coke. If you can't let it on an airplane, how can you justify exposing anyone to it at all?

Of course I understand that TSA doesn't have the budget to send everything it confiscates off to a lab, but how is it an acceptable alternative to expose both your staff and the traveling public (and potentially people in homeless shelters) to potentially lethally toxic materials? How are these deadly beverages any safer on the ground than in the air?

The answer is of course that they're not. The potential threat level in a bottle of coke is the same whether it's on a plane or on the ground -- extremely low. The resources you guys put into inconveniencing us and stealing our personal items in service of a rule that doesn't stand up to even the most basic amateur scrutiny... it's insulting. It's laughable that this 3-1-1 thing got off the ground. The fact that you guys won't even admit this or engage in meaningful dialog about the rules just proves what everyone here's been saying all along... it's time to rescind the liquid rules and admit they were a mistake. I doubt we'll ever see the TSA admit to a mistake on this spin-blog though.

Also, when do we get frontal MMW images?

Anonymous said...

what do you do with confiscated puppies and duty free bags?

Confiscated puppies are sent to Asian eating establishments.

Open the bottles, keep the caps, lids, covers, then give the open container to TSA to properly dispose of as they see fit..

Anonymous said...

Post other subjects as much as you like. I am still waiting for the front and back images!!!!

Eli said...

Disregarding airline policy regarding walking back to put something in a checked bag, etc.:

This post makes the assumption that the traveler *has* a checked bag. I am a frequent flyer and I'm often happy that I can fit three days of clothing and essentials into a carry-on so that I don't have to wait for my checked baggage. No bag to go back to, in my case.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"A passenger can go back to the airline and place the item in his/her checked bag."

HA!!!

I can't believe this line keeps getting used whenever the TSA ties to spin that you have options when you bring a prohibited item to the check point. You do of course realize that by the time I arrive at the check point my bag is already back in the baggage handling section of the airport. How am I supposed to put my prohibited item in it?????

May 5, 2008 8:35 PM

wait a minute....you really thought that gun was ok to go on the plane right ?? a gun in your handbag ?? ok lets rewind. aaah ok. how about when you get the bag...ever notice its kinda....heavy when you havent even begun to pack ?? hmm. you forgot your blade or hunting knife was in your bag from years ago ? where is this bag kept ? hope you dont have kids with imaginations and find that bag within arms reach. and YES if you have a bag thats able to be zipped up you can go back and check that bag... you cant help but to clean your gun or shine your knife while flying in the air for 2 hours....give me a break and check your weapon.

Anonymous said...

Abelard said...
Please provide links to peer reviewed research showing how a feasible liquid explosive could be constructed inside an airplane without access to a lab.

May 5, 2008 8:48 PM

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU PUT LIQUID PLUMBR IN A SODA BOTTLE AND MIX IT WITH WATER AND SHAKE IT UP ??? dont need a lab for that one.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Jim Huggins said...
Sorry, Bob ... forgive me, but I can't resist ...

Of interesting note, of all the items I have seen, most, almost all, could have made it from Point A to Point B, had the passenger simply taken the time to place it in a checked bag.

Except that, of course, I'd have to put that item in an unlocked suitcase, which anyone between Point A and Point B could open in order to steal the item in question.

That hand lotion is the first thing the baggage handlers are going to slip out of your luggage. Black market for your bottle of after shave can keep those thieves rolling in the green for decades.

By the way, for all the people accusing TSA security personnel for luggage theft, did you know that anyone can use a pen to open up your locked luggage?
Go to youtube, the title of the video is How to have access to any luggage with a pen, just type that in the search window and you will see how easy it is.

May 6, 2008 9:16 AM

i have flown and never had my liquids taken out of my bag. i dont carry what i dont need. vacation ?? whats a vacation without a firearm ?? lmao. oh my.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
You had to have known this would come up. You're providing the same answer and that answer has already been shown to not be good enough. At least to anyone with an ounce of common sense.

You're declaring these liquid items too dangerous to take on an airplane, so how is it that they are safe enough to be thrown out, donated, or treated in ANY way other than as the highest potential threat? So what there aren't detonators? What if the bottle had liquid sarin in it? Or pesticide? Or any number of dangerous chemicals that aren't explosive? The way these liquids are treated proves that TSA is perfectly aware that they are harmless, yet they are still taken. Talk about security theatre, I call this security farce. It's pathetic, and so is the way you guys continually repeat the party line over and over. What do you take us for?

Nico, Bob, whoever, will you please actually answer this question? And just in case the question isn't clear enough, here it is again:

You're declaring these liquid items too dangerous to take on an airplane, so how is it that they are safe enough to be thrown out, donated, or treated in ANY way other than as the highest potential threat?

I have asked this question at least 3 times on this blog, the first time I was given the same answer you gave on this entry, only it was a weak analogy involving slingshots. Try again.

May 6, 2008 10:14 AM

but you make it seem like the people on the checkpoint are the ones coming up with this stuff. if you think thats the case then you are sadly mistaken.

Anonymous said...

Jim Huggins said...
That hand lotion is the first thing the baggage handlers are going to slip out of your luggage. Black market for your bottle of after shave can keep those thieves rolling in the green for decades.

Ahh, nothing like the bait-and-switch.

What about the $80 multitool I have to check, because it contains a knife blade? What about the $300 bottle of cognac I have to check, because it's a liquid? What about the $300 cordless drill I have to check, because it might be used as a weapon?

This isn't just about $0.99 bottles of aftershave, my anonymous friend.

May 6, 2008 10:26 AM


oh my ?? cordless drill ??? what could you possibly need a cordless drill for.... on a plane ??? i mean seriously. you wanna talk about unanswered questions... someone please answer that one.

Anonymous said...

Abelard said...
Please see GAO report 08-048T Vulnerabilities Exposed through Covert Testing of TSA's Passenger Screening Process which reads in part

That is NOT a peer-reviewed study. That is a GAO report. They cite doing their work in a "national lab" and never name the names of the researchers or the names of those involved in a peer review. There are no links to the actual data showing the exact steps needed to reproduce their findings.

Did they need a Bunsen burner? Were the liquids required to be kept at a specific temperature? Would the detonator work in a pressurized cabin.

Again, where is the peer-reviewed research showing taking down an airplane with a liquid explosive is feasible?

May 6, 2008 10:29 AM

answers to those given to the public would lead to maybe...a copycat ??? those answers are indeed the exact information needed to duplicate what tried to happen.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
TSA is pathetic -- the liquid policy is pointless and unnecessary and the fact that you keep piling lie on top of lie is one of the many, many reasons no one trusts you.

May 6, 2008 11:29 AM


the hardheaded never learned. i bet if i told you i could hijack a plane (rip to those that did lose their lives) with a BOXCUTTER. would you believe me ?? no fancy answer. no derogatory response. be straight up. would you believe me ? ok so you never know what someone can do until their sitting next to you doing it and the first thing that comes out of your mouth while you are about to kiss your bottom goodbye is "why didnt tsa stop it"

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
One of my co-workers, a very frequent flyer, had an interesting experience yesterday at the checkpoint for Airtran at LGA. He had an odd object (a bathroom scale) in one of his bags, so it was given swabs for ETD. It came up positive. And did so multiple times. The screener said that it was likely due to some cosmetic. However, he nevertheless couldn't take the bag as a carryon, but would have to check it. Unfortunately, the line to check the bag was such that he wasn't able to catch his flight, but that's not the point of this post.

My question is: if the bag was ETD positive so that there was a question of whether it was an explosive device, wwhy was the suggested approach to check the item? It would seem that either it's dangerous or it isn't.

May 6, 2008 3:40 PM

*shaking my head* yet again

bathroom scale on the plane.. wait wait... i wanna see how much i weigh at 30,000 ft. in the air. i cant check this scale I SIMPLY MUST have it on the plane with me. because i never know when i will check my weight on vacation.

Anonymous said...

Trollkiller said...
Make a few more blog posts and that pesky MMW issue will be pushed off the front page. Then maybe it will go away.

NOT

I am sure most of you have heard the parable about the widow and the judge, if not I have included it below. If you are familiar with the story feel free to skip over it.

Luke 18:1-8
Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, "In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, 'Grant me justice against my opponent.'

For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, 'Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.'"

And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?"

The TSA is the Judge, we are the Widow. The opponent we are seeking justice against is lack of disclosure.

As you may have noticed there is a growing number of "widows" on this site that refuse to go away until we get justice.

Judge TSA you have two choices, either wait until us widows wear you out, and we will, or just show the image.

May 6, 2008 1:16 PM

so hold up... ALL OF TSA NEITHER RESPECTS PEOPLE NOR FEARED GOD ??? are you serious ? you have taken a job with security WAAAAAY out of hand with that comment and im suprised that the blog team actually allowed that.. all of tsa does not fear God ? wooooow. we are all a cult and satanic and we do this and we do that. oh come on people ....

Anonymous said...

you know.... i seriously do not understand why are we going back and forth about liquids...bringing your personal water bottle through the checkpoint is that important ??? you have to bring that $1 dollar bottle of water through the checkpoint or else you are gonna just die right in front of stores that also sell water

winstonsmith said...

And from TSA's office of Falsehood and Fabrication comes this pile of putresence the likes of which I haven't smelled since my days living in farm country right after they spread the fresh chicken manure:

A question raised many times on this blog is how can we justify throwing all of these liquids away in a trash can near the checkpoint if they are such a danger. While a fair question, the answer has been available in many different threads though not directly answered, so here it goes.

We have said since the institution of the liquid ban that the fear or threat is the combination of items, including liquid explosives while in flight to create an improvised explosive device. That combination means explosives, detonator and other components to have a fully assembled bomb. Take one component away and you have a collection of harmless items. Of course we don't want liquid explosives anywhere near us but without the other components, they're not causing catastrophic damage.

That’s why it is safe for us to store the items together in a trash can near the checkpoint and that's what we do with prohibited items.


Nico, there are any number of common household chemicals that typically come in liquid form and when mixed together can create noxious and even deadly gases. Some of these could conceivably show up at the checkpoints (and given Americans' obsession with sanitation it would not surprise me if they were to show up fairly often). Now were some of these chemicals to be tossed carelessly into the bin and leak out of their containers and mix together, you could have one helluva lawsuit on your hands were someone to get a whiff of the resulting gas and end up either in a hospital or a morgue as a result. Explosives risk aside (which is a crock -- you know it, I know it, and hiding behind SSI does not change that), there can be a risk of tossing a bunch of random liquids together -- certainly at least as great or greater than someone actually managing to manufacture a sufficient quantity of liquid explosives mid-flight to bring down an airliner.

3-1-1 may have made sense at one point while people were checking out whether it would really be feasible to create liquid explosives on board a plane in flight. So far no credible evidence has come forth from any corner (except the super secret behind the curtain labs of the TSA) to suggest that this would have been possible. It is time to call 3-1-1 an interim step, say that we have found no threat, and to go back to the way things were.

Now moving on to other steaming piles of TSA leavings, whole body imaging. Perhaps people might be interested in taking a look at the following link to the TSA's very own website regarding backscatter imaging systems. We have front and back views of both a man and a woman there. That's not SSI. So what gives with the MMW images guys? The backscatter "cartoon" drawings are already pretty detailed -- far more so than I'm pretty sure most people would be comfortable with were they to realize what some stranger in a room would be looking at. If you'll show us those and not the MMW, what exactly are you hiding?

Anonymous said...

re: Anonymous said...
They've already claimed (more or less) that the frontal MMW images are SSI, so we're never going to see them. Doesn't mean I think we should stop asking though.

-----------------------------------
When and where? Don't recall seeing a claim of SSI.

Thanks

Ayn R. Key said...

ALL CAPS ANONYMOUS May 6, 2008 4:18 PM

It's not about keeping it simple. Why should we bear the burden of TSA incompetence? You are yelling at us, yet the complexity comes from their nonsensical rules.

The best way to keep things simple is to make sure the rules make sense.

Anonymous said...

Blogger Jim Huggins said...

Sorry, Bob, but I have to chime in again ...

I've talked with passengers after they returned from checking prohibited items. They have told me if you don't have a bag, the airline will often provide a box of some sort. I'm sure it varies by airline.

Ahh, but notice ... "often", and "it varies" implies uncertainty. You said "A passenger can go back to the airline and place the item in his/her checked bag", not "A passenger often can go back", or "In various airports, a passenger can go back".

Call me a stickler for accuracy ... but if there isn't a universal rule that all airlines have to give me a box for my prohibited item, then I can't count on it as an option.

_________________________________

Good lord, how much hand holding does TSA or any other have to do for you to "make it fair"? I believe that pre 9-11 there were still DOT rules but bassically no one gave a damn. Now TSA is supposed to look only for prohibited items, ignore firearms & ammo, drugs, and anything else which isn't specifically mentioned on their prohibited list. Get real - life isn't that cut and dry. If you have items in question you might want to call the airline prior to arriving. I have been the airline industry for over 20 years. It is really turning into something I no longer like but it really isn't TSA doing it. Prior to deregulation we had great service, and oversight although 9-11 would have likely happened anyway. But from a passenger point of view life was so much better before everything came down to profit and stockholders.

As for TSA, if it isn't illegal then you can return it to your car, have someone take it home, mail it or simply say to heck with it and abandon it with the TSA. I don't see why it is their fault if the carrier will not get you your bag back that is half way across the airport or if there isn't time. Remember - prior proper planning prevents p--- poor performance.

Anonymous said...

Responding to - Anonymous said...

One of my co-workers, a very frequent flyer, had an interesting experience yesterday at the checkpoint for Airtran at LGA. He had an odd object (a bathroom scale) in one of his bags, so it was given swabs for ETD. It came up positive. And did so multiple times. The screener said that it was likely due to some cosmetic. However, he nevertheless couldn't take the bag as a carryon, but would have to check it. Unfortunately, the line to check the bag was such that he wasn't able to catch his flight, but that's not the point of this post.

My question is: if the bag was ETD positive so that there was a question of whether it was an explosive device, wwhy was the suggested approach to check the item? It would seem that either it's dangerous or it isn't.

__________________________________

Now without saying where I am or what I do this is a good question and I'm sorry to give the answer. The ETD you refer to is using a mass spectrometer plus a bunch of other stuff to ionize molicules and get a time of flight then compare them to a known data base for a result. I could go so deep into this that we would all fall asleep but won't, I think you get the drift. The alarm threshold is in the PPM range and the only thing an ETD hit indicates is that whatever the item is, we need to be extra careful in searching it and maybe other items you are carrying. It in no way is a bomb detector.

I would love to give you an answer where the requirement to place a bathroom scale in baggage was written but I am afraid it was simple a decision made without REALLY understanding the equipment and the threat. In a threat based decision making matrix I would have to place your scale pretty low, maybe DDOT (Don't Drop On Toe:). It should have been resolved and if not then not allowed to go. Sounds like someone just wasn't 100% sure. Sorry about that.

Anonymous said...

AYN

DO YOU NEED A BABYSITTER?

TAKE CARE OF YOU AND YOURS, THEN YOU WON'T HAVE A PROBLEM AT THE CHECKPOINT!!

THE RULES ARE IN PLACE. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO FOLLOW THEM!!

Jim Huggins said...

Anonymous writes:

oh my ?? cordless drill ??? what could you possibly need a cordless drill for.... on a plane ??? i mean seriously. you wanna talk about unanswered questions... someone please answer that one.

See, you missed the point entirely.

Of course I don't need a cordless drill on the plane. But if I'm a mechanic, taking my tools with me because I'll need them at my destination, then I need to get it to my destination somehow. I can't put it in my carry-on, where I'd know where it is at all times, because it might be usable as a weapon. But if I put it in my checked luggage, and TSA requires that my luggage be unlocked, then any number of people have the opportunity to steal my drill before I get to my destination.

The TSA and the airlines say they can't be held responsible for stuff being stolen out of my checked baggage, so I'd better keep my valuables in my carry-on. Except that there's all sorts of valuable stuff I can't put in my carry-on because it might be usable as a weapon. So ... I can't put it in my carry-on, and I'm foolish to put it in my checked bags. What should I do?

Anonymous said...

Why are people still asking about MMW frontal pics? Stick to the topic. Other than that, keep up the good work

Jim Huggins said...

Anonymous writes:

As for TSA, if it isn't illegal then you can return it to your car, have someone take it home, mail it or simply say to heck with it and abandon it with the TSA. I don't see why it is their fault if the carrier will not get you your bag back that is half way across the airport or if there isn't time.

I NEVER SAID IT WAS TSA'S FAULT. Sheesh.

All I'm trying to say is that TSA shouldn't be flippantly saying "gee, you've got five options other than abandoning your property" when most of those options aren't applicable to most travelers. Saying that I can have my Model-T in any color I want, as long as that color is black, ain't much of a choice. And so it is with most travelers.

Yes, prior planning picks a peck of pickled peppers (or something like that). I'm trying to address an issue of tone and attitude, not policy.

If the original article had said something along these lines, I'd have been completely content:

"We at TSA recognize how uncomfortable it is when we have to deny you bringing an item past the checkpoint. Sometimes you may be able to retrieve your checked bags and put your item in there. Some airports have mailing services. Or if someone brought you to the airport, you might be able to give them the item. But even if all of these options aren't available, we're obligated to keep certain items out of the secured area. This isn't enjoyable, either for you or for us, but it is required."

Of course, this is probably too subtle a distinction, and I should probably just give up ...

Anonymous said...

an anonymous troll said in response to my post about TSA treating potentially deadly coke bottles far too casually:

but you make it seem like the people on the checkpoint are the ones coming up with this stuff. if you think thats the case then you are sadly mistaken.

---

Re-read my post. I never implied any such thing. I know that it is the higherups coming up with this mumbo-jumbo and that is why I am addressing them. Read some of the links in the comments. These confiscated potentially explosive or toxic liquids are being mixed together in large bins, donated to homeless shelters... we don't know where all of it is going, but I doubt any of it is heading for "safe disposal of hazardous material"

Of course, my argument is kind of a red herring because we already know that it's perfectly fine for TSA to donate the shampoo and lotion and whatnot. Why? Because these items don't pose any threat to anybody. The crux of my argument is, if these items are safe enough to be given to the homeless, why aren't they safe enough to fly with me?

Why is it, if we are being protected from the dangers of chemicals being mixed together or released aboard a plane, that these materials are mixed together in trash cans, and released to homeless shelters. If TSA can determine these items are harmless after they are taken from their rightful owners, why can they not do so at the checkpoint?

TSA's logic falls apart if you scrutinize it for more than a few seconds, and frankly I expect better from a government agency. I also expect transparency and honesty. TSA provides none of these things, and the blog is doing very little about that fact.

TSA blog team, I applaud your efforts. Truly. You put up with a lot and obviously you're trying to address our questions, but we need you to have more courage. We need you to ask and to answer the tough questions you see in these comments. You want to have a dialog with the community? Fine, here we are. We'll help you make the best damn checkpoint we can. All we ask in return is honesty. No more hiding behind SSI, no more ignoring questions, no more analogies. Straight facts, scientific evidence, candid answers. If you want to spin the issues, make a press release and stop wasting our time. We see through you.

Anonymous said...

Anon posted:

"That is NOT a peer-reviewed study. That is a GAO report. They cite doing their work in a "national lab" and never name the names of the researchers or the names of those involved in a peer review. There are no links to the actual data showing the exact steps needed to reproduce their findings.

Did they need a Bunsen burner? Were the liquids required to be kept at a specific temperature? Would the detonator work in a pressurized cabin.

Again, where is the peer-reviewed research showing taking down an airplane with a liquid explosive is feasible?"

So, now I'll ask a question. Why the instance on "peer reviewed" studies and a total disregard for the GAO report on LGA IEDs when EVERY GAO report ever published on TSA Red Team results/failures is accepted as pure, unadulterated, consistent as gravity fact and science? Lemme guess...the latter suits the agenda much better huh?

Anonymous said...

ok so you never know what someone can do until their sitting next to you doing it and the first thing that comes out of your mouth while you are about to kiss your bottom goodbye is "why didnt tsa stop it"

This post is almost as idiotic as the 3-1-1 rule. You're saying that ANYTHING TSA chooses to do is fine if it's remotely possible someone might figure out how to do something bad with it. By this logic, fountain pens should be banned since you could stab someone with the nib, and laptops should be banned because you could hit someone in the head with one.

I hesitate to press "submit" for fear I'll give the buffoons running TSA ideas...

trollkiller said...

Anonyass said...

wait a minute....you really thought that gun was ok to go on the plane right ?? a gun in your handbag ?? ok lets rewind. aaah ok. how about when you get the bag...ever notice its kinda....heavy when you havent even begun to pack ?? hmm. you forgot your blade or hunting knife was in your bag from years ago ? where is this bag kept ? hope you dont have kids with imaginations and find that bag within arms reach. and YES if you have a bag thats able to be zipped up you can go back and check that bag... you cant help but to clean your gun or shine your knife while flying in the air for 2 hours....give me a break and check your weapon.


If guns and knives were the only prohibited items your sarcasm would be appreciated, as it is it only makes you look like a foolish Troll.

Anonyass said...

i have flown and never had my liquids taken out of my bag. i dont carry what i dont need. vacation ?? whats a vacation without a firearm ?? lmao. oh my.


Great you don't need medicated shampoo or ointments, fantastic your Mom must be very proud.

Anonyass said...

answers to those given to the public would lead to maybe...a copycat ??? those answers are indeed the exact information needed to duplicate what tried to happen.


Or the answers may show the TSA is full of crapola. I am betting on my answer.

Anonyass said...

oh my ?? cordless drill ??? what could you possibly need a cordless drill for.... on a plane ??? i mean seriously. you wanna talk about unanswered questions... someone please answer that one.


Seems to me the person taking the cordless drill on the plane is doing so because most people do not think of a cordless drill as a weapon and they don’t want some slack jawed TSO STEALING THIER STUFF.

Anonyass said...

*shaking my head* yet again

bathroom scale on the plane.. wait wait... i wanna see how much i weigh at 30,000 ft. in the air. i cant check this scale I SIMPLY MUST have it on the plane with me. because i never know when i will check my weight on vacation.


Maybe they need to keep a tight watch on their weight for medical reasons and switching scales at their destination would throw the measurements off. If they are regulation medication by weight a difference of 5lbs could cause some serious complications.

And once again most people would not think of a bathroom scale as being a weapon after all they weigh less than a laptop even though they are roughly the same size. Of course they did not want to check it because they did not want a slack jawed TSO STEALING THEIR STUFF.

Anonyass I remember my first beer too, I hope you don't have a hangover in the morning. Always remember when you are drunk, don't drive, don't post and never call old flames.

Abelard said...

answers to those given to the public would lead to maybe...a copycat ??? those answers are indeed the exact information needed to duplicate what tried to happen.

What utter rubbish. The London bomb plot never would have succeeded.

There is no evidence that one can manufacture and detonate a binary liquid explosive on a plane. None. The US Government wouldn't have the sole knowledge of this if it were available. This is basic chemistry and there are plenty of articles debunking the idea that you could take down a plane with a liquid explosive because the variables would make it impossible to achieve that goal.

I am sorry that you aren't skeptical, but I am. And you can place that skepticism right at the feet of our government that told us to trust them when they said Iraq was stockpiling hoards of WMDs and that the war would be paid for by the profits from the oil we saved from control by Saddam.

If the TSA can't produce the peer-reviewed studies then they have no reason to complain about the litany of questions they are receiving.

By the way, where are the frontal photos?

Anonymous said...

Good morning TSA bloggers,

How about listening to all of us and showing us those full body scna images??

Good morning everyone else,

How about sending messages to all our friends explaining that the TSA now uses full body scans but refuses to show us the images they generate? Maybe we can spam the general population into not accepting the scans!

Anonymous said...

"i bet if i told you i could hijack a plane (rip to those that did lose their lives) with a BOXCUTTER. would you believe me ?? no"

If you had made that statement on 9/10/2001 then, yes, I would have said that I thought it unlikely.

Now? I believe I and others would attack and subdue the threat.

Even at the risk of having our heads cut off with the box cutters.(Bob seems to think this happened on one of the 9/11 planes.)


,>)

T. Saint

Dunstan said...

"oh my ?? cordless drill ??? what could you possibly need a cordless drill for.... on a plane ??? i mean seriously. you wanna talk about unanswered questions... someone please answer that one."

Perhaps if there was an intelligent light at the end of your snarky comments, you could be forgiven for missing Jim's point.

The point is, you cannot check valuable items and be guaranteed that they will make it to your destination. It wasn't about carrying a power drill onto the plane, that was an example of an item that might be considered fair game by someone with access to the baggage. For a trades person commuting to a job site, that drill arriving with him could mean finishing his job on time. Stealing our stuff, or allowing access to it for theft doesn't make sense, now does it?

Anonymous said...

Hey BLOG Team - I answered this last night with a real answer and it was not SSI. Everything in it is fully available from the manufacture and is ETD 101. Why did you sensor it?

Anonymous said...
Anonymous said...
One of my co-workers, a very frequent flyer, had an interesting experience yesterday at the checkpoint for Airtran at LGA. He had an odd object (a bathroom scale) in one of his bags, so it was given swabs for ETD. It came up positive. And did so multiple times. The screener said that it was likely due to some cosmetic. However, he nevertheless couldn't take the bag as a carryon, but would have to check it. Unfortunately, the line to check the bag was such that he wasn't able to catch his flight, but that's not the point of this post.

My question is: if the bag was ETD positive so that there was a question of whether it was an explosive device, wwhy was the suggested approach to check the item? It would seem that either it's dangerous or it isn't.

May 6, 2008 3:40 PM

*shaking my head* yet again

bathroom scale on the plane.. wait wait... i wanna see how much i weigh at 30,000 ft. in the air. i cant check this scale I SIMPLY MUST have it on the plane with me. because i never know when i will check my weight on vacation.

Abelard said...

So, now I'll ask a question. Why the instance on "peer reviewed" studies and a total disregard for the GAO report on LGA IEDs when EVERY GAO report ever published on TSA Red Team results/failures is accepted as pure, unadulterated, consistent as gravity fact and science? Lemme guess...the latter suits the agenda much better huh?

Accepted by whom?

You are suggesting that because it is from the GAO it is above reproach. The GAO is not the end all-be all of scientific inquiry.

I am simply asking for their results to be validated by the simple process of peer review, the way that every other experiment or study is scrutinized.

Believe it or not, peer review has been around a lot longer than the GAO.

winstonsmith said...

Hmmmm blog team... did I upset you again? Called BS on you guys again yesterday about the whole drop a bunch of random liquids in the bin because of the possibility of things leaking out of containers and mixing together and creating noxious fumes. This is not necessarily indicative of terrorism, just carelessness. It is certainly a bigger threat than anything ever posed to the flying public from which you are "protecting" us with this ridiculous 3-1-1 policy (and yes, I'm still waiting for the non-governmental study that shows there's a basis in science for this regulation).

But maybe it wasn't that bit that got your collective bureaucratic manties in a wad.

I also posted a link to the backscatter image from the TSA's very own site that has since been edited The original image showed very clearly images of the front and back of a nude man showing a very clear outline of everything that makes a man a man; and of a woman, showing most every one of her female attributes. The TSA has now removed all but the back image of the man. I pointed out in that post that if the TSA would put that kind of detail out there in public out there about backscatter, what's the problem with MMW? The fact that you have now taken it down does not change the fact that it was out there for a long time for anyone to see. Put it back the way it was and put similar pictures up there of what the millimeter wave will show.

What does this tell me? This tells me that the TSA is scared to death that the public at large in this country will become aware of what others will see. This tells me that the TSA is aware that it is going far beyond the pale of constitutionally acceptable administrative search by performing virtual strip searches. This tells me that the TSA knows that the public will not readily accept being strip searched. The fact that the TSA very quietly sweeps a comment of mine under the rug and hopes that no one else noticed tells me that we're winning.

Post the pictures guys.

txrus said...

Anonymous said at May 6, 2008 11:29 AM...

the hardheaded never learned. i bet if i told you i could hijack a plane (rip to those that did lose their lives) with a BOXCUTTER. would you believe me ?? no fancy answer. no derogatory response. be straight up. would you believe me ?
**********************************
If you asked me that on 9/10/01, I would have said yes, but not because of the boxcutter or even if you had a knife or gun-you would have been able to highjack the plane because the airlines policy, AT THAT TIME, required the pilots to cooperate with highjackers. The ONLY reason the 9/11 plot was successful was because 4 pilots, following their company's policies, opened the doors to their cockpits. Had that not happened, the Twin Towers would likely still be standing.

Following the events of 9/11, cockpit doors were hardened & airline policy was changed-pilots will no longer cooperate w/highjackers. Instead they will keep the doors locked, regardless of what is going on in the cabin, & LAND THE PLANE.

So, feel free to bring all the boxcutters onboard you want. You may hurt alot of people in the cabin (& I guarantee you will get hurt yourself) but you will never be able to take control of the plane itself.

For that, you have the airlines to thank, not the TSA.

Ayn R. Key said...

ALL CAPS ANONYMOUS May 6, 2008 11:33 PM

Apparently you think I do need a babysitter, since I have the capability to question rules instead of following your proposal of blind obedience. Yes, the rules are in place. It is the TSA's responsibility to actually attempt to have the rules make sense. I'm now going to write something heretical - it is possible that the rule is wrong.

"Yelling" (internet speak for all caps) does not make your point more convincing.

Ayn R. Key said...

One more blog post and the MMW post from 4/24 (and somehow updated on 5/25) will be off the front page.

I'm sure we'll all stop asking to see frontal images when that happens.

Dunstan said...

"Anonymous said...

AYN

DO YOU NEED A BABYSITTER?

TAKE CARE OF YOU AND YOURS, THEN YOU WON'T HAVE A PROBLEM AT THE CHECKPOINT!!

THE RULES ARE IN PLACE. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO FOLLOW THEM!!"

Is your Caps Lock key stuck?
Ayn doesn't need a babysitter, but you could use some common sense. If the "rules" didn't vary arbitrarily from one TSO to another, they probably could be followed. It isn't the rules so much as the SSI attached to them, the inconsistent application, and the poor attitude towards anyone who has the audacity or the reading comprehension to point this out. It WOULD help if the "rules" actually made sense. But, don't worry, the new uniforms and badges are on the way, and that should straighten everything out, right?

Dunstan said...

"*shaking my head* yet again

bathroom scale on the plane.. wait wait... i wanna see how much i weigh at 30,000 ft. in the air. i cant check this scale I SIMPLY MUST have it on the plane with me. because i never know when i will check my weight on vacation."

Maybe you should leave the heavy thinking to the BDO's.
Lots of things don't make much sense, unless you ask what the reasoning is behind the action. I personally wonder about issuing badges to people who aren't law enforcement officers...

Dave X the first said...

"Of course, occasionally, items get through, but that’s a whole different post."

No it isn't, you avoid the issue. You don't care about the thousands of knives, water bottles, and other prohibited items that do go flying every day.

You do care about the very few that get caught by your own internal testers, or by investigative reporters, but you accept your 20-80% detection rates as "The best in the world".

If you confiscate 80% of what people try to carry on, and catch hundreds of thousands of items in the process, you are missing many tens of thousands of prohibited items.

What is your best guess on how many prohibited knives or blades flew yesterday? Mine is 700, based on 80% detection and your 2,800 confiscations per day.

Where's your post on the "few" prohibited items that get by?

Sandra said...

Anonymous said:

"How about sending messages to all our friends explaining that the TSA now uses full body scans but refuses to show us the images they generate? Maybe we can spam the general population into not accepting the scans!"

Already done - with a link to the frontal photo as available on Stupid Airport Security and a link to this blog.

The response I have received has been overwhelmingly negative toward the TSA, especially after people realize that the TSA is refusing to post the frontal picture.

Anonymous said...

Jim Huggins said...
Anonymous writes:

oh my ?? cordless drill ??? what could you possibly need a cordless drill for.... on a plane ??? i mean seriously. you wanna talk about unanswered questions... someone please answer that one.

See, you missed the point entirely.

Of course I don't need a cordless drill on the plane. But if I'm a mechanic, taking my tools with me because I'll need them at my destination, then I need to get it to my destination somehow. I can't put it in my carry-on, where I'd know where it is at all times, because it might be usable as a weapon. But if I put it in my checked luggage, and TSA requires that my luggage be unlocked, then any number of people have the opportunity to steal my drill before I get to my destination.

The TSA and the airlines say they can't be held responsible for stuff being stolen out of my checked baggage, so I'd better keep my valuables in my carry-on. Except that there's all sorts of valuable stuff I can't put in my carry-on because it might be usable as a weapon. So ... I can't put it in my carry-on, and I'm foolish to put it in my checked bags. What should I do?

May 6, 2008 11:42 PM

i seriously do not know. but you cant blame all of tsa. i completely feel what you are saying. i honestly do. i would check it anyway. thats pretty much the only option.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
ok so you never know what someone can do until their sitting next to you doing it and the first thing that comes out of your mouth while you are about to kiss your bottom goodbye is "why didnt tsa stop it"

This post is almost as idiotic as the 3-1-1 rule. You're saying that ANYTHING TSA chooses to do is fine if it's remotely possible someone might figure out how to do something bad with it. By this logic, fountain pens should be banned since you could stab someone with the nib, and laptops should be banned because you could hit someone in the head with one.

I hesitate to press "submit" for fear I'll give the buffoons running TSA ideas...

May 7, 2008 12:57 AM

yea just like that guy with the cordless drill.... would you be ok... and lets be straight forward. would you be ok. if he pulled it out and pressed that button and just started playing with it ??? dont be naive to believe that EVERY passenger that flies is normal and have no past history of mental illness or anything. because then you havent read the news or bothered to look.

Anonymous said...

"bathroom scale on the plane.. wait wait... i wanna see how much i weigh at 30,000 ft. in the air. i cant check this scale I SIMPLY MUST have it on the plane with me. because i never know when i will check my weight on vacation."

What business or concern of it is yours if someone wants to travel with a scale or a drill or a gallon of milk? None of these things are harmful to anyone. What's next, complaining that someone's bringing a hardcover book when they should just get a harlequin paperback because no one needs to read a hardcover?

CBGB said...

it seems like the only response to real questions on here is anonymous posters making fun of people without understanding why the might need or want to bring something with them. Amazingly, there has always been a clear coherent response from an intelligent blogger (often Trollkiller).

What I would like to see is the TSABloggers make some of those responses for them and then telling us why they still need to do it. It seems that they share the point of views of the anonymous. If they don't understand something they make fun of the situation and don't bother to understand the underlying problem or reasoning. That makes your agency at best ineffective and at worst infantile.

CBGB said...

I am contemplating trying to takeover a plane with my pants, lets see if we can get those banned from flights, or maybe the TSA will issue "regulation flying pants". We could call the program 30-30-1 meaning limited to a 30 inch waist and 30 inch length and only last 1 flight.

winstonsmith said...

So I believe we need to add one more criteria to the "what will get your comment deleted" criteria: if it will seriously embarass the TSA by pointing out its own obvious hypocrisy. I won't go into the specifics as to why my last two comments did not make the grade, suffice it to say that they were because I ran across something the TSA really would rather not have had anyone here see and which they very quickly tried to stuff down the memory hole when pointed out.

Guys, in the same way that your bosses frequently seem to forget that recording devices exist that take down their lies to be played back for them at inopportune times, things like picture caches on browsers exist as well.

Post the pictures please.

CBGB said...

hey any (and my TSA blog friends) a search of "Millimeter wave image" on google images returns plenty of results to refute what the TSA is telling us (even if its off the front page). If they want to tell anyone thats not what the images look like, they are more than welcome to post images taken with their scanner. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words...to bad their blog post on the subject is only 349!

winstonsmith said...

Well, ok guys, your timing got me again (nice to know that I can say things that make you guys sit up and take notice once in a while).

No sooner do I accuse you of censorship than you post both of the comments that I thought had been censored and now that I look at the both of them, I even realize that you did not even make the edit that I suggested you made in the second.

At issue, of course, are the frontal images from the backscatter whole body imaging system that TSA has put up on its public website. In an earlier post I directed people to look at the front and back images at the following link which is still there. When I went back several hours later to find that other comments that had been entered later had been posted but mine had not I again went to the TSA site and came to the following link which shows a clearly less graphic version of the same image with roughly equivalent text. It was only after looking at both posts that I realized that I was looking at two different URLs, which means two different pages on the website. Both are still active. My mistake, so my apologies.

Now that my apologies are posted and public for my error, how about TSA coming clean and correcting its own and giving us what we're asking for. If you can show us the frontal images of the backscatter, surely the millimeter wave images can't be any more secret.

And while we're at it, how about some independent scientific corroboration of the validity of the need for 3-1-1?

Anonymous said...

Winston, they aren't scared to death of the public finding out about what MMW can see.

They just need to do a little quiet shredding like your 1984 namesake, and then shower the public with posts on puppies or their glossy new consultant's proposals.

Oooh! Shiny!

Anonymous said...

"How about sending messages to all our friends explaining that the TSA now uses full body scans but refuses to show us the images they generate?"

How about also mentioning that the operator will be in some back room where we can not see what they are doing?

Can someone from the TSA please tell us if the deployment plans for this are already in place?

I urge the readers here to contact their friends and legislators. Demand that the operator be visible to the public and the person being scanned.

Even if we can't see the images I want to see what the scanner operator is doing with their hands.

This process calls for transparency.

,>)

T. Saint

Anonymous said...

"I can't put it [something valuable and prohibited] in my carry-on, and I'm foolish to put it in my checked bags. What should I do?"

Check it, but in the same bag with a gun.

If they have not changed the procedures, you will be able use your own locks and they seemed to be a little more careful with my bag.

,>)

T. Saint

God Bless DHS said...

What we have to remember is that all the necessary info is listed at TSA.org. to travel safe and in a timely fashion. TSA is working really hard to make it safe for the passenger but also be customer service minded. We need to get our acts together and make the provisions to assist Homeland Security do their job.

Remember the 3-1-1 rule and you will "Fly" Through Securtiy

CBGB said...

a while back there was a story about NVIDIA (they make video cards for computers) hiring people to post positive things about them on the internet...god bless the dhs makes me wonder if thats whats happening here or if we truely have entered 1984 land

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Here's a link that shows a frontal view. Is this what everyone is asking for?

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/24/us/24scan.html?th&emc=th

Anonymous said...

Winston Smith,

Thanks for posting the link to the "modesty altered" images of the backscatter scans on the TSA site. I agree we still have to see the MMW scans.

As for the backscatters, the capability of the technology are much better images than those. Also, the TSA privacy assessment document clearly states that the current resolution of the images may change. Add to that the fact that we can't see the images as they are generated, nor can we see the person looking at them. All together, it has convinced me to refuse the scans.

I am e-mailing extensively to alert everyone I know about this.

Anonymous said...

God Bless DHS said ... What we have to remember is that all the necessary info is listed at TSA.org.

Actually, that's TSA.gov.

Jim Huggins said...

I wrote (in the middle of a long discussion):

So ... I can't put [a valuable but prohibited item] in my carry-on, and I'm foolish to put it in my checked bags. What should I do?

My anonymous counterpart replies:

i seriously do not know. but you cant blame all of tsa. i completely feel what you are saying. i honestly do. i would check it anyway. thats pretty much the only option.

First: thanks for seeing my point. (And I mean that sincerely.) I think if there was a general impression among the public that TSA was as understanding and sympathetic, the general tone of TSA-public interactions might be a whole lot better.

Second: I can blame "all of TSA", in the sense that it is TSA policies which have created this dilemma. It is a TSA policy which prohibits certain valuable items from carry-ons, and another TSA policy which requires checked baggage to be unlocked (most of the time). It is the unfortunate intersection of these two policies which creates problems.

For the record: I've never had a problem with items being stolen from my luggage, or having been denied entry to the sterile area because of a prohibited item in my checked bags. (I don't even own a cordless drill.) But this blog isn't supposed to be about me. It's supposed to be about improving the screening process for all travelers. And we can only do that by being honest about what the problems are, even if we don't agree on the solutions.

Anonymous said...

TSA is working really hard to make it safe for the passenger but also be customer service minded.

Many of TSA's policies, like 3-1-1, do absolutely nothing to make anyone safer, and instead distract time and manpower from things that WOULD improve air safety, such as cargo screening. And TSA's refusal to answer legitimate questions on this blog puts the lie to the notion that they have any regard for the concerns of citizens (we are NOT customers -- if we were, TSA would be out of business and Kip Hawley would be justly unemployed).

Remember the 3-1-1 rule and you will "Fly" Through Securtiy

Unless a TSO decides your bottles need to be labeled. Or unless a TSO decides you can't bring enough baby food for your child without a doctor's note and you can't write a note even though you're a doctor. Or any of a dozen other instances we've seen where a rogue TSO decides to make up a rule on the spot with no accountability.

Anonymous said...

re: Remember the 3-1-1 rule and you will "Fly" Through Securtiy

May 7, 2008 5:03 PM

..................................

Ok let us take a look at the 3-1-1 rule for a moment.

3oz they say, or is it 100ml which is 3.4oz?

The Great and Wonderful TSA has said both, although the Information for Travelers still says 3oz after how long since the Liquids post?

TSA is so disfunctional that they don't even know what is going on. Misleading or incorrect information is no better than no information.

Trollkiller said...

Anonymous said...

God Bless DHS said ... What we have to remember is that all the necessary info is listed at TSA.org.

Actually, that's TSA.gov.


So people without internet access are not supposed to fly?

Also can you show me where on tsa.gov it says you can't fly with a bathroom scale. Thanks

trollkiller said...

Sorry anonymous I looked away while posting. Earlier comment directed to God Bless DHS.

excuse if duplicate, blog had a hiccup a second ago.

Anonymous said...

God Bless DHS:

With a metal implant I NEVER fly through security. And often have to wait for a 'male assist' to actually respond and come over to screen me. And while I am waiting I get to watch all the people would could easily walk off with my carry on items.

Sandra said...

Anonymous said:

"Here's a link that shows a frontal view. Is this what everyone is asking for? "

No, it's not. We are asking for the TSA to publish a frontal picture equivalent to the backside picture as shown in their "Catch a Wave...." thread. That's all.

The link you provided is to an article about the backscatter not the MMW.

WHERE ARE THE PICTURES?

BobbyTheBear said...

You do of course realize that by the time I arrive at the check point my bag is already back in the baggage handling section of the airport. How am I supposed to put my prohibited item in it?????


I've actually done that.

Of course, it was a smaller airport in Lexington, KY, And the place was so deserted I felt like I was in a scene from "The Langoliers"

It was just some tools I was bringing back from a safe technicians' convention. And frankly, I didn't see what the problem was. But, whatever.

I arrived early enough (hint, hint), that they were still able to get my bag back and let me put my stuff in it. I realize this would be more difficult - if not impossible - to do at a bigger airport like BWI, but fortunately I someplace where it WAS possible.

Now what was really funny - at least to me (TSA people have NO sense of humor) - was the look on the guy's face when he saw the electronic safe lock wired to a keypad in my carry-on bag. The look was priceless!

After an explanation, and them checking it out, I was allowed to carry that on.

Anonymous said...

Yoo TSA, until you resolve the concerns of MMW WBI we cannot move on.

Do the right thing, post the images and let whatever happens happen.

It's TSA claim that the images or ok not the publics!

Anonymous said...

WHat about the female agents I seen going through bottles of perfume laughing because the passenger "lost their expensive perfume". while they were spraying it on themselves. Im sure those bottles vanished...of course while they were on the clock! in case anyone really wonders where the stuff goes.

Anonymous said...

I get told all the time to just keep whatever item it is that I tell them can't come through. My comment is I can't and I very visably and audibly throw it in the trash can.

Anonymous said...

"in case anyone really wonders where the stuff goes"

We are still trying to find out if the trainer at LAX who has a "Scarface gun" on her wall got it honestly?

Well TSA, did she?

Ayn R. Key said...

Yes, but do you LEAVE it in the trash can?

Anonymous said...

Ayn R. Key said...

Yes, but do you LEAVE it in the trash can?


Yes I do. I have no desire to get a reprimand or lose my job. Besides it's not mine to take and the reason it's not flying is to prevent someone from bringing explosives on a plane. How do I know that the item in question is safe? The answer is that I don't. We do separate hazmat items from the trash and dispose of them differently but otherwise they go in the dumpster.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Abelard said...

Please provide links to peer reviewed research showing how a feasible liquid explosive could be constructed inside an airplane without access to a lab.

May 5, 2008 8:48 PM


Please provide links that show that it's impossible to build a bomb with already made explosives and you might have something. Since that is what the UK plot involved.

RB said...

"With a metal implant I NEVER fly through security. And often have to wait for a 'male assist' to actually respond and come over to screen me. And while I am waiting I get to watch all the people would could easily walk off with my carry on items."

If you ask the person who set you aside to b screened, or any other TSo nearby, they will bring your bins over to you so you don't have to leave them apart from you while you are being screened. I do that for people all the time. (I am a TSO in Norfolk, VA.)


And to answer another question...

"WHat about the female agents I seen going through bottles of perfume laughing because the passenger "lost their expensive perfume". while they were spraying it on themselves. Im sure those bottles vanished...of course while they were on the clock! in case anyone really wonders where the stuff goes.

May 8, 2008 11:56 AM


Anonymous said...
I get told all the time to just keep whatever item it is that I tell them can't come through. My comment is I can't and I very visably and audibly throw it in the trash can.

May 8, 2008 4:24 PM


Ayn R. Key said...
Yes, but do you LEAVE it in the trash can?"


Yes, we do. We can get fired if we take anything. We can get fired for taking a penny off of the floor at the checkpoint and pocketing it, for goodness sakes. TSA takes that stuff VERY seriously. I have had people offer for me to take their surrendered property numerous times, and I just smile and let them know that it isn't allowed. It's sweet of them to ask... but strictly forbidden.

Anonymous said...

"With a metal implant I NEVER fly through security. And often have to wait for a 'male assist' to actually respond and come over to screen me. And while I am waiting I get to watch all the people would could easily walk off with my carry on items."

If you ask the person who set you aside to b screened, or any other TSo nearby, they will bring your bins over to you so you don't have to leave them apart from you while you are being screened. I do that for people all the time. (I am a TSO in Norfolk, VA.)

----------
I ask all the time at PHL and my return airport . . . the answer always is no, it has to stay out of my control until I am cleared.

HSVTSO Dean said...

Anonymous wrote:
I ask all the time at PHL and my return airport . . . the answer always is no, it has to stay out of my control until I am cleared.

I imagine it would depend very strongly on what local policies are regarding such things. At Huntsville, we're usually permitted to bring over someone's wallet or purse, and of course their shoes. Beyond that, though, everything else has to say on the x-ray exhaust (for lack of a better term :D) tables.

Though at Huntsville it's only about six feet away and you're standing behind an entirely transparent partition. I just tell the person I'm screening that if they see anybody messing with their stuff to let me know and we'll take care of business from that point.

There's a couple other caveats, but that's the gist of how it works here.

Trollkiller said...

Nico said...

We often refer to prohibited items internally as Voluntary Abandoned Property. Passengers call them confiscated…, either way; these items become possessions of the federal government, and are deemed excess government property.


Voluntary Abandoned Property does sound a lot better than "We Took Your Stuff".

I decided to take a look at how a Government agency can basically force me into giving up my property and then be able to call that property abandoned and then use that property for the benefit of a Government entity.

I found some really interesting things. First is the definition of VAP from the GSA.

Title 41: Public Contracts and Property Management
—When is personal property voluntarily abandoned?

Personal property is voluntarily abandoned when the owner of the property intentionally and voluntarily gives up title to such property and title vests in the Government. The receiving agency ordinarily documents receipt of the property to evidence its voluntary relinquishment. Evidence of the voluntary abandonment may be circumstantial.


I know the TSA is not writing a report for each item taken so they must be using the "circumstantial" clause.

Take a look at the criteria that must be met to convey the title or ownership of that property to the TSA. The property title (ownership) MUST be intentionally and voluntarily given up (transferred) to the TSA.

If the passenger is not informed that the item becomes the property of the TSA you can not assume that the transfer of ownership was intentional.

I am assuming that the TSA is using the law definition of voluntary;

a. Without legal obligation or consideration: a voluntary conveyance of property.
b. Done deliberately; intentional: voluntary manslaughter.


I will admit that there is no consideration when property is taken by the TSA, but there is a legal obligation to surrender the item if the passenger has no other known or practical means of disposal open to them.

The TSA likes to do behavioral experiments, as evidenced by the light and sound show.

Try this experiment, take two trash cans, label one "Trash" and label the other one "Items Placed In This Can Become Property Of The TSA". Can you guess what can will fill up faster?

One more thing that bothers me about this whole VAP business. Does the TSA follow TITLE 40 > SUBTITLE I > CHAPTER 13 > § 1306

§ 1306. Disposition of abandoned or forfeited personal property

(a) Definitions.— In this section—
(1) Agency.— The term “agency” includes any executive department, independent establishment, board, commission, bureau, service, or division of the Federal Government, and any corporation in which the Government owns at least a majority of the stock.

(2) Property.— The term “property” means all personal property, including vessels, vehicles, and aircraft.

(b) Voluntarily Abandoned Property.— Property voluntarily abandoned to any agency in a way that vests title to the property in the Government may be retained by the agency and devoted to official use only. If the agency does not desire to retain the property, the head of the agency immediately shall notify the Administrator of General Services to that effect, and the Administrator, within a reasonable time, shall—

(1) order the agency to deliver the property to another agency that requests the property and that the Administrator believes should be given the property; or

(2) order disposal of the property as otherwise provided by law.


And does it follow §102-41.100—

What information do we provide when reporting voluntarily abandoned personal property to GSA?

When reporting voluntarily abandoned personal property to GSA, you must provide a description and location of the property, and annotate that the property was voluntarily abandoned.


If Kip has to send a report detailing every item as prescribed by law, he does not get paid near enough.

Does the TSA have a deviation granted to it by the GSA if so where can I find it?

Trollkiller said...

Nico said...

Of interesting note, of all the items I have seen, most, almost all, could have made it from Point A to Point B, had the passenger simply taken the time to place it in a checked bag.


We can't put valuables in checked bags because either a TSO or a ramp rat will steal them. When that happens the airline points at you and you point at the airline and the passenger gets no compensation from either.

How many of those things that could have made it from point A to point B in checked luggage are items that no reasonable person would consider a weapon?

You know items like bathroom scales that are smaller and lighter than lap tops? Or snow globes, or hockey masks, or one oz competition boomerangs, or cordless drills or blenders?

Trollkiller said...

Nico said...
Of interesting note, of all the items I have seen, most, almost all, could have made it from Point A to Point B, had the passenger simply taken the time to place it in a checked bag.


Tell you what, make my bag secure and I will put all my valuables in it. Of course the TSA response will be "Once we screen it we are not responsible, even though we are charged with the task of making sure no dangerous items enter an aircraft."

You know for having an IdeaFactory you guys are sure short on good ideas. Don't worry we will help you out.

If you want to secure bags after they are screened all you have to do is strap them. You can set up a strapping machine inline with your conveyor system. It would cost less than the new "cop" uniforms.

Simply place a strap on each side of the handle. If a theft happens and the straps are broken, then the airline is at fault. If a theft happens and the straps are intact then the TSA is at fault.

If you have the straps imprinted with the TSA logo you can prevent an airline employee from cutting the straps and replacing them with their own. Second it will insure that the luggage has been screened. Thus adding another visible and real layer of security.

Jim Huggins said...

Trollkiller:

As much as I like the idea of strapping luggage, it creates one problem. How do I open my luggage when I get to my destination? After all, I'm not allowed to bring my pocketknife on board the aircraft. (I could put it in the checked luggage, but since that's the luggage that's gonna get strapped, that doesn't help me get the strap off...)

Trollkiller said...

Jim Huggins said...

Trollkiller:

As much as I like the idea of strapping luggage, it creates one problem. How do I open my luggage when I get to my destination? After all, I'm not allowed to bring my pocketknife on board the aircraft. (I could put it in the checked luggage, but since that's the luggage that's gonna get strapped, that doesn't help me get the strap off...)


With plastic strapping the ends overlap, all you have to do, if you are without cutting tools, is grab the end that is on the top and pull back. The straps don't have to be super strong, they are mainly there to prove the bag was opened.

Jim Huggins said...

Trollkiller writes:

With plastic strapping the ends overlap, all you have to do, if you are without cutting tools, is grab the end that is on the top and pull back. The straps don't have to be super strong, they are mainly there to prove the bag was opened.

Ahh ... that works. Thanks for the clarification. Yeah, I could easily get behind that.

Search Engine Marketing said...

All I can say is ...THE RULES ARE IN PLACE. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO FOLLOW THEM!!

CBGB said...

Mr. Marketing (If that is your real blogger handle)...

True, the rules are in place, but it is not our responsibility to follow them (as you have yelled). It is our responsiblity as citizens to question the actions of our government and force them to always be reminded that the government of this country is not only for the people, but it is by the people as well.

Based on your logic, if the government outlawed something you loved (example: capslock) you would simply have no recourse but to follow it. Thats not democracy, thats totalarism.

Trollkiller said...

Search Engine Marketing said...

All I can say is ...THE RULES ARE IN PLACE. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO FOLLOW THEM!!


Sorry I can't follow the rules if they change day to day or are made up on the spot.

Show me where the POSTED rules say I can't take a bathroom scale as carry on.

Anonymous said...

"THE RULES ARE IN PLACE. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO FOLLOW THEM!!"


Baaaaa.

Ayn R. Key said...

Search Engine Marketing -

Even the stupid rules? Even the rules that are bad for us?

JTJ said...

If the liquids are dangerous enough to be taken away from passengers, why are they simply disposed of by janitorial staff? Shouldn't the HAZMAT teams or Bomb Squad be deployed to remove these dangerous weapons?

Anonymous said...

RE: JTJ said...
If the liquids are dangerous enough to be taken away from passengers, why are they simply disposed of by janitorial staff?


See, what you fail to understand is all of those liquids are safe on the unsecured side of the airport. It's only when they make it past the checkpoint that they become dangerous. You would only need the EOD types if the trash bin was on the secure side.

Sound silly? Problem is that my explanation makes as much sense as the one TSA keeps trotting out!

Anonymous said...

re: JTJ said...
If the liquids are dangerous enough to be taken away from passengers, why are they simply disposed of by janitorial staff? Shouldn't the HAZMAT teams or Bomb Squad be deployed to remove these dangerous weapons?


What you don't understand is that the liquids are safe on the unsecured side of the checkpoint. It's only after they transit to the secure side that they magically transform and become dangerous. Thats why they have to go in the trash on the unsecured side.

My explanation makes as much sense as does the TSA's version!

Anonymous said...

TSA said;"We have said since the institution of the liquid ban that the fear or threat is the combination of items, including liquid explosives while in flight to create an improvised explosive device. That combination means explosives, detonator and other components to have a fully assembled bomb. Take one component away and you have a collection of harmless items."
............................

By placing all of the confiscated items into the same trash bin just how do you know that two of the elements for this magical explosive aren't brought together?

Any sensible person would guard against the possible serious outcome if the hazardous material accidently came together, such in one of TSA's trash bins.

TSA actions of just treating all of the confiscated materials as normal trash supports the publics perception that the 3-1-1 policy is nothing more than window dressing to make the masses feel safer. The problem is that no one is buying in to this deception.

If these materials are to dangerous to pass the check point then they must be treated as hazardous items and afforded handling that will keep the public safe.

TSA staff are exposing travelers to a dangerous, ppossilby explosive checkpoint and should be charged and tried in a court!

Trollkiller said...

Anonymous said...

By placing all of the confiscated items into the same trash bin just how do you know that two of the elements for this magical explosive aren't brought together?

Any sensible person would guard against the possible serious outcome if the hazardous material accidently came together, such in one of TSA's trash bins.

TSA actions of just treating all of the confiscated materials as normal trash supports the publics perception that the 3-1-1 policy is nothing more than window dressing to make the masses feel safer. The problem is that no one is buying in to this deception.

If these materials are to dangerous to pass the check point then they must be treated as hazardous items and afforded handling that will keep the public safe.

TSA staff are exposing travelers to a dangerous, ppossilby explosive checkpoint and should be charged and tried in a court!


According to this interview, with Kip "There are consequences to coming to an airport with a bomb and having some of the materials taken away at the checkpoint.

Putting aside our layers of security for the moment, there are things you can do to get a TSO's attention at the checkpoint. If a TSO finds you or the contents of your bag suspicious, you might get interviewed and/or have your bags more closely examined.

If the TSO throws your liquids in the trash, they don't find you a threat."

Before anyone accuses me of taking a quote out of context I invite you to read the interview. Kip explains the thought process behind a lot of what the TSA does. After reading you may find Kip is not the idiot you think he is.

Anonymous said...

Trollkiller said in part;

"Putting aside our layers of security for the moment, there are things you can do to get a TSO's attention at the checkpoint."


So Trollkiller are you employed by or contract out to DHS/TSA?

Trollkiller said...

Anonymous said...

Trollkiller said in part;

"Putting aside our layers of security for the moment, there are things you can do to get a TSO's attention at the checkpoint."


So Trollkiller are you employed by or contract out to DHS/TSA?


No I am not currently employed by the TSA DHS or any Government agency or contractor. Although Neil said he knew people so he may hook me up.

At one point I did work on site as a contractor at Pratt & Whitney at other times I have held security badges for NASA, the Navy and was on the allowable list at the Federal Reserve.

What you attributed to me was a quote from Kip Hawley the head of the TSA. Please read the interview I linked to. It is very informative.

Ayn R. Key said...

Allowable list at the Federal Reserve? Now that's an interesting bit of clearance. I wonder how I could get that.

Maya- TSO said...

Word from Maya- TSO

You know, after reading these posts from passengers I really thought that we (TSA) are the worst kind on the planet. So I decided to travel and see how is it really. I went to Wall-Mart and I bought one quart size plastic zip top bag, one travel size hair spray, tooth paste, liquid sanitizer, hand lotion, mouth wash, and some make up, placed it in that plastic bag (had lots of space left inside baggy) and once I came to the checkpoint I took it out of my handbag and put it one of the bins.
Now, there is a SHOCKER! I had no problems going through security at O’Hare, Washington Dulles, JFK, Munich- Germany and Zurich -Switzerland with the same baggy on my round trip last month.
I have paid less than $5 dollars for all those items, I did not have to give up anything of my items, I was not send to check bags to the ticket counter, I was not searched, I was not yelled at, was not humiliated or so, and no one ever knew that I am a TSO.
So people, everything you say it just does not sound real.
And if we are going to criticize, why don’t you look around and see your actions as well?
How many times do we have to tell you about liquids? About taking your Laptop out of the bag, taking off your shoes, and even than no one does anything right. And don’t come to me telling me you did not know about the liquid rules, common, the whole world knows it!

Ps
The post about the weight scale cracked me up!! Yeah, it was really necessary to carry that on the plane, just like your blender, coffee machine, drill machine, microwave, electric can opener.... those are the items you really need to have on your four day vacation trip..

Trollkiller said...

Ayn R. Key said...
Allowable list at the Federal Reserve? Now that's an interesting bit of clearance. I wonder how I could get that.


You just have to expect to be screened EVERY time, vehicle and person and you have to know that no matter how tempting the half million in cash looks, it is not worth the lead poisoning. ;-)

Anonymous said...

The odd things we see in bags could be a topic all it's own. I personally do not care what people pack as long as it's not prohibited items. But I do get a laugh on occasion and scratch my head at the strange things people take in their bags. The statement everything but the kitchen sink doesn't apply because I've seen actual sinks on the xray in the checkpoint. The other day this fellow had a chainsaw (fuel inside) and a fuel can that he wanted to send as cargo on the plane. It's definitely not the first time I've seen the chainsaw but the can of fuel was new. Btw even a brand new chainsaw in the box has been started at the factory and has the fumes of fuel which is hazmat and can't fly.

Jim Huggins said...

Maya-TSO writes:

The post about the weight scale cracked me up!! Yeah, it was really necessary to carry that on the plane, just like your blender, coffee machine, drill machine, microwave, electric can opener.... those are the items you really need to have on your four day vacation trip..

First ... welcome to the blog. (That may be the only kind thing you hear for awhile, but let me at least start off nicely ...)

Second ... what business is it of yours to decide what I "need" to take on my trip? Why do you assume that I'm traveling on vacation, and not for some other reason?

I fully concede that there is a compelling reason for TSA to verify that I'm not bringing a weapon on board an aircraft. That doesn't give TSA the right to decide whether I'm traveling for the right reasons, or whether the items I'm bringing are really necessary for my flight.

Disclaimer: I've never tried to bring any of that stuff on board, and thus have never had problems with surrendering items. But I have found the rules inconvenient at certain times. Whether the inconvenience was truly necessary or merely convenient was, and is, a matter for reasonable discussion.

Janet said...

Either all this precautions.............I can't believe this line keeps getting used.

Anonymous said...

"So people, everything you say it just does not sound real. And don’t come to me telling me you did not know about the liquid rules, common, the whole world knows it!"

Ya know, I really, really hope I never have to deal with you in your official capacity.

,>)

T. Saint

Eric said...

You know,
I am mostly fine with the liquids policy and other things. My challenge is when you buy things in Duty Free. As a frequent international traveler, that is the one sad part. I can no longer get things in Duty free, and transfer planes from the international to a connecting flight. In many cases, I don't have the time to repack my suitcase, and I am sure that our friendly agents would really love me opening it in in Customs (or literally just out side of customs), shoving it in my checked baggage and sending it down the baggage check area.

Anonymous said...

I plan to fly to Houston in the very near future(and no, it's not to watch the Astros!).
I have a "condition" where I dehydrate very easily, and have to constantly drink water or some sort of thinned-out liquid. Most often, I can use an iced tea powder, and that does the job very nicely. It seems to stay with me longer than plain water.
Ordinarily, I would carry a bottle of Poland Spring or some other such brand of bottled water in my carry-on. Generally, a 1-liter or even a 2-liter size would be enough for the trip.
Would TSA require me to hand it over to them (perhaps for their own employees to drink?...just kidding!!), and FORCE me to buy water at the over-inflated prices that are charged at airports?
You see, they do not sell bottled water in little 3-ounce bottles, nor should they even think of doing so! A bottle of water that might sell for $1.69 at Store 24 woudl probably sell for much more at Logan Airport! And then, what about getting ice to keep it cold for a longer time?(few things are worse than warmed-up iced tea!)

Does ANYONE out there have an answer to these issues? That is, an answer that works within reason? If so, my email address is as follows:
dleemandd9@hotmail.com

With thanks, I remain,

Sincerely,

Don E. Leeman, PGK, PFN, FDD

Anonymous said...

Don,

Your questions are answered on the Tsa.gov website. But, I'll answer them again. Exceptions to the 311 rules are allowed for medical purposes. Depending on how far you are traveling those TSO's will allow some liquids in larger bottles through. But, you still must declare your liquid and explain that you need it for medical purposes.

Anonymous said...

Bob, when the security lines are so long (literally a half mile when our souvenir crystal ball was CONFISCTATED at LAX), it made no difference if the airline could give me a box, time would not allow another trip through the security line. You should be REQUIRED to provide a shipping option, happy to learn that some airports have that OPTION, sorry that LAX did not.

vodafonul said...

Did someone know what europeans do with this things ?

Raza said...

I can't believe this line keeps getting used whenever the TSA ties to spin that you have options when you bring a prohibited item to the check point. You do of course realize that by the time I arrive at the check point my bag is already back in the baggage handling section of the airport. How am I supposed to put my prohibited item in it?????