Wednesday, April 29, 2009

BWI Checkpoint Rollout Anniversary (And More...)

Did you know this is the 7th anniversary of TSA rolling out the first federalized airport checkpoint? It was at Baltimore Washington International Airport. (BWI)

It’s also the 1st anniversary of the day we launched Evolution at BWI. The nationwide re-training of our frontline officers is just about completed.

To celebrate these milestones in our short but rich history, I figured I’d post a few interesting TSA stories on the blog that I came across recently.

First off, check out this article from Rick Seaney, FareCompare.com CEO, on ABCNews.com: The TSA Nightmare: Airport Security. The headline is a bit misleading - it actually dispels a few common myths about our officers.

Secondly, while scanning the blogosphere as I do every morning, I came across a weekly column from a Transportation Security Officer in the Londonderry Online Hometown News called “Joe’s Two Cents.” His latest article describes a day where his checkpoint screened a group of Wounded Warriors. Check out his touching story: No Big Deal…

I just came across this one a few minutes ago on process improvement at TSA.

I hope you enjoy these links as much as I enjoyed my wife’s PB&J sandwiches she packed in my lunch today. Mmmm…

Blogger Bob

EoS Blog Team

47 comments:

Bob said...

Puppy post!!!

Ha! I beat you to it. Seriously though, these are some good links. Please check them out.

Bob

EoS Blog Team

Tomas said...

Blogger Bob wrote...Puppy post!!!

Ha! I beat you to it. Seriously though, these are some good links. Please check them out.

Bob

EoS Blog Team

________________

Good shot, Bob :^P

Those are good links, though.

Tom

Trollkiller said...

Bob said...
Puppy post!!!

Ha! I beat you to it. Seriously though, these are some good links. Please check them out.

Bob


I must admit I laughed out loud. Thank goodness I am alone in my office.

Anonymous said...

As a member of the SWAT Team also known as the MSF. I worked B-pier back in the day and remember a pair of kid’s shoes that have lights in them held in one of the x-rays thinking they were an IED and a drunk that ran the exit lane, got almost to gate 25 if I remember right. Had to dump B-pier at around 1430 with a line 4 deep all the way down the hall to C rescreened them all in about two hours now that was training. I work in a small Cat II Airport now and Our Officers think they work hard, wish I could get them to BWI for a week. God bless all of you who started with us and are still pushing bags, keep up the good work. A friend from TLH.

RB said...

As a member of the SWAT Team also known as the MSF.
...................................
What does this mean in plain english?

TSA has SWAT Teams?

Surely someone has their feathers puffed up!

Patrick (BOS TSO) said...

As a member of the SWAT Team also known as the MSF.
...................................
What does this mean in plain english?

TSA has SWAT Teams?

Surely someone has their feathers puffed up!
No. We don't. I guess the closest thing would be VIPR and ADASP teams... and the MSF.

MSF stand Mobile Screening Force, which is how many in TSA started out, they were deployed across the country to get things up and running for federalization, switching from the private companies to the bureaucratic smörgåsbord you've come to know and "love" today.

It still exists today as the National Deployment Force and is generally called to help augment numbers during heavy seasons or during major emergencies. (i.e. hurricanes requiring a large of evacuating in a short amount of time and blizzards and other types of crazy weather)

I believe I got it right... as I've only been working for TSA for one year, but that's how it was 7 years ago, from what I've read and heard.

The SWAT team is probably some playful in-joke between them.

Heck, me and my friends here at BOS call ourselves Delta Force jokingly, because 1) we're from Terminal A, which is Delta's terminal, hence the name and 2) we get sent out often to different checkpoints as we're part-timers because we're fodder... But at the same time, we're usually able to keep wait times to a minimum at other checkpoints and that we know SOP then the other 10 checkpoints in the airport therefore making us more "elite" than all other TSOs at other checkpoints.

To us, it's nothing more than self-aggrandizing in-joke moniker for us group of guys and gals.

TSM, been here.... said...

MSF stands for "Mobile Screening Force" and those are they first hires / trainers that were sent to all the airports to stand them up as they became federalized. They became the supervisors and in some cases, managers if they stayed on. (whether they had the skills for it or not)

As far as the SWAT designation, I was also here since the begining and that is what some of these teams called themselves. As TSA initially hired mostly cops and other LEOS (not managers as they should have) to start the organization, most of these guys liked to go around calling themselves SWAT teams. it was never an official TSA designation. Guess they couldn't deal with the fact that they were no longer actually Law Enforcement.

GSOLTSO said...

RB said - "What does this mean in plain english?

TSA has SWAT Teams?

Surely someone has their feathers puffed up!"

RB this is the Mobile screener team, they travel to locations and assist in times of high volume. They are sometimes affectionately referred to as the SWAT team because they respond to the needs of the organization. Just a nickname, they don't have the cool helmets and MP5 subs, digicams, black bdu's, goggles, and all that other cool stuff!

West
EOS Blog Team

Bob said...

S.W.A.T. was used in the very beginning of the roll-outs in 2002 and stood for: (Drum-Roll Please)

Screener Workforce Action TeamsThe S.W.A.T. acronym is also used for:

Special Weapons And Tactics (team)
Scandinavian Workshop on Algorithm Theory
Samba Web Administration Tool
Soil and Water Assessment Tool (river basin model)
Students Working Against Tobacco
Students Working to Advance Technology
Special Weapons Attack Team (original name; now usually seen as Special Weapons And Tactics)
Students With A Testimony
Subjective Workload Assessment Technique
Sex Workers' Alliance of Toronto
Solid Waste Assessment Test
Special Winning Attitude Team
Submillimeter Wave Advanced Technology
Seattle Washington Autoduel Team
Students with a Target (student/police partnership program in Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
Solutions with Advanced Technologies (Cisco)
Sisters With A Throttle (motorcycle club)
Skilled With Advanced Tools (software development)
Strategic Weapons and Tactics (TV show)
South West Alief Texas
Servants with A Testimony
Swift Action Team
Sell What's Available Today
Specialists With Advanced Tools
Software Analysis and Testing (or Quality Assurance)
Students Winning Against Tobacco (Texas)
Satellite, Wideband, and Telemetry (systems)
Short Wavelength Adaptive Technology
Sick Wild and Twisted (band)
Secure Wire Access Terminal
Skilled Workers with Advanced Tools
Spiritual Warfare and Training (youth ministry)
SouthWest Airedale Terriers
surface water assessment team
Subsea Well Abandonment Tool
Strengths, Weaknesses, Achievements & Threats (assessment)
System Wide Analysis Team
Southwest Aquatics of Texas
Satellite-Based Worldwide Availability Tool
Squad Weapons Analytical Trainer
Solid Waste Assessment Team
Service Weapons Acceptability Test
Sanibel Water Attack Team (swimming)
Ship What's Available Today
Southwest Association of Trackers
Surface Weapons Against Torpedoes
Server, Workstation And Technology Group
Soldiers With Apostolic Truth
Soul Winning Across Town
Strengths, Weakness, Advantages & Threats (assessment)
Switch Assembly Test
Southwest Area Vocational-Technical (school)
Scout Water Activity Team
Saints With A Testimony (LDS church)
Bob

EoS Blog Team

RB said...

Bob said...

S.W.A.T. was used in the very beginning of the roll-outs in 2002 and stood for: (Drum-Roll Please)

Screener Workforce Action TeamsThe S.W.A.T. acronym is also used for:

Special Weapons And Tactics (team)
Scandinavian Workshop on Algorithm Theory
Samba Web Administration Tool
...........................
Thanks for the clarification Bob.

However, you know without a doubt what most people think of when hearing the term "SWAT" in the United States.

I'm sure we can come up with a few acronyms for "TSA" if we invest a couple minutes.

RB said...

Bob said...

S.W.A.T. was used in the very beginning of the roll-outs in 2002 and stood for: (Drum-Roll Please)

Screener Workforce Action TeamsThe S.W.A.T. acronym is also used for:

Special Weapons And Tactics (team)
Scandinavian Workshop on Algorithm Theory
Samba Web Administration Tool
Soil and Water Assessment T
...........................
Bob, after reflecting on your response to my question it seems to me that you felt my question deserved a flippant response.

You can denigrate the questions and demean the poster asking questions but does this really serve the TSA well?

I should be offended by the way you answered the question but I understand that you work for TSA and don't know any better.

Bless your heart!

Bob said...

RB, you totally took it the wrong way. I was having fun with acronyms.

And even if I was being flippant, isn't this a bit like the old pot and kettle story?

Bob

EoS Blog Team

RB said...

Bob said...

RB, you totally took it the wrong way. I was having fun with acronyms.

And even if I was being flippant, isn't this a bit like the old pot and kettle story?

Bob

EoS Blog Team

April 30, 2009 11:33 AM

.............................
I think there is a distinct difference.

As a representative of the government a certain degree of decorum is called for.

I certainly have little regard for your agency. The lack of responses provided to legitimate questions here aggravate that assessment.

Take for example Francine's supposedly answers to the cash discussion. There was no answers in her entire post. Requests for clarification have been ignored.

As well in the MMW discussions, questions asked and ignored.

The list could go on and on Bob. Ignoring questions is the norm here.

So when presented with real attempts at discussion TSA resorts to demeaning, flippant answers.

If your satisfied with that as your standard then ok by me. I have no reason to modify my opinion.

TSOWilliamReed said...

Hello,

I am a TSO that works in Ketchikan Alaska international airport. I have been with TSA for almost 1 full year. I have been reading this blog for awhile now and noticed RB is a very frequent poster. Most of RB's posts consist of TSA not telling people how it is. So today I decided to try and fix that. RB, if you have any questions please ask them and I will attempt to get a post up on this blog with the answer on why we do what we do.

Anonymous said...

@Bob "I hope you enjoy these links as much as I enjoyed my wife’s PB&J sandwiches she packed in my lunch today. Mmmm…"

On which side of security did you enjoy that terroristic gel-filled sandwich?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Reed,

I appreciate the fact that you're willing to engage with commenters on this blog, and do so under your full real name and the name of your airport. I think it is shameful that the blog administrators let some other TSOs with bad attitudes post here all but anonymously and thus with no accountability whatsoever, and I hope you can serve as an example to your less professional colleagues.

Mr. Gel-pack said...

Was the tub cart process improvement part of the duties in What In the Heck Does That Person Do: TSA Customer Support & Quality Improvement Manager (CSQIM)?

Your post about Paul the CSQIM seemed all about customer service rather than process/quality improvement.

RB said...

Fair enough, and I appreciate the offer.

For starters Title 49, U.S.C. 1540.5 defines Screening Functions as follows: "Screening function means the inspection of individuals and property for weapons, explosives, and incendiaries."

How do you reconcile all the other activities TSO's are required to do to clear a person such as the "Carrying of Cash" discussion as brought up many, many times on this blog?

We all know that cash is not a weapon, explosive or an incendiary.

Nor does cash threaten the safe operation of an airplane or those person embarked on an airplane.

Trollkiller said...

TSOWilliamReed said...

Hello,

I am a TSO that works in Ketchikan Alaska international airport. I have been with TSA for almost 1 full year. I have been reading this blog for awhile now and noticed RB is a very frequent poster. Most of RB's posts consist of TSA not telling people how it is. So today I decided to try and fix that. RB, if you have any questions please ask them and I will attempt to get a post up on this blog with the answer on why we do what we do.


Another Masochistic TSO.

First question, on the application to be a TSO does it have a box to check if you enjoy pain?

Seriously, thank you for volunteering. Please understand going in that most of what will be thrown at you is not personal.

George said...

@TSOWilliamReed: Most of RB's posts consist of TSA not telling people how it is. So today I decided to try and fix that. RB, if you have any questions please ask them and I will attempt to get a post up on this blog with the answer on why we do what we do.
I much appreciate the participation of a TSO who seems genuinely "happy to help."

However, the consistent pattern in TSO responses to RB's questions (and others) is that the answers are SSI. They often insist that there's a valid reason for everything that happens at checkpoints, no matter how absurd or invasive it appears. But since "why you do what you do" must remain secret, we're just supposed to accept it all unquestioningly on blind faith. So "SSI" becomes the universal non-answer to any question, as well as a very convenient rug under which all manner of problems and abuses can be swept (and justified).

Since you presumably have the same sworn obligation to protect and defend the TSA's secrets from all enemies foreign and domestic, how will you be able to provide answers other than "that's SSI"? I sincerely hope you can find some way to answer our questions, but I suspect you'll end up having to apologize for your inability to do that. It isn't just passengers who are continually frustrated by the TSA's pervasive secrecy.

TSOWilliamReed said...

Mr. Gel-pack said...
Was the tub cart process improvement part of the duties in What In the Heck Does That Person Do: TSA Customer Support & Quality Improvement Manager (CSQIM)?

Your post about Paul the CSQIM seemed all about customer service rather than process/quality improvement.

April 30, 2009 1:13 PM
----------------------------

Not sure if that question was directed at me or bob. From what I understand that post was just about what sort of things a customer service manager at TSA can do to help passengers make us do our job better. Personally here at our airport we never have to contact our customer service manager because we never have complaints. We have the comment cards and other forms for passengers to fill out if they would like to and we would send it up to our manger keith whitehead who is located in juneau. You also mentioned a tub cart process? I am not exactly sure what that is and I flipped through that blog and couldn't find anything. My guess is that it is a localized airport improvment to make screening faster. Every airports checkpoint setup is determined by the FSD AFSD and TSM. Our checkpoint gets rearranged almost every month as they try to find the perfect set up for maximum effeciency but it is hard since Ketchikan is a seasonal city. Our flight loads triple between May and October but for the rest of the year our airport is very slow. Whether or not the idea for the tub process was passed up from the customer service manager is unknown, but anyone working for TSA can pass any idea up the chain of command for improvement to the effeciency of their checkpoint even if that idea came from a customer comment card.

Hope that answered your question Mr. Gel-Pack but if you feel like I hadn't covered the topic of your question just ask again and I will answer.

Bob said...

Welcome William. Tell Keith I said hello.

As far as the carts, they were implemented not only to improve performance on the lanes, but also to reduce injuries. Some TSOs in order to save a trip would grab too many bins and hurt their back.

I can't speak for all other airports, but at CVG, our Customer Support Quality Improvement Manager was in charge of rolling this out.

Bob

EoS Blog Team

Anonymous said...

On which side of security did you enjoy that terroristic gel-filled sandwich?

April 30, 2009 12:47 PM
___________________________________

I think peanut butter is more of a cream.

Anonymous said...

Fair enough, and I appreciate the offer.

For starters Title 49, U.S.C. 1540.5 defines Screening Functions as follows: "Screening function means the inspection of individuals and property for weapons, explosives, and incendiaries."

How do you reconcile all the other activities TSO's are required to do to clear a person such as the "Carrying of Cash" discussion as brought up many, many times on this blog?

We all know that cash is not a weapon, explosive or an incendiary.

Nor does cash threaten the safe operation of an airplane or those person embarked on an airplane
___________________________________

This has absolutely already been answered. A million times over. And this is why you get ignored over and over because the question was already answered, and unlike you we do not want to be broken records.

Al Ames said...

Anonymous: "This has absolutely already been answered. A million times over. And this is why you get ignored over and over because the question was already answered, and unlike you we do not want to be broken records."

No it hasn't. A nonanswer answer is not an answer.

Additionally, even within the laws that TSA cites for its authority, it says nothing about the additional mission creep into areas that they have no legal justification for.

Al

Anonymous said...

"This has absolutely already been answered. A million times over."

Then you won't mind posting a link to the answer.

RB said...

This has absolutely already been answered. A million times over. And this is why you get ignored over and over because the question was already answered, and unlike you we do not want to be broken records.

April 30, 2009 3:50 PM

..........................
Anon, I think we will have to agree to disagree on this point.

I have every right to question my government when they seem to be doing things not permitted.

I have not received a satisfactory answer to date so I will continue asking the question.

The limits of TSA are set out in Title 49, U.S.C. 1500 series and it does not provide for TSA to insert itself into the laws that control the flow of cash.

TSA has overstepped its bounds and I will continue efforts to require TSA to retract the Operational Directive that makes United States currency contraband.

Dunstan said...

:"This has absolutely already been answered. A million times over. And this is why you get ignored over and over because the question was already answered, and unlike you we do not want to be broken records."

I don't recall any real, comprehensive answer, certainly not a million times over. And yes, you do not want to sound like broken records, just like carnival barkers, instead.

Anonymous said...

Now that the panic has died down, how about revisiting some of the useless "not allowed" items. How about starting with bottles of water, contect lens solution, baby forumla, etc.

TSOWilliamReed said...

Sorry RB for the long wait, my first post didn't make the blog. Let me try again.

There is no limit to the amount of cash a person can carry on non-international flights. However artfully conceled cash will raise eyebrows. Techniques for smuggling are all the same wether its drugs cash or explosives. We are looking for those items but if we happen to come across 2 lbs of cocaine or $6,000 of cash strapped to a persons abdomen with duct tape or hidden inside of a toy truck, we do have to ask questions. probably about 80% of concealed cash is usually drug money which is what funds terrorist organizations. The other 20% is people hiding money from the IRS or they are just really paranoid. In the case of the man with the box of money, I would have let him go after ETDing his bag. I wouldn't see that as artful concealment. The TSO's that handled the situation may have considered it artful concealment but other unkown factors were probably involved to make that decision such as other items in the mans bag or the body language and behavioral signs of the passenger.

Hope this gets posted I don't believe this has any SSI I am not stating any procedures or anything other then what is publicly accessible at any checkpoint

RB said...

TSOWilliamReed said...

Sorry RB for the long wait, my first post didn't make the blog. Let me try again.

There is no limit to the amount of cash a person can carry on non-international flights. However artfully conceled cash will raise eyebrows.
.......................
Thanks for the post.

Overall I do not disagree with what your saying.

The St. Louis guy had money in a cash box with other materials, checks, campaign literature and such.

To call that hidden or artfully concealed is a stretch.

The real fact in that case was some advisory about Ron Pauls campaign that was put out.

TSA was simply very wrong in that case. The LEO's were even more wrong.

If the guy sues I see no way that he will not win the case.

If a person has cash in a briefcase or bag that is not artfully concealed and should be of no concern to TSA ever. United States currency is not an illegal item regardless of the amount.

If the person with a large sum of cash is traveling internationally then the requirement to declare the cash is not with TSA so TSA has no role to play and should stick to its own job. In fact as I understand it FINCEN Form 105 can be mailed in or given to the Port Officer at the departure point.

Here's a link to the form, instructions on the back:

http://www.fincen.gov/forms/files/fin105_cmir.pdf

Your agency has declared that United States Currency is contraband and I think that was a serious error.

Perhaps someone in TSA HQ will have the foresight to review that directive and make some changes.

Again, no one seems to be against finding drugs or kiddie porn. I think most people would agree that finding those things would be a good thing.

It's the money thing that I am focused on and as I have said before will continue to ask for corrective action by TSA.

Anonymous said...

Hey TSA; are you considering making any postings regarding the swine flu situation?

Specifically, I believe TSA should 1) make a statement about increasing sanitary efforts at checkpoints (more frequent scrubbing of frequent-contact surfaces) and 2) issue a statement that passengers choosing to wear a face mask at the airport will not be required to remove it as either part of the TSA's ID check or screening process.

TSA checkpoints are known cesspools of germs, and passengers have the right to protect themselves. Of course, given TSA's track record regarding common sense, I expect TSA to end up taking the exact opposite course of these sensible measures by prohibiting masks worn by passengers. It is disheartening that I have already read that screeners at at least one airport were forbidden from wearing masks, which could provide protection to both the screeners and passengers with whom they come in contact in the event that the situation becomes worse.

IMO you also should immediately lift the liquid/gel ban with regard to hand sanitizer and allow passengers to carry full sized containers of this valuable prevention measure as a medical liquid/gel. Swine flu, and for that matter seasonal flu, is a much more serious risk than the fantasy liquid explosives that TSA has been in an uproar about for nearly 3 years that supposedly can evade ETD, be carried though an airport without self-detonating, and/or be assembled airside without controlled laboratory conditions.

TSOWilliamReed said...

Anonymous said...
Now that the panic has died down, how about revisiting some of the useless "not allowed" items. How about starting with bottles of water, contect lens solution, baby forumla, etc.
--------------------

The panic hasn't really died down. As soon as we lifted the ban CNN would broadcast the fact all over the world and terrorists would be trying these stradegys again within a week.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7329221.stm

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,356491,00.html

TSA is working on better technology to find a way to tell the difference between liquid explosive and regular liquids but honestly the technology doesn't really exist yet. We do have liquid test strips and the sniffer machines but taking the time to use those on every single bottle of liquid/gel/aerosol that every passenger would be carrying would be ridiculous. I don't like watching people throw away their items, thankfully I work in a small airport and you have the option to run downstairs real quick (1min) ask the airline for your bag back (2min if hasn't left in baggage cart yet) pop your item in the bag and resubmit for screening. We even let people leave their cleared items with someone else they know in the sterile area to make their trip back through security much faster. Also I don't think I can talk about it but we have initiated some new personal protocols to make officers more flexible when it comes to the 3-1-1 rule but I think thats all I can say if not I hope Bob elaborates for me.

Irish said...

Yet Another Anonymous Observation:

"TSA checkpoints are known cesspools of germs, and passengers have the right to protect themselves. Of course, given TSA's track record regarding common sense, I expect TSA to end up taking the exact opposite course of these sensible measures by prohibiting masks worn by passengers. It is disheartening that I have already read that screeners at at least one airport were forbidden from wearing masks, which could provide protection to both the screeners and passengers with whom they come in contact in the event that the situation becomes worse."


I understand how scarey this unknown influenza virus is.

I'm all in favor of cleaner checkpoints. I'm all in favor of frequent hand hygiene and frequent glove changes.

Masks, on the other hand, are pretty much overkill. (And this from a public health official who specializes in being overly cautious.) Whether by TSO's or by the public, common masks provide only very limited -- if any -- protection. And the problem with "very limited, if any" protection is that it induces a false sense of confidence. Moreover, having people who are perceived to be in positions of power wearing iffective "protection" lends a sense of panic to the situation.

Influenza is spread in much the same way the common cold is spread, and the same common sense precautions apply:

Wash hands often and well, especially after coughing, sneezing, or wiping/blowing your nose. Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing. Use disposable tissues when wiping or blowing your nose, and throw them away after use. Avoid touching your face and eyes unless your hands are freshly washed. Stay home if you are sick.

This is a previously unknown virus. Medical recommendations are changing day-to-day, sometimes hour-to-hour, as we learn more about this critter. All federal agencies, including TSA and DHS, are following the most up-to-the-minute recommendations. Fear-mongering is the last thing we need.

Irish

TSOWilliamReed said...

Anonymous said...
Hey TSA; are you considering making any postings regarding the swine flu situation?
----------------

Yes we are. I am not very sure about other airports but at ours we are currently required to wipe down all bins, bowls, hand wands, and tables with isopropyl alchol twice per shift minimum. I am sure larger airports are doing the same thing but much more frequently if they can. Also at our airport we are awaiting confirmation from up the chain for new procedures for the virus and boxes of little blue masks for the passengers and us.

TSOWilliamReed said...

RB said...
Thanks for the post.

Overall I do not disagree with what your saying.

The St. Louis guy had money in a cash box with other materials, checks, campaign literature and such.

To call that hidden or artfully concealed is a stretch.

The real fact in that case was some advisory about Ron Pauls campaign that was put out.

TSA was simply very wrong in that case. The LEO's were even more wrong.

If the guy sues I see no way that he will not win the case.

If a person has cash in a briefcase or bag that is not artfully concealed and should be of no concern to TSA ever. United States currency is not an illegal item regardless of the amount.

If the person with a large sum of cash is traveling internationally then the requirement to declare the cash is not with TSA so TSA has no role to play and should stick to its own job. In fact as I understand it FINCEN Form 105 can be mailed in or given to the Port Officer at the departure point.

Here's a link to the form, instructions on the back:

http://www.fincen.gov/forms/files/fin105_cmir.pdf

Your agency has declared that United States Currency is contraband and I think that was a serious error.

Perhaps someone in TSA HQ will have the foresight to review that directive and make some changes.

Again, no one seems to be against finding drugs or kiddie porn. I think most people would agree that finding those things would be a good thing.

It's the money thing that I am focused on and as I have said before will continue to ask for corrective action by TSA.

May 1, 2009 2:11 PM

---------------------

I don't believe money is contraband. I have never seen a TSA ruling otherwise. LEO's and CBP may consider money contraband but thats their decision to make not ours. We have the authority to search your property at the checkpiont, LEO's do not. If I find drugs in a backpack I have to physically remove them from the backpack and hold them up to the LEO for inspection, he can't reach into the bag. So our organizations work together. If a TSO gets a passenger with a very large amount of cash in his bag flying internationaly, there is nothing preventing him from picking up the phone and letting the CBP know just in case this person has not delcared this cash. Kind of like if you see your neighbor beating his children you would call the police right? If someone is possibly doing something wrong that I can't do anything about shouldn't I contact a person who can do something? I do not like how the TSO and LEO's in that situation handled the man with the box of cash. But I do believe the TSO was using his training to believe that this man may be up to no good and I am going to inform the person who can find out and do something about it.

Anonymous said...

TSO Reed said...
But I do believe the TSO was using his training to believe that this man may be up to no good and I am going to inform the person who can find out and do something about it.NO one, not even a police officer, should be speaking this way to the public they serve. It is unprofessional and totally unneccessary. If anything acting like that will not have you gain anything but will cause the person to be uncooperative.

-James

Dunstan said...

"If I find drugs in a backpack I have to physically remove them from the backpack and hold them up to the LEO for inspection, he can't reach into the bag. So our organizations work together."

So, you could conceivably plant drugs in a passenger's bag, right?

Sandra said...

"I don't believe money is contraband. I have never seen a TSA ruling otherwise."

From the TSA:

Operation Directive: Discovery of Contraband During the Screening Process OD-400-54-2 May 9, 2005

Expiration – Indefinite

Summary - This directive provides guidance to ensure nationwide consistency in the appropriate referral or initiation of civil enforcement actions for incidents involving discovery of contraband during TSA screening procedures.

Procedures - When TSA discovers contraband during the screening process that is not a TSA Prohibited Item, the matter should be referred to the local Law Enforcement Officers as appropriate. An Enforcement Investigative Report should not be initiated.

Examples of such contraband include:

- Illegal Drugs
- Drug Paraphernalia
- Large Amounts of Cash(10,000.00)

RB said...

TSOWilliamReed said...
---------------------

I don't believe money is contraband. I have never seen a TSA ruling otherwise. LEO's and CBP may consider money contraband but thats their decision to make not ours. We have the authority to search your property at the checkpiont, LEO's do not. If I find drugs in a backpack I have to physically remove them from the backpack and hold them up to the LEO for inspection, he can't reach into the bag. So our organizations work together. If a TSO gets a passenger with a very large amount of cash in his bag flying internationaly, there is nothing preventing him from picking up the phone and letting the CBP know just in case this person has not delcared this cash. Kind of like if you see your neighbor beating his children you would call the police right? If someone is possibly doing something wrong that I can't do anything about shouldn't I contact a person who can do something? I do not like how the TSO and LEO's in that situation handled the man with the box of cash. But I do believe the TSO was using his training to believe that this man may be up to no good and I am going to inform the person who can find out and do something about it.

May 2, 2009 2:32 PM

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TSA has an operational directive that states over $10,000 is contraband. The Directives control # has been posted here several times.

TSA is using an Administrative Search that allows for searching for Explosives, Weapons and Incendiaries to over reach and start searching for other items that would be prohibited by a LEO.

Irish said...

TSOWilliamReed said...

"If a TSO gets a passenger with a very large amount of cash in his bag flying internationaly, there is nothing preventing him from picking up the phone and letting the CBP know just in case this person has not delcared this cash."

This person is not required to declare his cash UNTIL he reaches his point of departure. So, your position is that it's appropriate for TSO's to be the thought police in case CBP is unable to do its job.

"it's Kind of like if you see your neighbor beating his children you would call the police right?"

If I see my neighbor abusing his children, that's ILLEGAL. Carrying large amounts of cash is LEGAL, LEGAL, LEGAL. So, no; it's nothing at all like that.

"If someone is possibly doing something wrong that I can't do anything about shouldn't I contact a person who can do something?"

No. Thought-policing people who are "possibly" doing something wrong is not your job. Your job is to be sure they aren't carrying contraband.

"I do not like how the TSO and LEO's in that situation handled the man with the box of cash. But I do believe the TSO was using his training to believe that this man may be up to no good and I am going to inform the person who can find out and do something about it."

The TSO was using the power of his position to bully a completely innocent citizen. Period.

Irish

Anonymous said...

TSOWilliamReed recommends that a screener who sees a bag of a suspicious leafy substance should hold it up out of the bag and wave it around until the LEO comes and investigates because, he sez, "he can't reach into the bag. So our organizations work together."

Any screener who follows this advice is likely to AT LEAST have a very bad day in court trying to explain to a defense lawyer and a judge his administrative search procedures. DO NOT DO THIS. If something warrants an LEO investigation, notify the supervisor, let the LEO do the investigation, and get back to work on someone else's bags.

If you don't wind up paying a big civil suit penalty after following TSOWilliamReed's advice, you should consider yourself VERY lucky and go buy a lottery ticket immediately.

Jim Huggins said...

TSOWilliamReed writes:

I don't believe money is contraband. I have never seen a TSA ruling otherwise.

Well, here's the TSA document in question, courtesy of Bob:

Discovery of Contraband During the Screening Process OD-400-54-2 May 9, 2005

Expiration – Indefinite

Summary - This directive provides guidance to ensure nationwide consistency in the appropriate referral or initiation of civil enforcement actions for incidents involving discovery of contraband during TSA screening procedures.

Procedures - When TSA discovers contraband during the screening process that is not a TSA Prohibited Item, the matter should be referred to the local Law Enforcement Officers as appropriate. An Enforcement Investigative Report should not be initiated.

Examples of such contraband include:

- Illegal Drugs
- Drug Paraphernalia
- Large Amounts of Cash(10,000.00)

Anonymous said...

Gabriel here, hey Bob, what are you posting? is that a list of all Letter S? Lol,

Moderated blog, TSA? wow, this is a good post.

TSA Love said...

I think people need to start realizing that the tSA performs an extremely important duty. Seems like nothing but the negative gets reported. Sure there are incidents but for the volume, I think they do a pretty good job.

Shine said...

"Someone even once tried to bring a fully gassed-up power chain saw through a checkpoint."
That is scary!!!!

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