Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Grenades: A Refresher Course on Checkpoint Etiquette

Last July, Blogger Bob wrote a post: “Can I Take my Hand Grenade on the Plane?’ Some wondered aloud if we had to state such an obvious thing, because seriously, who would think they could take a grenade on a plane?

Well…

Over the weekend, a grenade was found in a passenger’s carry-on bag in Phoenix. At first, the passenger said he didn’t know the grenade was in his bag. Then he said he left it unattended curbside and someone could have put it in there. Later, while talking to law enforcement officers, he admitted it was given to him by his grandfather from WWII.

There’s been quite a few reports of grenades found at checkpoints lately, so I did some research to find out just how many had been caught by officers since Blogger Bob’s July post. The answer: 21.

Of the other 20 or so hand grenades found, here are some highlights:

One was found hidden in a stuffed animal. The passenger said the stuffed animal was a gift and had no idea anything was hidden in it. Talk about the gift that keeps on giving…

One was the popular gag-gift plaque that says: “Complaint Department: Take a Number.” Problem is, in the X-ray, the most notable part of the image is - you guessed it - the grenade.

A Pittsburgh passenger who packed an inert hand grenade in his bag as a present for his son said he has never flown before and had no idea he couldn’t take the inert grenade on the plane.

A law enforcement officer from Canada visiting the US for a convention had a pepper spray grenade, flash bang grenade and a smoke grenade in his bag.

A passenger who said he was previously a member of the military stated that the grenade found in his bag was a souvenir.

A military reservist said the grenade found in her bag was a gift for her brother.

The lesson to be learned here is that even if it’s a gift (gag or otherwise), souvenir or inert, putting a grenade in your carry-on or checked bag is a no-no. I would also suggest not packing the new novelty grenade MP3 player in your carry-on or checked bags. Not only will you be delayed and possibly miss your flight, but you could also end up spending some quality time with law enforcement officers.

As we like to say when giving packing advice, when in doubt, leave it out. And it can’t hurt to do a last minute double check of your bag to make sure there are no grenades, guns or other prohibited items in it.

Safe travels,

Lynn

TSA Blog Team

78 comments:

Anonymous said...

So basically TSA will not allow any object that appears to be a grenade onto a plane, regardless if it is actually dangerous or not. Pretty much the same standard used for liquids.

Bravo for continuing to protect us from objects that can't harm us.

TSM, Been.... said...

Quoted:
" Anonymous said...
So basically TSA will not allow any object that appears to be a grenade onto a plane, regardless if it is actually dangerous or not. Pretty much the same standard used for liquids.

Bravo for continuing to protect us from objects that can't harm us.

October 14, 2009 11:15 AM
-----------------------------

So, since we can't tell it's live on xray, we should "allow" this item (even though it's "harmless") to completely shut down the airport, summon LEOs, bomb squad, etc. and then say "Oh. OK, It's inert. Go on your way now."
OR, we could ban all grenades, live or not. Oh, wait. We already do that!

Stupidity reigns here.

bob said...

Bad example of "other prohibited items": For U.S. citizens, guns are allowed in checked baggage if unloaded and in a locked, hard-sided case, and if legal in both origin and destination (e.g. no handgun mags over 10 rounds in CA, no hollow point ammo in NJ). Gun laws vary by state, but please update the post with a link to TSA's page on packing when packing.

Anonymous said...

I note that the article doesn't say what happened to the people who got caught.

In particular, the Canadian LEO with three LIVE grenades. He was the only one with an actual dangerous device. What happened with him?

Randy said...

@TSM, Been.... said...

What did you do with all of these grenades?

If you can't tell from the xray if they are live or not, don't you assume that they are and call the bomb squad to dispose of?

Do you simply confiscate or throw away the the novelty greades?

Just Wondering,
Randy

RB said...

Seems TSA has once again censored a question asking for clarification of a TSA procedure that did not in any way violate the posting standards.

Do you TSA employees really think your defending the Constitution?

Tech Blog said...

OK so were not allowed grenades. What about BB guns?

Anonymous said...

"So basically TSA will not allow any object that appears to be a grenade onto a plane, regardless if it is actually dangerous or not. Pretty much the same standard used for liquids.

Bravo for continuing to protect us from objects that can't harm us."

October 14, 2009 11:15 AM

**********************************
Are you serious? You can hijack a plane with an inert grenade. Wave it around and you can't tell the difference.

Anonymous said...

Years ago a TSA woman got upset over a souvenir cartridge on a keychain. The primer had been removed and the keychain went through a hole that had been drilled in the case. Didn't matter, it appeared to be a live cartridge to her and that was all that mattered. I thought the whole thing was kinda silly, really, but they're just trying to do their jobs, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Bravo for continuing to protect us from objects that can't harm us.

October 14, 2009 11:15 AM

TSM, Been... took the words right out of my mouth :). Maybe we can give anon the job of pulling the pins off of all grenades found. sound good anon? easy money right?

Lynn said...

Bob,

Point noted. When I was writing the piece, I was thinking of the folks who claim they forgot the gun was in their bag or they didn't know it was in their bag when a security officer found it. We'll add the link as you noted.

Thanks for reading the blog and for your comment.

Lynn said...

In response to Anonymous:

So basically TSA will not allow any object that appears to be a grenade onto a plane, regardless if it is actually dangerous or not. Pretty much the same standard used for liquids.

When an officer sees what appears to be a grenade in a bag in the X-ray, they don't know if it's inert or not. They follow procedures to determine what the item is and ensure the safety of people in the vicinity.

As for your point about whether the item is dangerous or not, there have been robberies, carjackings and even plane hijackings where people have used fake or inert threat objects to get what they want. That's why replica or inert grenades are also prohibited.

Chris Boyce said...

Congratulations, Blogdad Bob, you've snagged the low-hanging fruit.

Now, tell us, why did you not release the Caffritz checkpoint video to the newspaper reporter?

Better yet, let's have Kristen respond...

Phil said...

Lynn, I don't know how you define "grenade" but I think that something which does not explode, like an MP3 player, is not a grenade.

How do you define grenade? How about a small, squarish, plastic device with an LCD display, a headphone jack, and a few buttons, that explodes shortly after pressing and releasing a button? Is that a grenade or an MP3 player? What about the same thing, except it's metal, ovoid with ridges, doesn't ever explode, and plays music shortly after you press and release a button?

Also, last year in the comments in response to TSA's "Pay For Performance; Good For Security" post, on July 23, 2008, I wrote:

"1. Do the electronic strip-search machines (both backscatter imaging and "millimeter wave" versions) show operators only still images, or animated/video images?

"2. If the latter, where can we see a sample of what that video looks like?"


Two days later, you (Lynn at TSA) quoted me then responded:

"It's a still image, not video."

However, recently, I saw a video of a September 24, 2009, KSL-TV news broadcast about Congressman Jason Chafetz of Utah and his experience with TSA staff at a TSA airport checkpoint. From 1:09 to 1:13 into the piece, we are shown a computer monitor displaying an image that looks similar to those you've offered as examples of the MMW machine output, except that it is not a still image, it is an animated loop. Picking a single image out of this video that operators apparently see is rather disingenuous of you, as it allows the viewer to perceive far less detail than the rotating 3D view does.

One of the following must be the case: 1) you were mistaken when you wrote that the image operators see is still, 2) that which is shown to operators has changed since you wrote this, or 3) the video in the KSL broadcast was not representative of what your operators see. Which is the case?

--
Phil
Add your own questions at TSAFAQ.net

Anonymous said...

Was any of these persons jailed? If not, this is pointless - the real terrorist would just keep trying to walk through security with the grenade until it went undetected. We know that the performance rates for these detections are low, so it shouldn´t take too many tries...

Anonymous said...

I wonder if you have any comments about "“Do I have the right to refuse this search?” (http://bit.ly/4AOmD0) It's another point of view about airport searches.

RB said...

http://www.hlswatch.com/2009/10/15/“do-i-have-the-right-to-refuse-this-search”/

October 15, 2009
“Do I have the right to refuse this search?”

The article at the link above should be required reading for everyone at TSA.

Madigan McGillicuddy said...

Personally, I think anything that remotely like an explosive device should be banned on flights. Frankly, I'm surprised to see that there is anyone who feels otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Since people have made replicas from soap and used them to take hostages, will you ban soap?

Or is this banning of non-weapons just another sham security theatre farce?

Ayn R. Key said...

Puppy post.

Back to the war on water and the strip search pedophile machines.

Ayn R. Key said...

What happened to links to older posts? You only show about a dozen. You no longer have links that a person could follow to posts a year or more old. You used to have a list of months one could click on to get to the old stuff.

What's the matter, was it embarassing that people could go back to the beginning and see that you were ducking the same questions then as you do now?

Anonymous said...

Lynn,

In the previous inert grenade post, Blogger Bob stated "Please leave them at home or mail them to your destination."

I am curious as to why the TSA decided these objects were likely to cause airport personnel to panic, but it was OK to send the same objects to the post office.

I know the postal service has tried unsuccessfully to get these banned in the past.

Did the TSA get USPS feedback or authorization to make this public recommendation?

Anonymous said...

It has now been 24 days since Congressman Jason Chaffetz's run-in with the TSA in Salt Lake City. Surely this is a more pressing issue than another "grenade post."

By the way, the TSA has still not released the tape that would either confirm the accusations made against Rep. Chaffetz or prove that the TSA is lying. Guess why? "The TSA has not yet denied access to the video, although Chaffetz says he was told the agency would be hesitant to release images of checkpoints because of security concerns."

Haven't you folks ever heard of the boy who cried wolf?

TSM/West said...

Anon said
So basically TSA will not allow any object that appears to be a grenade onto a plane, regardless if it is actually dangerous or not. Pretty much the same standard used for liquids.

Bravo for continuing to protect us from objects that can't harm us.

-----------------------------------
You have to be kidding me. You don't see a problem with any replica? Thank God you're not the one who makes the decision.

Anonymous said...

So when are we going to hear more about DHS using Wii Balance Boards at checkpoints to help catch terrorists?

http://insidetech.monster.com/news/articles/6171-homeland-security-wii-balance-board-can-help-us-catch-terrorists?utm_source=nlet&utm_content=it_c3_20091015_JOBW

Earth_Mommy said...

So, yesterday in Atlanta, when a friend's baby's pacifier clip set off the metal detector and TSA agents TOOK her baby out of her SITE without her consent, they were looking for a hand grenade in his nappy???!!!! TSA, you've gone too far and Bush isn't in office to protect your facist ways anylonger. You do not take babies and then threaten to contact authorities when the mother has a panic attack in the middle of the airport! Shame on you all, if this is your policy!

RB said...

TSA impressing the public (again)!

http://www.mybottlesup.com/tsa-agents-took-my-son

"The female TSA agent, who had been standing there the entire time said to me, “You need to adjust your attitude and do as you are told.”


So is this how an encounter with TSA is suppose to go down?

How did TSA get to be this way?

RB said...

Bob, won't your handlers let you talk about some subjects?

How about Congressman Chaffetz?

Why did TSA refuse to release the video under a FOIA request if it shows the congressman at fault?

What is TSA hiding?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it isn't a good idea to take grenades aboard a plane. Or snakes, for that matter. Congrats to TSA folks for figuring this out.

Now, what's this story coming out of Atlanta of TSA grabbing a baby from its mother? That might not be a good idea.

Anonymous said...

I take you've all seen this story about a mother who had her baby taken away from her by TSA agents in Atlanta because of a metal pacifier clip. If not, here it is:

http://www.mybottlesup.com/tsa-agents-took-my-son/

I've gotten it about 3 times on my Facebook feed today. Give it another few days she'll be on the Today Show

Lynn said...

@Phil:

Lynn, I don't know how you define "grenade" but I think that something which does not explode, like an MP3 player, is not a grenade.

To answer your question, I'll revert back to the earlier comment I made in response to the person who asked why we care about inert grenades - they look just like real grenades. The MP3 player is actually an inert grenade that has been made into a MP3 player. We posted a picture where the wires are sticking out, but when closed, it looks just like grenade.

Lynn said...

@TechBlog:

OK so were not allowed grenades. What about BB guns?

No in carry-on bags, yes in checked bags.

http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/prohibited/permitted-prohibited-items.shtm#6

Anonymous said...

Some lady posts about TSA taking her baby and people automaticly beleive it.

TSA. Will you respond to this?

I hope you didn't really take her baby.

Anonymous said...

A suggestion: perhaps your HR department needs to review why it seems to be hiring so many people on power trips, particularly in the Atlanta area. I believe that your agents were guilty of interference of custody at the least, and possibly kidnapping, when you recently removed a toddler from his mother's view. Because of a pacifier clip, which the mother pointed out and offered to be rescreened. The same story all the other folks are posting about. Hopefully wiser heads up the chain will deal with these people and show them the door. This is NOT the kind of publicity the TSA needs, nor does it build passenger trust.

Perhaps you can start by having all your employees review your agency's statements on the TSA website under "Traveling with Kids":

"We will not ask you to do anything that will separate you from your child or children.

We specially train our Security Officers and they understand your concern for your children. They will approach your children gently and treat them with respect. If your child becomes uncomfortable or upset, security officers will consult you about the best way to relieve your child's concern.

At the X-Ray
Ask a Security Officer for help gathering your bags and child-related equipment, if you need it.

Looks like your own agents violated your rules and perhaps broke Georgia state laws.

Lynn said...

However, recently, I saw a video of a September 24, 2009, KSL-TV news broadcast about Congressman Jason Chafetz of Utah and his experience with TSA staff at a TSA airport checkpoint. From 1:09 to 1:13 into the piece, we are shown a computer monitor displaying an image that looks similar to those you've offered as examples of the MMW machine output, except that it is not a still image, it is an animated loop. Picking a single image out of this video that operators apparently see is rather disingenuous of you, as it allows the viewer to perceive far less detail than the rotating 3D view does.

One of the following must be the case: 1) you were mistaken when you wrote that the image operators see is still, 2) that which is shown to operators has changed since you wrote this, or 3) the video in the KSL broadcast was not representative of what your operators see. Which is the case?


None of the above. There are front and back images taken of the passenger in the machine, and what was shown on the screen in the newsclip was the rotation from the front to the back image.

Anonymous said...

Would love to see a response to this : http://www.mybottlesup.com/tsa-agents-took-my-son/

Apologizing for posting in this thread, but the only feedback link I could find, was for TSA in general, not this blog.

Rick said...

Yeah, be sure not to take anything harmful on, like firearms or babies.

http://www.mybottlesup.com/tsa-agents-took-my-son/

Who polices these police? They're doing a terrible job.

Anonymous said...

"There are front and back images taken of the passenger in the machine, and what was shown on the screen in the newsclip was the rotation from the front to the back image."

And you know this how?

And why does Bob refuse to say whether the strip-search images posted on this blog and at checkpoints where TSA wants to take naked pictures of children are of the same size and resolution as those seen by the operator of the device?

Anonymous said...

So how can someone move a grenade-shaped object from one place to another if neither in checked or carried on luggage? Do you think the USPS want to take it? Do people have to travel by bus? Any why the treat to spend "quality time" with law enforcement.

Anonymous said...

Well, I know I don't want to travel amongst any dimwits that think that carrying anything resembling a grenade with them in a good idea. Ship that crap UPS or something, or source one locally at your destination if you really need one.

Good on you guys, TSA.

JoshH said...

You guys are magnificently arrogant and snarky in the tone and manner of your posts; sure, it's unprofessional, but it makes you great guests on The O'Really Factor. Glad to see you're using all of the weapons to defeat "them there terr'ists."

Phil said...

Thanks, Lynn. What about the animated vs. still image on the MMW machines?

--
Phil
Add your own questions at TSAFAQ.net

Phil said...

Oops, I missed Lynn's response earlier because she didn't attribute the question to me, so the answer wasn't found by a search for my name.

Lynn, what was shown on television is clearly an animated image of the subject of a TSA search with your electronic strip-search machines. I understand that it doesn't show the subject in motion, but it allows the operator to rotate the subject -- not just moving a still image, but viewing a series of many images -- providing much more detail than would be available if the operator were simply viewing two still images.

Although it would be impossible to represent this additional detail in print, when you show examples on the Web, I can think of no reason to show only the two stills instead of the animated image other than to misrepresent the level of detail available.

It's dishonest to say that the operator is able to view only two still images of the strip-search subject. You're looking under our clothes, constructing a three-dimensional image of us, then rotating that image on a computer screen viewed by your machine operator.

-
Phil
Add your own questions at TSAFAQ.net

Dave said...

Well, good thing the folks at L'Oreal pulled their "Flowerbomb" perfume from shelves. http://www.liquidmatrix.org/blog/2006/04/27/perfume-grenades-withdrawn-from-oslo-airport/

A little levity always helps :)

Anonymous said...

Where exactly does TSA draw the line between reality and the mythical never-ending possibilities that could harm people?

Terrorists don't need to get past security with a bomb. They could do any number of things that we are not protected against. And here we are being stopped and hassled for carrying toys that LOOK threatening. It is a waste of money and resources.

greyfoxisa said...

Well your incorrect

"TSM, Been.... said...

So, since we can't tell it's live on xray, we should "allow" this item (even though it's "harmless") to completely shut down the airport, summon LEOs, bomb squad, etc. and then say "Oh. OK, It's inert. Go on your way now."
OR, we could ban all grenades, live or not. Oh, wait. We already do that!

Stupidity reigns here."

You can tell it is a dud due to the fact that the bottom is drilled out, you can unscrew the firing mechanism and see that it is a dud, real hard to tell that it is inert, NOT. If TSA had any real sense of security they would be more worried about the lobbies, large numbers of people in a concentrated waiting area to go through the security check point, all clumped together back to back, NOW that is idiotic.

Julia said...

Silly!!! Some thing seem so obvious. Yet, have to be stated. (like no grenades, please)

Anonymous said...

Google "papercraft grenade" for some prohibited paper.

If replicas are a serious bomb threat, then so all the electronic car locks, and any wifi or bluetooth enabled trigger.

GSOLTSO said...

Even an inert grenade can present a threat on an airplane. If you are uninformed as to whether it is a real grenade, then you may take some action that is considered bad - such as stomping the spit out of someone weilding said "fake" grenade to keep them from using it. It could result in a scrum on an airplane at 35k feet - that is never good, and it tends to make the pilots fairly nervous, not to mention Joe Passenger and the flight crew in the cabin area. No replicas should be allowed in the airplane.

West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Really? Because a TOY grenade is such a threat to national security.

Harry Haller said...

Lynn,
I agree that anything looking like a grenade or a known explosive device should not be allowed onboard; I am surprised not everybody feels the same.

Your post is well timed for me: I have just returned from a business trip to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) and a holiday in Cambodia, and despite being a pacifist, I have considered buying souvenirs made of former (now inert) explosive devices, sold in museums' shops (and therefore reasonably safe, one has to assume). I did not go through with the purchase because I carried only hand luggage with me, during these trips, and I neither wanted to check-in my carry-on, nor did I want to end up being another funny/embarassing/alarming story like the ones you described in your article here: a guy with forbidden objects in his hand luggage.

What would have been the correct course of action in the case described above, to carry onboard - let's say - a sculpture made with a now innocuous hand-granade? Apart from *not* carrying it onboard, of course...

Thanks in advance, whether you will find the time to answer my query or not.

TSOWilliamReed said...

greyfoxisa said...
Well your incorrect

"TSM, Been.... said...

So, since we can't tell it's live on xray, we should "allow" this item (even though it's "harmless") to completely shut down the airport, summon LEOs, bomb squad, etc. and then say "Oh. OK, It's inert. Go on your way now."
OR, we could ban all grenades, live or not. Oh, wait. We already do that!

Stupidity reigns here."

You can tell it is a dud due to the fact that the bottom is drilled out, you can unscrew the firing mechanism and see that it is a dud, real hard to tell that it is inert, NOT. If TSA had any real sense of security they would be more worried about the lobbies, large numbers of people in a concentrated waiting area to go through the security check point, all clumped together back to back, NOW that is idiotic.
------------------

Grenades are too dense to see the internal workings and its SOP to not search a bag with an obvious explosive device such as a freakin grenade wether it is live or not so we only have the x-ray image to work with.

Roark said...

RB said...
Seems TSA has once again censored a question asking for clarification of a TSA procedure that did not in any way violate the posting standards.

Do you TSA employees really think your defending the Constitution?
//////

It's one thing to attack the policys and policy makers, but the TSOs who work floor level have practically nothing to do with standard operating procedure. Did you ever stop to think they are people too who are showing up at the airport to work a job, and then go home after?

I am sure people will refute that they arn't talking about TSOs when they talk policy, but it's amazing the hundreds of times a day I'll hear from passengers what *I* need to get changed, because in their opinion, it's not working how it should be.

Anonymous said...

Greyfoxisa, Do you really think it is a good idea for TSA to unscrew or partially disassemble a grenade in order to try to figure out if it is real or not?? Why not just tell them they should pull the pin and see if it goes BOOM!?! You need to come up with a better way to handle possible explosives than TSA already has, which is to call in the experts.

Anonymous said...

So what happened to the Canadian LEO who brought 3 grenades thru the checkpoint?

I asked over a week ago and you've ignored it.

Lynn said...

@ Harry Haller:

Your post is well timed for me: I have just returned from a business trip to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) and a holiday in Cambodia, and despite being a pacifist, I have considered buying souvenirs made of former (now inert) explosive devices, sold in museums' shops (and therefore reasonably safe, one has to assume). I did not go through with the purchase because I carried only hand luggage with me, during these trips, and I neither wanted to check-in my carry-on, nor did I want to end up being another funny/embarassing/alarming story like the ones you described in your article here: a guy with forbidden objects in his hand luggage.

What would have been the correct course of action in the case described above, to carry onboard - let's say - a sculpture made with a now innocuous hand-granade? Apart from *not* carrying it onboard, of course...



Harry, thanks for your comment and for reading the blog.

I've reached out to a colleague to help answer this question and will post something as soon as I get a solid answer.

Thanks,

Lynn
TSA Blog Team

carp said...

In what way is an "inert grenade" a grenade in any way except name?

Given that it is missing the one component that both defines it as a grenade AND makes it unsafe to have random people carrying on a plane.

Frankly, it seems like something that would be perfectly safe in checked (and properly packed) baggage, since well... you have to pull out the pin and let the handle disengage before its dangerous.

I, as a member of the flying public, would like to see policies changed so as to allow grenades in properly packed checked baggage.

I would also support legislation to limit the powers of TSA to making flights safe, and prohibiting them from enforcement of any other law. It shouldn't be their job to deal with gun license issues, drugs etc. Just to make sure things are safely packed and loaded onto planes and nothing too terribly dangerous gets on.

carp said...

> Yeah, be sure not to take anything
> harmful on, like firearms or babies.

Actually, I might be willing to tolerate the ban on firearms, and even liquids, if babies were banned too.

Having to deal with this moronic, and demonstrably useless 3-1-1 rule is bad, but it might be a worthwhile tradeoff for a quiet flight.

-Steve

RB said...

Roark said...
RB said...
Seems TSA has once again censored a question asking for clarification of a TSA procedure that did not in any way violate the posting standards.

Do you TSA employees really think your defending the Constitution?
//////

It's one thing to attack the policys and policy makers, but the TSOs who work floor level have practically nothing to do with standard operating procedure. Did you ever stop to think they are people too who are showing up at the airport to work a job, and then go home after?

I am sure people will refute that they arn't talking about TSOs when they talk policy, but it's amazing the hundreds of times a day I'll hear from passengers what *I* need to get changed, because in their opinion, it's not working how it should be.

October 22, 2009 1:57 PM

......................
Sorry, I'm not sympathetic to the plight of TSO's.

TSO's enforce policy. If that policy is wrong they have to make a decision to either continue enforcing bad policy are removing themselves from a bad situation.

If a TSA employee doesn't have the moral courage to not work for a disgusting agency that makes violating constitutional rights of the citizens of this country a requirement then they have nothing coming from me.

Anonymous said...

Bravo for continuing to protect us from objects that can"t harm us.

GSOLTSO said...

Carp sez - "Frankly, it seems like something that would be perfectly safe in checked (and properly packed) baggage, since well... you have to pull out the pin and let the handle disengage before its dangerous.

I, as a member of the flying public, would like to see policies changed so as to allow grenades in properly packed checked baggage."

Wow... I am not going to support explosives of any kind on a passenger bearing bird (with the exception of military flights or LEO flights)at all. There are too many problems with maintaining the packaging, stability, age, etc. All it takes is one wrong thing to happen and blooey, no more flight or at least damage to the plane and property contained therein. This should never be a consideration.

On a side note, please remind me to NOT buy a house beside you if you are going to be keeping grenades at home. Thanks!

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

RB sez - "Sorry, I'm not sympathetic to the plight of TSO's.

TSO's enforce policy. If that policy is wrong they have to make a decision to either continue enforcing bad policy are removing themselves from a bad situation.

If a TSA employee doesn't have the moral courage to not work for a disgusting agency that makes violating constitutional rights of the citizens of this country a requirement then they have nothing coming from me."

So because all the TSOs dont believe the way you do, they deserve your scorn? That is a fairly condescending way to approach that. Sworn Officers (and yes the TSOs are sworn federal officers) are there to uphold the oath they take, perform the tasks they are assigned to the best of their abilities and protect the flying public.

Just because YOUR opinion is that the TSO violate the publics rights, does not mean you are necessarily right. It means that in YOUR opinion, there are rights violations going on. A vast majority of the people I speak to (this is a personal statement, not that of TSA) do not consider the screening process a huge undertaking. Some dislike taking their shoes off, or having to finish their coffee before entering the checkpoint, but they understand that the process is actually there to help keep them safe. Regardless of your opinions to the contrary, the agency helps keep people safer than if they were not there. We as TSOs apply the regulations we are given, and if there is a determination that something is against policy/the norms of the country/the Constitution then it will be adjusted from the top down. Berating someone for giving their opinion is not a constructive way to have dialogue or address issues.

You want all 45k TSOs to just walk out because of YOUR opinion? Not a higly likely situation. Not everyone believes the way you do.

West
TSA Blog Team

RB said...

Berating someone for giving their opinion is not a constructive way to have dialogue or address issues.

You want all 45k TSOs to just walk out because of YOUR opinion? Not a higly likely situation. Not everyone believes the way you do.

West
TSA Blog Team

October 25, 2009 5:10 PM
.................

I think many of the things TSA has its employees engage in does violate Constitutional protections.

TSA is authorized to screen for WEI. That's it. Nothing more.

Knowing what I do about TSA I could not in good conscience work for your agency.

WBI STRIP SEARCH of children.

Illegal forced ID checking.

Screening for things not authorized by law.

Non compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act laws.

Ignoring the biggest security hole at all airports.

That's my opinion and I guess you can berate me for having one even while telling me it is not a constructive way to have dialogue.

I maintain that a person has to made some tough calls in life.

But it does take backbone.

Chrisfs said...

Man, the people getting their undies in a twist about grenades is astounding.
I'm sorry if you feel your rights to bring a fake grenade upon a plane are violated.
There's hundreds or thousands of people coming through airport in a day, each under time pressure.

I don't want to miss my flight because I am behind some idiot who insists that he be allowed to bring his fake grenade aboard the plane I'll be on.
In this case, toss it away. Better safe than sorry. Mail it ahead, I donp;t want it on my plane and I don;t want to be late due to your lame arguing on why you need a fake grenade so bad. When you venture out of your house, you have to deal with other people. This may mean leaving some toys at home.

If it weren't a federal rule, I would hope it would be company policy of any sane airline.

Perhaps we can make use of the democratic process. Once a potential grenade is found, the TSA can go on the loudspeaker and say "all people on Flight XXY, we found a potential bomb in someone's baggage. You can vote on two possible choices
Vote A or B or C
A) Wait for a trained bomb squad to arrive and check it out, and then once it's definitely been determined one way or another, let everyone on. You will definitely be very late and will miss connecting flights

B) We don't check it out and you take your chances

C) We confiscate it, return it to the owner later and let everyone else get to where they are going on time.

How many people do you think would choose C and how many would choose A or B

Anonymous said...

Ok, fine. Tell me this, Lynn or anyone else at TSA:

For all the harrassment you put thousands of innocent Americans through on a daily basis, how many terrorists HAVE you actually caught at these checkpoints?

And also, will the Terror Alert ever being anything less than orange or yellow?
Or is it just set to keep us afraid enough to follow TSA procedures like sheep, but not high enough to make us question your abilities? I think TSA arbitrarily decides we'll never be safe enough to do away with the harassment.

prefabrik said...

As written in 23th October 2009, i want to learn what happened to the Canadian LEO who brought 3 grenades through chechpoint?

Do not ignore this time pleasee

help said...

Actually different objects called commonly "grenades" do not look like fragmentation hand grenades shown in the post photos.
If we take the arsenal that the poor Canadian guy tried to check in, they all look quite differently. Here are some links to the pictures of these objects:
"Flash-Bang Grenade" (from Google images), "Smoke Grenade", or "<a href="http://www.pepperspraycenter.com/foxlabs-sprays-c-38/pepper-spray-foxlabs-spray-lock-grenade-p-331>Pepper Spray </a>Grenade". As you can see they all look different. The only common part they share is a release ring, however, the last one (pepper spray grenade) looks like a shaving cream can.
I agree that all these items should not be on board of a passenger airliner due to the danger they pose in their own right but if you decide to define what they exactly are -- please do it. If not done we start playing with semantics. Just like with a word "gun": hand gun, glue gun, squirt gun, paint gun, ray gun etc. -- which one is banned?

We Cloth Diaper said...

Flying on an airplane is a privilege, not a right. If you really think that we are all safer with fewer security checks and things like fake grenades on board, maybe you ought to drive instead. The rest of us will feel safer that way.

Private Security said...

Mister Diaper,

I respectfully disagree: flying on a commercial airliner is not a right and is not a privilege. It is just a commercial transaction when I pay someone to move my physical body from point A to point B. I also pay someone to cut my hair and mow my lawn and either one ain't no right nor privilege. Sorry again for the lecture.
Now about the topic of this thread
I understand the folks at the TSA and what they do because I'm in the field of security myself. They just follow orders. Nothing they can do about it. They can not care about the impression on the fellow passengers and they can not care about the airlines' interests. My opinion is that the gov. agency should be out of this business, each airline should be responsible for the safety checks. This will put commercial interests back into the commercial transaction. At least, when the airlines' security checkers do something stupid you can sue them or have some recourse.

Alex Gray said...

Flying is becoming more stressful, not only because of the awareness of the possibility of terrorist attack, but because of the airport procedures themselves with passengers suffering high levels of anxiety and worry about what they can and cannot carry.

It makes sense that items that appear to be dangerous, even if they are not, should be banned - but please make it easier for passengers to be clear overall about what is allowed.

Kevin said...

I think it makes sense that we wouldnt want people bringing inert grenades on to a plane.

If your waving it around nobody will know that its inert they'll have to respond as though its an actuall threat.

Hence they could still hijack the plane.

Bill said...

Wow grenades! I got in trouble for bringing a toothbrush because it had a camouflage pattern on it, I had to wait for 2 hours because of that!

Anonymous said...

DOES ANYBODY REALIZE???
STATING "MAIL IT" --THAT MAILING IT MAY PUT THE GRENADE IN THE CARGO HOLD OF THE PLANE YOU'RE FLYING ON?

English Songs said...

Now, did any of these need an x-ray machine? I really don't think so. A simple metal detector would have found these.
I still can't believe that 21 "grenades" were confiscated, though.

tramky said...

There is a scene in The Godfather Part 3, a plausible scene in which an assassin visits a high-ranking member of an organization (the details of that don't matter). The guy is frisked for weapons before being excorted in to the meeting.

During the ensuing conversation the assassin says he has a personal message to deliver, and could he approach the official to convey it to him in a whisper. He is permitted to do so, whereupon he removes the official's eyeglasses, breaks the end off one of the earpieces and stabs the official in the neck, ripping a vein or artery & leaving the eyeglasses stuck in the guy's neck as he bleeds to death.

Still the TSA does nothing to identify explosives carried in body cavities, yet it is a known threat.

As for the explanation that simulated guns, grenades & other weapons have been used in the commission of crimes such as holdups, muggings, carjackings and other serious crimes, it is also the case that totally unarmed perps have committed such crimes by just SAYING they have a weapon, or sticking out a finger inside a coat pocket and SAYING they have a gun. It's an absurd argument.

An inert grenade, like an UNLOADED .44 Magnum handgun, is a highly-designed paperweight. Nothing more. This is just an excuse to steal the personal property of Americans who have the unfortunate desire to fly on airplanes these days.

At the VERY least, what is needed is a good, CHEAP mechanism for these items to be returned to their rightful owners, which decidedly is NOT the TSA--the TSA is a criminal enterprise engaged in property theft all day long. What must be put in place is a check system at the airport--banned items should be identified and checked in, held in a secure storage area, and available for return to the owner if they return to that airport--by far most flights by the average flyer is a round-trip journey. Even charge a fee for the service, like $2 for one item and no more than $5 for multiple items.

Airports & the TSA must also work with private shipping companies to provide a service to ship such confiscated items to the rightful owner. Oh, and NOT the $9 mailer that I've seen at airports like DIA, a huge RIPOFF.

Jason - NE said...

So I've been traveling at least 2 times a week and have yet to find a reason to carry any grenade, inert or otherwise. The reason TSA has the rules they do is because there are too many people with no common sense who say "I should be able to carry my fake grenade anywhere I want!". Although I don't disagree completely, I don't want it on my plane. Take a bus, train, car or walk just keep it somewhere my jumping out of the way doesn't end in a 30,000 foot plunge to my death.

Harry Breen said...

I find it staggering that in this day and age people can still make simple mistakes like this, and think it will be OK to travel with these items. Even if one has not flown before, I think knowledge like this is public domain enought to not carry something resembling a weapon, even if it is not real.

Well done on your research.

Deepak Singh said...

If you have any neighbors of Indian origin or who have spent at least 6 months in India, take some advice from them.

US citizens may be new to this "traveling under a possible threat" lifestyle but the Indians have been facing this for last 60 years.

TSA's Indian counterpart, the CISF are an elite security force and they won't let you in the premises without a double identity check along with a visitors ticket or a valid departure ticket. Also, if the name on the ticket and that on the credit card used for booking are different, a photocopy of the card is required by the airline to ensure that a passenger is traceable.

general etiquette on any Indian airport is: No needles, no weapons or their replicas in any material and scale whatsoever, and no liquids above 100 ml, including milk, contact lens cleaner & toothpaste. So if you have just bought that 355 ml Bosch & Lomb's ReNu bottle and it ends up in your cabin baggage, it is going to be trashed.

The objects which have caused me trouble in the past were rather hilarious : A pinewood replica of a Katana (a piece of art), A pack of Dry Pastel color sticks (most the pigments are zinc compounds ), my Wacom Tablet and it's stylus (No idea why), Spare battery packs for my Digi SLR (cam with one loaded battery is allowed, spare packs must be checked in), my old Nokia 2600 (seemed too worn out to the security staff), Guitar strings (they should have been checked in with the instrument), a USB hub and a CF card reader, an extra sim card (again no idea why), a superman logo projector (a small laser toy), and the funniest, a half smoked cigarette inside a cigarette pack.

And for those who haven't been to India recently. Frisking and bag checking is a mandatory procedure in all the shopping malls and cinemas as well. And, Delhi Metro service has exactly the same safety procedure as the international airport.

And that is fine with me because nobody wants to end up in Kandhar instead of Delhi every now and then, to be used as a bait to release those who enjoy killing innocent working class Indians.

This is a sad phase of the world for everyone and I hope it will get over soon, but till then, all we can do is to work with the TSA or CISF men and women & treat them as working class heroes ensuring that we safely reach our destinations.

For any policy that doesn't make sense to you or seems too paranoid, it's not them. They are just following orders. When you loose temper, you automatically become an obstruction to them if not a threat. For a genuine case of official misconduct, always keep a piece of paper and a pen, waste no time in arguments, and write down the situation as it is as quickly as possible.

The more civilized and careful an average passenger like you and me becomes, the more time and attention they can give to find the smugglers and anti-social elements.

As a personal habit, I look for an airport entrance where I see the senior most security officer checking identities. They are seasoned to handle the stress and often welcome you with a witty joke about your name or age or id pic or anything while checking your ID and directly look at you. That is a checking method for them and an assurance for me that I am well protected.

Peace.