Saturday, December 26, 2009

DHS Statement on Northwest Airlines Flight 253

I understand there are a lot of questions regarding the incident yesterday that occurred on a Northwest flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.

Due to an ongoing investigation, there is little I can say here on the blog, but you can go to to read the official DHS statement from Secretary Napolitano. I am also providing the statement below.


DHS Secretary Napolitano Statement on Northwest Flight 253
December 26, 20091:00 p.m. EST

"I am grateful to the passengers and crew aboard Northwest Flight 253 who reacted quickly and heroically to an incident that could have had tragic results. The Department of Homeland Security immediately put additional screening measures into place- for all domestic and international flights- to ensure the continued safety of the traveling public. We are also working closely with federal, state and local law enforcement on additional security measures, as well as our international partners on enhanced security at airports and on flights.

The American people should continue their planned holiday travel and, as always, be observant and aware of their surroundings and report any suspicious behavior or activity to law enforcement officials.

Passengers flying from international locations to U.S. destinations may notice additional security measures in place. These measures are designed to be unpredictable, so passengers should not expect to see the same thing everywhere. Due to the busy holiday travel season, both domestic and international travelers should allot extra time for check-in."


Blogger Bob

TSA Blog Team

***Update - 12/28/09***

Please visit for our current Q&As and any additional updates. The most recent Q&As are pasted below.

Q: What additional security measures is TSA taking domestically?

A: TSA has a layered approach to security that allows us to surge resources as needed on a daily basis. We have the ability to quickly implement additional screening measures including explosive detection canine teams, law enforcement officers, gate screening, behavior detection and other measures both seen and unseen. Passengers should not expect to see the same thing at every airport.

Q: What additional security measures are being taken for international flights to U.S. destinations?

A: TSA issued a directive for additional security measures to be implemented for last point of departure international flights to the United States. Passengers flying into the United States from abroad can expect to see additional security measures at international airports such as increased gate screening including pat-downs and bag searches. During flight, passengers may be asked to follow flight crew instructions, such as stowing personal items, turning off electronic equipment and remaining seated during certain portions of the flight.

Q: Do passengers need to do anything differently to prepare for checkpoint security procedures? Has anything changed in terms of what passengers can bring in their carry-on or checked bags?

A: At this time, security checkpoint requirements for passengers departing U.S. airports remain the same. Passengers do not need to do anything differently, but they may notice additional security measures at the airport.

Q: Should passengers plan to arrive at airports earlier than normal?

A: Passengers traveling within the United States should give themselves extra time to check in and proceed through the security checkpoint before their flight, especially during the busy holiday travel season. TSA advises that passengers traveling on international flights to U.S. destinations allow extra time for security and arrive an additional hour earlier.

Q: How long will these measures remain in place?

A: TSA will continuously review these measures to ensure the highest levels of security.


Blogger Bob

TSA Blog Team

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays 2009

T'was the night before travel and all through the suitcase,
Not an item was stirring not even the toothpaste.

The stockings were packed in the bag with great care,
With hopes that they soon would be in the air.

The tickets were nestled all snug in a binder,
Your PDA calendar set as a reminder.

Awaking to a yard of frost and snow,
With a grab of your bags you were soon on the go.

At your gate just in time with moments to spare,
Your seat reclined as you glide through the air.

You fall right to sleep as in your own bed,
While visions of fruitcakes danced in your head.

Awaking to sounds of wheels on the ground,
Waiting for luggage you hope will be found.

You have finally arrived at your destination,
It's time to enjoy your holiday vacation.

Happy Holidays and we'll see you in 2010.

Blogger Bob

TSA Blog Team

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Update on Standard Operating Procedures

I published a blog post yesterday on the outdated, unclassified version of a Standard Operating Procedures document that was posted by the agency. It was improperly posted to the Federal Business Opportunities Web site wherein redacted information was not properly protected.‪‪ Once we were made aware of the situation, it was immediately taken down from the Web site and a full review by TSA’s Office of Inspection was initiated.

TSA takes full responsibility for this improper posting and all individuals who may have been involved have been placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the review.

This document was not the everyday screening manual used by Transportation Security Officers at airport checkpoints. Thorough analysis has determined the flying public and aviation community are safe and our systems are secure. TSA is confident that screening procedures in place remain strong.

Blogger Bob

TSA Blog Team

Monday, December 7, 2009

TSA Response to Leaked Standard Operating Procedures

TSA has learned that an outdated version of our Standard Operating Procedures document had been improperly posted to the Federal Business Opportunities Web site. TSA took swift action to remove the document when this was discovered.

The version of the document that was posted was neither implemented nor issued to the workforce. In fact, there have been six newer versions of the document since this version was drafted. Standard Operating Procedures change regularly as intelligence provides information on new threats and we find better ways improve security.

A full review is now underway to ensure proper procedures are followed in the future.

TSA has many layers of security in place to keep the traveling public safe, and we are confident that the screening procedures we currently have put in place remain strong.

Blogger Bob

TSA Blog Team

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What Was She Thinking? A True Thanksgiving Tale

Each Thanksgiving travel season, there are stories that range from slightly odd to truly bizarre. This year was no exception.

On November 25th, a female called the Miami-Dade Police with information about a bomb aboard an American Airlines flight from Miami to Honduras. The police also received an e-mail saying there was a bomb on the same flight.

All bomb threats are taken seriously, and the police department and TSA conducted searches of the plane. The flight was delayed by about four hours. No bomb was found on the plane, and after it was cleared by law enforcement authorities, the flight left for Honduras.

Most of us know that e-mails can be traced, but apparently not everyone does. Law enforcement authorities traced the bomb threat e-mail back to a woman who told them that she made the claims because she was late for work and was concerned that her tardiness would cause her boss to be late for his flight. Apparently, she made the threats to buy him some time. Here’s a link to the local media coverage.

As strange as this sounds, it’s not the first time something like this has happened. I’ve seen other reports of people calling in bomb threats when they’re running late for their flights to keep the plane on the ground until they get there. We’ve also had more than a few people say “what if there’s a bomb in my bag?” when they get to the gate too late to board their flight and want to get their checked bag back. Besides being incredibly selfish, it’s illegal, and when caught, these folks are arrested and face hefty fines.


TSA Blog Team