Friday, August 13, 2010

Talk To TSA Response: Are Liquids Really A Threat? Why 3-1-1?

Talk to TSA Banner
After reading many of the great questions that have come in to "Talk to TSA" I think the best one to start off with is a commonly asked one: are liquids still a threat? The short answer is yes. I can appreciate how someone might wonder why their bottle of water is considered a threat. Having worked at the FBI back in 2006 when the UK liquids plot was disrupted, I understand why TSA’s procedures are in place. To answer your question, I’m going to tell you as much as I can about why the 3-1-1 liquids rule is necessary without getting into classified information.

On August, 10 2006, I was serving as the Deputy Director at the FBI. The FBI worked closely with other US Intelligence Community agencies and our close partners in the UK to disrupt the plot to blow up several airliners flying from the UK to the US. I know of the real and present threat those terrorists posed using chemicals disguised as everyday consumer items such as sodas and water. If undetected, I believe there is a high likelihood the terrorists would have killed hundreds of people that day. That's why we limit the amount of liquids you can bring on a plane.

The challenge with liquids and the vulnerability that terrorists tried to exploit in August 2006 is that liquid explosives don't look any different than regular liquids on the X-ray monitor. There is no way to tell one from the other without removing every liquid from every passenger's bag and testing it. I'm sure you could imagine the gridlock that would ensue if our officers had to test every liquid that came through the checkpoint. This led to an immediate ban on all liquids on August 10, 2006 because of the threat that was uncovered. Extensive testing started immediately to determine if there was a way liquids could be brought on board without posing a risk, because the total ban wasn't sustainable in the long term. These tests were conducted by multiple government agencies, national laboratories and other nations, and the end result was the 3-1-1 formulation: 3.4 ounce (100ml) containers, inside a 1-quart clear, plastic zip-top bag, 1 bag per passenger.
The sealed baggie limits the total volume of liquid per passenger and keeps all the liquids in one place so officers can get a good look at them.

Some have speculated on the possibility that several passengers each carrying a baggie full of 3.4 oz. bottles full of liquid explosives could all go through the checkpoint and combine their liquids in a larger bottle. That's a reasonable question. It's easy to dismiss 3-1-1 if you don't understand why this scenario is highly unlikely. Liquid explosives are extremely volatile and it was the general consensus of top explosives experts that it would be nearly impossible to create a successful explosive combining a small amount of liquids in a larger container on an airplane.

We understand that 3-1-1 is an inconvenience. But it's also an inconvenience to terrorists and significantly drops their chances of getting a liquid explosive on an airplane. The liquids rule continues to be a necessary step because current intelligence shows that liquids are still a threat, and until TSA has the technology to screen liquids at checkpoints, the only other alternative is to ban all liquids. We're not going to do that. TSA is getting closer to finalizing upgraded software for X-rays that will allow liquids to be screened. Until this happens, we will continue with 3-1-1 to keep you safe when you fly.

In the meantime, please continue using the 3-1-1 liquids rule, or put your liquids in your checked baggage.

I hope this has answered your questions on whether or not liquids are a threat and why we require the baggie.

John S. Pistole
TSA Administrator

123 comments:

Anonymous said...

So if liquids are such a threat why are we the only country that has restrictions in place? The only time any country has liquid restrictions are the ones forced on them for flights going to the United States. England dropped the restrictions and they were the point of origin for the plot.

Anonymous said...

If liquids are such a threat please explain how the TSA screens the tens of thousands of bottles of soda, water, and other beverages that are sold in airports?

Anonymous said...

In addition to the 2 previous comments, if they're such a threat then why are all water bottles, etc.. just put in a big bin at the security checkpoint?

Anonymous said...

Further, if liquids are such a threat, why is the threat disposed of without care or consideration in waste bins near the checkpoint? Surely explosive liquids disposed in such a way would pose a threat to at least as many people as a liquid bomb on a plane would.

Jack said...

Because terrorists would never think to pack ten 3-oz bottles of a dangerous liquid into the quart size baggie and then meet up with their other terrorist buddies who each also have 30 oz of nitroglycerin.

If we've learned anything from previous terror plots, it is that terrorists work alone.

Jack said...

By the way, I carried a 20 oz bottle of liquid through the security checkpoint only last month... right behind some lady who carried her bottle of water right on through right in her hand!

You guys are completely useless. You serve no other purpose than to make naive people feel secure, and I don't even think you do a great job of doing that.

Your first failure is apparent right when you walk up to the checkpoint and find out that the TSA assumes that criminals/terrorists are not able create fake IDs. Heck... I can name you 50 people from my class back in high school alone that had fake IDs.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous... with regards to your question about screening the ones sold in airports... I've seen it done. They go through the security checkpoint and through the x-ray machine.

Yes, the same x-ray machine that Pistole said can't scan YOUR liquids. Apparently the ones sold in the airport are special scannable liquids that we are not able to buy.

One last point.. I think it's funny that you guys are claiming that a SOFTWARE upgrade will improve the way an X-RAY machine works... what it can scan for, etc.

I'm installing a software upgrade to my refrigerator that will cook the food for me before I take it out. Pretty excited about it.

A. Librarian said...

If liquids are such a threat, why are these possibly volatile chemicals thrown into one bin at the checkpoint, where they might mix together to form an explosive or poison substance? Doesn't OSHA prescribe specific rules for disposing of dangerous chemicals in the workplace? Does TSA follow these rules for disposal?

Steve said...

"So if liquids are such a threat why are we the only country that has restrictions in place? The only time any country has liquid restrictions are the ones forced on them for flights going to the United States. England dropped the restrictions and they were the point of origin for the plot."

Well that is just not true. England still has the restrictions and so have the rest of the countries in the EU.http://bit.ly/a0CCMp , http://bit.ly/bkqOZ9

RB said...

Anonymous said...
If liquids are such a threat please explain how the TSA screens the tens of thousands of bottles of soda, water, and other beverages that are sold in airports?

August 13, 2010 8:35 PM
..................
I have personally observed vendors rolling carts loaded with liquids right past the xray and screeners, all without a second look from anyone.

TSA's liquids policy is just more bs making air travel the least desirable means of travel.

RB said...

Anonymous said...
If liquids are such a threat please explain how the TSA screens the tens of thousands of bottles of soda, water, and other beverages that are sold in airports?

August 13, 2010 8:35 PM
................
If these liquids are such a threat then why are aircrew exempt from these same regulations?

Why does TSA violate EPA hazardous waste storage and disposal regulations by combining unknown and possibly explosive liquids in common trash containers.

RB said...

When will TSA update the signage and audio annoucements in airports to reflect 3.4 oz/100 ml instead of the current 3 oz signs and audio messages?

Seems like TSA could provide correct information to the public.

DIRNSA Briefer said...

A political appointee wrote -- or a staff member wrote for him: "...current intelligence shows that liquids are still a threat..."

I'll remind you what a non-retired director of the NSA (DIRNSA) told me during a 1-1 meeting with him at his Pentagon office back in the mid-90s: "The threat community never met a threat they didn't like."

If you don't get it, the retired three-start had little respect for people who invented and perpetuated non-credible threats.

And, I know you know him.

Anonymous said...

Nice try but we're not buying it at all.

Anonymous said...

So liquid explosives are extremely volatile, eh? So why are the confiscated liquids dumped into a garbage can? Seems to me that if a liquid is extremely volatile (your words), that disposing of it in the manner done at checkpoints should sometimes result in unpleasant chemical reactions(fires, explosions, containers melting through,etc). Why hasn't this occured?

Jack said...

They don't have answers to these questions. Just like they don't have the answer to why 3.4 oz of liquid is safe and 4.0 oz id dangerous.

Gunner said...

Sorry Mr. Director, your answer was nothing more than a parroting of the (failed) party line.

Strike One.

avxo said...

Well, it's nice to hear from you. And to hear you addressing such a hot-button issue to boot.

I have two questions (which aren't novel -- they've been asked before):

Why, if the liquids are so volatile, are they disposed of in a manner consistent with the faux product label?

How many ounces or baggies of liquid explosives has the TSA confiscated from terrorists over the last month? Over the last 6 months? Over the last year? Since the program's inception?

Cerulean Bill said...

Good lord. That actually makes sense.

Anonymous said...

TSA doesn't have the time, talent, expertise, or even an interest in resolving the safe liquids issue in a traveler friendly manner. Really.

They picked an easy solution that wouldn't strain their employees- throw everything out, and quickly realized that they needed to compromise with 3-1-1, or face the probability that no one would fly. If they throw everything out, everyone gets angry. If you take exception to the mind numbing stupidity of tossing out harmless items, you get harassed further.

It is sad but hardly surprising that this solution is the very best answer that anyone at TSA could come up with.

Adrian said...

"I believe there is a high likelihood the terrorists would have killed hundreds of people that day."

Which day are you referring to? The alleged and convicted conspirators were supposedly still in the planning stages.

Terrorists have wanted to (and tried to) use liquid explosives for decades before the limits went into effect. One was actually detonated on a flight, killing one passenger in the mid 1990s. Why didn't we overreact then?

Most explosives come in solid form, and there have been far more terrorist attacks using solid explosives. Why don't we limit the amount of solids through the checkpoint?

The UK plot involving liquid explosives also depended upon a second (solid) explosive/detonator disguised as a AA battery. Why haven't we banned all batteries from flights? Can the X-ray machine tell the difference between a real Duracell and an explosive wrapped to look like one?

The UK plot may not have actually been targeting airplanes. Many of the convicted have claimed that the plan was to detonate a small, non-lethal explosive in the airport, not on an airplane. Indeed, NONE of the accused conspirators had plane tickets. Many did not even have passports. Even with liquid limitations, you could still carry out such at plot at the checkpoint, or before it at the ticketing or baggage claim areas. Since liquid explosives are so volatile, this would be much easier than (and just as effective as) setting them off on a plane.

I'd still love to see an open, peer-reviewed study into the feasibility of the plot. Science conducted in secret isn't science.

The fact of the matter is, that solid or liquid, explosives require a detonator. Detonators are hard to get through the checkpoint because they look funny on x-rays and they set off the metal detectors. Some may even be detected by the random residue testing. That's a big reason why Mr. Sizzlypants failed last Christmas. That is a security success. We don't need absurd restrictions on liquids. (We also don't need to waste hundreds of millions of dollars on privacy-invading whole-body imaging machines.) The only reason this stupidity isn't undone, is that nobody wants to admit it was stupid.

Anonymous said...

lol. looking at the responses on here it doesnt matter what mr pisotle would say it wouldnt make a difference. on the other blog people are so upset that he isnt answering their questions and now that he is, it isnt good enough. he is trying to give you answers and you throw it right back in his face because the info provided isnt good enough. so why should he attempt to answer any of the others when you all know the answers already. the people that should be upset at the way liquids are disposed of are the tsa people. however, they are "untrained, arrogant, and unprofessional" therefore who cares about them. they are trying to do things the best that they can based on the regs that their bosses have put forth. i am all for taking large liquids but they will have to be screened some way so that means longer lines, put them in your checked luggage. i am curious to the response on here if the liquids rule was recinded and a liquid explosive was used on a plane? liquid explosives have been used, google bojinka and you will see it, thats validation enough for me.

Anonymous said...

jack said
"Because terrorists would never think to pack ten 3-oz bottles of a dangerous liquid into the quart size baggie and then meet up with their other terrorist buddies who each also have 30 oz of nitroglycerin"
i would like you to try and carry 1oz oz of nitroglycerin and see if you can take 5 steps without losing an appendage.

Anonymous said...

So it has taken Mr Pistole One month to attempt to answer one question - can we assume he will attempt to answer one further question per month? It would takes years and years to answer even a small number of questions at this rate. It would make far more sense to just quickly answer the questions, most could be answered in a matter of minutes, not years,so why prevaricate like this?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Pistole, we know as well as you do that everything you just said is a lie. That said, if you're going to insist on this charade, can you at least post accurate signage? The policy is 3.4-1-1, not 3-1-1. Please tell the truth about the policy itself, even if you're going to continue lying about the justifications for it.

Anonymous said...

"Liquid explosives are extremely volatile and it was the general consensus of top explosives experts that it would be nearly impossible to create a successful explosive combining a small amount of liquids in a larger container on an airplane. "

I am guessing that Mr. Pistole did not in fact read the answers prepared for him, because this statement is the most laughable thing I've read in quite a while.

Anonymous said...

"Extensive testing started immediately to determine if there was a way liquids could be brought on board without posing a risk, because the total ban wasn't sustainable in the long term. "

Extensive testing? Really? In just a few days? Pull the other one.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Pistole, one simple question I know you won't answer: Did the London plotters have in their possession a liquid explosive? Answer yes or no.

Anonymous said...

Please share details of the "extensive analysis" you claim took place in just a few days to come up with your idiotic 3.4-1-1 policy.

Anonymous said...

If, as you claim, liquids present such a threat, why are TSA screeners and airline employees not subject to the liquid restrictions?

Bubba said...

It makes no sense to limit a state of matter. Explosives can be solids. Why not limit solids? Instead of the stupid baggie, how about testing for explosives and getting over this mindless show of force?

Meanwhile, I'm still waiting for an answer to that Nature (the top scientific journal in the World) article saying there is no science behind the SPOT program.

Anonymous said...

As a scientist, I'd like to see the quatitative, replicative data that led to 3-1-1, preferably performed by a regulated, trusted agency such as NSF or NIST.

Ronnie said...

First of all, thank you, Mr. Pistole, for taking time to try to address some of the questions we hear every day. But as you can see, even though you have done your best to provide an answer to one of the most often asked questions, it will never be enough for the public. Now you see what we have to put up with? I wish you much luck in your new post as you try to lead us forward. And again, thank you.

Ronnie
TSO DEN

Anonymous said...

Ronnie said...
First of all, thank you, Mr. Pistole, for taking time to try to address some of the questions we hear every day. But as you can see, even though you have done your best to provide an answer to one of the most often asked questions, it will never be enough for the public. Now you see what we have to put up with?
Ronnie
TSO DEN

**********
First of all, thank you, Mr. Pistole, for taking time to try to address some of the questions we have every day. But as you can see, even though you have done your best to provide an answer to one of the most often asked questions, it will never be enough for the public. Because your reply is a standard PR response anyone can give. But fails to address any of the underlying problems. Now do you see what we have to put up with?

Anonymous said...

"We understand that 3-1-1 is an inconvenience".

We understand that 3-1-1 is a ruse. To get passengers to buy $2.90 bottles of water airside.

And as for the "intelligence" regarding liquid explosives, surely Mr. Pistole (of all people, having come from the FBI) should realize that intelligence is what he's looking for, not what his agency has?

Anonymous said...

I believe that a large majority of United States citizens used to have dellusions of our country's invincibility and their personal entitlement, just like what I see being posted here....right up unitl 9/11/2001. It is truly sad and amazing that most citizens have slipped back to that state of mind once again. If you want to defnd your country and attempt to make changes YOU deem necessary to truly keep our country safe, join a military service or apply for an agency within the Department of Homeland Security. Otherwise, I think I'd rather you just say thank you to everyone that actively defends our nation everyday and let it go at that. And please do not passively denigrate the memory of those we lost on 9/11/2001 by slamming the TSA every chance you get just because you can't take your precious beverage (or whatever) through security and you feel you should be entitled to take whatever you please on your flight. The officers that I know take their job very seriously and try to do it to the best of their ability just to keep YOU safe. An old cliche comes to mind and seems to fit in this situation. "We'll defend them keep them and keep them safe...wether they like it or not."---Semper Vigilare

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
I believe that a large majority of United States citizens used to have dellusions of our country's invincibility and their personal entitlement, just like what I see being posted here........ An old cliche comes to mind and seems to fit in this situation. "We'll defend them keep them and keep them safe...wether they like it or not."---Semper Vigilare
*********
I believe that a growing percentage of United States Government employees have the delusion and personal entitlement that they should be allowed to make decisions regarding the security of this country without any oversight from American citizens. Our history is rife with examples of these failures; 110,000 American citizens were placed in prison camps during WWII because they were of Japanese descent and they lost everything they owned in the process, thousands of American citizens lives and livelihoods were destroyed by Sen. Joseph McCarthy, J. Edgar Hoover turned the FBI into an American version of the Stasi, and most recently the warrantless wiretapping program. It is truly sad and amazing that many government employees have slipped back to that state of mind once again.

Now we are supposed to take what the TSA tells us at face value? An old cliché comes to mind and seems to fit this situation. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? “Who guards the guards”, or as it is more commonly referred to as “who watches the watchmen.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps, the new director should put on a pair of jean, t-shirt, get an overnight bag and go on a road trip and see what others experience first hand at the hands of his minions. Might be an eye opener for him. Seriously doubt any of the employees would recognize him out of a suit.

Anonymous said...

I have to travel for several weeks and need to bring at least 6 sets of contacts in their sterile unopened pouches. There is a drop of liquid in each contact lens container. Do they need to go in my quart sized bag?

Anonymous said...

I think it would a good idea for the Administrator to play "Undercover Boss". As for no oversight by the American people. Yes, we most certainly do. It is known as our elected officials. Congress (that we elected), especially, has direct oversight of TSA. Don't like the way any of the elected officials do business? Don't reelect them. Also, as I recall, the people of the U.S. complained loudly enough and TSA reversed its policy on no lighters. If neither solution pleases you, then I am afraid that there is noone and nothing that will be able to assauge your paranoia. I have a feeling that you might have been one of the first to demand of the government, "What are you going to do to protect us???" right after 9/11. Please make it easy on the rest of us and choose which side of the fence you want to be on.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 8/15 5:52 PM

I never said "What are you going to do to protect us!" My first thought, once the immediacy of the tragedy had passed and the "what's next?" portion began, was to wonder what restrictions on our Constitutional freedoms, especially those conferred upon us by the 4th and 5th Amendments, would occur. Unfortunately, my fears at the time were correct.

As for changing the rules, they're politicians first, representatives second. And the second someone thinks about proposing the rules be changed, DHS and the TSA are before Congress talking about the death and destruction that will rain upon us if the rules are changed. So the rules stay the same.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone in the TSA even _bothered_ to go look at Narita International Airport's optical water bottle checker? It's in international arrival customs checkpoint. When you fly in, and you go through Japanese security, you will see it right next to their metal detector. TSA might, just might, want to check it out. That is unless the 'Not Invented Here' or 'No Kick-backs offered by manufacturer' rules for TSA operations are in effect.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Pistole thanks for taking the time to actually post here. What would have helped strengthen TSA and your case for why we need the 311 Rule to remain in place is INDEPENDENT proof that the 'liquid bomb plot' was indeed a viable plan and could have caused significant damage to either people on a plane or the plane itself.

Without this independent prof the 311 rule just appears to be a knee jerk rule in response to a plot that was still in the plaining stages and a means to show the public that the TSA is doing something.

Ayn R. Key said...

part 1

Oh my god, I cannot believe that Mr. Pistole started off with his first "information" post by destroying his credibility. Seriously, he means to tell us that liquids are "still" a threat?

First of all, the question wasn't "are liquids still a threat" but "are liquids a threat". The word "still" is a deceptive addition to the question designed to lead the reader into thinking that there was a mythical time long ago when liquids were actually a threat when that mythical time never existed. We've already dissected every TSA talking point on this, and have come to the conclusion that there is no scientific basis for considering the liquid threat the way you do. There is a bureaucratic reason for saying liquids are the threat you say they are.

Yes, we are familiar with the 2006 plot, where they never got past the "gee this would be neat" stage. Hauling that old chestnut out does little to support your case. You cannot tell us what liquid explosive they planned to use, since they hadn't gotten to the point of figuring that one out themselves. Nor had they purchased airline tickets. Nor had the acquired funding for any aspect of their plot.

Your admission that standard liquid explosives are extremely volatile is quite telling. You use that to counter the asserstion that terrorists could pool their resources. IT DOESN'T COUNTER ANYTHING the way you use it. If they're planning on blowing themselves up, I'm pretty sure they won't mind that it is a little risky to pour several small bottles of explosives into one big bottle.

Ayn R. Key said...

part 2

But you ducked the fact that the liquid you are protecting us from can only be brewed at Hogwarts Academy for Wizards and Witches. That is because due to TSA explanation, there are two possible liquid bombs that you are protecting us from.

1. The pre-mixed liquid bomb must be invisible to explosive detection and safe enough to transport to the airport.
2. The binary un-mixed liquid bomb must have all components insivible to explosive detection and simple enough to mix in the airport.

All the characteristics must be present, don't say "nitro-glycerine" and leave out the detecatbility issue.

But suppose your magic liquid does exist. I'm willing to make that assumption for the sake of argument, because that assumption proves you know your magic liquid doesn't exist. How can I tell? Because you throw all liquids into the non-hazardous general trash bin. As has been pointed out by someone else on this blog (I am glad someone else pointed it out because now I can quote it without being put on the NFL for stating it) all you need is one pax with a bottle of ammonia and another pax with a bottle of bleach. Next thing you know you have a chemical attack at the checkpoint. Your rule just makes everything less safe.

Anonymous said...

>>> "That's why we limit the amount of liquids you can bring on a plane."

You're not limiting the amount we can bring on a plane. You're limiting the amount we can bring through the TSA checkpoint.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, did you seriously say that "liquid explosives" are a) stable enough to carry around in large quanitities and b) too volatile to be combined from small containers into a larger one?

George said...

First, I want to thank Mr Pistole for taking the time from his busy schedule to respond to a long-standing question. The response is the same public relations "trust us" response we've consistently heard from the TSA since 2006, but that's beside the point. The fact that he responded indicates that he is aware of the credibility problem his agency has. Awareness doesn't necessarily mean he will take action beyond the TSA's standard approach of ignoring or spinning away all criticism. But acknowledging a problem is at least a prerequisite to correcting it.

The real problem with the liquid restrictions is that the TSA's visible actions are inconsistent with their claims that liquids are a threat. We can all clearly see when a TSO finds an oversized bottle, they simply toss it into an ordinary trash with other confiscated containers. When the trash can gets full, janitors carry them off the dumpster. There are none of the precautions normally associated with hazardous material. There's no sign that anyone at the TSA is the least bit worried about having all those bottles of "hazardous" liquids in constant proximity to valuable screening equipment and personnel (never mind the passengers).

There's a disconnect here. The TSA can endlessly cite their (conveniently classified) studies proving both the danger of liquids and the effectiveness of 3-1-1 as reason we should trust them. But how can anyone who sees for themselves how the TSA actually treats confiscated "hazardous" liquids at checkpoints believe any of the TSA's claims? Even a few seconds of thought compels one of two conclusions: Either the TSA takes an incompetently cavalier attitude toward their equipment and employees by constantly exposing them to hazardous confiscated liquids, or the TSA is lying about the danger of liquids. Neither conclusion inspires any credibility or respect.

The "last straw" for me in destroying any credibility about the liquid restrictions was something I witnessed a few years ago. I had to wait at a checkpoint as someone put about a dozen boxes of water bottles through the x-ray scanner, as the officer running the scanner peered intently at the images on the screen. Of course, I had a mighty struggle keeping my mouth shut to avoid asking the inevitable question, even though nobody made any attempt to conceal it. But when I was finished with my screening, a quick look at the concessionaire's stall revealed the very same brand of water, confirming my suspicion. If x-ray screening is apparently adequate to assure the TSA that bottles sold by concessionaires at extortionate prices are safe, why can't we bring our own?

The disconnect between what we see at checkpoints and what you insist that we believe is a large part of the reason so many of us don't trust the TSA and don't believe you do anything more than hassle us and waste a lot of our time and money. You seem to expect us to practice some kind of Orwellian "doublethink." You expect us to ignore the inept and inconsistent security theatre show we can see every time we fly. You also expect us to ignore the GAO's audit findings. And you expect us to trust you unquestioningly, and somehow Believe that behind the curtain of secrecy there's a highly competent, highly effective organization that's protecting aviation.

I'm sorry, Mr Pistole, but if that's what you really believe there's no reason we should pay any attention to the (new) man behind the curtain.

Ayn R. Key said...

Anonymous wrote:
I'm sorry, did you seriously say that "liquid explosives" are a) stable enough to carry around in large quanitities and b) too volatile to be combined from small containers into a larger one?

Yes, it does appear that is exactly what he said. Good catch.

But they're not worried about facts, this is a spin piece.

Anonymous said...

I love how all the nay-sayers are questioning the former deputy director of the FBI. haha. You give Barney the Dinosaur more crediblity than one of the top officials of the FBI. You're all hopeless. The man has more expertise/experience than all of you put together, and you STILL doubt. Unbelievable...

Ponter said...

"...I’m going to tell you as much as I can about why the 3-1-1 liquids rule is necessary without getting into classified information."

Mr. Pistole has given me an essential epiphany, which I'd like to share with the community.

You see, the mere mention of Classified Information is sufficient to imbue any statement from the TSA with unassailable TRVTH. Classified Information is, by definition, Important to National Security. That means it is Unquestionably Authoritative, and therefore constitutes an absolute basis for us to have Complete Unquestioning Trust in anything associated with it.

Any statement from a TSA official includes the phrase "Classified Information" is TRVTH. And because everything the TSA does is based on Classified Information, we must therefore have complete and unquestioning faith in the TSA. Everything they do is all necessary and effective. We believe that because that statement is based on Classified Information.

The problem is that too many Americans have not yet been conditioned to understand that when they hear the word "Classified," it is a cue to cease any complaining or questioning and to Believe. Above all it is a cue to stop all thinking, and to immediately have blind unquestioning Faith in that which is Classified.

As Mr. Pistole would surely agree, the TSA and the public have specifically defined roles in the Global War on Terror. The role of the TSA is to do all the thinking and understanding, based on robust classified intelligence, and to translate that into classified rules and procedures that keep us safe. The role of the public is to OBEY those rules and procedures by unquestioning adherence to what the TSA tells us! When everyone understand this and adheres to their roles, Victory will be that much closer!

For there are no things that we can know and Believe more clearly than those whose reasons must remain unknown to us for National Security reasons. And there is no more Certainty than TRVTH based on Classified Information.

Anonymous said...

"nearly impossible to create a successful explosive combining a small amount of liquids in a larger container on an airplane."

Would this be due to the turbulence and small quarters on the airplane? Because there's an area before the plane with a lot more space and as stable as the earth itself, the airport restroom. Just a thought...

Isaac Newton said...

Anonymous pointed out:
I'm sorry, did you seriously say that "liquid explosives" are a) stable enough to carry around in large quanitities and b) too volatile to be combined from small containers into a larger one?

Yes, he did indeed say that. And as pointed out, these liquids are also stable enough to safely throw into a trashcan at the checkpoint and later empty into a garbage truck to take to the dump.

You just can't make this stuff up.

Kat said...

First of all, thank you, Mr. Pistole, for taking time to try to address some of the questions we hear every day. But as you can see, even though you have done your best to provide an answer to one of the most often asked questions, it will never be enough for the public. Now you see what we have to put up with? I wish you much luck in your new post as you try to lead us forward. And again, thank you.

Ron,

I have always approached the check point with the notion that TSOs have a job to do, and that it's part of flying. Unfortunately, the vast majority of TSOs whom I encounter appear to consider it their duty to harass any special needs person who comes along.

It is not my choice to carry all the food I need with me. It is medical necessity.

Yet I cannot get any straight answers from the TSA on how to approach this. I am told that I am allowed to bring "reasonable quantities" -- but "reasonable" is determined by the mood of the TSO on duty, not by my medical requirements.

The TSA thus practices medicine without a license.

In fact, a TSO told me that it was useless to get a certificate from my doctor "because anyone could forge one of those."

The TSA refuses to post accurate information on signs and to announce accurate in formation in their audio bulletins -- the 3 ounce vs. 3.4 ounces issue. (I have posted this question twice and have not received an answer.)

The TSA refuses to answer my questions about what I am to do when confronted at the check point with my medically required food in 3.4 ounce containers and a TSO points to the sign and orders me to throw my food out.

The TSA considers themselves above Health Board regulations. Health Board regulations require sanitary procedures when handling food. The TSA only adopts them if the passenger asks -- and the passenger is frequently subject to retaliatory action for asking.

I have no desire to be nasty, or to make the job of any TSO more difficult.

But I frankly do not feel that it is unreasonable of me to expect the TSA to have accurate, comprehensible information available, with guidelines I can actually follow so that my travel goes smoothly.

In short, I expect the TSA of 2010 and beyond to act with the courtesy and consideration of the TSA of 2002, when I first began flying with my current restrictions. The TSOs I encountered then were polite, friendly, and helpful.

Sadly, that is not the case now.

Kat said...

Ron said: But as you can see, even though you have done your best to provide an answer to one of the most often asked questions, it will never be enough for the public. Now you see what we have to put up with?

Ron,

I approach the check point assuming TSOs have a job to do. The vast majority of TSOs appear to consider it their duty to harass any special needs person who comes along.

It is not my choice to carry all the food I need with me. It is medical necessity.

TSA will not give straight answers on how to approach this. I am told I am allowed to bring "reasonable quantities" -- but "reasonable" is determined by the mood of the TSO on duty, not by my medical requirements.

TSA thus practices medicine without a license.

A TSO told me it was useless to get a doctor's certificate "because anyone could forge one."

The TSO refuses to post and announce accurate information -- the 3 ounce vs. 3.4 ounces issue.

The TSO refuses to answer my questions about what I am to do at the check point with my medically required food in 3.4 ounce containers and a TSO who points to the sign and orders me to throw my food out.

The TSA considers themselves above Health Board regulations which require sanitary procedures when handling food. TSA only adopts them if the passenger asks -- and the passenger is frequently subject to retaliatory action for asking.

I have no desire to make the job of any TSO more difficult.

But I expect the TSA to provide accurate, comprehensible information with guidelines I can actually follow.

In short, I expect the TSA of 2010 and beyond to act with the courtesy and consideration of the TSA of 2002, when I first began flying with my current restrictions. The TSOs I encountered then were polite, friendly, and helpful.

Sadly, that is not the case now.

HappyToHelp said...

Anonymous said...
“I have to travel for several weeks and need to bring at least 6 sets of contacts in their sterile unopened pouches. There is a drop of liquid in each contact lens container. Do they need to go in my quart sized bag?”

If it is only a drop of liquid, then you shouldn’t have any problems leaving your unopened pouches outside of your 3-1-1 bag.

Tim
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

"If it is only a drop of liquid, then you shouldn’t have any problems leaving your unopened pouches outside of your 3-1-1 bag."

But you then again may, since TSA screeners are empowered to make up any rule they want for any (or no) reason at all!

Jim Huggins said...

HappyToHelp writes:

If it is only a drop of liquid, then you shouldn’t have any problems leaving your unopened pouches outside of your 3-1-1 bag.


Notice the strategic use of the word "shouldn't".

In plain English, the response is really as follows:

"The rules say you can bring your items through without difficulty. But any TSO on duty can override the rules and deny you access to any of your possessions, arbitrarily and unpredictably."

Anonymous said...

Kat,

Google: TSA Nadine Hayes.

You will find it relevant and informative.

It may save you a lot of trouble, an arrest and a fine.

George said...

Anonymous (August 16, 2010 4:36 PM): I love how all the nay-sayers are questioning the former deputy director of the FBI. haha. You give Barney the Dinosaur more crediblity than one of the top officials of the FBI. You're all hopeless. The man has more expertise/experience than all of you put together, and you STILL doubt.

That's an interesting assumption, that anyone who holds a high position in a law enforcement or security agency is somehow automatically entitled to respect and trust. That seems to be the basis under which the TSA insists that we trust them, even in the face of apparently overwhelming evidence that we should neither trust nor respect them.

I'm willing to give Mr. Pistole the benefit of the doubt, given his recent appointment and his experience with the FBI (an agency, I should note, that is not known for respecting civil liberties and privacy). However, the post to which we are responding is nothing more than a rerun of the very same justification and defense of the War on Liquids that has been offered ever since those (anonymous) "explosive experts" first unveiled it. It adds nothing new to the discussion, and does nothing to address the longstanding concerns. It's nothing more than the TSA's all-purpose refrain of "That's classified, so you'll have to trust us." So you might forgive those of us who doubted the TSA before to continue doubting. It doesn't look like anything will change.

It's probably unfair to judge the new TSA administrator by one post on his agency's propaganda blog. But that post doesn't do much to give us hope that he'll bring any beneficial change to an agency that has earned an unfortunate reputation with the traveling public. So far, it sounds like he's committed to staying the course.

But that's not surprising. As you probably know, President Obama has had a lot of trouble finding a candidate for TSA administrator who could survive the Senate appointment process. Mr. Pistole was his third try. So I would expect him to take the appropriately safe, low-profile approach of maintaining business as usual, with an emphasis on ensuring that every bottom at the TSA is securely covered.

(And by the way, I think Barney the Dinosaur does have more credibility than the TSA. Annoying as Barney is, at least he doesn't consider his audience an enemy who needs to be "engaged" with lies and deception.)

Ponter said...

@Jim Huggins: "The rules say you can bring your items through without difficulty. But any TSO on duty can override the rules and deny you access to any of your possessions, arbitrarily and unpredictably."

Important correction: It may appear that TSOs are "arbitrarily and unpredictably overriding the rules." But that's not the case at all. One key to the highly effective protection the TSA provides is TSOs who continually adapt their carefully calibrated responses to the very latest robust intelligence. The threat from sophisticated enemies determined to kill Americans constantly changes, and the TSA's robust intelligence monitoring ensures a precise and sophisticated response that is always one step ahead of the evolving threat.

In this environment, it is not possible to have fixed, predictable "rules" that can be known to passengers, as that would mean the Enemy would know them too and take advantage of them to kill Americans! To provide the optimal balance of passenger convenience and protection from an evolving threat, the TSA provides guidelines for passengers to follow. Scrupulous compliance with the guidelines will normally allow passengers to bring their belongings through screening without difficulty.

But when the latest robust intelligence indicates an evolving threat, TSOs may respond to that threat by prohibiting items that normally would be permitted. They may determine the necessity of prohibiting even items that a passenger has carried hundreds of times without a problem. It's important to understand that this is in no way arbitrary. It's an effective optimized adaptation to the current threat environment based on the latest robust intelligence! Many passengers don't understand this, and inappropriately complain that TSOs are "arbitrary" or "making up rules as they go." Again, this is not the case!

When a TSO prohibits an item for what seems an arbitrary and inexplicable reason, it is important to understand that there is always a valid reason for that decision in light of the current threat environment. The passenger should not question or challenge the decision, or get upset, but should gratefully acknowledge that prohibiting the item is necessary to protect aviation and the Homeland!

Passengers should also be aware that they have many options for the disposition of prohibited items, and that TSOs will work with them to determine the option that best meets the passenger's individual needs. While many passengers choose to voluntarily abandon prohibited items, they may return to the check-in desk to place them in checked luggage, return to their vehicles to place the item securely in the trunk, call a friend or relative to pick up the item, or visit a post office to mail the item to themselves. The passenger always has many choices, and is always in control!

Finally it is neither necessary nor appropriate for passengers to know the reason for a TSO's decision to prohibit an item. It is only necessary to know that the decision was based on the TSO's extensive training and experience combined with classified information about current threats, and that it was necessary and appropriate to keep you and other passengers safe. Keeping that in mind will avoid unnecessary frustration, and help the TSA in their mission of providing highly effective protection from terrorist threats to aviation.

Anonymous said...

How about getting a real chemist to post here, who really knows about mixing explosive chemicals. Seems like a lot of people are just guessing that, they know what they are talking about .We need experts to give real scientific facts.
Some of these terrorists are chemist and engineers,trained in U.S. universities.
We have to be just as smart as they are if we are going to stop them.

Jim Huggins said...

Ponter writes:

"When a TSO prohibits an item for what seems an arbitrary and inexplicable reason, it is important to understand that there is always a valid reason for that decision in light of the current threat environment. The passenger should not question or challenge the decision, or get upset, but should gratefully acknowledge that prohibiting the item is necessary to protect aviation and the Homeland!"

Because, of course, it's completely impossible for a TSO to misunderstand the rules, or to make a mistake in applying the rules, or to be arbitrary in the application of those rules, because every TSO is all-knowing, omniscient, and compassionate.

After all, a TSO would never confiscate a passenger's medically-necessary food or a child's Play-Doh.
A TSO would never harass a college student because they were carrying language learning flash cards. A TSO would never force a disabled 4-year-old to remove his leg braces. A TSO would never plant drugs on an unsuspecting passenger, then accuse them of smuggling.

Because, as you say, there's always a good reason for anything a TSO ever does.

Anonymous said...

"How about getting a real chemist to post here, who really knows about mixing explosive chemicals."

Many of us have been asking for any independent, peer-reviewed support TSA has for its liquids policies. It has never, ever produced any, leading a sensible person to conclude that there isn't any.

Anonymous said...

Jim Huggins wrote in part:
Because, of course, it's completely impossible for a TSO to misunderstand the rules, or to make a mistake in applying the rules, or to be arbitrary in the application of those rules, because every TSO is all-knowing, omniscient, and compassionate.
***********************************
Jim, I would love to believe this is true, especially the all knowing part, but it is not. While it is necessary to prohibit some items the baseline SOP must always be followed. As a passenger, if you believe the TSO has not followed baseline SOP you have the right, and you should ask to speak to a supervisor. Because as a TSO, I know that TSOs do make mistakes, and a supervisor may see something as allowable, even if the TSO has stated it is not...although the opposite may be true as well, and the Supervisor may uphold the TSOs decision. Keep in mind that TSOs can take extra steps, so long as the baseline SOP has been met, they can go above the baseline....but if something is clearly permitted, it should not be prohibited on a whim. Contrary to what some may believe it is not my job to make your life harder than it already is, my job is to ensure no prohibited items....ie those items clearly on the prohibited items list...are not permitted to enter the sterile area. With that in mind, the prohib list is not all inclusive and we do occasionally come across items that fall into a category of prohibited items, but are not individually prohibited, meaning as a TSO if something appears to fall into a prohibited category, I can disallow the item through checkpoint. That does not mean you can't check it in with the airline.

Kat said...

Anonymous said: Google TSA Nadine Hayes.

Thank you. I am well aware of Ms. Hayes' arrest when she tried to bring medically required food for her elderly mother through a check point after notifying the TSA in advance. I am aware that she was arrested, and that the judge threw the case out of court, but that the TSA has now decided to fine her $2500.

It is for this reason, I would like -- though that hope is probably in vain -- to have some kind of policy that one can follow relating to medically required food which does not depend on "the judgment of the TSO."

TSOs are not medically trained, nor do they have degrees in nutrition. As a consequence, they are not qualified to determine how much food is "reasonable."

Randy said...

@Anonymous (1:34)

Perhaps some real life examples would help our understanding.

Maybe concerning medical equipment, prescriptions, or food.

Randy

Jim Huggins said...

An anonymous TSO writes:

"if something is clearly permitted, it should not be prohibited on a whim."

Again with the wimpy words: "should not" instead of "will not". Why can't TSA get its act together so that a passenger can have confidence that their permitted items will always be permitted?

"If something appears to fall into a prohibited category, I can disallow the item through checkpoint. That does not mean you can't check it in with the airline."

Not always possible. The airlines will tell you not to put anything valuable in your luggage, because of the significant possibility of theft. (Made easier, by the way, by TSA's insistence that it be able to inspect any checked luggage outside of the presence of the passenger, leading to the use of inferior locks if any.)

So, to return to the question of liquids (see, Bob, I'm trying to keep it on topic!). I want to take an expensive bottle of wine with me to give to a friend across the country. TSA won't let me bring the bottle through a checkpoint, because the bottle is larger than 100ml. The airlines won't guarantee me that the bottle in my checked bag, even if locked, will make it to my destination.

TSA's policies create lots of contradictions like these.

avxo said...

I'm not sure if Ponter is serious and really believes what he wrote, or if just crafted the most finely tuned piece of sarcasm in the history of this blog...

HappyToHelp said...

avox said…
“I'm not sure if Ponter is serious and really believes what he wrote, or if just crafted the most finely tuned piece of sarcasm in the history of this blog...”

I read it as sarcasm as well. I am glad I am not the only one. If I am wrong, I apologize ahead of time.

Jim Huggins said...
"Notice the strategic use of the word "shouldn't"."

This was not a strategic use of “shouldn’t”. 99.9% of the time your statement would be true, so I give you kudos for using critical thinking. However, the “shouldn’t” is not necessary in my statement. Secondary screening is hard to predict, if not impossible. However, we are talking about primary screening. An x-ray operator cannot spot a single drop of liquid via x-ray screening. If a bag check is going to be called, it would be for another reason. The original poster will not have any problems with those pouches, and is not in conflict with current (<---here is a strategic word) Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).

Anonymous said...
“But you then again may, since TSA screeners are empowered to make up any rule they want for any (or no) reason at all!”

Not true. I am a Transportation Security Officer, and I cannot make up any rule I want. I’m sure it seems like it, since the SOP is not public.

Tim
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...


Jim, I would love to believe this is true, especially the all knowing part, but it is not. While it is necessary to prohibit some items the baseline SOP must always be followed. As a passenger, if you believe the TSO has not followed baseline SOP you have the right, and you should ask to speak to a supervisor.

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

So if I think the TSO has not followed the baseline SOP I can complain to the supervisor?

OK, let me consult my copy of the baseline SOP. Wait a minute, where does a subject get a copy of the baseline SOP? TSA won't release even thought we've asked for years.

HappyToHelp said...

Reply to Kat @ August 16, 2010 11:37 PM

Try this Kat

Repost from Blogger Bob
“Did you know if you have a disability or if you’re traveling with someone with a disability that involves special screening, you can contact one of our Customer Support Managers at the airport with Talk to TSA and coordinate your screening? The Customer Support Manager can let the checkpoint know you’re coming and what to expect along with any special instructions our officers might need to complete the screening.”

Tim
TSA Blog Team

Kat said...

Ponter said: The passenger should not question or challenge the decision, or get upset, but should gratefully acknowledge that prohibiting the item is necessary to protect aviation and the Homeland!

The passenger should allow the TSA to continue to practice medicine without a license.

The passenger should be prepared to risk having to go hungry because no safe food can be purchased in the secure areas or on airplanes. The foods provided by food service vendors cannot be guaranteed free of the substances to which the passenger reacts.

The passenger should be prepared to spend hours making safe food and packing it so that a TSO can require her to throw it out because although 100 ml is the legal amount, the signs say 3 ounces, not 3.4 ounces.

The passenger should be grateful for the opportunity to risk having a plane divert to some airport to take her to the hospital because she has collapsed from lack of food because a TSO confiscated her safe food.

Maybe such a diversion would call attention to the fact that there are no guidelines to protect passengers from people who are not licensed to practice medicine and do not understand the passenger's medical needs.

Anonymous said...

"Not true. I am a Transportation Security Officer, and I cannot make up any rule I want. I’m sure it seems like it, since the SOP is not public"

Tim, are you claiming that TSA screeners (let's not use the misleading "officer," m'kay?) are NOT empowered to bar, without explanation or cause, any and all items that TSA publicly says are explicitly allowed on planes?

Anonymous said...

Anon said:
Also, as I recall, the people of the U.S. complained loudly enough and TSA reversed its policy on no lighters.
that rule was put in place by a US Senator not the TSA, the TSA enforced it because of him. it was then recended by the TSA a couple years later.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Pistole,

You recently gave the Washington Post an interview. In that interview you make it appear as if giving some of the TSA staff weapons and arrest powers is a done deal and you just need to work out details.

My to the point and on topic question is:

Would you please share with us what part this upcoming arming and expansion of TSA powers plays in your strategy for combating the potential threats of liquids?

Thanks in advance.

George said...

@Tim: Not true. I am a Transportation Security Officer, and I cannot make up any rule I want. I’m sure it seems like it, since the SOP is not public.

And therein lies one of the major reasons the TSA lacks any credibility. When the rules are secret, how can any passenger possibly distinguish between a TSO who conscientiously follows the rules and one who violates them by "making up any rule he wants"? Or more generally, how can there be any accountability for following the rules properly when the people who are affected by a TSO's failure to follow them have no way of even recognizing the failure, let alone calling him or her on it to a supervisor?

For that matter, since whatever internal procedures that might exist for disciplining TSOs are secret, how can we even be sure that it's worth the time and bother of calling in a supervisor when we think a TSO has done something wrong? Based on the press releases I've seen from the TSA, the agency always seems to stand firmly behind its officers and blame the victim whenever an "incident" is sufficiently embarrassing to require defensive action.

From the perspective of passengers, taxpayers, and anyone else affected by the TSA, secret rules are exactly equivalent to no rules at all!

I'm sure that the people at TSA Headquarters who make the rules firmly believe that keeping the rules secret is essential to their effectiveness. If the enemy knows the rules, they can circumvent them. Unfortunately, that secrecy also means that the 99.9999999999+% of people who pass through TSA checkpoints posing no threat to aviation will also be uncertain of the rules. That means lots of innocent people getting needlessly hassled, with no security benefit.

It also means that TSOs can get away with "interpreting" the rules arbitrarily, not necessarily out of incompetence or malice but perhaps to make their difficult job a little easier, at the expense of passengers. Since the rules are secret, passengers have no way of knowing whether the TSO is following, bending, or breaking the rules. But the passenger may well recognize the resulting inconsistency between airports, terminals, or even individual officers at the same terminal.

Even more unfortunately, I suspect the people who make the secret rules consider that side effect beneficial. Secrecy gives them a blank check to do whatever they want, however they want, with no accountability to anyone. And that's just the way they like it.

George said...

@Jim Huggins: I want to take an expensive bottle of wine with me to give to a friend across the country. TSA won't let me bring the bottle through a checkpoint, because the bottle is larger than 100ml.

A simple problem with a simple solution: FedEx! If you didn't think of that, but tried to bring it through a TSA checkpoint, your deserved penalty is giving the gift to the TSOs to enjoy instead of your friend.

FedEx seems to be the only practical solution to the dilemma the airlines and the TSA give us in the name of greed and security. Paying the cost of FedEx shipping instead of an airline fee buys accountability and insurance, as well as a high probability of the items arriving intact and on time. It also buys freedom from the arbitrary whims of TSOs. If the airlines make us pay a fee for inferior baggage handling that's subject to loss, damage, or theft (from the airline, the TSA, or anyone else within the chain of non-custody), we might as well pay a little more to have it handled competently. It's just another fee to add to the cost of flying.

(You might also avoid becoming a casualty of friendly fire in the TSA's War on Liquids by flying without any liquids. Make a shopping list, and spend a few minutes and a few bucks at your destination buying whatever you need. Then throw it away before your return flight. That won't guarantee you'll have an easy time with the TSA-- a screener once decided my crystal solid deodorant was a "liquid"-- but it should reduce the risk of hassle.)

HappyToHelp said...

Reply to Anonymous @ August 19, 2010 8:16 AM

From the prohibited items page:
“The prohibited items list is not intended to be all-inclusive and is updated as necessary. To ensure travelers' security, Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) may determine that an item not on the Prohibited Items List is prohibited.”

This is getting way off topic, so this will be my last comment on “made up rules” for this blog post.

Tim
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Jim Huggins stated in part
"if something is clearly permitted, it should not be prohibited on a whim."

Again with the wimpy words: "should not" instead of "will not". Why can't TSA get its act together so that a passenger can have confidence that their permitted items will always be permitted?
***********************************

Jim, I can't tell you what a TSO at another airport, or even another TSO at my checkpoint will do in every given situation....I can tell you this, I know what is permitted and what is not permitted.....so if you come through my checkpoint, and I check your bag and the item is permitted, you're on your merry way. The biggest problem that I have always had with the SOP in general, and I have to be careful in how I say this so my post makes it to print, but in MY opinion, the SOP itself is open to individual interpretation, meaning that I may read certain sections differently than someone else, or I may see it as saying something clearly, while another TSO would see it as unclear, in my opinion, it needs to say what it means and mean what it says, otherwise these inconsistencies will always be there. And let's not forget that some inconsistencies are definitely necessary to keep those with bad intentions guessing.

Anonymous said...

"This is getting way off topic, so this will be my last comment on “made up rules” for this blog post."

That's fine; since you've confirmed that your own stated policies give TSA screeners authority to make up rules as they wish, there's really nothing more for you to say.

Anonymous said...

George said:

"It also means that TSOs can get away with "interpreting" the rules arbitrarily, not necessarily out of incompetence or malice but perhaps to make their difficult job a little easier..."

George, please do not dismiss the idea that some of the TSOs do what they do for the simple perverse pleasure of stroking their egos and demonstrating the power they wield over us.

I think of the staffer last week who was, in the most literal sense of the word, swaggering around with his chest puffed out and bellowing at pax about HIS rules and how HE would allow no exceptions. He is just one of many examples I am sure we can all think of.

Compare Britney Spears bringing ice through the checkpoint with Nadine Hayes and the fine she is facing for drinking a liquid in the sterile area.

Anonymous said...

"Make a shopping list, and spend a few minutes and a few bucks at your destination buying whatever you need."

George, you are making a lot of assumptions there.

Do you always arrive when things are open?

Do you have time in the morning to go shopping?

Do you always have ground transportation?

Do you always stay at hotels in walking distance of stores selling what you need?

Can you stand an extra 10 or 20 dollars out of your own pocket every week? In addition to the new extra bag fees?

I can tell you as a frequent traveler your solution is neither as simple or practical as you try to make it sound.

Isaac Newton said...

Mr Pistole said:
I hope this has answered your questions on whether or not liquids are a threat and why we require the baggie.

Is this another hit and run post, Mr Pistole? Several people have raised legitimate questions which were emphatically NOT answered by your initial post, but you haven't come back to address them.

The key unanswered questions:
a) if these liquids are too volatile to pour small bottles together into a larger empty bottle, how can they be stable enough to carry around an airport?
b) if liquids are such a threat, why are confiscated liquids not treated as HazMat?
c) if liquids sold by vendors inside the "sterile" are can be checked by running the whole package through the x-ray machine, why can't our individual water bottles and soft drinks be x-rayed in the same way?
d)why are other countries not implementing liquid restrictions to the same extent as the US, without any incidents?

If you truly want to convince us that the TSA liquid policies are based on any rational thought process, you need to answer these questions (and not just with "SSI").

Ponter said...

Jim Huggins: "After all, a TSO would never confiscate a passenger's medically-necessary food or a child's Play-Doh. A TSO would never harass a college student because they were carrying language learning flash cards. A TSO would never force a disabled 4-year-old to remove his leg braces. A TSO would never plant drugs on an unsuspecting passenger, then accuse them of smuggling."

You surely don't have the full story in any of those cases. Like so many people, the media are unfortunately biased against the TSA and are quick to take any opportunity to condemn them by slanting the story. It's very likely that all of these individuals did SOMETHING that made it necessary for the TSOs to do what they did.

Perhaps these individuals misunderstood what the TSO told them. Maybe their behavior was inappropriate. Maybe their demeanor was disrespectful, or they questioned or challenged the TSOs. While TSOs, like all humans, are not perfect or infallible, it's nearly always true that when "incidents" like these occur, the passenger did something that provoked it. If the media objectively reported all the facts instead of always trying to portray the TSA in an unfavorable light, it would be clear that the passenger is almost always to blame.

The TSA's main failure is that they have not properly educated the public about the extent of the threat. Or perhaps it's a wider failing of our leaders to continually remind the public that our nation is AT WAR with an implacable enemy determined to kill Americans! The public have become complacent in the years since 9/11, and now insist on putting themselves and their convenience ahead of security. They think they're somehow entitled to special exceptions to the rules and restrictions that the TSA has put into place as necessary and effective protection from terrorists who seek to kill Americans. They whine, complain, and challenge the brave selfless officers who are fighting to protect them from the fate of the 3,000 tragic victims of the 9/11 attacks.

People need to fully keep in mind, above all, that WE'RE AT WAR! The TSOs, those front-line soldiers heroically defending a major front in the war, are not confiscating Play-Dough or impermissible quantities of liquids just to harass people! They are taking necessary action to protect aviation from people who seek to kill Americans! They would never deprive passengers of their belongings unless the threat environment required it.

The important lesson here is that when a TSO decides that an item you're carrying is prohibited, it is NOT an arbitrary decision. It is a necessary response to current threats. Don't complain, question, or challenge that determination, and above all don't get angry. Take a deep breath, if necessary. Then politely ask the TSO for help in determining the disposition of the item that's best for you. You have a wide choice of options, and the TSOs are there to inform you of your choices and help you work out the best one.

Perhaps the best advice is for all passengers to regard the small inconveniences of TSA screening as their contribution to winning the Global War on Terror. Respecting and obeying the TSOs as they take whatever steps are necessary to protect aviation is also the perfect way to honor the memory of the 9/11 victims. In Wartime we all need to put national security ahead of our selfish convenience. Maybe the TSA needs to put pictures of the burning Twin Towers and its victims at checkpoints to remind passengers of why the TSA is there. That might be just the attitude adjustment they need to realize that THEY are the problem, not the TSA!

Kat said...

Tim said: Try this Kat

Repost from Blogger Bob
“Did you know if you have a disability or if you’re traveling with someone with a disability that involves special screening, you can contact one of our Customer Support Managers at the airport with Talk to TSA and coordinate your screening? The Customer Support Manager can let the checkpoint know you’re coming and what to expect along with any special instructions our officers might need to complete the screening.”


Thank you for bringing this up as a possibility, Tim.

I feel obliged to point out that Nadine Hayes tried notifying the TSA in advance of her mother's medical needs.

It didn't work terribly well for her, did it?

That is why I am so concerned.

Jim Huggins said...

Ponter writes: "It's very likely that all of these individuals did SOMETHING that made it necessary for the TSOs to do what they did."


I'm sure the college student at PHL who was passing through the checkpoint deserved to have drugs planted on her and then be accused of drug smuggling. And even the TSA itself said that the TSO's behavior was "highly inappropriate and unprofessional", that doesn't change the fact that it was her fault.

*plonk*

George said...

@Anonymous, August 19, 2010 7:37 PM: George, please do not dismiss the idea that some of the TSOs do what they do for the simple perverse pleasure of stroking their egos and demonstrating the power they wield over us.

I'm not dismissing that at all. The secrecy of the rules and the resulting lack of accountability indeed encourage petty tyrants in the ranks of TSOs to abuse their authority. But I think that's a fairly minor part of the problem.

I am willing to believe that the vast majority of TSOs are professional and courteous, and conscientiously enforce the rules as they understand them. The problem is that the rules are vague enough to encourage wide variation in that understanding, on the part of the conscientious TSOs as well as the people who train them. Since the rules are secret, there is no way to know whether whether a particular decision is consistent with the rules, or represents a local or individual variation. The only thing that we can know is that we can expect inconsistency even from the professional and conscientious TSOs. It's built into the system. The TSA's propaganda masters can spin the highly visible inconsistency into a "security strategy," but I really question whether the inconsistency we can so easily observe is of any benefit to security. But that's getting away from the point.

I also think TSOs are far more likely to bend the rules than to break them. TSOs are subject to conflicting demands. On one hand, they have to vigilantly prevent a continually-growing list of prohibited items from entering the sterile area. On the other hand, they have to ensure that the herd flows as efficiently as possible through the gate into the paddock. Therefore, they have every incentive to "interpret" the rules in ways that maximize the efficiency of screening, at the expense of passenger convenience and/or property. There's no malice or ego, merely expediency. They're rewarded for performance metrics that apparently don't include passenger convenience.

Again, since the rules are secret, affected passengers have no way of knowing whether they're "voluntarily abandoning" items because they violate the real rules, or just because of an "interpretation" intended only to make the TSO's job easier. I have no way of knowing whether this actually happens, but I do know that secrecy makes it plausible. Since the rules are secret, the TSA can offer no basis for denying it other than "Trust us that it doesn't happen."

I'm sure that the petty tyrants represent a very small minority of TSOs. But there clearly are enough of them to tarnish the reputation of the entire agency. I have experienced two of them myself. And of course, the secrecy and lack of accountability let those few petty tyrants continue to do their damage.

Anonymous said...

Ponter, you're overdoing the sarcasm. If you want it to look realistic, you've got to dial it back just a bit.

George - You can't ship wine via FedEx. They only allow wine shipments from previously authorized shippers. From the FedEx website: "Only properly licensed wholesalers, licensed dealers, licensed distributors, licensed manufacturers, licensed retailers or licensed importers may ship wine via FedEx® services. Consumers may not ship wine or alcohol of any type via FedEx services."

Both UPS and the US Postal Service have similar restrictions.

George said...

Anonymous, August 19, 2010 7:42 PM, you're quite right that my suggestion of buying any liquids at your destination may be impractical. The unreliability of checked baggage and the TSA's War on Liquids (and other arbitrary restrictions) leave passengers who want their property to arrive intact with few acceptable options.

FedEx or a "luggage concierge" service can avoid the risks introduced by the airlines and TSA screening, but they're expensive and require advance planning. Traveling without liquids can avoid some screening hassles, but as you note it can create even worse hassles. It seems that flying now means weighing all the possible hassles and risks and attempting to choose the "least bad" option.

I suppose the best solution is to avoid flying entirely. But that may be the least practical approach of all.

George said...

@Jim Huggins: I'm sure the college student at PHL who was passing through the checkpoint deserved to have drugs planted on her and then be accused of drug smuggling. And even the TSA itself said that the TSO's behavior was "highly inappropriate and unprofessional", that doesn't change the fact that it was her fault.

This is very interesting. I read the blog post you linked to, and wonder whether there has been any further developments in this case. Was the TSO charged with a crime, or subject to civil action? Or has this all been conveniently swept under the rug and forgotten with the passage of time?

With the TSA's secrecy and privacy shield, I should not be surprised if the "highly inappropriate and unprofessional" TSO who kicked us all in the gut still has a position within the DHS bureaucracy. Secrecy creates an environment that allows all sorts of vermin to flourish.

George said...

@Anonymous, August 20, 2010 12:05 PM: George - You can't ship wine via FedEx. They only allow wine shipments from previously authorized shippers..... Both UPS and the US Postal Service have similar restrictions.

Since I neither ship nor drink wine, I didn't know about this restriction. I wonder what other restrictions FedEx et al. might have that make their service an incomplete answer to the difficulties the TSA and the airlines cause.

I guess that leaves Mr Huggins with only one practical option: Send his friend a check for the cost of that expensive bottle of wine, so he or she can buy it at an authorised local store. Again, it's a matter of carefully weighing the various bad options to select the one that's "least bad."

I suppose Ponter and Blogger Bob would say such small inconveniences like this are a price worth paying for the highly effective protection the TSA's rules and restrictions provide.

Patriotgal said...

This is all why my family no longer flies. We haven't flown on an airplane in years...AND WE FIND WE DON'T MISS IT AT ALL!!!

Save money, see the country, and rent a car, instead.

Why should everyone in this country have to suffer because of the fundamentalist Muslims? Why don't we just say that Muslims can't fly, and then the rest of us can still have our freedom.

Ok? Good, glad we got that settled.

Anonymous said...

patriotgal:
Why should everyone in this country have to suffer because of the fundamentalist Muslims? Why don't we just say that Muslims can't fly, and then the rest of us can still have our freedom.

here here, theres nothing in the constitution about freedom of religion so lets be objective.

Anonymous said...

Wait, Mr. Pistole. You claim that a group of individuals combining several 100ml bottles worth of liquid explosives is unfeasible due to their volatility. If that's true, why are we limited to a single quart-sized bag? Since liquid explosives cannot, according to you, be combined, what's the difference if I had one quart-sized bag versus two or more?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Mr. Pistole, we know as well as you do that everything you just said is a lie. That said, if you're going to insist on this charade, can you at least post accurate signage? The policy is 3.4-1-1, not 3-1-1. Please tell the truth about the policy itself, even if you're going to continue lying about the justifications for it.

August 14, 2010 4:19 PM

So you call Pistole a liar, and all he has to do to make up for it is add ".4" on every sign in the country? What is that going to matter when you are going to continue bringing 20oz bottles through?
I dont get this arguement you people present. Some signs read 3 oz. SO WHAT! you can bring 3 oz bottles through according to the sign. As it turns out, you can bring .4 more ounces. Its not like the sign reads " ALL LIQUIDS 8oz OR LESS!" Because then we know that those wouldnt be allowed through and THEN we would have a real problem with the signs.

So what is the real big deal with the signs? Sorry to take away another vent hole :)

Jim Huggins said...


So what is the real big deal with the signs? Sorry to take away another vent hole :)


The big deal is ... frankly, not all TSOs are well-trained. Some of them think that the limit is 3.0 ounces, because the sign says "3 ounces".

There have been plenty of incidents reported here of passengers approaching the checkpoint with items of size 100ml (= 3.4 ounces, the actual limit), and being denied the right to take the item through the checkpoint, because 3.4 > 3.0, and 3.0 ounces is "the real limit".

When confronted with evidence to the contrary, passengers are usually greeted with responses like "the website is wrong" and "the rules just changed" and other excuses like that.

Is 0.4 ounces a big deal? Of course not. But if TSA can't get something as simple as this figured out, what confidence should we have that they'll get everything else figured out, too?

Anonymous said...

I had six 'freeze' mugs confiscated from me at Macarran (Las Vegas) yesterday. I don't understand how if that liquid is "a threat' why they'd want me to place it in my checked luggage (it would still make it on the plane.) I know that 'carrying it on' will allow me access to it but still, freeze mugs....I still don't get it.

Anonymous said...

"I dont get this arguement you people present. Some signs read 3 oz. SO WHAT!"

So the signs are intentionally inaccurate.

So poorly trained, unprofessional TSOs use these intentionally inaccurate signs as justifications for barring 3.4 ounce containers, even though the real policy, which is different from the one described on TSA's intentionally inaccurate signs, allows them.

Anonymous said...

So poorly trained, unprofessional TSOs use these intentionally inaccurate signs as justifications for barring 3.4 ounce containers, even though the real policy, which is different from the one described on TSA's intentionally inaccurate signs, allows them.

August 24, 2010 11:07 AM

Intentionally inaccurate signs? Nice try. If you honestly think that TSA benefits from giving the public false information for passengers to follow through security screening, you're out of your mind.

The explanation was given well over a year ago for not changing the signs. In the beginning, there was no liquids allowed as carry-on. Then, TSA came out with the 3-1-1 rule. TSA later refined the 3-1-1 rule to include items that were measured using the metric system. since 100mL is a common container size, that equated to 3.4oz.

I wonder how many of you would go bonkers if TSA were to say that they just spent 10 million dollars on signs about the 3-1-1 rule and then replaced them all for another 10 million dollars to add the 3.4-1-1 to the signs?

Anonymous said...

"Intentionally inaccurate signs? Nice try. If you honestly think that TSA benefits from giving the public false information for passengers to follow through security screening, you're out of your mind."

And yet, TSA deliberately and intentionally gives the public false information for passengers to follow through security screening. The policy was imposed four years ago -- plenty of time to replace the incorrect signs with accurate ones. Why does TSA deliberately and intentionally give the public false information for passengers to follow through security screening?

txrus said...

Anonymous asked on .August 25, 2010..

I wonder how many of you would go bonkers if TSA were to say that they just spent 10 million dollars on signs about the 3-1-1 rule and then replaced them all for another 10 million dollars to add the 3.4-1-1 to the signs?
*********************************
We'd probably say it was money better spent than what was spent on the screeners smurfy-blue uniforms & badges!

Jim Huggins said...

I wonder how many of you would go bonkers if TSA were to say that they just spent 10 million dollars on signs about the 3-1-1 rule and then replaced them all for another 10 million dollars to add the 3.4-1-1 to the signs?

Nobody's calling for that. On the other hand, signs get damaged, defaced, fade out, wear out, etc. --- and it would be perfectly appropriate to update the signs at that time with ones accurately reflecting the true limits. But, for whatever reason, TSA doesn't seem interested in doing that.

Anonymous said...

so you saying that liquids, creams and gels that are 3.4 oz in size that are placed into a quart sized baggy..will prevent explosions in the event these liguids are explosive?? The baggy is an essential part in containing the aftershock....

Anonymous said...

anon said
"so you saying that liquids, creams and gels that are 3.4 oz in size that are placed into a quart sized baggy..will prevent explosions in the event these liguids are explosive?? The baggy is an essential part in containing the aftershock...."
no the baggie is used to limit the quantity and provide an easy carrying object so that it is easier for travelers to remove them from their bags for declaration. instead of having them loose all over my bag i put them in the baggie, put the baggie at the top of my carry on and remove them and my laptop when i get to the xray. pretty simple.

Anonymous said...

Jim Hiuggins:
"Nobody's calling for that. On the other hand, signs get damaged, defaced, fade out, wear out, etc. --- and it would be perfectly appropriate to update the signs at that time with ones accurately reflecting the true limits. But, for whatever reason, TSA doesn't seem interested in doing that."

to add to that its clear that my fellow travelers woud rather ignore the signs and tsa people instead of listening to them and reading the signs so that they are prepared to get through. it take seconds to read the signs or listen and helps takes minutes off of the time us travelers have to wait. even if the sign says 3-1-1 it tells the travelers what to do aka put them in a bag and remove the bag before the xray. if we travlers did our part then it would make everything smoother for us and the tsa.

Anonymous said...

We made the mistake of carrying on about 2 ounces of toothpaste but within a container which was labeled 6 ounces. The screening woman said, nuh-nuh, that's a 6 ounce container and then stole our toothpaste.

What would have happened if we cut the bottom part off where it said 6 ounces?

I say all of this nonsense is to harass the American people since nothing, I mean nothing, has to do with reducing the threat to airplanes excepting the possible reinforcing of the cockpit doors. 911 could easily happen today at any time even if the terrorists don't have knitting needles, if they don't have toothpaste, if they don't have utility knives, nor even explosives. Very simple. Of course, the passengers may be a little less tolerant of them now. Even the grandmothers who have had their knitting needles stolen.

Anonymous said...

" if we travlers did our part then it would make everything smoother for us and the tsa."

"Our part", as you put it, is based on lies, so why should we bother?

Anonymous said...

anon said
"We made the mistake of carrying on about 2 ounces of toothpaste but within a container which was labeled 6 ounces. The screening woman said, nuh-nuh, that's a 6 ounce container and then stole our toothpaste."
how did you know that it was 2oz? did she steal it or throw it away? did she give you options? did you not like the options? do you agree that they were options even though you didnt want to do any of them?

Anonymous said...

anon said
"so you saying that liquids, creams and gels that are 3.4 oz in size that are placed into a quart sized baggy..will prevent explosions in the event these liguids are explosive?? The baggy is an essential part in containing the aftershock...."
no the baggie is used to limit the quantity and provide an easy carrying object so that it is easier for travelers to remove them from their bags for declaration. instead of having them loose all over my bag i put them in the baggie, put the baggie at the top of my carry on and remove them and my laptop when i get to the xray. pretty simple.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ok so we make it easy for them to scan..xraying helps them detect liquid explosives??? NO..it does not..depending on the composition of the bottle you can not tell by looking at it....i'd rather believe the baggy contains the aftershock...it makes more sense then any of tsa rules...im sticking to mine

Anonymous said...

"It's easy to dismiss 3-1-1 if you don't understand..."

It also seems easy to dismiss if you work for the TSA.

Mr. Pistole, it has been reported in this blog and others, particularly flyertalk, that your staff are not enforcing 3-1-1. I know from personal experience this is true.

Your staff arbitrarily deciding that 3-1-1 is not important enough to enforce lowers our respect for the TSA and its policies.

gerard said...

Let's ignore top of the issues of the illegal disposal of hazardous waste and the impossibility of a liquid explosive that is stable enough to transport in a plastic bottle and let's just assume there is a single or binary liquid explosive formulation.
The fact is that the TSA still admits that these substances do not show up on x-ray or other scanning machines at the checkpoints.

The only things you need to successfully pass though a TSA checkpoint are a boarding pass and a photo ID with the same name and showing a flight that day.

Boarding passes are ridiculously simple to re-print or to forge. Anyone could pass through a TSA on any day as many times as they want just by printing boarding passes.
TSA screeners have no way to validate the legitimacy of a boarding pass or to confirm the person in question is even booked on any flight.

So, a single person intent on getting explosives on a plane could just take multiple trips through screening, each time taking the maximum allowed liquid through with impunity.

On the sterile side they purchase an "authorized" bottle of liquid and empty it, only to fill it with the several explosives bottles that you were unable to detect at screening, but figured it was okay to allow small amounts through, because you know... "the terrorists are stupid" is such a great mentality.

Where were we... Oh, that's right a single person in the sterile area of the terminal now has a bottle of liquid explosives in their possession, but no detonato.

But I guess TSA thinks it impossible to assemble a detonator from items you could find, purchase or take to the sterile area such as cameras, hair driers, notebook computers, etc. A naive view for certain.

If liquids are a threat AT ALL, then they need to be banned completely from the plane cabin and cargo area. Confiscated liquids need to be treated as potentially explosive and destroyed by ordinance disposal teams.

If liquids are allowed AT ALL, then there should be no restrictions. The restrictions only upset legitimate passengers and might might cause an attacker only a slight complication.

Lets not even get in to the wheel-chairs that cross the checkpoints without any scanning or search. Or that the supply chain for Las Vegas casino dice is more secure than your supply chain for liquids sold in the sterile areas.

Anonymous said...

Good thing terrorist types could never invent a plastic bag system to affix to their bodies which would be invisible to metal detectors. Gallons of stuff, but impossible.

Anonymous said...

I said (in part and as an introduction to my point):
"We made the mistake of carrying on about 2 ounces of toothpaste but within a container which was labeled 6 ounces. The screening woman said, nuh-nuh, that's a 6 ounce container and then stole our toothpaste."

You said (with lower case and without proper punctuation):
"how did you know that it was 2oz? did she steal it or throw it away? did she give you options? did you not like the options? do you agree that they were options even though you didnt want to do any of them?"

Well, ma'am, I said "about" 2 oz. I looked at the container, mentally divided it into thirds and it was less than a third. Does that give you your needed information?

I'm surprised you didn't ask, did she steal it or use it. Did she steal it or sell it. Did she steal it or otherwise take it against my will.

Other options? How about forfeit or don't fly?

But really, ma'am, none of your response dealt with my main point, did it? But then, you probably realize that and was only making an attempt at distraction.

Anonymous said...

I once had a tube of toothpaste confiscated that literally had one usage left - I had flattened it and whatever toothpaste that was left was in the area just under the cap. The reason? The original size of the tube was over 100ml. While I argued that it was obvious there was no longer 100ml in there, the screener took it anyway. I had no other liquids on me. This was at Toronto (YYZ) for an overnight to Europe. So, it's not just the American TSA system that's arbitrary.

A couple of years later, I was at Boston Logan, returning to YYZ and the guy in front of me had a tube of toothpaste that was a standard size, had been opened and used but was obviously pretty full. I knew what he was in for. While we were waiting to be screened, an airport employee cut in line ahead of us, carrying a toothbrush and a new tube of toothpaste, maybe only used a few times. After a brief inspection (and not via the xray machine), she was allowed through, carrying her items. The guy in front of me, his toothpaste was confiscated. He argued that they had just let someone through with the exact same thing. But, as she was an airport employee, I'm sure that special rules for special people applied. Security theatre at its best.

Anonymous said...

@ RB -

"When will TSA update the signage and audio annoucements in airports to reflect 3.4 oz/100 ml instead of the current 3 oz signs and audio messages?

Seems like TSA could provide correct information to the public."

You misunderstand - the idea behind 3/1/1 is psychological because it rhymes with 9/11.

If you're running a scheme where your job security is dependent on scaring people of a bugaboo, you need to constantly remind them of the evil monsters. Sheeple have short memories.

Anonymous said...

"You said (with lower case and without proper punctuation):"

Thank you Ms. or Mr. grammar/punctuation nazi.
Please feel free to call me out on the errors in my post.

...and please point out the relevance to the discussion.

Would you call an accent or speech defect to the attention of an audience to distract from the substance of
a debate?

Anonymous said...

At the employee/crew TSA checkpoint at Dulles airport, I see that airline crews are allowed unrestricted liquids. Their liquids are not examined or tested. Their airline IDs are barely glanced at by the TSO (e.g. crews from Russia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, etc.). Have you seen the movie "Catch Me If You Can"? - see how easy it is to impersonate an airline crew member....

Steve said...

It's good to see you admit that the x-ray cannot distinguish types of liquids. Too bad that contradicts this. Oops. I guess the machines two years ago were just better, right?

Anonymous said...

OK, you all get on the planes with the so called bottles of water and gatorade... if they ever lifted the liquids ban terrorist would line up. Shut up, take your shoes and jackets off, metal out of your pockets, laptops out, keep your liquids small get through security and get on with your day. "Well go get those special machines that detect harmful chemicals..." Then you would complain about tax dollars being spent on these machines, which are few and far between at airports. Really you guys can't find anything else to complain about in life? You all have a short memory... 9/11. Complain all you want, but what's done is done... and i'd rather be as safe as possible. At the airport I go to the tso's do a great job and only do what they are told and taught to do. Just do it. Buy your water on the other side of the checkpoint. Gees it's crazy how much people complain. If something did happen you all would be like "well why didn't TSA...." Be proactive not reactive! I don't want anyone's "water bottle" on my plane. Get smart people. The enemy is always planning and I'm not going to wait and see what happens next!

Vera Simmons said...

If liquids are a threat then the company who bottled my soda must be the problem. My 20 oz. Dr. Pepper?!! My canned soda?!!!
Mr. Pitoski you are going to have to do better than this with your answer with the 3-1-1. Your answer is pure BULL. If liquids are a threat then 3 oz. is a threat. Mouthwash, toothpaste, syrup I got from McDonalds?!!! Will the metal that covers the syrup set off the alarm?!!

Larry Sullivan said...

I may have missed it, but the question about toothpaste tubes labeled by weight (ounces) instead of volume (fluid ounces) was never satisfactorily answered.


Based on several references, the density of toothpaste is between 1.2 and 1.6 grams/ml, so a 4.23 ounce (120 gram) tube of toothpaste is between 75 and 100 ml.


In other words, as long as your toothpaste tube is less than 4.23 ounces, it should be legal under the 100-1-1 rule.

Anonymous said...

I read if they wear burka's they go right on through with out being searched as it would offend them. That does not make me feel safe. Also read some TSA let relatives or friends go right on in. That does not make me feel safe.If I was a terrorist I would get a job and send my terrorist buddies past security and on board. I appreciate security but if they are offended and not searched they should not be on a plane.