Wednesday, December 1, 2010

TSA Response to Claim That Nail Clippers Were Taken From Armed Soldiers in Indianapolis

A story has been making its way onto a number of blogs about the TSA screening of a military charter arriving at Indianapolis International Airport from Afghanistan. The unattributed story claims TSA confiscated multi-tools and nail clippers, while all on board were allowed to carry military issued firearms. The bottom line is the story is not accurate and couldn't possibly be true.

At Indianapolis International Airport, military charters arrive at the remote transit terminal, exclusive for these types of flights.  TSA staff does not have access to this facility and, we do not conduct any screening operations there. Also, nail clippers have never been prohibited by TSA.  

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

167 comments:

Anonymous said...

Although it has been a while, I've had my nail clippers confiscated by the TSA.

But then, who am I going to believe, "Blogger Bob" or my own eyes.

Put it on the prevarication list.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me but if the Military transport arrived and soldiers where transferring to commercial airlines for subsequent travel wouldn't the TSA be responsible for screening them?

And while the story may in fact still be fiction the reason it has so much traction is because it is completely plausible based on the actions of your screeners.

Justin said...

So why were my nail clippers confiscated in 2005-2006?

Anonymous said...

Are you going to respond to the video of the lady held forever over her breast milk? Not so easy to defend that one, Bob.

Anonymous said...

The screening procedures and banned items may be consistent on paper, but are grotesquely inconsistent in practice. Items that are clearly allowed--are confiscated, while items that would otherwise be considered dangerous are missed or waved through!

Blogger Bob--until the TSA gets all of it's agents and its incompetent management on the same page, NO ONE give the TSA the credibility it should have.

Llama Momma said...

TSA has taken my nail clippers before. And my filtered water for making baby formula. You can read that story here:

http://llamamomma.blogspot.com/2007/04/emotions.html

And I'll never forget the time I was traveling alone with my twin babies, and TSA told me to take the babies out of their stroller, fold the stroller up and put it through the scanner. Of course, I couldn't physically do this.

The TSA agent wouldn't touch the stroller or the babies, who were not walking yet. I stood there and cried, while the security lady yelled at me to get out of the way.

Thank God for kindhearted people in line behind me, who encouraged me and held my babies for me while I complied with TSA.

I understand security. I just wish there was some common sense in the whole process!!

avxo said...

Many things have never been prohibited by the TSA, but since TSOs have "discretion" many of those never-prohibited things still end up being prohibited in practice. To-ma-to. Toh-mah-toh.

Also when do we get a TSA post about the claims made by Ms. Armato about her experience with the TSA not once but twice over breast-milk?

Anonymous said...

Bob,

If you have any expectations of this blog meeting it's purpose as stated in the "Comment Policy" you must address the recent issue regarding a passenger and breast milk.

Ask yourself this, what is really more important to discuss, the nail clipper story or the breast milk story?

Bunnie said...

So why have TSA agents taken my nail clippers -- and those of so many other people I know?

It makes it hard to believe the first part of your post when the second one is so demonstrably untrue.

Anonymous said...

"The bottom line is the story is not accurate and couldn't possibly be true."

When this story hit the blogs a few weeks ago, there were plenty of people claiming to be soldiers who reported the exact same experiences. But I'm sure they are all lying, like everyone else on this blog EXCEPT Blogger Bob and the heroic TSA.

And what about the woman with the breast milk, who you refuse to discuss? She knew and obeyed the TSA rules. She even had them printed out and GAVE THEM TO THE TSA AGENTS! They still made her jump through ridiculous hoops just to harass her. The most disturbing part of that story is how clear it was that they were doing a little payback to get even with her for daring to complain to management.

The problem is not JUST that the TSA has bad rules. It's that there is a complete lack of consistence in enforcing the rules, and the passenger has absolutely no rights or recourse. And if you complain, the least that will happen is that you'll miss your flight. Make a fuss, and you'll go to jail, end up on the no-fly list, or receive a lifetime of harassment.

TSO Tom said...

Bob, please clairfy: Nailclippers have never been prohibited by TSA....but blades are prohibited....SO....IF your nailclippers have a blade on them, they will be prohibited.

Blogger Bob said...

TSO Tom, to clarify your clarification, by blade, we mean blade. Not nail file. :)

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

TSA has taken my nail clippers before. And my filtered water for making baby formula. You can read that story here:

http://llamamomma.blogspot.com/2007/04/emotions.html

And I'll never forget the time I was traveling alone with my twin babies, and TSA told me to take the babies out of their stroller, fold the stroller up and put it through the scanner. Of course, I couldn't physically do this.

The TSA agent wouldn't touch the stroller or the babies, who were not walking yet. I stood there and cried, while the security lady yelled at me to get out of the way.

Thank God for kindhearted people in line behind me, who encouraged me and held my babies for me while I complied with TSA.

I understand security. I just wish there was some common sense in the whole process!!

December 1, 2010 9:28 AM

***********************************
We are NOT permitted to hold your children for you. But, we have and do on a consistent basis help travelers fold up their strollers, if a TSO is available to do so.

TSO Tom said...

Bob: To clarify your clarification my clarification, you are correct. :-)

Anonymous said...

My Question to Llama Mamma is: why would you show up at an airport trying to fly with twin babies without any help? It seems to me that someone of your inteligence would be smart enough to enlist the help of a friend or husband to assist you, and the airline would have gave them a gate pass to go all the way to the gate, so who is at fault here? The TSO trying to do their job of moving 2 or 3 hundred people through their line per hour? I don't think so.

Anonymous said...

So Bob,

With this heightened security, advanced technology, and enhanced frisking, how many terrorists have you caught? I mean, wow. Things are a lot tighter, and the reason for it is that we are under CONSTANT ATTACK BY TERRORISTS! So...how many have you caught, just last week?

While I'm at it, how many Klingons? What about Bengal Tigers disguised as humans? Or T-1000 terminators from the future?

I'm guessing the answer to all of these is the same round number...

Llama Momma said...

Anonymous #1 - At the time, TSA told me they had a policy that they could not handle the stroller. (This was in 2003...maybe policy has changed?)

Anonymous #2 - My husband was already at our destination, traveling for work. I was meeting him there for a holiday...and to visit grandparents. To be clear, at the time, nobody was allowed through security unless they were traveling.

The babies slept most of the flight...the worst part of the trip was TSA.

There are times when a Mom needs to travel alone with young children, and should be able to do so.

In the past, when traveling with my husband, we were able to keep the twins in their stroller and they did a "hand check" of it. So, from that time until my trip alone (again, back in 2003), their policy had changed. (Or the rules were applied differently.)

Do I relish traveling alone with young kids? Nope. But I've done it a couple of times -- once for Christmas with family and once for a funeral.

Llama Momma said...

Just one more thought and I'll be quiet. My purpose in making the first comment I made wasn't to find "fault" with the TSA. As a mom, I get that the kids are my responsibility and I'm going to have to work triple-time traveling with them.

My point is that a little humanity -- a little kindness and common sense -- goes a long way.

Anonymous said...

"My Question to Llama Mamma is: why would you show up at an airport trying to fly with twin babies without any help? It seems to me that someone of your inteligence would be smart enough to enlist the help of a friend or husband to assist you, and the airline would have gave them a gate pass to go all the way to the gate, so who is at fault here? The TSO trying to do their job of moving 2 or 3 hundred people through their line per hour? I don't think so."

I guess I'm not very smart either. I did the same thing (travelling with young twins)and had a similar experience. For some reason, I assumed that a taxpayer-funded organization would help someone with "special" needs.

So, if you're a business and you build an improper wheelchair ramp, you can be driven from business but if you're a bloated government bureacracy, let the public eat cake.

FYI - The TSO threatened me with calling LE but I beat her to the punch by signalling the local police officer. When he came over, I explained that I couldn't comply with the TSO's instructions. The officer looked at the TSO, said, "Help him" and walked away shaking his head. By this time, other passengers offered to help.

Amazing how bad the TSA was then and how it has only gotten worse.

Once again: Write the DHS IG and demand independent moderation of this blog. Government propaganda has no role in a free society.

Ayn R. Key said...

Do your screeners know your policy on nail clippers? Or is that a local rule at every airport? Is the random addition of nail clippers by TSOs across the country another example of keeping thing unpredictable as a layer of security?

Anonymous said...

So, who will we believe, the soldiers who told the story, or TSA? Who are credible?

And yes, I, too, want to hear you explain away the horror experienced by the mom with the breast milk

Blogger Bob said...

Just a reminder to please keep things on topic. You can also post in our off topic post.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Mike E. said...

Bob,

It just shows how much distrust and resentment there is among the flying public, combined with serious inconsistencies in how policies are enforced at different airports, that makes stories like this completely believable.

When I read that story, I thought it sounded a little over the top, but at the same time I could picture it happening exactly as described.

I think the number one issue that causes people to really dislike the TSA is the inconsistency. Inconsistency between airports, and inconsistency between individual screeners at the same airport.

I don't buy for a second (see the distrust there?) the line about how policies are different among airports as part of some effort to foil would-be terrorists. Makes no sense, and the much more logical explanation is that it's hard to enforce even simple policies with a workforce of 60,000 people.

Anonymous said...

Llama Momma;
I cannot speak of the policies of TSA in 2003, but I can say that things have changed as of late, we do routinely help with strollers.

Anonymous said...

Ayn R. Key said... Do your screeners know your policy on nail clippers? Or is that a local rule at every airport? Is the random addition of nail clippers by TSOs across the country another example of keeping thing unpredictable as a layer of security?
***********************************
Ayn;
as a general rule, and this can be confirmed by the prohibited/permitted items list, nailclippers ARE permitted. The rule is (should be) the same at every airport nationwide, and no it should not be a means of keeping things unpredictable. Unpredictability is just a means of implementing screening procedures in varying manners at each airport, this does not (should not) change the list of prohibited or permitted items. If you have a question about a prohibited or permitted item, you can refer to the web site www.tsa.gov now I know there are also some inconsistencies on the site, but the prohibited and permitted items are consistent (accept for the 3.4 Vs 3.0 liquids rule). To blogger Bob: The above mentioned liquids rule needs to be made consistent, not only on the web site, but at airports with signage and the PA announcements that are broadcasted as well. This is a major pet peeve of mine, "3.0 ounces or smaller" no the rule is 3.4 so why can't we get it right?

Anonymous said...

Llama Momma said... Just one more thought and I'll be quiet. My purpose in making the first comment I made wasn't to find "fault" with the TSA. As a mom, I get that the kids are my responsibility and I'm going to have to work triple-time traveling with them.

My point is that a little humanity -- a little kindness and common sense -- goes a long way.
December 1, 2010 12:22 PM
***********************************
I agree with you

Anonymous said...

Blogger Bob said...
Just a reminder to please keep things on topic. You can also post in our off topic post.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

December 1, 2010 12:45 PM

.................
Just where has that Off Topic thread gone?

If you want it used then pin it to the first page.

RB said...

Anonymous said...
Ayn R. Key said... Do your screeners know your policy on nail clippers? Or is that a local rule at every airport? Is the random addition of nail clippers by TSOs across the country another example of keeping thing unpredictable as a layer of security?
***********************************
Ayn;
as a general rule, and this can be confirmed by the prohibited/permitted items list, nailclippers ARE permitted. The rule is (should be) the same at every airport nationwide, and no it should not be a means of keeping things unpredictable. Unpredictability is just a means of implementing screening procedures in varying manners at each airport, this does not (should not) change the list of prohibited or permitted items. If you have a question about a prohibited or permitted item, you can refer to the web site www.tsa.gov now I know there are also some inconsistencies on the site, but the prohibited and permitted items are consistent (accept for the 3.4 Vs 3.0 liquids rule). To blogger Bob: The above mentioned liquids rule needs to be made consistent, not only on the web site, but at airports with signage and the PA announcements that are broadcasted as well. This is a major pet peeve of mine, "3.0 ounces or smaller" no the rule is 3.4 so why can't we get it right?

December 1, 2010 12:53 PM

........
Those rules that should be the same at every airport are not the problem.

The problem are TSA employees who attempt to make up rules as they go.

Take the Breast Milk incident. The traveler had a copy of the rules as published on the TSA web page yet the TSA employee in the suit refused to act on those rules and held a traveler HOSTAGE.

TSA is the problem not the travelers.

Anonymous said...

Based on past TSA policies and my own experiences, I'll believe the soldier/nail clipper story. I'm sure anyone in Indianapolis TSA is ducking for cover.

People in TSA know that nail clippers can be a weapon just like mother's milk.

;o)

Llama Momma said...

Anon -- glad to hear TSA helps with strollers now! It's hard to hold even one baby and fold a stroller, much less two.

And I'm glad I'm not the only "crazy" twin mom who travelled alone. At the time, I think I was just so used to managing the twins on my own, I felt sort of invincible. And usually with a lot of hard work and careful planning, I pulled it off.

Never underestimate the strength of a mother of multiples!

(Sorry, Bob. Off topic, but we were engaged in a dialogue. :-) )

vpisteve said...

First off, a little disingenuous to say a story "couldn't possibly be true." Read on...

So, here's my story. Happened at McCarran in Las Vegas a few years back. Coming home from a video shoot with a small crew including our seamstress. Going through the checkpoint, I had my clippers confiscated. Rolled my eyes, but here's the kicker. Our seamstress was carrying a HUGE pair of scissors. The agent took them out of her carryon, looked at them, asked her about them, then PUT THEM BACK IN HER BAG. I mean, seriously?

Of course, the fact that she was much cuter than me probably had absolutely nothing to do with it, right?

Anonymous said...

Staying on topic of confiscated items, nowhere on the banned item list can I find a “Tide Instant Stain Remover” stick. And yet I had one confiscated. I then proceeded to the airport newsstand where the exact same “weapon” was available for purchase. Really, it’s not about the stain-remover stick being confiscated; I could care less. It’s about the fact that we are so powerless. TSA can take any possession we have as they choose, they can detain us to cause us to miss our flight, they can force us to choose between x-rays or being groped and we are totally powerless to object.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Bob, not buying the excuses. I've had scissors confiscated even though they fit the letter of the law. Others have reported items being confiscated as well.

I'll believe you when you stop lying.

Aaron L. said...

We were going to fly this December to see relatives, but we decided to drive for two days instead. Thanks for keeping the auto industry afloat.

Aaron L. said...

@Llamma Mama -
The TSA this summer told my 7 yr old son who has cerebral palsy to get out of his stroller to walk through the scanner. He is non verbal, and has the mind of a 2 year old. We complied.

They were rude to us the whole time, treated us like idiots, yet they missed the metal water bottle with more than 3 ounces of liquid that was in the bottom of his stroller.

Anonymous said...

I have flown several times and noticed that the airports are different in small ways. I left one state with my entire nail grooming set, but when leaving the state I had a layover in, my nail file was taken away. I understood because it was a metal file, but my clippers were not taken. In fact, I have always kept a small set of clippers in my purse, and they have never been taken away.

Anonymous said...

Bob,

Thanks for the update.

It is being reported that the quart baggies are no longer needed. When will the web page be updated?

I heard it on the radio, and I'm traveling this weekend so I want to make sure what is reported was correct.

SarahW said...

You're a liar, Bob. How can you live with yourself.

Come back and explain that not only is there no routine screening by TSA at the remote terminal, but NO SCREENING ON THAT DAY, and that no TSA agents were borrowed or used or hired in some other capacity for the day to screen the soldiers.

You won't be able to because the soldiers were screened, and had items confiscated.

Also, you have declared it to be impossible not only because of the above, but that the story must be false as nailclippers in one's pocket (or purse) are fine to bring aboard. If it be the case that nailclippers with the typical files and scissors attached have never been prohibited, why was I relieved of mine? I want them back. Or will you simply insist my little clipper gizmo is imaginary?

Persons who work for TSA screened the returning soldiers on that day and took items from them.

Deny it again. Lets see you prove it. Lets see the (unredacted) tapes.

Jim DeLaHunt said...

Red State blog responds to this blog post: The TSA Lies In Response to RedState.

They say that the soldier who gave them the story claims: 1) yes, the TSA were too there at that remote transit terminal, and 2) regardless of what Blogger Bob says about TSA policies, TSA agents actually did confiscate nail clippers.

I'll leave it to the reader to imagine which is more likely: a blog posts a story with fictional claims, or a TSA agent does something in conflict with both Blogger Bob's version TSA policy and common sense.

Anonymous said...

Bob,

Before you call someone a liar, you should at least spend some time trying to contact them.

What efforts did you make in that regard?

Blogger Bob said...

For those of you so quick to call me a liar, realize that I'm stating what TSA's policy is. I'm not doubting that an officer hasn't at one point in time prevented nail clippers from going on a plane. Mistakes are made... What I am stating is that it has never been TSA's policy to prohibit nail clippers.

Some nail clippers I've seen have a knife blade on them. While the blade is tiny, they're prohibited and we have to keep them off of planes.

The ones with the files are fine.

Somebody earlier mentioned they had nail clippers with scissors built in. At one point in TSA history, scissors no matter what the size were prohibited. That is no longer the case.

Listen, I know mistakes can be made. There is always room for improvement in any organization. That's why TSA has the contact center and "Talk to TSA." If you don't want to report an issue in person, report it on line so we can address it. If you just want to report it here on the blog, simply give me the three letter airport code so I can forward the issue to the airport. These types of issues can be mentioned in shift briefs and training sessions at the airport level.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Jim DeLaHunt said...

Bob, when you say, "...I'm not doubting that an officer hasn't at one point in time prevented nail clippers from going on a plane. Mistakes are made...", does that mean you are backing down from your claim in your current blog post: "The bottom line is the [RedState] story [about TSA confiscating nail clippers from armed soldiers at Indianapolis] is not accurate and couldn't possibly be true"?

Perhaps the story is accurate and could possibly be true, because the TSA people who told you otherwise were making a mistake?

How confident are you in your own sources when you sweepingly dismiss this story?

Anonymous said...

"The bottom line is the story is not accurate and couldn't possibly be true."

Coming from the mouthpiece known as Blogger Bob, I now know that this story is 100% true. Thanks for verifying it.

But seriously, whether or not the story is true is almost irrelevant; the fact is that people take the story at face value because the TSA has proven itself to be incompetent and/or liars over the years (through both its policies and actions). The TSA has done far more damage than (bogeyman of the moment) Al-Qaeda could have ever hoped to achieve, and unfortunately it appears to be far more irreparable.

Anonymous said...

Bob said:

realize that I'm stating what TSA's policy is. I'm not doubting that an officer hasn't at one point in time prevented nail clippers from going on a plane. Mistakes are made... What I am stating is that it has never been TSA's policy to prohibit nail clippers.

No this is what you said:

The bottom line is the story is not accurate and couldn't possibly be true.

Anonymous said...

Bob,

You said "The bottom line is the story is not accurate and couldn't possibly be true."

that is much more than simply stating what TSA policy is.

Time to offer an apology.

Anonymous said...

So is the "The bottom line is the story is not accurate and couldn't possibly be true."

Or can "Mistakes be made"

Your reputation is on the line here.

Anonymous said...

Exhibit A:

"The bottom line is the story is not accurate and couldn't possibly be true."

Exhibit B:

"For those of you so quick to call me a liar, realize that I'm stating what TSA's policy is. I'm not doubting that an officer hasn't at one point in time prevented nail clippers from going on a plane. Mistakes are made... What I am stating is that it has never been TSA's policy to prohibit nail clippers."

A story is accurate or inaccurate regardless of what your policies are. Either the nail clippers were confiscated or they weren't; your policy on confiscating nail clippers is irrelevant. Crime is illegal. Therefore nobody can possibly commit crime. That's how stupid your first comment sounded to the rest of us. It would have been enough to simply state your policy without (essentially) calling the guy a liar.

SarahW said...

Listen, Bob; to exaggerate is to weaken, and that is what you have done to your "mythbust" here.

The teeny "little blades" are common to the ordinary nail clipper. They are almost always present on the little nickel-plated things usually carried - along with a file and tiny pair of scissors. This is what "nailclippers" are and the TSA takes them. Not "an" agent, AGENTS, not one pair of clippers, THOUSANDS of clippers. Do you not see how your own minimizing phraseology undermines, rather than improves, credibility of TSA?

Yet you insinuate the soldier's story suspect because TSA doesn't confiscate them for their version of safety's sake, when TSA agents *commonly* snatch ordinary nailclippers from passengers, even to the point of absurd abuse of sense and reason - even screened soldiers returning from afghanistan carrying weapons.

This is what is known as dissembling, Bob.
It makes YOUR story suspect.

A set of nailclippers with all the usual attachments is a set of "nailclippers" to NORMAL people. So there is not any doubt here that it is perfectly plausible in defiance of all rationality an agent demanded the soldier relinquish his clippers.

The soldier's story is plausible in every particular.
Again, do tell what happened on that DAY on that flight (it is easily determined because of the timing) . If such reserve soldiers are not routinely screened, why were they this day? Who did it? Why?

Because they were screened and they did have items taken, items that presented no risk to anyone, or at the very least no significant additional risk in the context in which they were taken.

THis complete lack of discretion, discernment, accompanied with a false presentation of need and even of policy is why the TSA is under fire and why those who run it should be fired, and the agency itself remodeled or abandoned.

Anonymous said...

Blogger Bob,

Yes, nail clippers with an extremely common accessory indeed were prohibited. A very rude young TSA agent grabbed my nail clippers in 2003 and told me I "had to" break off the 1.5 inch nail file or go back down to check-in and mail it to myself. Yup, a very short, dull nail file.

I told her to throw it away, then I bought another one when I got home.

Anonymous said...

What you said in the post:

"The unattributed story claims TSA confiscated multi-tools and nail clippers, while all on board were allowed to carry military issued firearms. The bottom line is the story is not accurate and couldn't possibly be true."

Then you make a comment:

"For those of you so quick to call me a liar, realize that I'm stating what TSA's policy is."

That is called a straw man argument. The first time you flat out denied it happened. Now you're saying that to do it is against policy. Do you not notice the shift?

RB said...

Blogger Bob said...
For those of you so quick to call me a liar, realize that I'm stating what TSA's policy is. I'm not doubting that an officer hasn't at one point in time prevented nail clippers from going on a plane. Mistakes are made... What I am stating is that it has never been TSA's policy to prohibit nail clippers.

Some nail clippers I've seen have a knife blade on them. While the blade is tiny, they're prohibited and we have to keep them off of planes.

The ones with the files are fine.

Somebody earlier mentioned they had nail clippers with scissors built in. At one point in TSA history, scissors no matter what the size were prohibited. That is no longer the case.

Listen, I know mistakes can be made. There is always room for improvement in any organization. That's why TSA has the contact center and "Talk to TSA." If you don't want to report an issue in person, report it on line so we can address it. If you just want to report it here on the blog, simply give me the three letter airport code so I can forward the issue to the airport. These types of issues can be mentioned in shift briefs and training sessions at the airport level.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

December 1, 2010 4:36 PM

.............
Why can't TSA control the performance of its employees?

Nail clippers, babies milk, ID cards, and the list goes on and on.

For whatever reasons supervision on the checkpoints are not effective.

Until TSA addresses the basics the problems will continue.

Mike E. said...

Bob,

"Mistakes can be made" I thought we couldn't allow mistakes? I thought it only takes one mistake on our part for a terrorist to be successful?

Hey, TSA, stop making mistakes!

Also, on one hand, you say "The bottom line is the story is not accurate and couldn't possibly be true" but later you basically say, "Hey, give us a break. Sometimes we make mistakes!"

Which is it? The story can't possibly be true, or it might be true because sometimes mistakes are made?

And while it might not be policy to confiscate nail clippers, it's a fact that nail clippers are confiscated. So when people criticize the TSA for stupid stuff like "confiscating nail clippers", that's an accurate criticism.

You guys have a serious PR problem. I guess maybe it doesn't matter to your day to day operations, but eventually I think it will.

Anonymous said...

Seems you are abit bothered by being called a liar bob......Imagine how the soldiers you said the same about must feel......At least they are ACTUALLY protecting us!!

Still nothing about the breast milk harassment??

Anonymous said...

So how do you square this:

"I'm not doubting that an officer hasn't at one point in time prevented nail clippers from going on a plane. Mistakes are made..."

With this?

"The bottom line is the story is not accurate and couldn't possibly be true."

Anonymous said...

wow.. going from
"The bottom line is the story is not accurate and couldn't possibly be true." to "Listen, I know mistakes can be made. There is always room for improvement in any organization. " in the talkback really inspires confidence there.

Jim Huggins said...

Bob ... with respect, you're changing your story.

Originally, you wrote: "The bottom line is the story is not accurate and couldn't possibly be true." Now, you write: "I'm not doubting that an officer hasn't at one point in time prevented nail clippers from going on a plane." So, if you concede that some TSO might've acted improperly, why is the story inaccurate?

Originally, you wrote: "nail clippers have never been prohibited by TSA." Now, you write: "Some nail clippers I've seen have a knife blade on them. While the blade is tiny, they're prohibited and we have to keep them off of planes." So, TSA does, in fact, prohibit certain types of nail clippers, despite your claim that no ban ever existed, right?

There's an overall theme here that I don't think that you, and TSA generally, recognizes. You generate articles here that discuss TSA's policies, at least in theory. But people here are reporting that, in practice, those policies don't reflect what really happens. And those reports are too frequent to dismiss simply as "well, we make mistakes". The gap between theory and practice needs to be closed.

omars said...

TSA is so amusing. The link Bob provided also says "corkscrews have never been prohibited".

Yet, TSA's immediate successor in the FAA in early 2002 explictly listed corkscrews as prohibited. The beauty of the internet is it gets much harder to get away with bending the truth... See the archive of the relevant FAA page here:
http://web.archive.org/web/20020206201008/www.faa.gov/apa/tipbroch.htm

(and yes, for the traveling public, it doesn't matter what the federal unit doing airport security is called)

I also explicitly remember tweezers being banned in that first year or two, but don't have the time to dig it up. It was mentioned often, for those of who were paying attention then.

Anonymous said...

Why are you continuing to lie to the American people about the level of public support for your new scanners and groin and breast searches.

Zogby International, one of the most respected and HONEST polling organizations in the world has published the TRUTH about the level of public support and the TRUTH is that over 60% of the public OPPOSES your new tactics, and that is even considering the fact that the TSA is LYING and the rest of the MEDIA is LYING about what is going on.

Why should we have to pay you to get lied to and propagandized?

Anonymous said...

"Bob: To clarify your clarification my clarification, you are correct. :-)"

Wow, Blogger Bob and TSO Tom are just a comedy riot.

You two do understand that a huge number of Americans don't find this situation funny IN THE LEAST. If you think you can joke your way through the removal of our 4th Amendment rights, then maybe you should seek some professional psychiatric care.

Anonymous said...

I have had nail clippers taken off me at least 3 times. Lighters taken off me every single time I fly.

Blogger Bob - I'm driving to NY from CA this Xmas. I canceled my flights. Both Hertz & delta are out about $600 each. I used to fly approx 5000 Miles per month - ive been driving since last month and I'll continue to drive while the TSA madness & attitude continues. I don't want my 6 year old daughter to think it's OK for a stranger to grope & humiliate her. I'm not comfortable checking my rights at the counter either.

Jim said...

Bob,

I'm in law enforcement, and I have enough experience to know that many TSA policies are ridiculous even when enforce to the letter.

A blade and in or less long on a set of nail clippers would be less useful as a weapon than a ball point pen, or some plastic tableware; both of which are allowed onto airplanes.

The liquids policy specifies that it does not apply to stick deodorant or powdered makeup. Putty explosives are apparently easier to make than liquid explosives since that is what is generally used by drug dealers to set traps for law enforcement. Powder explosives can be legally purchased online.

In addition, the rules have never been properly and equally enforced. A friend and coworker of mine recently went on vacation. A TSO attempted to confiscate a box of ammunition from his checked baggage even after my friend displayed a printout of the policy to prove he was in compliance. He had to display his badge and request local law enforcement to get his ammunition back. The TSO refuse to call local law enforcement and left the area immediately after returning the ammunition.

With poorly written policy, incompetent TSOs, and TSOs using their jobs as a cover for theft, I do not believe that scenario involving military members is particularly far fetched.

Anonymous said...

Liar, liar.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7670500/ns/msnbc_tv-countdown_with_keith_olbermann/

"Ever wonder what happened to those nail clippers confiscated before boarding a plane? Monica Novotny found that seized items may be up for for sale online."

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/02/09/eveningnews/main1302676.shtml

"In Harrisburg, Pa., there's a warehouse chock-full of the knives, scissors, tools and other items confiscated at checkpoints at three major East Coast airports since 9/11....Fifteen pounds of used nail clippers "would usually go for $20 or $20," says Mary Beth Enggren, who runs the salvage program for Pennsylvania."

http://www.usatoday.com/travel/flights/2006-02-06-confiscate-usat_x.htm

"Some fliers, though, view it differently. April Miller, a Chicago-based regional manager for a publishing company, says TSA screeners at the city's Midway Airport took a $25 eyelash curler and a nail clipper without giving her an option. "They just took the items and said I could not board with them," she says."

And so on, and so on.

STOP LYING, BOB.

Al Ames said...

Talk to TSA doesn't get the person their property back after it's been confiscated ... er voluntarily surrendered, Bob.

Al

Blogger Bob said...

Let me clarify my previous comment since it was obviously taken the wrong way.

I wasn't addressing the original claim of nail clippers being taken from a soldier. I still stand behind my post that the claim is unfounded.

I was simply addressing all of the comments about nail clippers.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Blogger Bob said...

OK, a picture is worth 1000 words.

Permitted

Example1
Example2
Example3
Example4

Prohibited

Example1
Example2
Example3
Example4
Example5 (Not clippers, but people refer to them as clippers)

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Do you have any idea how stupid it looks when the TSA claims that a tiny 1 inch pocket knife is a dangerous weapon and must never be allowed on an airplane? If someone tried to hijack an airplane with a knife like that people would first first laugh at them and then pound then senseless.

Blogger Bob said...

Jim Huggins said...Originally, you wrote: "nail clippers have never been prohibited by TSA." Now, you write: "Some nail clippers I've seen have a knife blade on them. While the blade is tiny, they're prohibited and we have to keep them off of planes." So, TSA does, in fact, prohibit certain types of nail clippers, despite your claim that no ban ever existed, right?

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

Hi Jim. Nail clippers themselves are not prohibited. (See my photo examples) But if there is a knife blade attached, the knife attached to the nail clippers is what makes the item prohibited. The little nail files that swing out are fine, but if it's an actual knife blade, it's a no-go.

I've said it before on the blog and I'll say it again. Small blades such as these should be permitted. But.. that's just my opinion and it's way above my pay grade to make that kind of call. :)

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Jim Huggins said...

Bob ... seriously ... do you still not see the contradiction in your writing?

"Nail clippers themselves are not prohibited. (See my photo examples) But if there is a knife blade attached, the knife attached to the nail clippers is what makes the item prohibited."

The "item", of course, being prohibited, is A NAIL CLIPPER, which you just got finished saying is not prohibited!

Look, I get the point that you're trying to make. Nail clippers that don't have blades attached are permitted. Nail clippers that do have blades attached are not permitted. But no matter how many times you say it, a nail clipper with a blade attached is still a nail clipper. And so to say "nail clippers themselves are not prohibited" is ambiguous at best. Certain types of nail clippers are prohibited.

Anonymous said...

Who are we going to believe, soldiers or the TSA? You tell us.

Here's another experience:
http://gizmodo.com/5703878/the-most-stupid-tsa-action-to-date-defies-belief

Anonymous said...

Sir, I don't care about the nail clipper part of this story. Here's the disconcerting part: "The bottom line is the story is not accurate and couldn't possibly be true."

... "At Indianapolis International Airport, military charters arrive at the remote transit terminal, exclusive for these types of flights. TSA staff does not have access to this facility and, we do not conduct any screening operations there."

1) the blaming of the victim is eerily similar to the Cooks Source tactic of blaming the victim;

2) the attempt to link non-associated items amounts to deception and was the tactic the Interior Dept. that was called out by the Inspector General in relation to the oil spill off the Louisiana coast; and

3) the attempt to say you never said what your blog says is the tactic of Gwen Ifill.

Own up, dear Bob.

Anonymous said...

Nail clippers have "never been prohibited by TSA"?

That not what one of your previous blog posts said.

Sounds like Blogger Bob was for it before he was against it.

Anonymous said...

Blogger Bob:

Remarkable patience in the face of being called liar for saying that a blog post on a far right web site couldn't be right. There are people who don't want to be confused with facts that disagree with their opinion.

Red State blog claims the right to call you a liar on an anonymous fabricated tale as with so many others from Red State, which was involved in spreading fabricated Iraq tales.

An anonymous author can simply make up whatever he wants. Let's try name, rank, serial number, unit commander and dates of incident. Give the military a chance to respond. Having smeared TSA, these people accuse the military of being too cowardly to affirm their tale.


I've lived in Indianapolis and no one I know there believes this story is true. There is a USO in Indianapolis and the city, TSA, have real affection for the military.

We update ourselves on TSA rules before making one of our frequent trips out of the US. We stash things where they belong and I always have a pair of clippers in my computer bag along with other allowed items. In nine years, I've never had clippers or anything else confiscated.

TSA is a big national organization that covers the busiest air system in the world 24 hours a day. It would be a surprise if any organization like TSA didn't make a mistake. What matters is whether they can fix a real problem, not the ones invented for politial purpolses. It's disgusting to use the military to further these disgusting partisan wars.

The TSA serves just as the military does in trying to make flying safe. If you don't like the way they do it, write them or your congressman. But people should not disgrace themselves or their country by throwing garbage at people trying to do their job.

No one deserves to be called a liar by a long list of fulminating fools. Try being polite.

Learn to say good morning and thank you at airports instead of scowling around. Instead of insulting the TSOs, trying smiling at them - or just avoid being rude. Act the way your parents taught you and the way you'd like to be treated.

Bob, Tom and others. Thanks for your efforts. Keep trying. Bon Nuit.

Chance Williams said...

Sorry, the part about nail clippers isn't true; I've had them taken from me on two seperate ocassions (Orlando and Atlanta).

Llama Momma said...

My comment didn't show up, so I'll try again. Bob, truly, *policy* matters so much less than *reality*. I totally get that you are giving us TSA policy. But the reality many of us experience is very different.

I find the big airports, like O'hare, give me little hassle, while smaller airports -- the ones with no line and five TSA agents waiting to "help" -- are quick to confiscate things.

RB said...

"Learn to say good morning and thank you at airports instead of scowling around. Instead of insulting the TSOs, trying smiling at them - or just avoid being rude. Act the way your parents taught you and the way you'd like to be treated.

Bob, Tom and others. Thanks for your efforts. Keep trying. Bon Nuit.

December 2, 2010 2:33 AM"

I said good morning to the TDC at DFW one morning and all I received in return was a grunting sound.

When TSA teaches its employees to act with manner I will return same.

As far as the clipper story, to many people have had items confiscated at airports across the country that are allowed to ignore the problem.

Anonymous said...

Bob,

In the Example 1 of the prohibited clippers.

Would that be ok with the scissors, but not the blade?

Anonymous said...

I also have had my nail clippers confiscated. Blogger Bob, time to join reality. Either you're clueless or you're a liar. Either way I will never believe another thing you say (not that I ever really did).

superdifficult said...

Bob, stop making excuses. The TSA is a mess. What are you (the TSA) going to do to fix it?

Blogger Bob said...

Anonymous said...Bob, In the Example 1 of the prohibited clippers. Would that be ok with the scissors, but not the blade?
December 2, 2010 8:11 AM

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

Good morning. Yes, example 1 of the prohibs would be permitted without the blade.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Bob said:

"Yes, example 1 of the prohibs would be permitted without the blade."

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

So two blades, joined by a removable screw are OK, but one blade isn't.

That makes absolutely no sense and is a perfect example of the absurdity of the TSA mindset

Anonymous said...

Bob - thank you for your patience and for responding to us.

I am not sure what to think about the incident with the soldier, but can say that I have travelled by plane 1-3 times a week for the past five years and my fingernail clippers have never even garnered a second look.

Jan

Blogger Bob said...

Anonymous said...That makes absolutely no sense... December 2, 2010 8:59 AM
-----------------------

Agreed.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Bob said:

"Agreed"

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

Finally! A little honest dialogue.

Keep that up and the credibility of the blog will improve.

Anonymous said...

Placing the question aside for a moment, I find it interesting the Bobby Boy admits to another hole in TSA's security i.e. military aircraft are not subject....
How many terrorist acts have we had in this country involving military personal......
So now we have the military, top government officials, foreign diplomates and diplomatic pouches, Royalty, heads of state or those appointed by heads of state, all by-passing security.
This does not resemble any security system I've ever seen. Its either all or nothing.....

Anonymous said...

Blogger Bob,

The clippers taken from me were exactly like the ones in your

Example 1 http://tinyurl.com/2g6qhxg

You have to understand, for me it isn't about a $2 pair of clippers. It's about the poor training TSA agents receive and the poor decision-making skills and poor customer-service skills they exhibit on a daily basis. It's also about the constantly changing, illogical, and just plain stupid rules about what totally safe and unthreatening items we can carry.

Now, to be fair, in all of the flights I've taken since 9/11/01, there were two times TSA agents were helpful, and I am glad they were.

Then, there're all of the other times...

Blogger Bob said...

Anonymous said... Blogger Bob,
The clippers taken from me were exactly like the ones in your
Example 1 http://tinyurl.com/2g6qhxg ...

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

There is no reason those clippers should have been prevented from passing through the checkpoint. I apologize for the inconvenience.


Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Michelle said...

to Blogger Bob I would have to say that your response to the article about the service men is an outright lie! I personally have had nail clippers taken from me at the airport when going through security. I have also had tweezers taken with the explanation that I could use them to poke an eye out? But the most rediculous was when they took my cigarett lighter and then told me I could get matches over at the tobacco store that I could then take on the plan? Seriously??? Most TSA agents I have had to deal have an attitude, are rude and treat the passengers like they are dirt. What is even sadder about this story is that you had the nerve to subject our military to this kind of treatment!

Blogger Bob said...

Michelle,

To be clear, I'm not saying that nobody has ever had issues with nail clippers. What I am saying, is it is not TSA policy to prohibit nail clippers.

However, the main point of this post was to point out that the claims about this incident at the airport are unfounded because TSA does not operate out of that area.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Bob said:

I'm not saying that nobody has ever had issues with nail clippers. What I am saying, is it is not TSA policy to prohibit nail clippers.

However, the main point of this post was to point out that the claims about this incident at the airport are unfounded because TSA does not operate out of that area.

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

Which indicates TSA has misplaced priorities.

Jim Huggins said...

Bob said: "the main point of this post was to point out that the claims about this incident at the airport are unfounded because TSA does not operate out of that area."

Then, with respect, you shouldn't have brought up the issue of nail clippers never having been prohibited in your original post. It only distracted from your central point.

Gunner said...

OK, Bob.

I you onyour occasional mistake argument.

I raise you this article from Las Vegas that shows boxes of voluntarily surrendered items -- including enough nail clipper to mention.

Gonna call or raise?

Blogger Bob said...

Gunner - Can you tell me when those nail clippers were abandoned at the checkpoint? While TSA has never prohibited nail clippers from air travel, the private industry did prohibit them after 9/11.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Blogger Bob said...

Jim Huggins said... Then, with respect, you shouldn't have brought up the issue of nail clippers never having been prohibited in your original post. It only distracted from your central point. December 2, 2010 11:15 AM

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

I see where you're coming from, Jim, but I found it relevant since it is included in the soldier's account. Also, I try to use the blog to educate whenever I can, and nail clippers come up in conversation a lot.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

SSSS for some reason said...

Blogger Bob, I love you. You never cease to entertain, thank you.

The soldier story, true or not, gets lots of attention because it is so completely believable. I am not a frequent traveler so my experience with TSO's is very limited. In that limited experience the busier the airport the less professional the TSO's. FLL is an absolute mess and calling the agents Rude would be making it sound nice. Albany NY, however, was all smiles and courtesy and humor was encouraged on all sides of the rope.

I am just one person with this kind of experience. How many travelers do you see system wide on a daily basis? Take a questionable level of service from the agents at an airport like FLL and how many travelers they see in a day....

What I'm getting at, Bob, is that you are fighting an uphill battle against public opinion. More and more of us are turning against you because of unprofessional and rude treatment by poorly trained and/or poorly managed staff at the busier airports make us hate TSA even more. And we the traveling public have no reliable, or even available, recourse against the agents that are basically making it up as they go.

So, back to the story.... fictional or not the story is completely believable and you are working against the tide of public opinion that is further fueled by some really horrible TSO's that really need to not be working in a public-facing job.

Anonymous said...

Bob said:

I try to use the blog to educate whenever I can, and nail clippers come up in conversation a lot.

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

And based on the conversation here, it is TSO's who need the education.

Anonymous said...

Everyone - it's time to stop berating Bob about the nail clippers. I think he's gotten the point.

On the larger issue, I used to work for the government. This story is believable to me, even though I am not convinced of it's authenticity; what I'd like to see is the soldier(s) in question make the claims individually rather than anonymously going through a blog to do so. It's doubtful that will happen, though. It's believable to me because in my experience, government bureaucracy absolutely does not allow any common sense; hence that a single blade being restricted while scissors are not. It is entirely believable to me that a TSA agent (sorry, Bob - I refuse to call them 'officers', as I have too much respect for actual officers) would conficate what was on the prohibited list and only what is on the prohibited list regardless of what other allowed items the person was carrying - such as a cleared, unloaded rifle. To me, the very absurdity of the situation makes it believable. Still, though - I'm filing this under "maybe" until proven otherwise.

Bob: the sad part about this whole situation is that while this particular story may not be true, we all know that this story *could* be true. Perhaps tomorrow or next week, another, similar story will come out that can't be refuted. Unless the TSA gets it's act together, it's only a matter of time.

Anonymous said...

The TSA has done plenty of stuff that is not in their standard procedures. Too much power in the hands of unprepared persons.

RB said...

Blogger Bob said...
Anonymous said... Blogger Bob,
The clippers taken from me were exactly like the ones in your
Example 1 http://tinyurl.com/2g6qhxg ...

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

There is no reason those clippers should have been prevented from passing through the checkpoint. I apologize for the inconvenience.


Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

December 2, 2010 10:08 AM

.......
There is a reason Bob. One that TSA should address but seems unwilling to do so.

TSA employees appear to be poorly trained, poorly supervised and do not face strong discipline when not following SOP.

That is the core problem, it has been stated again and again by many different posters here yet TSA does not listen or take action.

If you want the horror stories to stop then TSA is going to have to step up and take charge of their internal processes.

I personally will never forget what happened at FLL and the total lack of interest shown by TSA to investigate the issue I reported.

Nor will I forget the TSA screener operating the xray at LAS berrating everyone in line for how the packed while not actually addressing an individual.

TSA has a problem and taking the first step to fix that problem will go a long way to making the public more accepting.

SarahW said...

Shall I educate you, Blogger Bob?

You spun, dissembled, really, about the nailclippers, in an attempt to discredit o the story related by Redstate.

Let me point out something to you.

That TSA, or you, have defined "nailclippers" as excluding what ordinary people refer to as nailclippers does not change the common understanding of what nailclippers are.

TSA, however, is not in charge of the english language, and persons will continue to refer to the little file/scissors/tinyblade clippers as nailclippers.

Is it sailing over your head that to confiscate such nailclippers from reservists returning from Afghanistan, in possesion not only of formidable personages but actual weapons capable of inflicting a good deal of injury even without bullets,

IS RIDICULOUS.

It's ridiculous to take them from anyone, but in that context all the more so.

Also, you are still disputing an even that can be proved to have occurred or not - but this you will not attempt, because it will show this story is so far from being impossible as to have happened with regularity to many returning soldiers.

SarahW said...

RB, the public should not "accept" in any case - improvements or no improvements.

The TSA procedures are a dilution and waste of resources serving no purpose.

The are not only not reliably effective measures, but ironically make it even more likely for innocent persons to be harmed.

RB said...

SarahW said...
RB, the public should not "accept" in any case - improvements or no improvements.

The TSA procedures are a dilution and waste of resources serving no purpose.

The are not only not reliably effective measures, but ironically make it even more likely for innocent persons to be harmed.

December 2, 2010 12:29 PM

........
SarahW, what I mean by accepting is that if TSA treats people with respect, stops the silly "whats the rule today" screening and screen people consistently airport to airport then I believe people would be more able to tolerate the invasion of privacy that TSA subjects people to.

I do not accept that the Groping pat down is every going to be acceptable. That and the Strip Search machine steps over the line of treating people with dignity.

Daniel said...

BB- I really appreciate your candor regarding nail clippers but it seems to me that the problem here is the discretion that the TSA gives its agents. That discretion is interpreted by many TSOs to mean no prohibited items PLUS no items that they happen not to like. Perhaps it should work the other way- no prohibited items except the ones that are clearly not a danger, ie my unopened can of devon custard gift wrapped in my wife's carry-on which the TSA was kind enough to relieve her of.

txrus said...

Blogger Bob said on December 2, 2010 11:28 AM ...
Also, I try to use the blog to educate whenever I can, and nail clippers come up in conversation a lot.
********************************
Can I suggest then that reading the blog be required for every screener every day before reporting for every shift? With quizzes to determine their individual comprehension of the material covered?

Maybe then some of them will finally start to learn all these policies you tout here, BB, but which they don't seem to be able to follow in the field.

Shadow_Diver said...

Bob

In all of the examples of "prohibited" versions you posted, none of those would do any level damage other then a minor flesh wound, and then the attacker would be beaten to a pulp by everyone else on the aircraft. Those are dangerous but i can carry, ball point pen, chopsticks, trauma sheers, and fiskar scissors, and those arent a problem.

I have had multiple pairs of tweezers, nail clippers (no file or anything on them), even had a plastic oxygen bottle key(rounded no sharp edges) taken from my carry on after a made up rule was pulled from there posterior, and even when i called them on it by showing the website. That is theft by coercion curtis.

I have had many knives stolen out of my bag, and the only way they would have known where it was when it was scanned as they were not out in the open.

To date if TSA truly wants to make things right for items stolen by deception or coercion (even straight theft) they need to reimburse me about $1800 for all items stolen in the past 3 years.


Llama Mamma - your not alone; you should file a complaint with the office of the inspector general (OIG - google it you will get the address). Since curtis's regularly deep sixs posts. heck look at his earlier comments about 4000 comments in a short period of time right around thanksgiving week. all of the comment totals and the incrementation of the "delete-o-meter" dont match. not even close.

Dimes to Dounts says this post wont make it to the light of day, but just means TSA keeps digging that hole there in with the complaints that are racking up at the OIGs office.

Anonymous said...

"Gunner - Can you tell me when those nail clippers were abandoned at the checkpoint? While TSA has never prohibited nail clippers from air travel, the private industry did prohibit them after 9/11.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team"

The "private industry?" What private industry and why is TSA enforcing the policy of a private industry?

Ayn R. Key said...

Blogger Bob wrote...
OK, a picture is worth 1000 words.

Tell that to the front line screener.

Bob, you are missing the point. We keep telling you the point, and you keep missing it.

Your front line screeners are adding things to the prohibited items list. The TSA says "only this is prohibited," and your front line screeners say "this is also prohibited."

You call it "unpredictability" and "layers of security" when you get called on it, and then go back to talking about policy.

Tell your screeners the policy. They don't know it. We know it. We tell them it. They ask us if we want to fly today every time we tell them your policy. They're not allowed to ask us if we want to fly today. It's against the policy. But they do it. They don't know the policy.

Ask for an LTSO or an STSO and what happens? Policy says that the LTSO and STSO will enforce policy. But in the real world, where the TSOs who don't know policy get promoted to LTSO and STSO you get LTSOs and STSOs who don't know policy.

Those LTSOs and STSOs enforce the additional restrictions, the ones you call "unpredictability". They say the original TSO is right because the original TSO is having a decision challenged by us passengers you think are terrorists.

So now we have three layers of people all enforcing rules that don't exist. We have TSOs, LTSOs, and STSOs confiscating items that you say should not be confiscated.

And your response? You simply say it is not policy.

Blogger Bob said...

Anonymous said...The "private industry?" What private industry and why is TSA enforcing the policy of a private industry?

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

I probably should have said "privatized screening" but yes, prior to November 19, 2001, airport screening was carried out by private sector companies such as Argenbright and regulated by the FAA.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

RB said...

Blogger Bob said...
Anonymous said...The "private industry?" What private industry and why is TSA enforcing the policy of a private industry?

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

I probably should have said "privatized screening" but yes, prior to November 19, 2001, airport screening was carried out by private sector companies such as Argenbright and regulated by the FAA.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

December 2, 2010 3:39 PM

..................
Bob, does TSA inventory the items confiscated at checkpoints?

If they do posting those inventories for one airport for say a year would let us know what items had been taken.

Blogger Bob said...

RB Said...Bob, does TSA inventory the items confiscated at checkpoints?

If they do posting those inventories for one airport for say a year would let us know what items had been taken.

December 2, 2010 3:58 PM
-----------------------

We do take inventory, but it's categorized and not itemized. For example, Sharp Items, Bludgeons, Firearms, Incendiaries, etc. I could try to get that list and post it if anybody is interested in seeing it.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Bob, I have constantly posted negative, but true, comments on here over the past few months. I feel they were very deserving. And I am sure that there will be more due to your (TSA) policies (nude-o-scopes, freedom gropings,) and behavior (rude, screaming, etc)

However, I gotta say that I am refreshed by your candor this time around, your willingness to answer questions and do research.

I'm not sure what has changed, but I hope that this is not just a single bleep on the radar.

If you and the rest of the TSA start treating us like human beings, with dignity and respect, with logical rules that apply directly to safety, and dropping bad (and possibly illegal) processes while providing a service with a smile, you will then start regaining the respect of the flying public.

I hope that what we have seen here today is the start of something good.

Here's to the next blog post...

Anonymous said...

Bob, I have constantly posted negative, but true, comments on here over the past few months. I feel they were very deserving. And I am sure that there will be more due to your (TSA) policies (nude-o-scopes, freedom gropings,) and behavior (rude, screaming, etc)

However, I gotta say that I am refreshed by your candor this time around, your willingness to answer questions and do research.

I'm not sure what has changed, but I hope that this is not just a single bleep on the radar.

If you and the rest of the TSA start treating us like human beings, with dignity and respect, with logical rules that apply directly to safety, and dropping bad (and possibly illegal) processes while providing a service with a smile, you will then start regaining the respect of the flying public.

I hope that what we have seen here today is the start of something good.

Here's to the next blog post...

RB said...

We do take inventory, but it's categorized and not itemized. For example, Sharp Items, Bludgeons, Firearms, Incendiaries, etc. I could try to get that list and post it if anybody is interested in seeing it.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

December 2, 2010 4:26 PM

...............
It wouldn't answer the question of nail clippers but would be interesting to see what you guys are dealing with.

How much and over what time period and how large an airport would be helpful to understand what is really going on in the TSA world.

While we're on the subject of items left at the checkpoint, if a bottle of liquid is to dangerous to move to the sterile area then why is it safe to just dump in a common trash can?

RB said...

Bye the way Bob, I like it when you respond back to us. I know you can't respond to each and every post but surely when numerous post are on the same topic a short answer or comment would be appropriate.

I honestly think doing so as much as possible would ease up the stink in here and get the dialog moving in a positive direction.

SSSS for some reason said...

...We do take inventory, but it's categorized and not itemized. For example, Sharp Items, Bludgeons, Firearms, Incendiaries, etc. I could try to get that list and post it if anybody is interested in seeing it.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

-----------

Yes please. I think a whole bunch of people would like to see inventories. It would do a lot to help your P.R. Cause if you were to provide that kind of information in a format that could be downloaded and reviewed by the number-crunchers that are not in your employ. It doesn't have to be a fancy report or anything, even just the raw data (presumably a giant excel file or access/Oracle db) would be nice to have access to.

Ayn R. Key said...

Bob wrote:
We do take inventory, but it's categorized and not itemized. For example, Sharp Items, Bludgeons, Firearms, Incendiaries, etc. I could try to get that list and post it if anybody is interested in seeing it.

Only if it is itemized.

Listed like that, it's too easy to include a 1 inch nail file as a sharp item and a disposable bic lighter as an incendiary.

Anonymous said...

I have no reason to doubt this happened.

Given the TSA's current record with privacy violation, obstruction of the Fourth Amendment, personal experience, and videos showing these cases.

When my ex left me stranded with a newborn, I had to sell all personals and travel home with my 5month old daughter.

It had been a few years since I had taken a leisure trip and I was absolutely shocked that these procedures have been allowed.

I was treated with disdain and disrespect from these "professionals." I was forced to remove my daughter from her car-seat and then told she needed to have her shoes taken off.

To top it off: I was told to stand by while others passed and I was barefoot with my infant.

I am sure everyone here can attest to countless cases of infants hiding bombs in their knit shoe-socks.

Now you guys have body scanners which blast excessive amounts of radiation at clients?

Absolutely disgusting!

avxo said...

Blogger Bob wrote: "We do take inventory, but it's categorized and not itemized. For example, Sharp Items, Bludgeons, Firearms, Incendiaries, etc. I could try to get that list and post it if anybody is interested in seeing it."

I would, however it's a pity that that things are categorized and not itemized, mostly because some of the categories are almost certainly overly general.

If you go looking for the list, a number of other items that you might want to post are:

(a) does the categorization happen at the time of abandonment or later, in a review of the haul of the day/week/month type of situation?

(b) do the items get "re-examined" at a later time by a supervisor (or some other person) to ensure to ensure that they were both correctly categorized and correctly identified as prohibited to begin with? If so, what is the ratio of "originally prohibited, and checks out" to "originally prohibited but found not to really be prohibited"?

(c) What is the numbers of items that are abandoned per day on the top 10 airports in the country? What categories do those items fall through?


On a slightly different note, sorry you have to stand up here and get called a liar and tolerate insult after insult.

People need to realize that you are just a spokesperson for the agency you work for, and by the nature of your job, often forced to work with whatever the PR people hand you.

I wish people here -- regardless of their political persuasion or position on the issues or at the airport -- would be a little bit more cordial.

Anonymous said...

I'd actually be very curious to see the inventory. Though in a world where fingernail clippers count as "sharp items", and a bottle of breast milk is believed to be "Incendiaries", I'm not sure how most people would feel about the list.

Citizen said...

Look, Bob, TSA....who ever. The point is that each TSA check point is inconsistent. My hobby is painting 25mm miniature soldiers. I routinely take a "hobby" kit consisting of small vials of water based paint. Detroit Airport will let me through. WAshington DC or Chicago or DFW will not.

Those that have served the armed forces know that regulations and policy are not law. They are at the mercy of those interpreting them and the supervisors. The problem is that regulations and policy were never supposed to be something control citizens. There is no way to make these consistent.

The security theater that TSA perpetuates is merely lends to s false sense of security. We, the people, are not the criminals. Why are we being treated as such?

Pete Williams said...

SarahW said:
"Is it sailing over your head that to confiscate such nailclippers from reservists returning from Afghanistan, in possesion not only of formidable personages but actual weapons capable of inflicting a good deal of injury even without bullets,

IS RIDICULOUS."

*****
Is it sailing over your head that the incident did not happen? The military charters come into a building that the TSA screening workforce doesn't operate in and doesn't even have access to.

Yes it would be ridiculous, if it happened, but it didn't.

SarahW said...

Pete - You can declare the event impossible, but it happened, and the TSA "mythbust" is a lie.

BB has dissembled about clippers, as some sort of proof, and had to take that back. Can he prove no soldiers were screened by saying it's "not policy"? Why should I think that signifies anything.

I'd like to know WHY the reservists were hassled with a search, and had items confiscates.


But lets just assume that TSAs denials mean something.

It still stands that it is perfectly ridiculous to confiscate nailclippers, the kind with little scissors and tiny dull blades (used to scrape dirt from beneath nails, not to carve roast beef" from any ordinary passenger.

In the first place it makes no sense because of the benignity of the object. In the second place it makes no sense because many much more dangerous items are deemed acceptable to carry on a flight.

In the third place it makes no sense to disarm passengers of such tools, when the chief means of preventing terror acts so far has been passenger action against them. I think making it harder for passengers to defend themselves is perhaps not the way to go.

In the fourth place, the TSA excercises ignorance of rules, caprice in enforcing them, and retaliates when challenged. Persons with no sense should not be running their hands over my genitals or allowed to bully anyone into machinery which is subject to operator error, and procedural errors (too long in the scanner or repeated scans, or which can malfunction, subjecting persons to larger-than-advertised doses of ionizing radiation.

Anonymous said...

i think that it should be pointed out that nail clippers, etc are allowed in your CHECKED luggage. you always have the option to put your items in your checked luggage. when a tsa person says that you cant take something they should offer you your options, mail, give it a nonflying person, put it in your car, or check it. if they dont then call for a supervisor. 99% of the items that are prohibited in your carryon are allowed in your luggage, you always have this option.

Anonymous said...

its amazing that bob gets ripped to shreds on here about what he posts and his additonal comments where any blogger can say whatever they want, factual or not, and has no recourse. i agree this blog should have a 3rd party looking after it so the bloggers are just as responsible as the tsa people.

Anonymous said...

Come on, Bob, or I should say, Bobs, you guys are terrible about "Custom Service" job, I had a similar position before so I know that's the only thing you guys could (or allow to) reply.
But seriously, you need to improve your response skill, and there are plenty of room you could do, or you'll make everyone else angrier.

Citizen said...

It is amazing that one can say what they want. I mean in a free-open society how dare we think we have the right to voice anything! We should all run out and get personal fact checkers....in fact they should make that a law. Each community with its own Office of Information Management to approve our statements.

Yes. I took that to the extreme but it is no far off the logic.

We have the right to speak our minds. Right, wrong, or indifferent. But does it give us the right to lie? I don't know. It's an interesting discussion, but inflammatory to call some one a liar with little to no proof yourself. Yet we do have the right to be misinformed or have our own unsupported view points. Neither of us have to justify anything to the other.

Yet, we are not in positions of authority nor holders of the public trust. The TSA is. Therefore they should have to justify everything they say and do and like good professionals suffer the slings and arrows of criticism. I and no one else are required to take them at face value. They are a public entity. Being a servant of the public is not about accolades but about service. After 13 years of public service I myself have little sympathy for anyone who whines about not getting credit. We serve of our own free will. It is a calling.

I can recount numerous inconsistencies with the TSA enforcement of their regulations. Do I have proof? No. Nothing other then me and argument for or against is merely he said/she said. Still if the TSA continues the path of denying everything they will find that people will go to great lengths to verify the inconsistencies. To dig until evidence is found.

Still all we have done with this security theater is switched the war to our homes. So I ask....when is it over? If the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are over, as the President proves by pulling troops home, then why the security measures? If we are to reduce our defense budget then why not security measures? Surely we are safe now! If the was is not over and security needs to remain high? Then why pull the troops home, cut our defense budget, and restrict free citizens in their own nation?

Anonymous said...

Right after 9/11, there was talk of nail clippers being confiscated. Given inconsistency in TSA agents' implementation of policy, I would bet many did have nail clippers taken at security. In my case, we had two nail clippers in a toiletries bag and the TSA allowed one, but said because of the file tool, that looks like a small knife, they tried to say I couldn't have those on board. I snapped the file off and they let me through. The file may be why many did have nail clippers taken.

LTSO with Answers said...

@Ayn r. key

Only if it is itemized.

Listed like that, it's too easy to include a 1 inch nail file as a sharp item and a disposable bic lighter as an incendiary.


Nail files are not a prohibited item and should not be disposed of in the first place. Same thing with bic lighters. So these items should never make it to the reporting part of surrendered items.

LTSO with Answers said...

If Bob allows the list of what we record in TSA. Here is the list:

-Sharp Objects
-Knives & Blades less than 3 inches
-Tools
-Fireworks
-Ammunition and Gunpowder
-Flammables/Irritants
-Knives & Blades greater than 3 inches
-Replica Weapons
-Dangerous Objects
-Clubs, Bats, & Bludgeons
-Box Cutters
-Explosives
-Lighters
-Firearms

These are categories and not specifically the item. Amounts and specific items would not be public knowledge.

LTSO with Answers said...

its amazing that bob gets ripped to shreds on here about what he posts and his additonal comments where any blogger can say whatever they want, factual or not, and has no recourse. i agree this blog should have a 3rd party looking after it so the bloggers are just as responsible as the tsa people.

Everyone should realize that Blogger Bob's posts are vetted through several channels before posting. I am sure he would tell the public as much as he is able but it is not just up to him. Bob does a fantastic job keeping the public as much informed as he does.

TSOTom said...

RB said...
Bye the way Bob, I like it when you respond back to us. I know you can't respond to each and every post but surely when numerous post are on the same topic a short answer or comment would be appropriate.

I honestly think doing so as much as possible would ease up the stink in here and get the dialog moving in a positive direction.

December 2, 2010 4:58 PM

***********************************
I must say that I agree with RB on this one. Bob, your responses have given the bloggers a feeling of dialogue if you will, and if you notice, even though you're still being called out by many, the tone is not as harsh as it sometimes has been in the past.

Anonymous said...

SarahW said...
RB, the public should not "accept" in any case - improvements or no improvements.

The TSA procedures are a dilution and waste of resources serving no purpose.

The are not only not reliably effective measures, but ironically make it even more likely for innocent persons to be harmed.

December 2, 2010 12:29 PM

***********************************
Sarah, you sound like a reasonably intelligent person, can you please explain your rationale on the statement of "innocent persons to be harmed"? How would the current procedures cause innocent persons to be harmed? Would a bomb somehow slip through with the current patdown? How about the whole body imager, do you think someone could get a bomb through one of those machines undetected? A gun on the ankle maybe? A knife in the waist band area? Has anyone seen the video message from Larry Mendte regarding these procedures? If not, maybe you should look it up. Or perhaps it can be posted on this blog? But Sarah, please explain your rationale.

Anonymous said...

Geeeze....while people are yammering about nail clippers and worrying about someone touching their junk, this lame duck Congress has its hand in their wallets! Mr. Don't Touch My Junk had his cell phone oh so conviently ready and you all fell for it!

Anonymous said...

"Everyone should realize that Blogger Bob's posts are vetted through several channels before posting."
------------------------------------

Government efficiency at its finest..

LOL!

Anonymous said...

LTSO with Answers said...

"Nail files are not a prohibited item and should not be disposed of in the first place. Same thing with bic lighters. So these items should never make it to the reporting part of surrendered items."

Then please explain to me why in ORD I had to check my Zippo and buy a Bic, but on my return flight from PIB, the TSA took the Zippo from my bag, told me it couldn't be checked and made me throw away my Bic? Is this the case of theft, poor training, retribution, I just "looked wrong" or another "layer of security" by changing prohibited items from one airport to another? I'm dying to have some answers, LTSO with Answers, because I can't for the life of me think of any reason why a Zippo must be checked at one airport and confiscated at another, a Bic purchased at one airport and discarded at another, when I was flying the SAME PLANE on both trips.

Please. Enlighten me.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
i think that it should be pointed out that nail clippers, etc are allowed in your CHECKED luggage. you always have the option to put your items in your checked luggage. when a tsa person says that you cant take something they should offer you your options, mail, give it a nonflying person, put it in your car, or check it. if they dont then call for a supervisor. 99% of the items that are prohibited in your carryon are allowed in your luggage, you always have this option.

December 3, 2010 10:45 AM

.................
And you have your head buried in the sand if you think most people are checking luggage nowadays.

Most airlines charge a fee for checked bags and most people try to avoid that by trying to carry on everything they can.

Blogger Bob said...

Anonymous said...Here's to the next blog post...December 2, 2010 4:39 PM
----------------------------
Cheers!
----------------------------
RB said... It wouldn't answer the question of nail clippers but would be interesting to see what you guys are dealing with. How much and over what time period and how large an airport would be helpful to understand what is really going on in the TSA world. December 2, 2010 4:52 PM
----------------------------
I’m not sure how detailed of a report I’ll get, but I’ve got a request out now.
----------------------------
RB said...Bye the way Bob, I like it when you respond back to us. I know you can't respond to each and every post but surely when numerous post are on the same topic a short answer or comment would be appropriate. I honestly think doing so as much as possible would ease up the stink in here and get the dialog moving in a positive direction.
December 2, 2010 4:58 PM
----------------------------
Thanks RB. Things get crazy from time to time and I’ve got a lot on my plate. I’ll do my best to chime in more often.
----------------------------
SSSS for some reason said...Yes please. I think a whole bunch of people would like to see inventories. It would do a lot to help your P.R. Cause if you were to provide that kind of information in a format that could be downloaded and reviewed by the number-crunchers that are not in your employ. It doesn't have to be a fancy report or anything, even just the raw data (presumably a giant excel file or access/Oracle db) would be nice to have access to. December 2, 2010 5:04 PM
----------------------------
Yes. Yes. Yes. I would love to do this and see what comes from it. I’ve included the idea of uploading the data to our web page in my proposal.
----------------------------
avxo said...

(a) does the categorization happen at the time of abandonment or later, in a review of the haul of the day/week/month type of situation?

(b) do the items get "re-examined" at a later time by a supervisor (or some other person) to ensure to ensure that they were both correctly categorized and correctly identified as prohibited to begin with? If so, what is the ratio of "originally prohibited, and checks out" to "originally prohibited but found not to really be prohibited"?

(c) What is the numbers of items that are abandoned per day on the top 10 airports in the country? What categories do those items fall through?

December 2, 2010 8:57 PM
-----------------------------
(a)It happens at the time of abandonment and is recorded on a form. The form is turned in at the end of the day and entered into a database that tracks metrics for the entire TSA.

(b)The items are placed in a locked box and our supervisors can’t retrieve the items once they are placed in the box.

(c)I’m guessing that would be available in the spreadsheet with a little bit of sorting. I’m guessing because I haven’t seen the data.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Blogger Bob said...

avxo said...On a slightly different note, sorry you have to stand up here and get called a liar and tolerate insult after insult. People need to realize that you are just a spokesperson for the agency you work for, and by the nature of your job, often forced to work with whatever the PR people hand you. I wish people here -- regardless of their political persuasion or position on the issues or at the airport -- would be a little bit more cordial. December 2, 2010 8:57 PM
-----------------------------
Thanks for the kind words.
------------------------------
Anonymous said...
I'd actually be very curious to see the inventory. Though in a world where fingernail clippers count as "sharp items", and a bottle of breast milk is believed to be "Incendiaries", I'm not sure how most people would feel about the list. December 2, 2010 10:01 PM
-------------------------------
Sarcasm noted.
-------------------------------
Citizen said...Look, Bob, TSA....who ever. The point is that each TSA check point is inconsistent. My hobby is painting 25mm miniature soldiers. I routinely take a "hobby" kit consisting of small vials of water based paint. Detroit Airport will let me through. WAshington DC or Chicago or DFW will not. December 2, 2010 10:31 PM
-------------------------------
Citizin – First off, what a great hobby. I love admiring the end result of your craft. Having not seen the vials, I have to ask. Will they all fit in a quart sized baggie? Do you transport them in a baggie? Was the baggie the issue at the other airports? Please give me a few more details, and I can be of a little more help.
-------------------------------
SarahW said...BB has dissembled about clippers, as some sort of proof, and had to take that back. December 3, 2010 10:22 AM
-------------------------------
Sarah – For the record, I didn’t take anything back.
--------------------------------
Anonymous said...Come on, Bob, or I should say, Bobs….December 3, 2010 11:54 AM
--------------------------------
Ha! You would not believe how often I hear this. I am the only Bob. I am thee Bob. Bob is not a Pseudonym. I have been Bob since the day I was born. Some folks on here have actually met me in person.
--------------------------------
LTSO with Answers said...
If Bob allows the list of what we record in TSA. Here is the list:

-Sharp Objects
-Knives & Blades less than 3 inches
-Tools
-Fireworks
-Ammunition and Gunpowder
-Flammables/Irritants
-Knives & Blades greater than 3 inches
-Replica Weapons
-Dangerous Objects
-Clubs, Bats, & Bludgeons
-Box Cutters
-Explosives
-Lighters
-Firearms

These are categories and not specifically the item. Amounts and specific items would not be public knowledge.
December 3, 2010 2:12 PM
-----------------------------
Bingo. That’s the list of categories.
-----------------------------
LTSO with Answers said...Bob does a fantastic job keeping the public as much informed as he does. December 3, 2010 2:22 PM
-----------------------------
Thanks!
-----------------------------
TSOTom said...I must say that I agree with RB on this one. Bob, your responses have given the bloggers a feeling of dialogue if you will, and if you notice, even though you're still being called out by many, the tone is not as harsh as it sometimes has been in the past. December 3, 2010 2:30 PM
-----------------------------
Agreed.
-----------------------------

Have a good weekend, and see you on Monday!(If not sooner)

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Ayn R. Key said...

LTSO wrote...
Nail files are not a prohibited item and should not be disposed of in the first place. Same thing with bic lighters. So these items should never make it to the reporting part of surrendered items.

The problem with your statement is the same as the problem with Bob's statements. While your answer is correct you use the word "should" over and over.

When the TSA is involved, and TSOs making up rules on the spot, and TSOs adding things to the list on the spot, there is sufficient room between "should" and "is" to drive a truck through.

The gap between "should" and "is" needs to be addressed, and it needs it very firmly, with sanctions on TSOs who violate it.

I'm glad you addressed that point, especially since Bob seems determined to ignore me.

Anonymous said...

anon said:
"And you have your head buried in the sand if you think most people are checking luggage nowadays.

Most airlines charge a fee for checked bags and most people try to avoid that by trying to carry on everything they can."

thats a passenger/airline issue not a tsa issue. the options are valid even if you dont think so. you have to decide what is good for you and if you think that turning your item over to the tsa is the way to go then dont complain, it was your decision!

Anonymous said...

You people need to learn one lesson quickly: stop lying to the public. It's insulting and you never get my with it. OF COURSE nail clippers were at one time prohibited. Anyone who flew from about 2001 until about 2007 knows that. You assume that all of your readers are either stupid or inexperienced. The odds are that the frequent travelers who come here are neither. On the other hand your proclivity for lying makes you look devious and frankly not bright enough to recognize how obvious the lies are.

David said...

Wow..a lot of hate and frustration in here. Bob, I don't envy you this job, but seems you are able to keep your spirits up at times. :-)

While I may collectively refer to all sorts of nail cutting/cleaning devices as nail clippers, I can recognize the situations where TSA policies can't permit them. And for all of the folks that say "don't call them nail clippers," well, obviously the list of permitted items and those not allowed would grow even longer if it had to include all descriptions of all permutations of nail clippers that ever existed.

Frankly, knowing the confusion that exists, why would anyone in their right mind ever bring anything that could be mistaken for a prohibited item through a security checkpoint...just so the possibly underpaid, not well trained, bored, overworked, and harrassed TSA worker could make an incorrect decision?

Don't rely just on that TSA worker's brain to think...everyone going through that security checkpoint should have some common sense to recognize how to make it easier on themselves to make it through with the least amount of frustration.

If we can't expect the 1000's of travellers to have the commone sense to "think" about what they are carrying, then why we epect the poor TSA agent to have it for everyone else?

I'm still looking for a source verifying the authenticity of the armed soldier's claim. Can't find it. Guess it's not real.

Citizen said...

Thanks for your offer of help, Bob.

Yes the vial of paint can...or at least the amount I travel with can. Yet this was in the past....can't fix the past, Bob. It's over. It happened. What can you do now?

As for the future? I won't fly any more. Told my office, my family.....I drive if I have to, and foreign countries are a little too dangerous these days.

I vote with my wallet and feet. No more flying for me.

Anonymous said...

enough about nail files...what about MILK...

RB said...

David said...

.... in part....

Frankly, knowing the confusion that exists, why would anyone in their right mind ever bring anything that could be mistaken for a prohibited item through a security checkpoint...just so the possibly underpaid, not well trained, bored, overworked, and harrassed TSA worker could make an incorrect decision?

Don't rely just on that TSA worker's brain to think...everyone going through that security checkpoint should have some common sense to recognize how to make it easier on themselves to make it through with the least amount of frustration.

If we can't expect the 1000's of travellers to have the commone sense to "think" about what they are carrying, then why we epect the poor TSA agent to have it for everyone else?

December 4, 2010 9:23 AM

.............
David you raise some excellent points.

TSA could really make things easier on everyone if they would publish the rules that must be followed to transit a TSA checkpoint.

But the haven't and seem to have little interest in doing so.

TSA has a list of prohibited items yet confuses the situation needlessly by leaving up to the individual screeners discretion to not allow any thing for any reason.

An example, TSA allowed Britney Spears to take a cup with ice through the checkpoint. It certainly looks like she received special consideration. TSA points to an item in the exceptions for those with medical/special needs and says that exception applies to everyone.

Why not just correct the information? To hard for TSA? Even today the exception is on the page for those with disabilities and medical conditions.

TSA seemingly makes the process to clear screening more complicated than needed, provides guidance that is misleading and then complicates things even more by not following the information as published. Take the Breast Milk incident that is being talked about.

TSA can fix these things but apparently has no desire to do so.

Don't blame the public for TSA's screw ups.

XRAY said...

We have heard Stacey's story...what does Blogger Bob have to say?

http://www.menwithfoilhats.com/2010/11/x-ray-nation-tsa-glass-box-mother-over-stored-breast-milk/

Anonymous said...

"Wow..a lot of hate and frustration in here. Bob, I don't envy you this job, but seems you are able to keep your spirits up at times. :-)"

Yes, a good GS salary and a chance to mock the liberty-loving public every day makes for a good job.

Blogger Bob is a propagandist, pure and simple.

Time for a change.

Anonymous said...

"Frankly, knowing the confusion that exists, why would anyone in their right mind ever bring anything that could be mistaken for a prohibited item through a security checkpoint...just so the possibly underpaid, not well trained, bored, overworked, and harrassed TSA worker could make an incorrect decision?"

So...fear the government?

Not in my lifetime. The government should fear the public. Time to restore sanity.

Anonymous said...

rb said:
"Don't blame the public for TSA's screw ups"

and vice versa; dont blame the tsa for the public's screw ups

Anonymous said...

So Bob, does that mean I'm lying when I tell you that TSA had taken nail clippers from me in 2008?

With the shoes on, shoes off, laptops in, laptops out experiences in the past 5 years, where TSA doesn't seem to have a clue at what the rules REALLY are, or just make them up as they go along. Why was my stepdaughter subjected to having her cane taken away....and she is BLIND, and treated like a terrorist, only because she couldn't see. Why was I treated like a terrorist and held in a glass cage for 25 minutes the last time I flew with a leg cast...without chair to sit on following ankle surgery, these "caring" souls do not care about individuals -- they've proven it to me. Yes, we've complained about both of these cases and never received responses!

Since when do government bureaucrats ever follow the rules they create?!?!?!?!

You want to put ME on the watch list for complaining -- go right ahead. It seems to be the way TSA operates anyway.

SarahW said...

Bob, you "didn't take anything back"?

There you go again. That's called dissembling.

You had to qualify that nailclippers were, in fact, confiscated for having attached scissors (though that rule was revised) and are confiscated for having attached blades (the very short dull blades designed to clean beneath nails).

So, nailclippers ARE confiscated, and you had to take it back.

Since this sort of nailclippers is what most ordinary people will refer to as "nailclippers", you had to admit that nailclippers ARE IN SOME CASES CONFISCATED.

Split hairs and dissemble all you like, you aren't doing much for the credit of TSA by hoping it goes unnoticed.

You implied this story is myth and one reason is that nailclippers aren't confiscated. Well, they are.
You say this is not policy.

You also declared this story impossible because soldiers (in this case reservists by citing, again, TSA policy - what the TSA is and isn't SUPPOSED to be doing.

If nailclippers are coniscated against policy,
then why should I rely on any "policy" with regard to returning soldiers to prove the falsity of the tale?

I had my own clippers confiscated, therefore I know that policy at the TSA is...fungible. Capricious. Subject to change and/or interpretation.

I don't know why soldiers were screened that day, or why TSOs were invovled.

SInce you have shown you will say misleading orthings in the name mythbusting - in the light most favorable to you, shade them improperly, I have reason to be skeptical of the whole attempt to
deny this happend.

Since the original story was correct on so many of the particulars, I have no reason to doubt that NAILCLIPPERS were taken from a reservist, in a group of reservists deplaned at Indianapolis, who were screened with the assistance of the TSA.

Perhaps you can provide proof that no such screening has ever taken place in a group of returning reservists, but I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

"Sarah, you sound like a reasonably intelligent person, can you please explain your rationale on the statement of "innocent persons to be harmed"? How would the current procedures cause innocent persons to be harmed? Would a bomb somehow slip through with the current patdown? How about the whole body imager, do you think someone could get a bomb through one of those machines undetected? A gun on the ankle maybe? A knife in the waist band area? Has anyone seen the video message from Larry Mendte regarding these procedures? If not, maybe you should look it up. Or perhaps it can be posted on this blog? But Sarah, please explain your rationale."

I'm not Sarah but DHS's own inspectors were getting through with "prohibited" items about 70% of the time. Then, the results of the inspections were embargoed from the public.

I suspect a news organization will start its own inspection soon and that the results will be similar.

Take a look at Adam Savage "smuggling" 12 inch razor blades. Amazing. $50B spent and amateurish incompetence. Amazing.

Matt said...

To all who seek an opportunity to bash the TSA, pick a new story. This is completely, absolutely, laughably ridiculous. I'm an active-duty Marine who has deployed three times in support of the GWOT. Beyond the absurdity of carrying an "assault rifle" through a TSA checkpoint, the comment about failing an explosive residue test from TSA is also comical.

Really folks, feel free to bash the TSA, it's your right as Americans. But don't use the military as your scapegoat. That story is not only not true, it was very clearly written by somebody who is not in the military.

Jim Huggins said...

David writes:

Frankly, knowing the confusion that exists, why would anyone in their right mind ever bring anything that could be mistaken for a prohibited item through a security checkpoint...just so the possibly underpaid, not well trained, bored, overworked, and harrassed TSA worker could make an incorrect decision?

Because no-one can predict what "anything that could be mistaken for a prohibited item" means.

Knives are prohibited, but scissors (which are just knives joined by a screw) are permitted. Drill bits are prohibited, but short screwdrivers (which look an awful lot like drill bits) are permitted. Pool cues are prohibited, but walking canes (which may look a lot like a smooth stick, like a pool cue) are permitted.

In the face of these obvious contradictions, how in the world is an ordinary passenger supposed to predict how a screener will react to any particular item?

avxo said...

Hey, if your nail-clipper has a blade, it can't fly... It's common sense really, you might actually scrape someone's cuticles with such a weapon.

It's not like we're talking about something harmless like 12-freaking-inch long razor blades.

Seriously Bob... They missed 12 inch long razor blades? That's a FOOT LONG for crying out loud!

Do stories like that trigger any sort of investigation? Do the screeners face any sort of actual consequences for missing stuff like that? And I mean actual consequences. Not some silly team-building exercises and chanting affirmations. Or is that SSI?

Michael Z. Williamson said...

The remote terminal is the old terminal. It was opened for troops/cargo in 2008. Before that, everyone went through that same terminal.

NICK said...

I just want everyone to know that the nail clipper story is a lie. I am a soldier with the ARMY National Gaurd from Las Vegas in the 221 cav. I flew out and back into that airport when I deployed to Afghanistan. TSA was no where near the terminal to where we flew into. We flew on private military charters and did not get screened by TSA but by our chain of command and Customs on the way home to make sure no one had any contraband.
Now I do rememeber when I was flying to another part of the country at another time on a regular airline flight and I did have nail clippers and the were surrendered to TSA because they did have a little blade on them. I was in uniform and I still had to give my nail clippers up. IT WAS NO BIG DEAL! I thanked them for what they do and they tahnked me for my service.
People stop crying about things that are so silly and stop making up lies to make TSA look bad, and another thing stop using the military in your lies its sick and disturbing.

Blogger Bob said...

Ayn R. Key said...The problem with your statement is the same as the problem with Bob's statements. While your answer is correct you use the word "should" over and over. December 3, 2010 5:37 PM
---------------------------------
Ayn – And if I said “will not” instead of “should not,” who would be the first person to ask me if I could guarantee that? I’m rational enough to understand that our workforce is just as capable of making a mistake as any other workforce. Mistakes happen at all levels. There is no getting around it.
---------------------------------
Anonymous said...You people need to learn one lesson quickly: stop lying to the public. It's insulting and you never get my with it. OF COURSE nail clippers were at one time prohibited. Anyone who flew from about 2001 until about 2007 knows that. 8 December 4, 2010 8:40 AM
---------------------------------
Your statement is partially correct. The private screening companies were prohibiting nail clippers after 9/11. TSA started taking over checkpoints in 2002 and from that point forward, nail clippers have not been prohibited.
---------------------------------
Anonymous said... So Bob, does that mean I'm lying when I tell you that TSA had taken nail clippers from me in 2008? December 5, 2010 2:21 PM
---------------------------------
Not at all. I’ve admitted on here that mistakes happen. I don’t condone them, but they happen.
---------------------------------
Anonymous also said...You want to put ME on the watch list for complaining -- go right ahead. It seems to be the way TSA operates anyway. December 5, 2010 2:21 PM
---------------------------------
Let’s see, I can’t speak for them, but ask some of our regular vocal critics here on our blog if they’ve been placed on a watch list for complaining on this blog.
---------------------------------
Matt said...To all who seek an opportunity to bash the TSA, pick a new story. This is completely, absolutely, laughably ridiculous. I'm an active-duty Marine who has deployed three times in support of the GWOT. Beyond the absurdity of carrying an "assault rifle" through a TSA checkpoint, the comment about failing an explosive residue test from TSA is also comical. Really folks, feel free to bash the TSA, it's your right as Americans. But don't use the military as your scapegoat. That story is not only not true, it was very clearly written by somebody who is not in the military. December 5, 2010 10:05 PM
---------------------------------
Thanks Matt. I don’t know how to prove it to anybody, so posts like yours are extremely helpful.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Blogger Bob said...

Jim Huggins said...Knives are prohibited, but scissors (which are just knives joined by a screw) are permitted. Drill bits are prohibited, but short screwdrivers (which look an awful lot like drill bits) are permitted. Pool cues are prohibited, but walking canes (which may look a lot like a smooth stick, like a pool cue) are permitted. December 5, 2010 10:56 PM
---------------------------------
Jim – I’ve said it before and many other TSA employees both in the field and at HQ agree with you that the prohibited items list needs a refresh.
---------------------------------
avxo said... Hey, if your nail-clipper has a blade, it can't fly... It's common sense really, you might actually scrape someone's cuticles with such a weapon. It's not like we're talking about something harmless like 12-freaking-inch long razor blades. Seriously Bob... They missed 12 inch long razor blades? That's a FOOT LONG for crying out loud! Do stories like that trigger any sort of investigation? Do the screeners face any sort of actual consequences for missing stuff like that? And I mean actual consequences. Not some silly team-building exercises and chanting affirmations. Or is that SSI? December 6, 2010 10:16 PM
---------------------------------
avxo – You are correct. You couldn’t even skin a goldfish with some of the knives we’ve had to prohibit from entering the cockpit. While it may seem silly, it’s the way it works at the moment. Hopefully it will change, but until it does, we have to follow the SOP. As far as the 12” long razor blade, I can’t speak to that one. Where did it happen? What date, time, checkpoint, lane, airline? Did Adam file a complaint with TSA?
---------------------------------
Michael Z. Williamson said... The remote terminal is the old terminal. It was opened for troops/cargo in 2008. Before that, everyone went through that same terminal.
December 8, 2010 12:58 AM
---------------------------------
Thanks for providing this info.
---------------------------------
NICK said...I just want everyone to know that the nail clipper story is a lie. I am a soldier with the ARMY National Gaurd from Las Vegas in the 221 cav. I flew out and back into that airport when I deployed to Afghanistan. TSA was nowhere near the terminal to where we flew into. We flew on private military charters and did not get screened by TSA but by our chain of command and Customs on the way home to make sure no one had any contraband. December 8, 2010 5:04 PM
-------------------------------Thanks Nick. Like I said earlier, posts like yours really help.
-------------------------------

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Ayn R. Key said...

While it's true that I would inquire as to the enforcement mechanism if you said "will not" instead of "should not", that is because too often we see a lack of an enforcement mechanism even under "should not."

We need to know, at least in general without naming names, what are the penalties experienced by TSOs who create the difference between what is and what should be. And we need to know what are the penalties are for the LTSOs and the STSOs who side with the TSO against the procedure.

You don't need to say "TSORon was disciplined in this way". You need to say "Any TSO who does X will experience Y as their punishment".

I hope that information is not SSI.

Jim Huggins said...

Bob writes (in response to a posting of mine):

Jim – I’ve said it before and many other TSA employees both in the field and at HQ agree with you that the prohibited items list needs a refresh.

So ... what do we have to do to get this refresh performed? If many TSA employees, both in the field and at HQ, agree that the prohibited items list needs to be refreshed, why isn't it happening?

Anonymous said...

I had a compass confiscated around 2003.

RB said...

Jim Huggins said...
Bob writes (in response to a posting of mine):

Jim – I’ve said it before and many other TSA employees both in the field and at HQ agree with you that the prohibited items list needs a refresh.

So ... what do we have to do to get this refresh performed? If many TSA employees, both in the field and at HQ, agree that the prohibited items list needs to be refreshed, why isn't it happening?

December 10, 2010 3:13 PM

.............
What update a whole list?

TSA can't even update the rules regarding ice and keeps that bit of info under exceptions for those with medical needs.

TSA is completely dysfunctional and ineffective.

RB said...

Let’s see, I can’t speak for them, but ask some of our regular vocal critics here on our blog if they’ve been placed on a watch list for complaining on this blog.
---------------------------------
Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

December 9, 2010 3:50 PM

...............
Earlier this year or perhaps last year DHS decided that certain veterans and other groups needed watching because defenders of the Constitution were considered activist by DHS, TSA's parent.

Only in the last few weeks DHS has again termed those opposed to TSA illegal screenings activist and bear watching and reportedly lists are being made of those who Opt Out of Strip Search machine scanning.

I really feel secure knowing that DHS/TSA feels American citizens are the enemy while TSA's has wasted billions of dollars of dllars and have no quantified data to show any good for those expenditures.

just a simple servant! said...

you guys are ridiculous.... you got nothing better to do in life than try to go against TSA ?? do you guys even fly ?? because I work in the airport and everyday people thank me for my job. So i really believe is probably the same group of people just trying to make blogger bob crazy...

and drop the nail clipper fight.. you guys are incredible they cost 99 cent everywhere.. just stop crying and wasting your time posting ridiculous comments and go outside, enjoy fresh air, go to a drugstore and buy the 99cent clippers ;)!

good day!

Anonymous said...

Well, the 99cent nailclipper seizures have already escalated to strip-search procedures. It might be fair to say if we had protested the nailclippers sooner, we wouldn't have our rights ending at the current alarming rate.

Anonymous said...

Look.... I keep nail clippers on my key ring because It's convenient.

went on a short trip last week, to Florida. This week, my nails are getting to that longish stage. I go to clip them and my clippers are GONE!!!

The only possible explanation is that some TSA person STOLE them OFF OF MY KEY RING while they went through the scanner in my jacket.

Come ON!!! Seriously ??? I guess I should be glad they didn't steal my keys too.

Julie said...

@Blogger Bob-I'm flying tomorrow (Lord help me, 4 days before Christmas...what was I thinking?) otherwise I probably would not have had the pleasure of stumbling across your original blog post about "nail clippers." You stated that nail clippers are allowed; however, in a comment you responded to this comment:

TSO Tom said...
Bob, please clairfy: Nailclippers have never been prohibited by TSA....but blades are prohibited....SO....IF your nailclippers have a blade on them, they will be prohibited.
December 1, 2010 at 11:41 AM

with this statement:

Blogger Bob said...
TSO Tom, to clarify your clarification, by blade, we mean blade. Not nail file. :)

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team
December 1, 2010 at 11:43 AM

I'm going to just point out the obvious and say that a nail file is a nail file. Nail clippers have a blade. I find it unbelievable that this has to be clarified for you. You completely contradict your statement in your blog post in the your own comment. Glad to see the TSA has it under control.