Monday, August 29, 2011

Snakes On A Plane! And Turtles & Birds, Oh My!!! Almost...

Coiled Snake In Hand
Coiled Snake In Hand
From the “Crazy Things People Take On Planes” files, here are some new additions involving snakes, turtles, and birds.

The first incident occurred at the Miami International Airport (MIA) and involved a gentleman with seven small snakes in his pants. (Insert inappropriate joke here) He also had three small turtles (Insert more jokes here) and they were all stored in lady’s hosiery in the man’s trousers. The snakes and turtles were found using TSA’s imaging technology which allows TSA officers to find potential threat items concealed from plain sight. U.S. Fish and Wildlife officers arrived on the scene and took custody of the reptiles. The passenger was arrested on the federal charge of “harboring reptiles in an unnatural habitat.” I made that up… the individual was actually charged with violating the Lacey Act.

Bird freed from sock.
Freed From The Sock
The second incident occurred at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) when two birds were discovered during a pat-down that was being administered due to bulky clothing. They were wrapped in socks and taped to the leg and chest of a woman who was traveling to China. U.S. Fish and Wildlife officers arrested the woman on suspicion of smuggling and exporting an endangered species out of the United States.

TSA’s mission of course is not to find artfully concealed wildlife, but items taped to a passenger’s body could very well be explosives or some other dangerous prohibited item. We just don’t know until we check it out. Threats concealed under a person’s clothes remain a concern and this discovery, threat or no threat, once again demonstrates the effectiveness of TSA’s security techniques.

Snakes & Turtles In Hosiery
Snakes & Turtles In Hosiery
Snake
Released From The Hosiery
Birds Taped In Socks
Birds Taped In Socks 
Imagine the chaos that would ensue if a marmot were concealed in a pair of trousers? Kudos to the officers at LAX & MIA!


If you’d like to comment on an unrelated topic you can do so in our Off Topic Comments post. You can also view our blog post archives or search our blog to find a related topic to comment in. If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact a Customer Support Manager at the airport you traveled, or will be traveling through by using Talk to TSA.

113 comments:

Teldannen said...

Poor critters. Too bad the people smuggling them can't be charged with animal cruelty as well. What happens to the animals in situations like this? The bird in the picture looks tame - did it find a good home?

Blogger Bob said...

Hi Teldannen. U.S. Fish & Wildlife took them. I'm not sure what they do with them, but I linked to their blog in my post if you want to contact them.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Hey, Nice Marmot!!!

Anonymous said...

Obviously TSA is doing a better job than Customs. ICE staffing should be lowered to reflect the work done now by TSA and the positions sent to TSA.

Animal Care Aware (ACA) said...

THIS IS WHY I AM EXTREMELY INTERESTED IN WORKING WITH TSA SLC, UT IS COMBAT LIVE CONTRABAND.

Anonymous said...

The snakes and turtles were found using TSA’s imaging technology

Why were the snakes and turtles using TSA's imagubg technology? ;)

JustSayin said...

To all the negative naysayers who truly believe the body scanners are there for reasons other than spotting prohibited items....

SEE????

Anonymous said...

Does radiating law-abiding American taxpayers constitute animal cruelty? Reasonable and informed people would think so...

A recently released poll shows that American's respect for government is at an all time low - congratulations on the TSA's contribution to those negative numbers...

Anonymous said...

Bob- what actual threat to air travel do pets pose? I though the TSA was supposed to be keeping us SAFE, not acting as a 4th-Amendment-immune arm of law enforcement.

Anonymous said...

The TSA violates the spirit of the posse comitatus act.

Anonymous said...

I hardly think TSA is looking for pets and snakes. However, its logical that if they scan someone and find an unusual package in an unusual place, they will check. Thats called keeping us secure.

Having found contraband, live or manufactured, I hardly think they will let the passenger go through with it.
Seems simple enough to me, wouldnt you say, Anonymous???

Anonymous said...

If your techniques were effective, you would actually catch terrorists without bothering innocent citizens.

Mike Toreno said...

"this discovery, threat or no threat, once again demonstrates the effectiveness of TSA’s security techniques."

No it doesn't.

Blogger Bob said...

Anonymous said... Bob- what actual threat to air travel do pets pose? I though the TSA was supposed to be keeping us SAFE, not acting as a 4th-Amendment-immune arm of law enforcement. August 29, 2011 9:49 PM

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

They're not a threat. I'll share my last paragraph with you again:

"TSA’s mission of course is not to find artfully concealed wildlife, but items taped to a passenger’s body could very well be explosives or some other dangerous prohibited item. We just don’t know until we check it out. Threats concealed under a person’s clothes remain a concern and this discovery, threat or no threat, once again demonstrates the effectiveness of TSA’s security techniques."

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Jim Huggins said...

TSA’s mission of course is not to find artfully concealed wildlife, but items taped to a passenger’s body could very well be explosives or some other dangerous prohibited item. We just don’t know until we check it out.

I understand that. But once TSA determined that the artfully concealed items weren't explosives, but wildlife, why would TSA refer the matter to other authorities like US Fish & Wildlife? Is it any of TSA's business whether or not those snakes were being transported in the violation of the Lacey Act?

It seems like TSA, in the pursuit of its mission, ends up acting as a proxy for numerous other agencies (Fish & Wildlife, FAA, local law enforcement). I might argue that TSA ends up doing more for those agencies than it does to fulfill its own mission.

MRFLIGHT said...

JIM

TSA is required to hand over certain information to Law Enforcement Officers, such as individuals who try to hide something on their bodies to get through security. Once the individual does this,and TSA finds whatever what was hidden, it then is sent to LEOS, LEOS then take over from there. If the LEOS see a crime or hint of a crime, they are going to notify the LEO agency who has certain jurisdictions. In this case, i will give you what most likely happened

TSA Finds anomalies on the persons Body

TSA checks the body parts to make sure its not weapons or explosives.

TSA Finds live animals.

TSA then must notify LEOS because passanger tried to artfully conceal items(reguardless what it is)

LEOS come to scene, and interview passanger

LEOS then call the right agency and arresst the individual on a state or federal charge

That was most likely the sequence of events.

soo JIM TSA MUST notify LEOS when something is artfully concealed reguardless of what it is

Anonymous said...

The animals may not be a threat to air travel, but many of them are on the endangered species list which makes them illegal to own. Others present a problem by carrying diseases. Parrot fever is extremely dangerous to humans so no they do not find them a good home.

Jim Huggins said...

MRFLIGHT: yes, I understand *how* the current procedure works. I'm just not convinced that it *ought* to do so.

When I come through a checkpoint with a young child, is it TSA's job to determine whether or not I am the child's legal guardian?

When I come through a checkpoint with a laptop, is it TSA's job to verify that all the software on that laptop is properly licensed?

When I come through a checkpoint with a wallet containing paper money, is it TSA's job to verify that none of that money is counterfeit?

TSA seems to pick and choose which potential crimes it investigates and which it leaves alone. I'm just not sure where TSA draws the line between national security interests and Fourth Amendment limits on unreasonable searches.

RB said...

Anonymous said...
I hardly think TSA is looking for pets and snakes. However, its logical that if they scan someone and find an unusual package in an unusual place, they will check. Thats called keeping us secure.

Having found contraband, live or manufactured, I hardly think they will let the passenger go through with it.
Seems simple enough to me, wouldnt you say, Anonymous???

August 29, 2011 10:52 PM

............
Yes simple enough. TSA views violation of the 4th amendment as business as usual.

Anonymous said...

The animals or such could be your pet they stole. ?
I think smuggling is against the law as well. No matter the nature. And to the other person: If your techniques were effective, you would actually catch terrorists without bothering innocent citizens.

August 30, 2011 7:46 AM

Well, I think that is why WE now have all the NEW technology wouldnt you say? To bad there are NOT SO bright people in the world, but I think WE are doing what WE see is a step in the right direction for protecting the Americans of our country. Go TSA...people know better come on...

Anonymous said...

"TSA’s mission of course is not to find artfully concealed wildlife, but items taped to a passenger’s body could very well be explosives or some other dangerous prohibited item. We just don’t know until we check it out. Threats concealed under a person’s clothes remain a concern and this discovery, threat or no threat, once again demonstrates the effectiveness of TSA’s security techniques."

Well now I feel completely safe. After all every non-metalic threat I have ever seen looks and feels just like a bird in stockings. Well, there was that one time I mistook a non-metalic threat for a turtle. Good job TSA, you single handedly stopped a potential outbreak of bird flu.

I wonder if the whole body imaging would have caught the bird if it had been flattened into a pancake shape?

Not Scared of Terrorists

J Miller 094 said...

All, animals, insects, coming in to the United States must be claimed. Other countries have insects that if turned loose here in America, would devastate wheat crops vegetable crops etc. etc.and don't think that these other countries would not love to see American crops ruined. Just another way to attack the American people.
This is a law that must be upheld. It is for the protection of the American people.

Anonymous said...

Seriously? So if you are walking down the street and you see someone steeling a car, you won't call the police because your aren't a law enforcement officer?

If someone is trafficking animals, and you knew about it...you would do nothing?

TSA's mission may be to thwart a terrorist attack on aviation...but if it stumbles across a criminal activity, such as trafficking animals, they'd be criminals themselves if they do nothing about it.

What's wrong with people?

Adrian said...

Have there been any studies to determine if the level and type of radiation emitted by the scanners is safe for reptiles, amphibians, and birds?

By subjecting concealed animals to this radiation, the TSA may be endangering already endangered animals.

Anonymous said...

I understand that. But once TSA determined that the artfully concealed items weren't explosives, but wildlife, why would TSA refer the matter to other authorities like US Fish & Wildlife? Is it any of TSA's business whether or not those snakes were being transported in the violation of the Lacey Act?


TSA has found people with child pornography in their luggage. Should we allow these people to go free as well seeing as it is not a threat to the airplane? If a crime is observed it should be reported. I understand why people don't like being searched but no one says you need to bring illegal items with you on the plane.

Anonymous said...

And just to be clear, everyone: TSA has never, ever, ever found a single threatening item with its strip-search scanners. All they've ever done is find things that are harmless. But Bob doesn't want to talk about that, the same way he doesn't want to admit that no other country shares TSA's shoe fetish.

JustSayin said...

Anonymous said...
And just to be clear, everyone: TSA has never, ever, ever found a single threatening item with its strip-search scanners. All they've ever done is find things that are harmless. But Bob doesn't want to talk about that, the same way he doesn't want to admit that no other country shares TSA's shoe fetish.

August 30, 2011 12:22 PM



Finally, the voice of reason............

:)

Anonymous said...

Wake-up America! This incident was clearly a foiled trial run of the terrorist's next plot. The TSA must quickly develop and deploy anti-reptile protocols to ensure that al-Qaeda cannot undermine our airways by putting snakes on a plane. We must remain vigilant against the threat of extremist reptiles.

Let us never forget the tragic events of Pacific Air 121!

Anonymous said...

"All, animals, insects, coming in to the United States must be claimed. Other countries have insects that if turned loose here in America, would devastate wheat crops vegetable crops etc. etc.and don't think that these other countries would not love to see American crops ruined. Just another way to attack the American people."

TSA isn't customs. This wasn't a border crossing.

"TSA has found people with child pornography in their luggage. Should we allow these people to go free as well seeing as it is not a threat to the airplane?"

So they're going through people's reading material looking for what? What made them believe they were dangerous that led to the discovery? This doesn't bother you?

A slippery slope. The road to a Police State is paved with good intentions.

They are NOT law enforcement.

JustSayin said...

Anonymous said...
Wake-up America! This incident was clearly a foiled trial run of the terrorist's next plot. The TSA must quickly develop and deploy anti-reptile protocols to ensure that al-Qaeda cannot undermine our airways by putting snakes on a plane. We must remain vigilant against the threat of extremist reptiles.

Let us never forget the tragic events of Pacific Air 121!

August 30, 2011 1:10 PM


Very funny! Do you do jokewriting? You should be writing for Leno or Letterman. They would use this.

Anonymous said...

ALL OF US WOULD BE ALOT SAFER IF THE TSA WERE ALL OVER THE GREAT US OF A, NOT JUST IN TEH AIR PORTS.

Anonymous said...

Let's say those animals actually made it onto the plane before being discovered. In that case, Bob's blog would say just as he did in his July 1st posting: "Our approach is designed so we don’t depend on any single layer of security. Together, the 21 different layers provide a strong, formidable system that gives us the best chance to detect and prevent attacks before they occur."

At no time was the flight in danger and THE SYSTEM WORKED!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow. The TSA is really getting desperate for pornoscanner "success" stories. The public might be starting to wise up at last.

Anonymous said...

JustSayin said:
"To all the negative naysayers who truly believe the body scanners are there for reasons other than spotting prohibited items...."

And how exactly were these "prohibited" items with reference to the TSA's mission of security? Any evidence pursuant to a TSA search is almost certainly going to be excluded.

Nice try though.

Anonymous said...

Blogger Bob said:
"Threats concealed under a person’s clothes remain a concern and this discovery, threat or no threat, once again demonstrates the effectiveness of TSA’s security techniques."

Except that your testers routinely slip through the scanners, don't they? If someone is dumb enough to conceal animals in socks, you're probably in luck.

Sadly, the threat is much more sophisticated than the TSA.

Anonymous said...

I am SOOO glad we are funneling BILLIONS of dollars into the TSA so people don't bring BIRDS on a plane!

How is it that TSA agents have no problems finding birds, snakes, science projects and the like but just can't seem to catch the Glock or stun gun that someone is carrying???

JustSayin said...

Anonymous said...
JustSayin said:
"To all the negative naysayers who truly believe the body scanners are there for reasons other than spotting prohibited items...."

And how exactly were these "prohibited" items with reference to the TSA's mission of security? Any evidence pursuant to a TSA search is almost certainly going to be excluded.

Nice try though.

August 30, 2011 8:39 PM



Grand total of terrorist attacks since 9/11 and TSA's introduction of body scanners: 0

You're so welcome.

:)

JustSayin said...

Anonymous said...
Blogger Bob said:
"Threats concealed under a person’s clothes remain a concern and this discovery, threat or no threat, once again demonstrates the effectiveness of TSA’s security techniques."

Except that your testers routinely slip through the scanners, don't they? If someone is dumb enough to conceal animals in socks, you're probably in luck.

Sadly, the threat is much more sophisticated than the TSA.

August 30, 2011 8:41 PM




I don't blame you for being so fixated on the TSA...they're an outstanding organizition that's kept America since 9/11.

Anonymous said...

JustSayin said:
"Grand total of terrorist attacks since 9/11 and TSA's introduction of body scanners: 0

You're so welcome."

There have been several terrorist attacks since 9/11/01. Why would you suggest otherwise?

And why do you feel so inclined to mock your fellow citizens?

Your job is safe at least until 2013. Shouldn't you be thanking us for paying your salary?

Anonymous said...

Still sticking to the body scanner claims? 9/11 commission update begs to differ -

"We are not satisfied with improvements to TSA’s explosives
screening capability. With significant federal funding,
TSA has deployed large numbers of enhanced screening equipment used at passenger checkpoints and baggage check screening. Unfortunately, explosives detection
technology lacks reliability and lags in its capability to
automatically identify concealed weapons and explosives."

"The next generation of whole body scanning machines also
are not effective at detecting explosives hidden within the
body and raise privacy and health concerns that DHS has
not fully addressed. Our conclusion is that despite 10 years
of working on the problem, the aviation screening system
still falls short in critical ways with respect to detection."

Anonymous said...

"Grand total of terrorist attacks since 9/11 and TSA's introduction of body scanners: 0"

Grand total of terrorist attacks between 9/11 and the introduction of the mandatory shoe carnival and liquids nonsense in 2006: 0

Grand total of terrorist attacks between 2006 and introduction of strip-search scanners: 0.

Grand total of terrorist attacks since introduction of strip-search scanners: 0.

Grand total of dangerous items detected by strip-search scanners: 0.

Grand total of non-US countries with a TSA-style shoe carnival: 0.

Grand total of independent research studies supporting TSA's liquids hysteria: 0.

Grand total of terrorists stopped by TSA: 0.

Gee, maybe terrorism is incredibly rare, and TSA is just wasting everyone's time and money with its ever-more-invasive gropings and probings to prevent something that happens incredibly rarely in the first place.

Anonymous said...

I am not a fan of TSA for a variety of reasons but I would also be upset if they found issues like this and did not call a real LEO.

I suspect that there will be an interesting dance when some of these go to court and some smart attorney questions the validity of the search.

To "Just Saying" who is claiming that the TSA is responsible for the lack or terrorist acts in the US, perhaps you should read the 9/11 Panel Report Card. The FBI and CIA have received Kudos and rightfully so for thwarting many potential attacks, killing known terrorists, and taking the battle to the terrorist. Shame on you for trying to take credit for the actions of these courageous and largely unsung heroes.

The other interesting thing to note about this is that the commission recommended Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board has been dormant for 3 years despite the fact that serious issues have been raised and not dealt with concerning these issues.

Jim Huggins said...

Just Sayin' writes: Grand total of terrorist attacks since 9/11 and TSA's introduction of body scanners: 0

Grand total of terrorist attacks since Slobodan Milosevic was put on trial for war crimes: 0.

Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.

Anonymous said...

JustSayin said... on August 31, 2011 11:58 AM

Grand total of terrorist attacks since 9/11 and TSA's introduction of body scanners: 0

You're so welcome.

:)


Again, as has been stated previously, correlation is not proof of causation.

I can just as easily say terrorist attacks stopped after the NFL added the Houston Texan's team in 2002 -- Or perhaps even that since the Knicks stopped winning playoff games (last one they one was in 2001), there haven't been any terrorist attacks either. Afterall, maybe that was the goal of the terrorist and since they got what they wanted, no more attacks, right?

Besides, you might want to put a few more qualifiers on that... unfortunately, there have been many terrorist attacks since 9/11 and even the more recent introduction of the body scanners.

Anonymous said...

"Grand total of terrorist attacks since 9/11 and TSA's introduction of body scanners: 0

You're so welcome.

:)"

I know, if there are no terrorist attacks, (well successfull terrorist attacks, on US flights, from US airports) then the TSA is worth the funding and we should not complain about having our genetalia touched by random strangers.

However, if a terrorist attack succeeds then it is obviously because the TSA is underfunded and the TSO's were distracted by the citizens who protest the touching of their genetalia by strangers. So the obvious solution is to give the TSA more funding and make it illeagle to resist in any way to the arbitrary and undocumented requests of TSO's.

Not Scared of Terrorists

Kat said...

In the period from 1970-1975, I flew to and from college a number of times. With me traveled my two red ear turtles. I had aquariums at school and at home for them, but they traveled in a cleaned margarine tub with about a half cup of water. I would comes up to the security post and open the tub (holes punched in the top to allow air) for inspection, the inspectors would usually laugh. After I went through the metal detector, I'd reclaim my turtles, and go on to board my plane.

When they grew too large to be kept in a home aquarium, they went to live at the Louisiana exhibit of the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. They remembered the taps I used to make on their tank and would swim up to me whenever I visited the zoo. I didn't see them the last couple of times before Hurricane Katrina, so, since red ears live to be about 30 years, I expect they'd passed on. It was a good life, I think.

Unfortunately, in the post 3.4-1-1 era, their half cup of water would probably mean I would be required to discard my pets in order to fly. That's sad.

Anonymous said...

Quoted:
" Jim Huggins said...
MRFLIGHT: yes, I understand *how* the current procedure works. I'm just not convinced that it *ought* to do so.

When I come through a checkpoint with a young child, is it TSA's job to determine whether or not I am the child's legal guardian? "
------------------------
Well, I'll bet if it was your child that was kidnapped you'd be saying something different now.

JustSayin said...

Two things...

1.) I'm not going away.

2.) Neither is the TSA!



Grand total of terrorist attacks since 9/11 and the formation of the TSA: 0

Mike Toreno said...

The point is that Bob's claim that catching some turtles demonstrates the effectiveness of the screening clerks is false. The TSA is supposed to contribute to flight safety. The turtles weren't a threat to flight safety, so catching them vindicates nothing. It's like when the TSA points to their success in stopping water from coming through the checkpoint as proof of their effectiveness. Water doesn't threaten flight safety, so stopping it doesn't provide any benefit.

The September 11 attacks were carried out in order to cause a reaction that would harm America, and the TSA is part of that reaction. It's a carnival of otherwise unemployable people directing their efforts toward making people take off their shoes and preventing the passage of harmless items like water. It does nothing to improve flight safety.

If Osama bin Laden were in charge of the TSA, it wouldn't be run any differently than the way it's run now.

If Osama bin Laden were in charge of the TSA, he wouldn't run it any differently than it's being run now.

Jim Huggins said...

JustSayin writes: Two things...
1.) I'm not going away.
2.) Neither is the TSA!


And neither are we.

Grand total of terrorist attacks since 9/11 and the formation of the TSA: 0

Grand total of terrorist attacks since Spain began using euro notes and coins rather than pesos: 0.

Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.

Anonymous said...

JustSayin said:
"Two things...

1.) I'm not going away.

2.) Neither is the TSA!"

Two responses:

1. Who cares?
2. Probably not going away but there will be a wave of privitization starting in early 2013. Budget realities make that a lock and changes to authorization language are being written.

Thanks, JustSayin!! It's attitudes on the part of civil servants that make privitization all the sweeter!!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
"Grand total of terrorist attacks between 9/11 and the introduction of the mandatory shoe carnival and liquids nonsense in 2006: 0"

A thought just occurred to me: We are limited in the amount of liquids we can take through checkpoints due to the threat presented by triacetone triperoxide or PETN but most explosives are not liquids, they're solids.

Why are we allowed to pass through checkpoints with solids?

Anonymous said...

JustSayin said:
"I don't blame you for being so fixated on the TSA...they're an outstanding organizition that's kept America since 9/11."

Yes, an amazing "organizition" indeed.

Jeremy Spencer said...

Carrying a bird with you in a sock is just stupid and cruel, I'm glad the lady was arrested, even if not charged.

valorie davenport said...

Whatever happend to common sense?? Why you anyone carry a reptile on a plane?

Anonymous said...

Blogger Bob said...
"Threats concealed under a person’s clothes remain a concern and this discovery, threat or no threat, once again demonstrates the effectiveness of TSA’s security techniques."

You are setting a pretty low standard of "effectiveness" here.

From the descriptions, these items would have been very easy to spot on your scanners. The people only were trying to defeat visual inspection.

This says nothing about your ability to spot something dangerous that was designed to be a difficult as possible to detect with your scanners.

You only catch clueless people who don't understand how the scanners work. A real terrorist won't be so easy.

Anonymous said...

The juxtaposition of this blog post coming immediately after the 9-11 blog post is interesting, and a sad reflection of the TSA as an organization.

Anonymous said...

"When I come through a checkpoint with a young child, is it TSA's job to determine whether or not I am the child's legal guardian?

When I come through a checkpoint with a laptop, is it TSA's job to verify that all the software on that laptop is properly licensed?

When I come through a checkpoint with a wallet containing paper money, is it TSA's job to verify that none of that money is counterfeit?"

I don't know Jim... were the child, laptop, software, wallet, or money hidden beneath your clothing, or taped to your body? Did they represent a health risk, or were they an endangered species?
At least make an argument that makes sense and not use completely unrelated topics to make your argument.

Glad to see people who post on this blog are the types that don't report crimes and mind their own business *sarcasm*

JustSayin said...

Jimbo!

Thanks for all the extra attention on my posts! I'm glad you're reading each and everyone one!

:)

Grand total of terrorist attacks since 9/11 and the formation of the TSA: 0

JustSayin said...

Anonymous said...
JustSayin said:
"I don't blame you for being so fixated on the TSA...they're an outstanding organizition that's kept America since 9/11."

Yes, an amazing "organizition" indeed.

August 31, 2011 11:52 PM


Thanks for being my "profreader"...for free!!! Will you also clean my home and wash my car at no charge?

:)

Jim Huggins said...

Anonymous writes: I don't know Jim... were the child, laptop, software, wallet, or money hidden beneath your clothing, or taped to your body? Did they represent a health risk, or were they an endangered species?
At least make an argument that makes sense and not use completely unrelated topics to make your argument.


Actually, the unrelatedness of my examples is exactly my point.

What threat did these animals being smuggled through the checkpoint present to aviation security? None. Yet TSA felt compelled to report the possible violation of law to other authorities.

When I come through a checkpoint with my child, a wallet with cash, and a laptop, do any of those items present a threat to aviation security? No. And TSA feels no obligation to pursue the matter any further, event though I might be violating all sorts of laws unrelated to aviation security.

Where does TSA draw the line between non-security threats it refers to law enforcement for further investigation, and non-security threats it ignores? To me, the line seems unclear at best, and arbitrary at worst.

A TSA checkpoint is not supposed to be a dragnet for catching any and every violation of every local, state, and federal law. I understand that TSA needs to verify that the items being "artfully concealed" aren't bombs. But the decision to refer --- or not to refer --- such items to law enforcement for extraneous investigations is troubling to me.

Just Sayin writes:
Grand total of terrorist attacks since 9/11 and the formation of the TSA: 0


You know, JustSayin, repeating the same argument over and over again doesn't make your point any more valid. At least show some creativity ...

Grand total of terrorist attacks since the US government began its criminal prosecution of Enron: 0.

Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.

Anonymous said...

The reason the machines are effective in this case is not because they found birds and snakes......

The snakes and turtles could have easily been packages of SEMTEX, the machine can't tell the difference it just knows something is there thats not you. So the screeners find out what it is and.....its snakes...and turtles. So it wasn't a chunk of semtex the point is, if it was semtex, the machine and screener would have found it just like he found the snakes and turtles.

As for the legality of it, it was a valid search for artfully concealed items that could have been any number of dangerous things. What they found was not those things but was honestly illegal. So like anyone would do they look over at the airport police officer and go "hey look, hes trying to sneak animals in his pants through the airport." then they are pretty much done and go back to screening people. The police officer then goes "yeah thats illegal man, im calling the proper agency down here to bust you and until they get here your staying with me."

perfectly legal and every government and state agency has worked together in that way....FOREVER

Anonymous said...

Grand total of terrorist attacks since Law and Order: Criminal Intent has been on the air: 0.

Oh crap, the show ended ended this past June -- run for your lives, hide the women and children, put your head...

Oh wait, that's right, correlation doesn't mean causation.

Anonymous said...

I live in South America. I have never had to take my shoes off to board an airplane here (including to the US!), never had to worry about the size of my shampoo bottle, remove my computer, be virtually strip-searched or had my breasts examined by the local security folks.

And the total of terrorist attacks here is also zero.

JustSayin said...

Jimbo!

Thanks for making me an instant celebrity on here, along with all the other negative naysayers (I've always wanted to be famous!).

I know I pose a threat since there's finally somsone on here who tells it like it is, but also flattered at all the attention.

Keep it up, and 'maybe' I'll make you president of my fan club.

:)


Grand total of terrorist attacks since 9/11 and the formation of the TSA: 0

JustSayin said...

Grand total of terrorist attacks since the US government began its criminal prosecution of Enron: 0.



Thanks for supporting my statements...and inspiring me to end each post from now on with my famous signoff, thanks to fans like you. I owe you one!

:)

Grand total of terrorist attacks since 9/11 and the formation of the TSA: 0

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
"As for the legality of it, it was a valid search for artfully concealed items that could have been any number of dangerous things. What they found was not those things but was honestly illegal. So like anyone would do they look over at the airport police officer and go "hey look, hes trying to sneak animals in his pants through the airport." then they are pretty much done and go back to screening people. The police officer then goes "yeah thats illegal man, im calling the proper agency down here to bust you and until they get here your staying with me."

Obviously you're not a lawyer. The "fruits" of this search are tainted by the administrative nature of the search. There will be no conviction based on this evidence.

Concerning your contention that these animals could have been Semtex and, thus, would have been detected, perhaps. But this would have occurred only if the individual trying to smuggle such contraband through a checkpoint was incredibly stupid. Note that Semtex (an unlikely choice) is malleable whereas animals are not. Google how easy it is to spoof the scanners and you should be afraid at the reliance the TSA is placing in them. Even the inventors of the technology believe they are easy to fool.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
"I don't know Jim... were the child, laptop, software, wallet, or money hidden beneath your clothing, or taped to your body? Did they represent a health risk, or were they an endangered species?"

Yes, let's assume the laptop was, if not taped to his body, then buried at the bottom of his suitcase. Would it then be appropriate for the TSA to verify the software was licensed?

Will the TSA begin determining if iPhones are illicitly unlocked?

I'll give you a hint about something - none of the evidence regarding anything not directly related to aviation security will ever see the light of day in court. Nice try but sorry...it's a well established precedent that is probably no better framed than in McCarty. The added benefit is that the judge found the TSO to completely lack credibility.

Anonymous said...

JustSayin said:
"Thanks for being my "profreader"...for free!!! "

Just demonstrating that your attention to detail is as good as your logic skills.

Thanks, JustSayin, for showing us that TSA lacks attention to detail and should be disbanded!!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"So it wasn't a chunk of semtex the point is, if it was semtex, the machine and screener would have found it just like he found the snakes and turtles."

Except that someone carrying sentex would make more of an effort to hide it. You can't squash animals flat to hide them. Explosives however can be shaped to be hard to detect.

Finding animals is no indication that they can find explosives.

Anonymous said...

Prior to 9/11, airport security was private contractors, not federal employees. We saw how well that worked (how easily some of you forget). These animals were found at international airports, and no, you don't have the same rights at a border or functional equvalent thereof. Wild animals can pose a threat to avaition safety because they are vectors for many serious illnesses, and may even contain contraband and/or explosives within them. If you want to participate in illegal wildlife trade, transport child porn, or smuggle human beings, maybe you should stay home instead.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said... September 2, 2011 8:37 AM
Prior to 9/11, airport security was private contractors, not federal employees. We saw how well that worked (how easily some of you forget).


Yes, how easily some of you forget...
- That items used to hi-jack the planes were legally allowed items to be taken on the plane.
- That general policy at the time was to give the hi-jacker what he wanted.

The fact that the security was privatized had nothing to do with it. The same result would have occurred even if it was TSA doing the screening and operating under the same rules.

The biggest changes of effect since then are the reinforcing of the cockpit doors, not giving the attempted hi-jacker their requests, and passengers who will do what they can to stop any attempt. None of these has anything to do with screening or TSA.

Personally, I believe that security should be put into the hands of the airlines. Make them responsible for their planes and flights. That's when we'll see reasonable security measures.

Oh... total number of terrorist attacks since 'Iris' was retired by the WMO as storm name: 0

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
"Wild animals can pose a threat to avaition safety because they are vectors for many serious illnesses..."

Really? Passengers can also be a vector for illness. Should we expect the TSA to start to screen passengers for illness? Of course not. This is a silly statement with no legal basis at all. Please stick to going through passenger's dirty underwear.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
"Prior to 9/11, airport security was private contractors, not federal employees. We saw how well that worked (how easily some of you forget). "

Yeah, sorry. The screening was done to Federal standards in place at the time. There is NO evidence that the hijackers took anything on board the airplane that was not permitted at the time. The Federal government was equally responsible by ensuring that all aircrews were trained in the "Coordinated Reponse" program that allowed hijackers to have whatever they wanted.

Sorry, Anonymous, but a swing and a big miss.

Anonymous said...

JustSayin said:
"Grand total of terrorist attacks since 9/11 and the formation of the TSA: 0"

Grand total of terrorist attacks since JustSayin went on his/her crusade to show that he/she lacks logic skills: 0.

Thanks, JustSayin, for showing that ignorance on the part of TSA employees is keeping us safe!!

Anonymous said...

Hey, "Blogger Bob," I have a serious question. First of all, I should make it clear that I have a serious problem with the TSA stance that you must either be subject to an x-ray, without the presence of a certified radiologist, or subject to a "pat-down" that is tantamount to sexual assault. I know you will disagree with me on both of these interpretations (after all, that is your job). But that is beside the point with regard to my question.

My question is this: Given that I will feel traumatized by either of the options the TSA is offering (x-ray vs. grope... and that is my understanding of the situation), what risks will I incur if I cannot "keep my head down" or "my mouth shut" while enduring these procedures?

I am NOT a terrorist. I have NO interest in hurting anyone. But I am not willing to permit an x-ray of my body without the presence of a trained radiologist. Also, if someone touches my genital area, it triggers memories of sexual abuse that are impossible for me to simply suppress and move on. In either of these situations, I will have to speak out or object.

So, what will happen to me if, during a "pat-down" (i.e., sexual grope), I cannot "hold my tongue" and tell the TSA agent that they are sexually assaulting me?

Here's a specific scenario: I am a US citizen with no foul intentions. I end up getting a TSA "pat-down." I tell the agent, "You are sexually assaulting me. Please stop." She/He continues with the "pat-down." I continue to state, "you are sexually assaulting me. Please stop."

What are the possible repercussions? I want to fly, but I am worried that I can't "hold my tongue." If I give it a try and discover that I can't handle being groped by TSA agents, what risks am I undertaking if I openly call out TSA agents for sexual assault? Will I be liable for $10,000 fine? Will I be detained as a potential terrorist suspect?

If so, how is this in any way a fair reflection of a free society? If we innocent people cry out in response to our personal violations, are we going to be punished, and if so, why?

"Bob," I understand what you are trying to do, but what about the rights of the rest of us? And what about the rights of the victims of sexual abuse? How can I be assured that, if TSA policies trigger my own PTSD history, that I will not be discriminated against or, worse, become a terrorist suspect?

I am sure I am not alone. I need to hear your answer soon...

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Bob hasn't made the real point of this post clear enough. He's telling us that Advanced Imaging Technology is highly effective at detecting anomalous concealed items on passengers' bodies. It has undeniably had numerous successes at detecting concealed drugs, cash, papers, fake military jackets, and now wildlife.

That none of this poses any threat to aviation obscures the important point. These successful detections prove beyond any possible doubt that should another Underwear Bomber happen to walk through the checkpoint, enter the machine, and stand absolutely still in the "mugger position" until given permission to move, the scanner WILL detect it. There can thus be no doubt that the scanners KEEP AVIATION SAFE!

In the face of undeniable efficacy, repeatedly proven every day (if only by proxy surrogates like snakes and turtles), any concerns about radiation and privacy can be safely ignored. Whatever theoretical risk the scanners might pose is indisputably justified by the continually proven effectiveness of the scanner at detecting anomalies.

Anonymous said...

"He's telling us that Advanced Imaging Technology is highly effective at detecting anomalous concealed items on passengers' bodies."

So what? So far the scanners have never found a dangerous object. That means that they have a false positive rate of 100%. They do nothing to make anyone safer, and make flying an ordeal for the millions of people with prosthetics, ostomy bags, insulin pumps, and the like.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"Perhaps Bob hasn't made the real point of this post clear enough. He's telling us that Advanced Imaging Technology is highly effective at detecting anomalous concealed items on passengers' bodies."

We understand the point he it *trying* to make, we just don't agree with it.

Finding an animal is not the same as find an explosive. An animal has a bulky shape that can't be changed without killing it. An explosive can be shaped to make it difficult to detect. Flattening and blending into body contours will make the explosive nearly impossible to detect with the airport scanners.

Anonymous said...

"Threats concealed under a person’s clothes remain a concern and this discovery, threat or no threat, once again demonstrates the effectiveness of TSA’s security techniques."

Actually, this incident would constitute what we in the scientific community call "anecdotal evidence." Such evidence is not believed to be adequate demonstration of anything.

Anonymous said...

rb said:
"Yes simple enough. TSA views violation of the 4th amendment as business as usual."

they have to because its 'business as usual" for all of the passengers to step up and volunteer to get screened. thats right, everyone getting in line knows that the screening will take place and if they are confused then the signage placed out front or simply asking a tsa person what to expect will let them know. so you can keep going on and on about how the tsa is violating the 4th amendment but they are doing what they say they are going to do and people keep lining up to do it. if anyone wants they can withdraw from the screening however you will not be allowed on the plane. its like coming to a dui checkpoint and saying that you dont want to submit, you dont have to but there are consequences.

Anonymous said...

anon said:
"Finding an animal is not the same as find an explosive. An animal has a bulky shape that can't be changed without killing it. An explosive can be shaped to make it difficult to detect. Flattening and blending into body contours will make the explosive nearly impossible to detect with the airport scanners."

depends on the animal, in the example snakes were used a snake can contort its body into many different shapes that can make it contour to a persons body without harming it. you dont have to agree with the proceedure buts its there. the best way to disagree is to not fly.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Anonymous said...
"So it wasn't a chunk of semtex the point is, if it was semtex, the machine and screener would have found it just like he found the snakes and turtles."

Except that someone carrying sentex would make more of an effort to hide it. You can't squash animals flat to hide them. Explosives however can be shaped to be hard to detect.

Finding animals is no indication that they can find explosives
-------------------

That is correct, however from your side of this argument one of your other false alarms that is being complained about is ostomy bags which is an item that is pressed flat against the body so it can be concealed for the privacy of the person that has to wear it. According to the complaints on this blog it alarms on those too so if it alarms on something as flat and dense as an ostomy bag how would it do with something as flat and dense as.....semtex? (or flatened parrot whatever).

Anonymous said...

I am so tired of hearing people say or posting "they should leave the innocent people alone and catch the terrorists" or better yet "they shouldn't infringe on the rights of the people but shouldn't miss a pocket knife either" These people are obviously saying "I'M NOT A TERRORIST SO THEY SHOULDN'T BOTHER ME OR MY BELONGINGS - BUT THEY SHOULD BOTHER EVERYONE ELSE, ESPECIALLY THOSE THAT LOOK LIKE A TERRORIST - BUT DON'T PROFILE, OR YOU MAY INFRINGE ON MY RIGHTS"

These people should create Mayberry USA where its a happy place that you can leave your car and windows unlocked at night. We no longer live in this world, and I KNOW that for the job that they do, it is difficult to balance rights vs. requirements, perceptions vs. reality and public innocence against public ignorance. If TSA sees something suspected to be illegal they report it to the appropriate agency.

I'd like to take these pompous idiots and have them do the job and see if they can determine who's the taxpaying law abiding citizen and who is the terrorist! Hmmm... better yet, lets mix them up with the terrorists (Jihad Jane, McVeigh etc...) and see if they can determine who is their pompous counterpart and who wants to blow them up???

THANK YOU TSA for all of the BS you put up with!

Anonymous said...

I am so tired of hearing people say [rant].

And I am so tired of the TSA wasting America's money on crap like puffer machines and BDO voodoo.

I am so tired with their arrogance, unaccountability and their hiding behind secrecy just to cover up their errors and problems.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
"I am so tired of hearing people say or posting "they should leave the innocent people alone and catch the terrorists" or better yet "they shouldn't infringe on the rights of the people but shouldn't miss a pocket knife either"

I'm sorry you're tired, you should get some more sleep.

I could care less if a passenger has a pocketknife. Do you really think that control of an airplane can be gained by a passenger with a pocketknife?

"I'd like to take these pompous idiots and have them do the job and see if they can determine who's the taxpaying law abiding citizen and who is the terrorist! "

I'll happily do it. The first thing will be that I couldn't care less what the individual's status is with respect to the IRS. Terrorists have certain characteristics, internal usually and external always, that should be detected.

The problem is that it takes highly trained, intelligent people to enact a truly secure system. The TSA workforce isn't up to the challenge.

Good to have you back, JustSayin but it was time to reign you in a bit. Keep yourself under control this time, will you?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
"That is correct, however from your side of this argument one of your other false alarms that is being complained about is ostomy bags which is an item that is pressed flat against the body so it can be concealed for the privacy of the person that has to wear it. According to the complaints on this blog it alarms on those too so if it alarms on something as flat and dense as an ostomy bag how would it do with something as flat and dense as.....semtex? (or flatened parrot whatever)."

Sorry but it has been demonstrated that virtually any amount of a substance can be moved through the machines. Ostomy bags do not conform to any anatomical structure but shaped contraband would be.

Steven J Fromm said...

Really! Is this what are society is coming to: The TSA has to enforce common sense too. Just unbelievable. The TSA has a tough enough job as it is. Why can't are citizens understand and follow basic rules of conduct. Just incredible.

Fretjock said...

I see constitutional arguments frequently, indicating that the fourth amendment provides protection from searches by the TSA. I would ask that "Anonymous Said" review the following: 1) The 4th amendment deals with "unreasonable" searches so that one may be secure in his property and possessions. Are these searches unreasonable in light of shoe bombs and underwear bombs? Are the searches unreasonable in light of the fact that TSA finds loaded guns every week in "carry-on luggage." Not to mention knives, inert grenades ad infinitum. Would it be more reasonable to profile? Do you think the profile would fit the four white senior citizens from GA just arrested for a terror plot. How about clean cut McVeigh? If TSA profiles they are likely to catch 100% of those that fit the profile and miss 100% of those that don't fit the profile. Given the history of terrorism and highjacking, one would be hard pressed to find a profile that didn't include pretty much everyone thereby making the profile ineffective.

2) Aircraft make great bombs that kill not only the passengers in them but people within buildings they hit and when used as weapons of terror they create economic chaos. So it appears to me that there is a much larger issue at stake than one's right to privacy. Just as the right to free speech is not absolute, the rights under the fourth amendment are not absolute.

Perhaps your individual rights under the fourth amendment, in this specific case, is limited based upon the need for public safety.

"Anonymous Said" is obviously offended by being searched. Perhaps he should consider driving by car instead of flying. After all, he does have a choice.

Reua S. said...

Stop using catch phrases if you don't understand them, negative anonymous. Have you even read the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution? It states that "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated. . ." And a necessary imaging technology with extreme privacy filters isn't unreasonable, is it? The TSA is far from "4th amendment immune", they actually are upholding all the citizens rights by providing for a secure nation. Terrorists like Omar Farooq al Niger (aka the underwear bomber)are trying every means possible to attack America. To not have Advanced Imaging Technology would practically be an invitation to them to try to kill more innocent Americans. And as for the technology "radiating law-abiding American taxpayers, an AIT scan actually emits less radiation than your cell phone! Good points,Fretjock. People not only have the choice of traveling by air or not, airplane passengers also all have the choice to receive alternative screening instead of the imaging. People need to stop complaining about the TSA doing its job to keep us all from being blown up, and should instead respect that. It is ridiculous to demand safety without expecting any means of the safety actually being enforced.

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NoMoreFlying said...

I have no problem with TSA handing off the smuggled animal bearer to law enforcement. I DO have a problem with the TSA expecting a pat on the back and accolades for having done so. This is not the TSAs mission and the cost of the TSA program is not warranted when we already have Fish & Game to deal with smuggled animals.

Show me where TSA has stopped terrorists, per their mission statement, and I will be happy to consider the program may possibly be useful.

Lola said...

Just so everyone here knows, there are many countries who require you to remove your shoes to clear security. Clearly the people commenting do not leave the USA or actually go through TSA.

Anonymous said...

LL OF US WOULD BE ALOT SAFER IF THE TSA WERE ALL OVER THE GREAT US OF A, NOT JUST IN TEH AIR PORTS.

August 30, 2011 2:47 PM
____________

You can't be serious... One freedom at a time removed in the sake of our "protection". I would rather have some risk as to end up in a police state. We have been "protected" right out of our Constitution!

Bruinjedi said...

Anonymous, why would you suggest ICE, of all agencies, have less staffing when talking about a TSA situation?

drh said...

What threats do animals pose in the passenger compartment of an airplane?
In the case of my wife if a snake were to escape and slither between her feet or try to climb her leg she would have a heart attack (literally) and create an emergency situation on the airplane. I have also encountered people that have other severe phobias. I.e. frightened of any size bird (I do not understand it either) or small lizards. Others have severe allergies to dog or cat dander.
These situations could, and should, be avoided by excluding animals from the passenger compartment of airlines.

Maryann Jhayanna said...

That is very unusual. I thought It was only on the movie. But they are real!

Even the Criminal Defense Attorney would not believe this!

Anonymous said...

Yes, let's assume the laptop was, if not taped to his body, then buried at the bottom of his suitcase. Would it then be appropriate for the TSA to verify the software was licensed?

Will the TSA begin determining if iPhones are illicitly jailbreak iOS 6 A4?

Michael Dlugi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I am from Europe adn the broder control here is also very strict. I saw the other day on TV that they also catch a lot of illegal stuff - like animals :(

I think the penalties should be way harder for that. Sick souvenir!

You can go for vacation in a Hotel in Nerja for example without killing or, even worse, shop an animal, stuff it in your socks and bring it home ... Hope the TSA as well as the border controls keep up the good work and the governments put up some stricter laws!!

Anonymous said...

Snake in Blue Glove is a "Piebald" Ball Python, A beautiful specimen! Sign me up for the rescue list. :)
This mutation does not occur commonly in nature, but the first one that did was imported from Africa and fetched easily $50-100K (yes, thousands)
At one time, this breed of a rare recessive genetic mutation went for multiple thousands of dollars, and required years of in-breeding to produce one.
There are now much more common, but still take years to produce and can fetch around $1,300
(which is what I paid several years ago for a baby that looked like a normal old brown python but "supposably" carried the gene to produce this white patched anomaly)
When I was breeding, I would have felt OK with carrying on a plane if securely and humanely contained, vs. the legal alternative: Shipping across the US in an insulated Box with heat-pack. Yes folks, those cute reptiles have to get the the pet store somehow, and thats in a box, in a plane, often via delta freight)
Not sure what laws this snakes owner truly broke, the person likely purchased at a reptile show for a months salary and was just trying to get him home.
But if he Violated the Lacey Act, that home was Australia, and that's not one to mess with when it comes to animals.

Anonymous said...

This article really shows just how much work the TSA does! From dogs, cats, and snakes! People will try to get anything and everything onto a plane. We need to keep up the good work protecting the nation!

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SusanK said...

I cannot imagine having a snake or turtle or bird down my pants, etc. I hope they get charged with animal cruelty also. Am glad they are catching these people who put animals in this situation.

Arthur Wilson said...

Good effort with the headline haha

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