Friday, August 5, 2011

Weird Science: Traveling With Homemade Gadgets

Device Found At Omaha Checkpoint
Device Found At Omaha Checkpoint
You may have heard in the news recently about how a college student unintentionally closed down a TSA checkpoint with his science project. He had shipped it to Omaha, but decided to travel with it on his departure. Let’s be clear, it was completely innocent. He had no way of knowing his improvised mint tin would look like an improvised explosive device (IED) on our X-ray monitor. Most people wouldn’t realize it and the purpose of this post is to inform folks that homemade gadgets (however cool they may be) can look like improvised explosive devices to our officers on the X-ray monitors. You may remember a blog post from Nico about homemade gadgets from back in 2009. The devices we’re looking for don’t look like the Wile E. Coyote Acme bomb, they are smaller these days and much harder to find.

I spoke with Dave today from TSA’s Explosives Operation Division about what types of thing can cause your bag to be checked. Watch the video to see what he had to say.

So when you pack your bags for a trip, you may want to think about what items you are placing next to others to avoid the hassle of unintentionally creating an X-ray image which could cause TSA to conduct a further inspection of your carry-on and checked bags.


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.

148 comments:

Anonymous said...

First, you crow about stopping someone with a trivial amount of C-4 (but no detonator) in his checked luggage.

Now you crow about perfectly legal electronic devices with no explosives.

Yet, over and over, tests show you miss 70% or more of weapons and bombs.

Get your act together, TSA.

avxo said...

That a 'vanilla' TSO doesn't have the expertise to readily evaluate a device and decide that it's harmless is certainly reasonable, so calling someone with such expertise makes good sense. I can also understand not moving a suspect device anymore than absolutely necessary until it can be evaluated.

So, in general, I find it hard to fault the TSA here, but I think that the reaction was a little over the top. Was closing off the entire terminal for hours really necessary? To be clear, that might have been a decision made by the TSA and the Police that came on site to examine the device.

I'd be curious to hear how the student was treated during this whole incident. I think it's a fair assumption to say he was detained, but I'm curious if he was given a chance to explain in a reasonable or if he was verbally pushed around and treated as a criminal.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, it's only a matter of time before one of these homemade devices turns out not to be innocent. TSA absolutely should check suspicious-looking devices or organic blobs that turn out to be illegally-obtained C4. Don't ya know, bad guys work in teams? One can carry the explosive. Another can carry a paper detonator (very difficult to detect). Another can contribute the timing device. And so on. If something goes BOOM, John Q. Traveling Public ain't gonna be happy.

Mythinformed said...

So does insulin count as weird science?

I'd be curious to hear about why a pregnant lady who is also diabetic is having her life-protecting medication taken away from her (that was properly labeled and included a doctor's note, no less). Fortunately the agents at Denver didn't manage to find it all, so she had enough to get her safely to her destination where she could buy more.

Care to comment?

http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/28773212/detail.html

Anonymous said...

Hey, at least it didn't look like insulin!

"out of an abundance of caution, we will retrain our officers"

Anonymous said...

It is misleading to claim that a college student "unintentionally closed down a TSA checkpoint." The TSA intentionally closed the checkpoint, not the student. Neither is it accurate to refer to "passengers alarming." It is your system that alarms, not the passenger himself.

Also, it's rather amusing that you used the phrase "weird science" in this blog post given the fact that you are currently pushing for the expansion of a program that rests on the belief that a person can be reliably turned into a human lie detector over five days, a program which has been criticized by real scientists as lacking any scientific basis.

By the way, Bob, have you gotten any e-mails back regarding the Nature magazine article? I seem to recall that you had sent out some inquiries, what, a year ago?

Anonymous said...

TSA,

Thank you for keeping us "safe" from harmless objects and insulin.

Anonymous said...

Other than the unusual case, how do you tell a home-made device from a commercial product?

If a home-made device is carefully constructed and put into a case from a real product you won't find it.

Basically, if your screener spots it, it's probably harmless. The dangerous stuff isn't going to be detected.

Anonymous said...

I'd be curious to hear about why a pregnant lady who is also diabetic is having her life-protecting medication taken away from her (that was properly labeled and included a doctor's note, no less).
_______________
Why did they confiscate her insulin??? It says specifically on the TSA website that insulin is allowed on both carry-on and checked luggage.

I love this quote from the article:

[The passenger] said she was able to get half a vial through security, apparently unnoticed by TSA agents.

"It was at the bottom of my lunch box because they didn't search it all the way through. They just took out everything on top,” she said.

I also love this one:

“We talked to all of our people and they didn’t touch her insulin," said TSA spokeswoman Pat Ahlstrom.

With the amount of TSA theft that has occurred, the LAST person I'd believe when something goes missing is a TSA agent.

Anonymous said...

Now I know why you always pick on me at the checkpoint. As a professional scientist, I must look weird to you folks.

JustSayin said...

Good eye, TSA!

The student's gadget could easily be confused with an actual explosive device.

It's catches like this by the TSA professionals that has kept American skies safe since 9/11.

Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

It totally was the students fault that the terminal was shut down. Being a physics student he knew full well that this device would cause a problem. Why do you think he had it shipped to Omaha in the first place? I think TSA Omaha did a fine job in this situation.

Anonymous said...

I travel with similar devices all the time. I've rarely been asked about them but when I do, I make fun of the TSO for not understanding what constitutes a dangerous device and what doesn't. Invariably, they have sheepishly put the device back and handed me back my luggage.

I was delayed recently for having pencil lead (the suspicious .7mm size!) in my bags. Apparently, the TSO was unaware that there are mechanical pencils in the world that require replacement lead.

Amazing.

Anonymous said...

Someone said:
"The student's gadget could easily be confused with an actual explosive device."

Only by a poorly trained, inept workforce.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
"It totally was the students fault that the terminal was shut down. Being a physics student he knew full well that this device would cause a problem. Why do you think he had it shipped to Omaha in the first place? I think TSA Omaha did a fine job in this situation."

STOP. What the student had with him was ENTIRELY acceptable by TSA standards. Why would you possibly blame the victim and not the perpetrators?

You should be ashamed of yourself.

JustSayin said...

Re: Insulin story...

So far, it's just a one-sided story.

Let's hear the TSA's response.

Don't jump to conclusions...

Don't foam at the mouth just cause you chose to buy the media's story without hearing all the facts...

If there's an anomoly that can't be resolved, it's not going on the plane.

Anonymous said...

Some wrote: "Let's hear the TSA's response" regarding stealing a passengers insulin.

Now why would anyone want to hear more of their lies?

RB said...

JustSayin said...
Re: Insulin story...

So far, it's just a one-sided story.

Let's hear the TSA's response.

Don't jump to conclusions...

Don't foam at the mouth just cause you chose to buy the media's story without hearing all the facts...

If there's an anomoly that can't be resolved, it's not going on the plane.

August 5, 2011 10:47 PM


So what you are "JustSayin" is that TSA is willing to kill people to keep INSULIN off an airplane.

Good plan!

Scott said...

Great comment Avxo

There's not much to add, other than the kid who made the device should be grateful that he didn't have any cash in his bag too. That won't shut down an airport, but it can go missing. Apparently, the X-ray machines have vacuums on them.
The fact the TSA blog has sunk to the level of praising agents for finding something that looks like a bomb, shutting down a terminal, and who knows what happened to the kid (other than being assigned blame for a gross over reaction to a completely harmless device).
We've always been at war with Eastasia - and if we don't stay scared, very scared, well, we won't be scared.

f2000 said...

"Was closing off the entire terminal for hours really necessary?"

Within a bureaucracy where no one is encouraged or empowered to exercise the vaguest sense of individual reason or decision making, yes. Yes it was totally necessary. Someone might have lost their job had they not ran the decision up to the next higher level of the chain. The remarkable thing about this decision is that it apparently didn't involve final clearance from Napolitano. By TSA standards, that should be counted as a win.

Anonymous said...

JustSayin said...
Re: Insulin story...

So far, it's just a one-sided story.

Let's hear the TSA's response.


If you had bothered to read the linked article, you would have seen the TSA's response. They claimed her ice packs weren't "completely frozen" (well, DUH, the second you take the ice packs out of the freezer, they start to melt and will never be 'completely frozen' until they are back in a freezer for a while), and that they "never touched her insulin".

Yeah, Right.

JustSayin said...

RB said...
JustSayin said...
Re: Insulin story...

So far, it's just a one-sided story.

Let's hear the TSA's response.

Don't jump to conclusions...

Don't foam at the mouth just cause you chose to buy the media's story without hearing all the facts...

If there's an anomoly that can't be resolved, it's not going on the plane.

August 5, 2011 10:47 PM


So what you are "JustSayin" is that TSA is willing to kill people to keep INSULIN off an airplane.

Good plan!

August 6, 2011 8:23 AM



Well, I hear what you're sayin...that you jump to conclusions without hearing all the facts.

...but I already knew that. :)

Anonymous said...

Electronics don't explode. Explosives explode.
Hence the name, "Explosives."

This seems like an attack not on bombers, but on sloppy craftsmanship.

Google "altoids tin electronics" and you'll get 513,000 results. Half a Million results. Once again for posterity's sake: Half A MILLION. You screener reacted (poorly) to something they've never seen before.

Which shouldn't be a surprise; they're a screener. Not an engineer. Not a doctor. Not someone who has experience in the world. Which is why they're a screener. Probably not their childhood dream job.

But you know what? They overreacted at the airport, and that's understandable. What upsets me more is how the TSA is spinning this, here on their webpage and in the press.

I agree with a previous commenter's reaction:

It is misleading to claim that a college student "unintentionally closed down a TSA checkpoint." The TSA intentionally closed the checkpoint, not the student. Neither is it accurate to refer to "passengers alarming." It is your system that alarms, not the passenger himself.

To this I would comment on the TSA quote: "He had no way of knowing his improvised mint tin would look like an improvised explosive device (IED) on our X-ray monitor." Is there a TSA flipbook of what IED's are supposed to look like? His project did not look like an IED. It looked like the HALF A MILLION other altoids tin projects. It was the screener who could not correctly identify an electronics project NOR correctly identify a bomb, and that's the scary part.

Anonymous said...

A mint tin science experiment caused you to force passengers to possibly miss their flights. I think the TSA should refund anyone's ticket if they miss their flight while at the so called "security theatre" line.

Anonymous said...

As a diabetic, I would really like to know why the woman's insulin was taken away. I have enough to worry about when I travel above and beyond the normal TSA experience. I've already accepted the fact that I will get the enhanced patdown because I have to opt out of the scanner due to my insulin pump. I'll gladly go through the metal detector. I don't need to worry that my insulin is going to be confiscated.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Bob. I was there, I saw the xray image, I almost wet myself. Shutting the concourse down (not the entire airport, there are 2 concourses) was the smartest thing we could have done.

People here can second guess the decision all they like, they were not there and were not tasked with making the decisions. Sure it was an innocent science project, but there is no way to tell that without opening the bag (remember people lie), and thats a stupid thing to do when you think there is a bomb in it. Oh, one other thing, he was release to continue on his way. He missed his flight obviously, him and several hundred others.

Anonymous said...

This completely amazes me that the "Highly Trained" T.S.A. agents mistake a tin of mints for an explosive device!

The tin of mints they flag but the guy with the Glock or stun gun gets through security and onto the plane with no problems!

Way to go!

Umm ... I feel safer????

Jim said...

You know what I love about the insulin story? T.S.A. confiscates her little bottles of insulin but lets her bring the needles on the plane!

What the heck is that!?! The kids working the snack bar have better training than T.S.A. agents!

JustSayin said...

Anonymous said...
JustSayin said...
Re: Insulin story...

So far, it's just a one-sided story.

Let's hear the TSA's response.

If you had bothered to read the linked article, you would have seen the TSA's response. They claimed her ice packs weren't "completely frozen" (well, DUH, the second you take the ice packs out of the freezer, they start to melt and will never be 'completely frozen' until they are back in a freezer for a while), and that they "never touched her insulin".

Yeah, Right.



If you had bothered to read TSA's policies on ice packs, you would already know that an ice pack has to be just that - completely frozen - in order to get through to the sterile area.

Ayn R. Key said...

So, I guess we can consider this conclusive proof that the TSA considers the educated portion of the population to be a threat.

Anonymous said...

JustSayin said..."Good eye, TSA!...It's catches like this by the TSA professionals that has kept American skies safe since 9/11."

Your definition of safe makes me wonder.... Nothing the TSA is doing, or has done since its inception is actually designed to catch a terrorist.

A team of three bad guys can smuggle in half a gallon or more of the magic explosive liquid that is the cause of the 3-1-1 rule.

A team of two bad guys can smuggle in enough PETN to make a real mess of the inside of an aircraft without even resorting to sticking anything where the sun don't shine.

And the only way the TSA would catch any of that group was if they got the random so we don't get accused of profiling property search.

And I won't even bother with all the crap you put in the cargo hold that could do way more to a plane than anything could bring into the cabin.

TSA.... Making you think your safe since September 12.

Anonymous said...

This is just so funny I guess since Omaha is a small airport they don't have a BAO with all the millions that is being spent on invading our privacy (Body Scanners) you can't send a JPG to be evaluated by a BAO at another airport? That should have taken maybe 20 mins. Any competent EOD Tech should be able to see on an x-ray if there are any movement triggers and common sense tells you that if there are no switches and it was moved to the x-ray then it is safe to move away from the x-ray. so why shut down an entire airport other then to try to spin that the TSA does something good instead of just stealing from our luggage.

Anonymous said...

JustSayin said...
If you had bothered to read TSA's policies on ice packs, you would already know that an ice pack has to be just that - completely frozen - in order to get through to the sterile area.

Actually, I AM aware of the policy. My point was that it's an IMPOSSIBILITY. The moment ice is removed from freezing temperatures, it starts to melt, and thus, is not "completely" frozen.

Just like the government to make a policy that CANNOT be followed.

Anonymous said...

Justsaying said:
"If you had bothered to read TSA's policies on ice packs, you would already know that an ice pack has to be just that - completely frozen - in order to get through to the sterile area."

So the pregnant diabetic can just deal with it, correct?

Amazing. Prepare for privatization. Coming to an airport near you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bob,

Just seen this story

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jGUyRTjF-WA40GLjIMEo6dFgSxlw?docId=CNG.d76d1890df3edca8dd08181cb6808c7f.881

About Body Scanners being called useless in Germany, and the EU banning the use of machines that use xrays because of worries about radiation exposure.

This is in stark contrast to all the information the TSA is giving out....

Maybe you could do a blog post on this, and why the US is pushing these machines as a panacea to all things bad, but the EU is taking a more measured approach?

cheers,

G

Anonymous said...

YASP (Yet Another Science Project) destroyed by the TSA. Am I the only one who thinks a t-shirt reading "the dumbing down of America brought to you by the TSA" or similar would be a good idea?

My captcha was mucentiv. Micro-incentive. What a laugh.

Anonymous said...

I am curious Justsayin would you care to post any links to the statue/s giving authority to the TSA to perform any sort of search on anyone or anything? I am curious do you have professional background in law enforcement or private security? You seem to know a lot about these things so enlighten us please. Again, you seem to obviously grasp something we don't which makes me very interested in your professional credentials.

PCN said...

I would certainly rather the TSA be safe than sorry when it comes to a crazy looking contraption like the one pictured. And I also appreciate that they are trying to put the word out that people cannot travel with home made gadgets if they don't want to create an incident.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the sureal world of TSA safety where Ice doesnt melt, innocent photographers are still guilty, mothers milk is more horrifying than WMD and Kip Hawley is (not) an Idiot
Only in America

Anonymous said...

"You shall not die from a lack of insulin while in the custody of federal agents, which have perfected a way of keeping ice frozen without the means of an external cooler, in the presence of no record-capable audio or video devices before attempting to get shot at by a broad aim of radiation while carrying an unborn baby inside of you."

TSA training sorted then!

JustSayin said...

Anonymous said...
Justsaying said:
"If you had bothered to read TSA's policies on ice packs, you would already know that an ice pack has to be just that - completely frozen - in order to get through to the sterile area."

So the pregnant diabetic can just deal with it, correct?

Amazing. Prepare for privatization. Coming to an airport near you.

August 7, 2011 8:21 PM



Privitization?! You mean like before 9/11...when the US had the WORST terrorist attack in history?

Try again!

The TSA is here to stay.

Go TSA!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh well - sounds like that's just a risk of doing warantless searches...

Anonymous said...

JustSayin said...
"If you had bothered to read TSA's policies on ice packs, you would already know that an ice pack has to be just that - completely frozen - in order to get through to the sterile area."

Which make no sense at all. Why is a frozen ice pack safe but a thawed one isn't if both have the same contents? A cross country flight is long enough for a frozen ice pack to melt. What exactly is this policy supposed to be protecting against?

Anonymous said...

Any ordinary electronic device can be modified internally, without any clue from the exterior as to the modification. The device may even perform its original task perfectly, in addition to the modification.

Using the same logic, it only makes sense to have a 100% ban on all electronic devices whatsoever, even with the batteries removed. Not even in checked baggage.

If you are going to say "these devices are suspicious" then you have no choice but to accept that they ALL are suspicious.

Anonymous said...

I once triggered a manual search of my bags because I was traveling with a can of SPAM. So remember, kids, try not to travel with canned meat products!

Korben Dallas said...

"... what types of thing can cause your bag to be checked".

Er... I'm sorry, what??? "Checked"? Is this some kind of cheap smoke screen or something?

The topic of this conversation is not the checking. Most of us have no problem with having our bags checked. Most of us will gladly allow our bags to be checked five or ten times over, if necessary. It is not the issue here.

The topic here is the gratuitous abuse and destruction of personal property the TSA agents routinely carry out for their own personal entertainment. It goes far beyond the "bag checking". In fact, the "checking" is totally irrelevant here.

What you should be talking about here is what types of things the TSA agents will usually find sufficiently amusing to try to play with. I know that at certain developmental level people find it is rather amusing to crush an electronic gadget with a hammer (I did tings like that in my childhood). It can also be rather interesting to see if a pregnant diabetic woman survives a flight without her medication (I never tried tings like that though).

That kind of thing is what you should tell us about. Not your misleading mumbo-jumbo about our bags getting "checked".

Anonymous said...

TSA and their international ilk have a severe lack of discretion.

An example: I'm a contact lens wearer out of necessity - my eyes are so bad that glasses are useless. With contact lenses come maintenance products. Unfortunately, my maintenance products come in a (sterile) 120ml bottle, which barely exceeds the 100ml that is allowed. By strictly following rules, inspectors make my already difficult life more miserable: what am I supposed to do without maintenance products when a connecting flight is cancelled in the middle of the night ? An no, getting a prescription every time I need to fly is no option either.

Having no common sense at all of what's dangerous and what's not works both ways: endangering the public by letting the bad guys pass while harassing the disabled. Good job. You must be proud.

Anonymous said...

So tell us this … why couldn't they have taken the person aside, taken the bag aside, and possibly ASKED what was in it? I mean, wow, did any TSA staff ever consider how far COMMUNICATION might go?

If when you do this, you can't tell just by observing the person whether it's a real explosive or not, then the rest of your observation-based security is a worthless joke.

And if it's a real explosive and a real terrorist, your evacuation of the terminal isn't going to make a damned bit of difference. You probably don't even let the evacuees use the fire exits, but rather funnel them all out the regular exits, with their luggage (because we've all been trained not to let it out of our sight) and that would take so long and create such a crowd, such a potential target, it's actually not just a negative for the travelers, but it's a "better" situation for a potential terrorist.

Someone should really think this stuff through, because I still see a horrid lack of common sense in TSA operations.

Anonymous said...

Posting your outrage here is welcome, of course, and offered as a way to accept all all your input with no measurable impact. Other than making you feel better, that is.

Anonymous said...

Security Theater at it's best. IMHO TSA should be dismantled and get a local security firm (somebody with ties to the community and liability for mistakes and personal injury) to do it.

Blind tests show that the TSA couldn't catch a terrorist if he walked in with a name badge and nuclear bomb suitcase.

All the millimeter wave scanners are likewise a waste of money and probably a danger to the public.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe people still flew after airline deregulation, and are still flying after all this garbage. Vote with your money, people. A ballot isn't worth squat.

Philip Hades said...

Any response to the AP report that German authorities find airport scanners to be "useless"?

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jGUyRTjF-WA40GLjIMEo6dFgSxlw?docId=CNG.d76d1890df3edca8dd08181cb6808c7f.881

FoxJohnFox said...

I had to laugh when I read this. I was put through a slightly extended check in Knoxville on a trip because I had peanut butter fudge, and it didn't dawn on me what it looked like. The TSA agent was very professional, and even quietly joked about the possibly of having to do an 'E.A.T.' test on it. But he was serious, did his job, and made doubly sure it wasn't a block of C4. Without the need for an 'E.A.T.' test.

Thank you TSA for making sure that the bad guys know you check everything. It may be an inconvenience, and you may not have caught anyone yet.

But it's been almost 10 years since a plane blew up or was purposefully flown into a building. It seems the bad guys don't have open season anymore on getting on planes.

Anonymous said...

"JustSayin said...

Privitization?! You mean like before 9/11...when the US had the WORST terrorist attack in history?"

This incredibly stupid statement keeps cropping up. Had the TSA been in charge of security during 9/11 the result would have been the exact same. So, in your words try again.

Just for future reference 9/11 was the direct result of the training and policies in effect at the time.

Just Sayin

Anonymous said...

Did anyone even notice what he said?
"There are 4 main components to an IED: a power supply, an initiator, and an explosive material".
Does anyone else super safe?

Sayin Stuff said...

i absolutely am terrified of the federal government and it's power abuses through DHS and TSA. Thank you TSA for doing Bin Ladens job even if he is dead

-Sayin ya know

Anonymous said...

An example: I'm a contact lens wearer out of necessity - my eyes are so bad that glasses are useless. With contact lenses come maintenance products. Unfortunately, my maintenance products come in a (sterile) 120ml bottle, which barely exceeds the 100ml that is allowed. By strictly following rules, inspectors make my already difficult life more miserable: what am I supposed to do without maintenance products when a connecting flight is cancelled in the middle of the night ? An no, getting a prescription every time I need to fly is no option either.

Having no common sense at all of what's dangerous and what's not works both ways: endangering the public by letting the bad guys pass while harassing the disabled. Good job. You must be proud.


You do know that contact solution is an exempt liquid from the 100ml rule. All you have to do is declare it at the start or don't and they will do a bag check and let it go.

Anonymous said...

It's been 10 years since a plane was blown up? So what. There were more than 10 years of planes not being blown up before then.

Anonymous said...

The photograph at the top of the post shows a "Device Found At Omaha Checkpoint", which has clearly been opened and which clearly has no room for explosives. So why then do this to it?

http://www.tsa.gov/blog/uploaded_images/Device-Fragments-740516.JPG

Then again, we have always been at war with Eurasia.

Anonymous said...

"So when you pack your bags for a trip, you may want to think about what
items you are placing next to others to avoid the hassle"...
absolutely not.

I avoid hassle by NOT FLYING. But, if I'm going to fly I'm not going to make special accomodations to try to second guess incompetence and security theater. TSA should be dismantled.

@Anon:August 5, 2011 8:27 PM
"It totally was the students fault that the terminal was shut down."
No it was not. It was incompetence of the TSA. OK, so the initial screener calling someone else is OK. But after that? It's a battery hooked to a circuit board. There's not even glue or anything in there that could LOOK suspicious.

Anonymous said...

No educated person would think that fudge is an explosive device. I am curious how the agent made "doubly sure" it was not.

Anonymous said...

JustSayin Said...
Privitization?! You mean like before 9/11...when the US had the WORST terrorist attack in history?

Try again!

The TSA is here to stay.

Go TSA!!!
------------------------

9/11 they didn't have contact lens solution or insulin or mints. They had box cutters. A simple tool turned weapon. All sorts of simple tools can be turned into weapons. In fact your bear hands could be turned into a weapon. Most important thing that came from it was locking the cockpit door, not banning contact lens solution and partially thawed ice packs and subjecting people to untested levels of radiation.

Anonymous said...

I only regret that I have but a statistical one-ten-thousandth of a life to lose for my country. Clearly, that's all freedom is worth, these days.

Anonymous said...

FOUR components, but he only names three, and doesn't give/show any examples. Is this video complete? Overall, it's not really useful for me as a traveler to know what not to do.

Anonymous said...

Would you please explain how a printed circuit board looks like a bomb? Yes it has a battery and some electronics but nothing remotely similar to explosives.

Why is it such a dramatic over reaction, such a just plain dumb bone headed decision is spun as "over cautious"?

cmholm said...

I usually pack my electronic carry on toys in one bag, so I expect a short delay for additional inspection. However, it's been a while since I've carried my Mintyboost ipod battery tin.

For now I'll guess my best bet, if bringing one along for a long flight, is to pull it out of the bag and put it in the inspection try, lid open, no batteries.

Anonymous said...

http://www.tsa.gov/blog/uploaded_images/Device-Fragments-740516.JPG

Y'know, giving back pieces after blowing the gadget up doesn't count as returning property.

Anonymous said...

I would very much enjoy a comment about the insulin. In addition, Why exactly are we trusting our travel security to a group who cant distinguish between homemade electronics and weaponry? Who refuse to take responsibility for their actions?

Who attack innocent, scared people, threaten them with arrest and felonies and overall make us feel like criminals who need to watch every step to avoid being accosted by poorly trained guards?

Its almost as if the TSA has decided to start terrorizing its passangers when they arent molesting them.

We're tired of this nonsense, this constant failure to find dangerous things, and constant ability to humiliate and terrorize innocent people.

We WANT to give you credibility but all youre doing is showing us why we have absolutely nothing to gain by trusting this alleged authority.

And did you REALLY need to blow it up? No. You did anyway. anyone with any smarts wouldve set it up to go off if tamperd with -- which is why it wasnt anything! if it was, this story would be a lot different.

But hey, if you blow up the insulin next time, that would solve all these problems.

Jim Huggins said...

Anonymous writes: Privitization?! You mean like before 9/11...when the US had the WORST terrorist attack in history? Try again!

Repeat after me: 9/11 was not a failure of screening.

Karl said...

Did this device set off an ETD alarm, or was it even tested? I've traveled with my hacked together things (including many items for a DARPA-sponsored project), but since the ETD test was negative they've been let through with little hassle.

Anonymous said...

I traveled with a court reporter recently and I don't really understand how a pad of court reporter transcript paper (it's a block of paper. Paper.) can be mistaken for a block of plastic explosive material. It's surprising and a tad unsettling that the detection equipment can't tell the difference between the two materials, which on the face of it are nothing alike. Yikes.

Anonymous said...

A clear sign this is theater: "improvised mint tin"

The TSA has adopted the language if war, i.e. "improvised explosive device" and transferred the key word "explosive" to the qualifier "improvised." The important element of an IED is that is explodes. Most things home made or "improvised" do not. Especially those things without explosives.

Anonymous said...

It didn't get a terminal shut down, but I stood around for about 5 minutes trying not to smirk when a group of 3 TSA agents huddled around a Rubik's cube they'd pulled from one of my bags. I swear they'd never seen one before, not a single one of them. They didn't even turn the sides, they just kept turning the whole thing over slowly from time to time, pointing at it and speaking in hushed voices with each other.

Who knows, maybe they thought it secretly contained explosives, narcotics, insulin, or greater than 3 ounces of shampoo, shaving gel, or water.

k_semler said...

Security Theater. You can't take any weapons, (or perceived weapons), past the secure area, which includes knives, glass containers, liquids over 3oz, etc. Yet what do you get once you walk past the security gates? Several restaurants and stores which sell 20 oz sodas, GIVE you knives in the restaurant, GIVE you glass cups in the bar, you can buy batteries, cell phones, radios, etc, at stores.

You can even buy household cleaners at the duty free shop, (mixed in the right proportions, you can have either a binary explosive, or a chlorine bomb), and liquor. If they were honestly concerned about security, the airport would have all of the convenience shops outside of the secured area, and any restaurants would give you paper and plastic utensils. Until that happens, TSA is just a show and nothing else.

There is no real security with the TSA. Most of the regulations are there for one purpose, making money. Outside of the secured area, I can buy a 20oz soda for $0.99. In the secure area, it's $2.50. These regulations are nothing more then money-making regulations that have no basis in reality regarding safety of America's airways.

Anonymous said...

It's time to scale back what is being done at the airports. TSA continues to invade our privacy and cause delays in travel. We don't need the security theater.

Everybody knows now that if somebody acts odd on an airplane that the crowd will defend themselves. Flight 93 is the model.

Given the need to slash spending and adjust budgets, we need to scale back the level of government activities at the airports.

Focus on foreign intelligence collection, keep the enemy overseas and engage them on their home turf.

Anonymous said...

I have been a commercial pilot as well as a ground operations agent and have organized very high profile security coordination, as well as having worked as an airport security expert.

The TSA is about the illusion of security, not really about security. It does nothing to stop real terrorists. Real terrorists get themselves jobs at the TSA or as janitorial staff. At that point they can ALWAYS get stuff to wherever they want.
Or the do their deed in the waiting line to the TSA checkpoint, now THERE'S a juicy target created by this stupidity. Lots of innocent men, women and children for their loving (christian or muslim) god.

Or, and here's a scary thought, if you look at the Norwegian bomber/shooter he planned his deed for multiple years. That's long enough to get a pilot's license and get a job.

The danger is inside people's heads. TSA cannot find that. So the TSA is absolutely useless. The terrorists have already won. They won the day that the TSA was created.

Anonymous said...

I’m from the UK and i came to this site expecting to have a giggle about an overzealous security bloke going over the top (trust me we get them here too!). Instead I’m amazed to find that he was perfectly correct because USA laws (regulations?) have been enacted to expect that ICE DOES NOT MELT!!

America - land of the safe but brain dead

Anonymous said...

While we're being clear, it was the TSA who shut down the entire terminal because the TSA rules say they have to.

These rules are actually detrimental to traveler safety. Pack a lot of people close together and a bomb going off will have that much more targets in range. Whatever happened to setting up check points such that a suspected bomb can be whisked off to a bomb-proof bunker, bonus points for doing it in such a way that nobody notices?

Otherwise it's trivial for an attacker to pull a TSA and plant a real device on some innocent traveler, then remotely detonate it as soon as the terminal shut down starts. Large masses moving are very visible from a safe distance.

What this thing tells me is that the TSA, who are supposedly the domain experts here as that is its raison d'etre, simply is unable to deal with, nevermind deal safely with, a simple box of wires. That's very poor safety value for all the effort and money expended and inconvenience, indignities, and loss of privacy suffered.

Anonymous said...

This post should have been an apology to the public for the huge overreaction and ultimately incorrect decision to shut down transportation for hours, and a personal apology to the completely innocent student who was inadvertently blamed by the TSA for their colossal mistake.

Anonymous said...

@ FoxJohnFox "But it's been almost 10 years since a plane blew up or was purposefully flown into a building. It seems the bad guys don't have open season anymore on getting on planes."

I know that your comment is a common belief, but does it make sense? Consider this: multiple tests done by examiners attempting to sneak fake bombs, guns and knives past screeners show that about half of such attempts succeed. I am not passing judgement on the personal qualities of employees of TSA, I am just reporting the facts. Half of the attempts to smuggle weapons or bombs succeed. If we have had no bombings or planes flown into buildings, then it is not because the TSA is catching them. It is because no one is seriously trying to blow planes up. If only five serious attempts had been made in the last ten years, then there would be a 97% chance of at least one success. The fact that none have happened proves that no one is trying.

Oh, one more thing. We (the US) have allowed over ten million people to enter the country by just walking across the border illegally, with no concerted governmental attempt to stop, screen, or regulate them. Still, no big terrorist attacks. Again, if the terrorists were seriously trying to attack us, couldn't they just walk across the border and enter the country like that? They know how to walk, and the unguarded borders are no secret. Still, no attack, and no control of the borders.

Think. Are you being misled about the nature of the terrorist threat?

Think.

Anonymous said...

"Privitization?! You mean like before 9/11...when the US had the WORST terrorist attack in history?

Try again!

The TSA is here to stay.

Go TSA!!!"

I'd like to see TSA go also. Permanently.

The actual reason that there will never be a repeat of 9/11 has to do with hardening the cockpit doors, and changing the rules about dealing with hijacking and terror related situations aboard commercial aircraft. While TSA has never captured a single terrorist, passengers have successfully subdued several of them. Save your praise for the effective people.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
"Posting your outrage here is welcome, of course, and offered as a way to accept all all your input with no measurable impact. Other than making you feel better, that is."

Perhaps but you should also be aware that these blogs are tracked closely by several members of Congress. Given Congress' control of budgetary matters, expect changes. First will be a move to begin privitization of the screening function.

Anonymous said...

JustSayin said:
"Privitization?! You mean like before 9/11...when the US had the WORST terrorist attack in history?

Try again!

The TSA is here to stay."

Not according to the House. Expect comprehensive privitization early next year.

And no, I mean privitization like SFO and several other airports around the country. Or do you mean that travelers using these airports are at greater risk? Please enlighten us.

Just sayin...

Anonymous said...

Moral to the story... quit making your DIY MP3 players in Altoids tins. Make them look like Wile E. Coyote Acme bombs instead and TSA will ignore them. :-P

Anonymous said...

Why not vent all of this at your congressman? It's his job to represent the people in his jurisdiction. Let's be honest. Do you think that anyone at the TSA with any kind of real authority actually looks at replies to blog posts? If they get read at all, it's probably the job of a political science intern.

Matthew Chaboud said...

This earns the "wait, seriously?!?" award for the day. You can't "safely" determine what mint-tin electronics are, so you blow them up, stop terminal operation, etc? Could you ask? Maybe put the mint tins in a blast-shielded/vented area and, oh, just open the bag?



As someone who flies roughly 60,000 domestic miles per year, and someone who makes custom electronics "gadgets" for money, I can say two things:

1) Most TSA agents aren't this stupid. I generally get through security without issue.

2) If our screening techniques rely on identifying homemade looking electronics (hallmark of movie bombers everywhere), the TSA is a bigger waste of money than I thought it was.

Anonymous said...

This type of item probably stood an equal, if not higher, probability of being caught under pre-9/11 security procedures than it does today (as screeners are overly focused on finding your bottle of water).

So yes - TSA was successful in this instance - however they still have not proven that they are more successful than what was previously in place. TSA apologists (JustSayin) tend to forget that the point is not "is screening effective" - the point is "is screening more effective to a degree that justifies the increased costs and decreased civil rights and liberties".

Anonymous said...

Don't confuse milimeter wave scanners and x-ray. The X-rays are dangerous to not be monitored and calibrated by trained technicians and medical personnel. The milimeter wave scanners are more expensive, but safe.

Anonymous said...

"The TSA is here to stay."

I fear this is the case. The TSA is the reason that I don't fly anymore, and I'm more than a little upset that flying will never again be an option for me.

Anonymous said...

So after reading this I can only draw one conclusion. The TSA has a very poor training program. Your telling me that under the prying eyes of an X-Ray scanner; An altoids tin with a collection of IC parts might be a bomb. So does this mean that if I pack my analog alarm clock along with some spare cat5 cable and a tin of pringles would that be cartoon enough to get flagged. The TSA has made them selves a joke. They cant seem to get it right ever. I mean they did not find the underware bomber until he was on fire!
PS sorry for the poor spelling LOL...

JustSayin said...

Anonymous said...
"JustSayin said...

Privitization?! You mean like before 9/11...when the US had the WORST terrorist attack in history?"

This incredibly stupid statement keeps cropping up. Had the TSA been in charge of security during 9/11 the result would have been the exact same. So, in your words try again.

Just for future reference 9/11 was the direct result of the training and policies in effect at the time.

Just Sayin

August 8, 2011 7:15 PM




Nope, try again.

The facts speak for themselves, so try arguing something a lot less complicated, like that the earth isn't round.

JustSayin said...

Jim Huggins said...
Anonymous writes: Privitization?! You mean like before 9/11...when the US had the WORST terrorist attack in history? Try again!

Repeat after me: 9/11 was not a failure of screening.

August 8, 2011 11:21 PM


It wasn't?!

Okay, I believe you..............

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
"The milimeter wave scanners are more expensive, but safe."

Well, no. The major difference is wavelength/frequency. A significant difference to be sure but consider that neither is safe at high levels of radiated power and both are comparatively safe at low levels.

Anonymous said...

JustSaying, the hijackers of 9/11/01 did not succeed because of lax airport security. They succeeded because the policy in place at the time was to cooperate with hijackers' demands, with the expectation that they would safely land the plane and the authorities on the ground would deal with their demands. They could have attacked passengers with their own bare hands and bottles and belts. Box cutters were not the cause of the events of that day.

Of course that was not these hijackers' intention, and this type of attack will never be successful again.

avxo said...

Referring to x-ray backscatter and millimeter wave machines, Anonymous wrote: "Well, no. The major difference is wavelength/frequency."

Well, no... That's not the major difference. The major difference is that one technology (X-ray Backscatter) uses ionizing radiation while the other, well, doesn't.

In a very real sense it's the difference between paintballs and bullets.

Anonymous said...

"JustSayin said...
Anonymous said...
"JustSayin said...

Privitization?! You mean like before 9/11...when the US had the WORST terrorist attack in history?"

This incredibly stupid statement keeps cropping up. Had the TSA been in charge of security during 9/11 the result would have been the exact same. So, in your words try again.

Just for future reference 9/11 was the direct result of the training and policies in effect at the time.

Just Sayin

August 8, 2011 7:15 PM




Nope, try again.

The facts speak for themselves, so try arguing something a lot less complicated, like that the earth isn't round."

Let's try this one more time.

FACT: The policies at the time of 9/11 and the fact that the terrorists used weapons that were "ALLOWED" under FAA guidelines on board the aircraft to take control and bring them down.

It does not matter who was in charge of security these facts remain the same.

FACT: This scenario can never happen again, because of the changes (hardening of the cockpit doors)put in place by the airlines and the FAA. TSA had zero to do with it.

Please tell which part of this is hard to understand and I will try and explain more clearly. Again, these are facts not an argument.

I'm Just Saying

Anonymous said...

Attention TSA Screeners: one of the properties of an improvized explosive device is that it has to have some kind of explosive. wires and breadboard can't explode, because there is no explosive material there, nor is there anything that could be confused with explosive material.

if your argument is that a screener can't tell the difference between an explosive and a wire, then what's the point in having screeners at the airports at all? they are clearly so incompetent as to be completely unnecessary.

Anonymous said...

"...how a college student unintentionally closed down a TSA checkpoint with his science project."

Are you totally insane? He did not shut down the checkpoint. YOU DID! Stop blaming others for YOUR actions.

Anonymous said...

One would hope that "JustSayin" is not using a government computer nor is he or she on the clock for TSA when sniping at people on this site.

Anonymous said...

Need to correct one thing. The TSA closed down a checkpoint. NOT the student.

macegr said...

Instead of shutting down a terminal, and/or taking someone's project out to be detonated: take the project to the safe detonation point, then allow the owner to open up and explain the device on camera. In the extremely tiny chance that someone did bring a bomb and made no effort to hide it, the worst thing that would happen is instant justice.

Chuck Smith said...

Jim Huggins said...
Repeat after me: 9/11 was not a failure of screening.

JustSayin said...

It wasn't?!

Okay, I believe you..............


Wow. Way to demonstrate that you really don't know what you are talking about. Where to start.

1. Boxcutters. Boxcutters were allowed pre-9/11. Failure of policy, not of screening.
2. Cooperate with hijackers. Policy was to cooperate with hijackers. Failure of policy, not of screening.
3. Aircraft doors were easy to penetrate. Failure of aircraft design, not of screening.

Can you point us to how screening failed on 9/11?

Calladus said...

The takeaway from this? A terrorist would NEVER go to a standard PC Board House and have his IED turned into a respectable looking piece of electronics that fit in his MP3 player.

JustSayin said...

Chuckie & Anonymous!

1.) Don't believe everything you read on the Internet.

2.) Unconfirmed facts and gobblygook are just that.

3.) Grand total of terrorist attacks in the US after 9/11 and the formation of the TSA: 0.

avxo said...

Anonymous wrote: "if your argument is that a screener can't tell the difference between an explosive and a wire, then what's the point in having screeners at the airports at all? they are clearly so incompetent as to be completely unnecessary."

I don't usually find myself defending the TSA on here, but I think you're flat-out wrong. I will explain why:

If I understand correctly, this was caught when the luggage containing this project went through the x-ray carry on scanner.

All the TSO would see at this point is an outline of wires, a small board, a 9V battery, in a small box with a toggle switch, and wires going into a larger box.

You have to agree that this looks suspicious even though it might not be dangerous.

If I understand TSA policy, once they detect such a device, their people aren't allowed to manipulate it or even go near it. They are required to call in the bomb squad and evacuate the checkpoint (and perhaps the terminal).

While that policy may seem misguided, it's not all that bad if you think about it: If the item detected really is an explosive mechanism, only experts should deal with it and attempt to move, defuse or detonate it in a safe manner. A run-of-the-mill TSO is unlikely to have the specialized training necessary to do those things.

But let's assume that TSOs were allowed, by policy, to inspect such potential explosive mechanisms further. Would you like them to do so in the checkpoint, with you and your family in the immediate vicinity? And how do you expect that same run-of-the-mill TSO we mentioned earlier to determine that the device is safe and not dangerous? It requires the same expertise and specialized training necessary to deal with an actual explosive device.

I don't disagree that closing off the terminal for hours was almost certainly a knee-jerk overreaction. I also find Bob's insinuation that the student in question shut the checkpoint down (as opposed to the TSA shutting the checkpoint down) to be deplorable.

So yes, I assign blame to the TSA for those two things, but I can't really fault them for following procedures that, in this type of situation, make sense.

Unfashionistable said...

As much as I'd like to live in a world where every student carried around an "improvised mint tin" in which their latest electronics project/experiment was housed, it is understandable that an IMT would raise a flag - the assertion that an IMT looks like an IED is quite plausible, because an IED is the super-evil version of the IMT, an electronics hack that explodes and hurts people.

Anonymous said...

With as much as the TSA hates electronic devices, you have to wonder why they put up with the pornoscanners in their checkpoints. Those things look pretty scary.

Jim Huggins said...

JustSayin writes:
Grand total of terrorist attacks in the US after 9/11 and the formation of the TSA: 0.


Grand total of terrorist attacks in the US after China was admitted to the World Trade Organization: 0.

Grand total of terrorist attacks in the US after the US announced it was withdrawing from the Anti-Ballistic Missle Treaty: 0.

Grand total of terrorist attacks in the US after the death of Ukrainian violinist Isaac Stern: 0.

Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.

Anonymous said...

So JS, if you're telling us not to believe what we read online, why do you believe everything that TSA posts on here?

What makes the TSA's blog so much more reputable than other sites?

Anonymous said...

"JustSayin said...
Chuckie & Anonymous!

1.) Don't believe everything you read on the Internet.

2.) Unconfirmed facts and gobblygook are just that.

3.) Grand total of terrorist attacks in the US after 9/11 and the formation of the TSA: 0."

Unbelievable

JustSayin said...

Anonymous said...
So JS, if you're telling us not to believe what we read online, why do you believe everything that TSA posts on here?

What makes the TSA's blog so much more reputable than other sites?

August 11, 2011 11:22 PM




The TSA site and TSA blog report timely, accurate information and news. Obviously - if that weren't the case, the entire media would be reporting on it.


And thanks, by the way, for your continued support of the TSA site. I love them, too!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
"3.) Grand total of terrorist attacks in the US after 9/11 and the formation of the TSA: 0."

Really? The Times Square Bomber doesn't count? The "Underwear" Bomber doesn't count?

Incidentally, the grand total terrorist attacks in the US during the ten years prior to 9/11: 0

What's your point?

Anonymous said...

"While that policy may seem misguided, it's not all that bad if you think about it: If the item detected really is an explosive mechanism, only experts should deal with it and attempt to move, defuse or detonate it in a safe manner. A run-of-the-mill TSO is unlikely to have the specialized training necessary to do those things."

The problem isn't that TSOs aren't capable of defusing an explosive device. The problem is that they're unqualified to identify an explosive device. Trust me, no qualified technician would have seen a mint-tin with wires coming out of it as a threat, even when looking at the device via an x-ray machine.

Anonymous said...

Chuck Smith said:
"1. Boxcutters. Boxcutters were allowed pre-9/11. Failure of policy, not of screening.
2. Cooperate with hijackers. Policy was to cooperate with hijackers. Failure of policy, not of screening.
3. Aircraft doors were easy to penetrate. Failure of aircraft design, not of screening."

Clear, succinct and on target. Nice job, Chuck.

TSORon said...

An Anonymous poster said…
The problem isn't that TSOs aren't capable of defusing an explosive device. The problem is that they're unqualified to identify an explosive device. Trust me, no qualified technician would have seen a mint-tin with wires coming out of it as a threat, even when looking at the device via an x-ray machine.
-----------
Sorry Anon, you are quite wrong. You should have read the news articles on this event before posting. Both the Omaha Bomb Disposal Unit Technician and the TSA’s BAO in Omaha reviewed the Xray screen before deciding that it was a possible IED (Improvised Explosive Device). 2 bomb technicians, both trained and with a great deal of experience in their area of expertise. Like I said once or twice before, you can second guess or “armchair quarterback” the TSA all you like, but when you attempt to do that to the actual experts in the field then you need to look at your own motivations and see where you went wrong.

JustSayin said...

Anonymous said...
Anonymous said:
"3.) Grand total of terrorist attacks in the US after 9/11 and the formation of the TSA: 0."

Really? The Times Square Bomber doesn't count? The "Underwear" Bomber doesn't count?


Nope! The TSA doesn't protect Times Square. The "Underwear Bomber" was a failed attempt.

Have a nice day!


August 12, 2011 12:55 PM

Anonymous said...

TSORon said:
"Sorry Anon, you are quite wrong. You should have read the news articles on this event before posting. Both the Omaha Bomb Disposal Unit Technician and the TSA’s BAO in Omaha reviewed the Xray screen before deciding that it was a possible IED (Improvised Explosive Device). 2 bomb technicians, both trained and with a great deal of experience in their area of expertise."

Apparently not well qualified, Ron, or they would have seen several items missing from the xray.

"Like I said once or twice before, you can second guess or “armchair quarterback” the TSA all you like, but when you attempt to do that to the actual experts in the field then you need to look at your own motivations and see where you went wrong."

The actual experts find TSA's security efforts to be laughable. No amount of TSO chest-beating will change that.

Anonymous said...

JustSaying said:
"Nope! The TSA doesn't protect Times Square. The "Underwear Bomber" was a failed attempt."

Are you kidding me?? Really?? The Times Square Bomb was in an SUV. Unless I'm completely mistaken, an SUV is a form of "transportation." So, the TSA failed, did it not, to accomplish its primary mission?

"Have a nice day!"

Have a nice passive-aggressive day!

Earl Pitts said...

@JS: "Nope! The TSA doesn't protect Times Square. The "Underwear Bomber" was a failed attempt."

That's not what you said.

You said on August 11 @ 11:54am

"3.) Grand total of terrorist attacks in the US after 9/11 and the formation of the TSA: 0."

You didn't say just US airports. Or planes bound for the US. You said in the US. Or anything aviation related. You said in the US. Period.

Can't move the goal posts when called out on it.

Given that these things made it on to planes despite planes being screened to TSA standards, a better statement would be:

Number of successful terrorist incidents on planes since passengers started taking care of the situations on board themselves: 0.

TSA didn't prevent those planes from blowing up. Passengers did.

Earl

Anonymous said...

[[The TSA site and TSA blog report timely, accurate information and news]]

The TSA site/blog "reports" in the same way that high school cheerleaders provide in-depth game analysis. Everything that appears here is days after the fact - if it shows up at all - and is more heavily spun than carpet-grade wool.

I've yet to see anything on the Logan Experiment in Israeli-style screening. You remember, doncha, "just"? The one that TSA hacks and apologists have said forever can't and won't work because Israel has apparently commandeered the free world's supply of body-language-readers? and because it uses the age-old police technique of profiling? which "doesn't make good security sense"?


[[if that weren't the case, the entire media would be reporting on it.]]

Exactly how relevant do you think this place is?

Exactly how relevant do you think *you* are, as a TSA cheerleader?

Anonymous said...

Thank you to "Just Sayin" for confirming something for me. We are getting to you. That is the only conceivable reason for him/her to push this illogical line of reasoning that by posting here, we are supporting the TSA. Somebody is obviously reading this and it is getting some traction. Otherwise why would he/she bother ;-)

Anonymous said...

[[The TSA site and TSA blog report timely, accurate information and news]]

The TSA site/blog "reports" in the same way that high school cheerleaders provide in-depth game analysis.

Everything that appears here is days after the fact - if it shows up at all - and is more heavily spun than

carpet-grade wool.

I've yet to see anything on the Logan Experiment in Israeli-style screening. You remember, doncha, "just"?

The one that TSA hacks and apologists have said forever can't and won't work because Israel has apparently

commandeered the free world's supply of body-language-readers? and because it uses the age-old police

technique of profiling? which "doesn't make good security sense"?


[[if that weren't the case, the entire media would be reporting on it.]]

Exactly how relevant do you think this place is?

Exactly how relevant do you think *you* are, as a TSA cheerleader?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said, "The milimeter wave scanners are more expensive, but safe."

Citation needed regarding MMWS safety. I have found quotes that they are assumed to be safe, but no studies proving this.

JustSayin said, "3.) Grand total of terrorist attacks in the US after 9/11 and the formation of the TSA: 0."

That is anecdotal evidence. That's the same as saying I wear shows to work and I have never been attacked by a tiger. Therefore, wearing shoes prevents tiger attacks. TSA would have allowed box cutters on the planes on 9/11/01 and the same events would have transpired. The formation of the TSA has not been shown to prevent terrorist attacks and I am not aware of any terrorists being arrested since the formation of the TSA.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said, "Don't confuse milimeter wave scanners and x-ray. The X-rays are dangerous to not be monitored and calibrated by trained technicians and medical personnel. The milimeter wave scanners are more expensive, but safe."

This does not mean they are an invasion to privacy and unconstitutional. Also, the former Homeland Security secretary said the US needed full-body scanners for airports, but was not as forthcoming about his financial interest in the company that made the scanners.

JustSayin said...

Earl Pitts said...
@JS: "Nope! The TSA doesn't protect Times Square. The "Underwear Bomber" was a failed attempt."

That's not what you said.

You said on August 11 @ 11:54am

"3.) Grand total of terrorist attacks in the US after 9/11 and the formation of the TSA: 0."

You didn't say just US airports. Or planes bound for the US. You said in the US. Or anything aviation related. You said in the US. Period.

Can't move the goal posts when called out on it.

Given that these things made it on to planes despite planes being screened to TSA standards, a better statement would be:

Number of successful terrorist incidents on planes since passengers started taking care of the situations on board themselves: 0.

TSA didn't prevent those planes from blowing up. Passengers did.

Earl


Earl!!!

Thanks for becoming so fixated on my posts! There are so many wonderful things in life to become fixated on, but hanging on to my every word is truly the best way to spend your free time.

Thanks for pushing me into celebritydom!

:)

A-lister JustSayin

ps - And thanks, again, for your continued support of the TSA site!

pps - Grand total of terrorist attacks in the US after 9/11 and the formation of the TSA: 0.

Anonymous said...

JustSayin said:
"ps - And thanks, again, for your continued support of the TSA site!

pps - Grand total of terrorist attacks in the US after 9/11 and the formation of the TSA: 0."

I'm surprised - but pleasantly! - that you now support privatizing airport screeners!

Thanks for coming around, JustSayin. We knew you'd see the light!!

And thanks for supporting civil liberties by objecting to TSA abuses!!!

TSORon said...

I’m sorry Just Sayin, but your statement is not entirely accurate. There have been many terrorist attacks in the United States since 9/11/2001, but none against the commercial aviation industry. In part this is due to the addition of the TSA to airports, and in part to other improvements in commercial aviation security.

For a better understanding of the issue please see the link below. It will lead you to the Global Terrorism Database run by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Response to Terrorism, based at the University of Maryland. Its not 100% up to date, but that is in part because of how long the investigations into incidents take and when the determination of “terrorism” is made.

http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/search/Results.aspx?country=217

Anonymous said...

These people work hard to protect the airport, airplanes and railways. Instead of insulting these people you should be thanking them. Who is to blame when a IED does get through a checkpoint and kills people. I think the TSA would be to blame. There hasn't been any incidents since TSA came into place. The reason is because part of there job is to do bag inspections on items such as this science project. The public should be more understanding about these security measures, we all know it's a hassle. But it's something that has to be done in this day and age we live in. Next time you fly out and have to go through secondary screening, Thank the TSO rather then treating them like there harassing you!

Thank you TSA, Job well done!

Anonymous said...

Don't like it???....Drive!

JustSayin said...

TSORon...thank goodness no one could simply type in your alias -- and pass themselves off as you!!!

:)

JustSayin said...

Anonymous said...
Don't like it???....Drive!

August 18, 2011 5:38 PM



JustSayin likes this.

Grand total of terrorist attacks in the US after 9/11 and the formation of the TSA: 0.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said..." Don't like it???....Drive!"

No. For two reasons...

First, the TSA is already working on interfering with Trains, Subways, and Busses. My avoiding air travel does not remove the TSA from the equation.

Second, security needs to go back to pre 9-11 methods. If you don't like it *you* should drive. My giving up my rights should never be a condition of you being willing to give up yours.



Ha - word captha thingy is stomp. As in the TSA is gonna stomp on the Constitution until no one recognizes it.

Jim Huggins said...

JustSayin writes:
Grand total of terrorist attacks in the US after 9/11 and the formation of the TSA: 0.


Grant total of terrorist attacks in the US after the death of Angolan rebel leader Jonas Savimbi: 0.

Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.

Anonymous said...

From the looks of this situation with the C-4 in checked baggage concealed in a tobacco can, the individual would not have been able to detonate the C-4 on the aircraft unless they rigged it to do so. Regardless of that, explosives are a volatile substance that can explode anytime, and the TSO's in Yuma found it on their own from training and experience, regardless of the last comment stating a miss of 70%. The threat is still very real and 2006 is still the worst year you could have been attacked but weren't because the gov't keep you safe! <$H$>

Anonymous said...

JustSayin said:
"Anonymous said...
Don't like it???....Drive!

August 18, 2011 5:38 PM



JustSayin likes this."

Thanks, JustSayin, for understanding that people have to fly to keep their jobs, visit their families or any number of other valid, Constitutionally protected activities!!!

Your opposition of the TSA is refreshing, particularly considering that you likely work there!!

Good job, JustSayin!!

Total number of attacks since I turned 40: 0.

You're welcome, JustSayin!!!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
"Who is to blame when a IED does get through a checkpoint and kills people[?]"

That would be the builders, smugglers and those who employed the "IED," Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
"Thank the TSO rather then treating them like there harassing you!"

But...they are harrassing me. And they're sponging off taxpayers while doing so. Why would I thank for this?

TSORon said...

JustSayin said...
TSORon...thank goodness no one could simply type in your alias -- and pass themselves off as you!!!

:)
-----

LOL, I understand the problem. Send me a PM at FlyerTalk and I’ll be happy to confirm that I was the one who made the coment.

JustSayin said...

TSORon said...
JustSayin said...
TSORon...thank goodness no one could simply type in your alias -- and pass themselves off as you!!!

:)
-----

LOL, I understand the problem. Send me a PM at FlyerTalk and I’ll be happy to confirm that I was the one who made the coment.

August 25, 2011 12:56 PM



LOL, no that's okay...I believe you...............

Anonymous said...

TSORon and JustSayin said:
"LOL, I understand the problem. Send me a PM at FlyerTalk and I’ll be happy to confirm that I was the one who made the coment.

August 25, 2011 12:56 PM



LOL, no that's okay...I believe you..............."

You two should stop!! We know the TSA is acting unconstitutionally but as employees, you should not be trashing the TSA like this!!

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate that you two want to expose the excesses of the TSA but, really, you should be more discreet!!!

Still, thanks for telling us that the TSA is acting improperly!!!

Anonymous said...

Its amazing how people are so quick to lash out on TSA. Yes, there are bad apples in every job. no one is perfect. do you call all police bad after one. is arrested for being corrupt. I lost both of my parents on 9/11. no one will bring them back. But i support having TSA trying to prevent others losing a loved one. IF this was a perfect world our so called right would be there but the world is not perfect. Thats why my 2 brothers are serving this country. u think your right are taken away. go to some other countries then come back and see how well we have it.

Caroline Sound said...

Keep up your good works and ignore the snide remarks from impatient travellers! What you are doing is protecting us, if you let things through with the 'benefit of doubt' you would not be doing your job properly and they would be the first to accuse you if something did get passed you and caused a problem.

Anonymous said...

Bob,

Isn't it possible to train the employees on what IEDs actually look like? I'm seriously concerned that something like this, which I know is going to show up as unconventional electronics, but electronics itself aren't going to be an IED. It would need an actual explosive to go along with it. Not to mention that the electronics for a trigger are very simple, and not the complex type you would see in something like this.

It is just somewhat concerning to know that if you make your IEDs look like run of the mill consumer electronics then they are good to go.

I honestly don't understand how the TSA's knee jerks one way for specific things (like shutting down a checkpoint for this item) but doesn't for something else that is suppose to be just as dangerous and arguably more (like a bottle full of water/liquid explosive).

I think the above is a legitimate question. Do you just put on a big show in your theater for uncommon events, or do you truly believe these uncommon events pose a greater threat? It would seem a potential explosive is a potential explosive no matter if it is a grenade (inert or other) or a bottle of liquid (water or other)

Anonymous said...

TSA = stupid

Anonymous said...

Person I know had her birth control pills taken. Military guy I know had his NVGs taken out of his bag while on his way to the desert. The TSA is nothing more than a giant multi billion dollar 4th amendment violation. You harass the elderly and pat down kids. Good job guys.

Chris said...

The TSA is congratulating themselves on noticing something dangerous-looking on an X-ray scan.

Given the numerous times that they haven't noticed guns and knives that travelers accidentally left in their bags -- congratulations, you were paying attention!

And then the TSA shames the student because it took so long for the TSA officers to realize that the device was harmless. Blaming the victim, much?

Anonymous said...

In summary, it is now possible to get the information
necessary to start building your renewable energy system to tap on daylight for your electricity
wishes at home. So, what are the warnings that you are about to do is turn off your personal computer.

When doing repair yourself, it is worth noting that on this setting the unit will ios 7 only
cover the room it is plugged in to an electrical socket.
Whichever material you choose, remember to keep that battery charged.


Feel free to visit my homepage; guter akkuschrauber
(makeshop.co.kr)

Arduino Lover said...

What you should be talking about here is what types of things the TSA agents will usually find sufficiently amusing to try to play with. I know that at certain developmental level people find it is rather amusing to crush an electronic gadget with a hammer (I did tings like that in my childhood). It can also be rather interesting to see if a pregnant diabetic woman survives a flight without her medication (I never tried tings like that though