Friday, October 14, 2011

Week in Review: Lipstick Knife & Lost and Found - And a few other tidbits...

Lipstick Knife
Stock Photo of Lipstick Knife
It was business as usual at the checkpoints again this past week.

A passenger at MCO gave us a good example of something you should never say during screening: "You better check me close. I am about to blow." After finishing screening, the passenger's airline denied them boarding and removed their bag from the plane. The passenger was permitted to rebook with a different airline.

In addition to all of the loaded guns we found, (listed below) we also found a lot of other prohibited items around the nation to include gun parts, ammunition, stun guns, mace, throwing stars, throwing knives, switchblades, butterfly knives, kitchen knives etc. In one instance at MDW, one of our officers found a lipstick knife. Paging 007... AT RSW, a passenger went as far as to conceal two knives in the handles of their carry-on bag. In yet another instance at SFO, a knife was found detected under the sole of a passenger's shoe. One could say they were walking on a knife's edge.

Our officers found a couple of other notable things this past week, but they weren't prohibited. A passenger at EWR was relieved after answering a page on the public address system. He had left his wrist watch and a wallet containing $405.00 in cash at the checkpoint. An alert team of TSA officers had found his belongings and worked with the airport to page him so that he could come back to retrieve his belongings. Another passenger who had just traveled through ROC was taxiing to the runway when she noticed that her two-carat diamond had fallen out of her ring. After a series of phone calls, officers at ROC located the diamond on the floor at the checkpoint and it was eventually returned to a very happy passenger.

Our officers found 21 loaded firearms since I posted last Friday. (Not counting the unloaded and replica firearms we found). Here is a rundown:
  • 10-7: TSA Officer at IAH detects a loaded 9mm pistol with a round in the chamber.
  • 10-7: TSA Officer at LBB detects a loaded .380 pistol.
  • 10-7: TSA Officer at SAT detects a loaded .380 pistol with a round in the chamber.
  • 10-8 TSA Officer at MOB detects a loaded .32 pistol with a round in the chamber.
  • 10-8 TSA Officer at AUS detects a loaded .380 pistol.
  • 10-8 TSA Officer at SEA detects a loaded .357 pistol. (Seattle Post Intelligencer)
  • 10-9: TSA Officer at PHF detects a loaded .22 pistol.
  • 10-9: TSA Officer at STL detects a loaded .22 pistol with a round in the chamber.
  • 10-9: TSA Officer at MSY detects a loaded 9mm pistol.
  • 10-10: TSA Officer at MCO detects a loaded .380 pistol.
  • 10-10: TSA Officer at SLC detects a loaded 9mm pistol with a round in the chamber. (ABC4)
  • 10-10: TSA Officer at SAT detects a loaded 9mm pistol.
  • 10-11: TSA Officer at DEN detects a loaded .22 with a round in the chamber.
  • 10-12: TSA Officer at GSO detects a loaded 9mm pistol with a round in the chamber.
  • 10-12: TSA Officer at MSY detects a loaded .22 pistol.
  • 10-12: TSA Officer at HOU detects a loaded .380 pistol with a round in the chamber.
  • 10-12: TSA Officer at GRR detects a loaded .22 pistol.
  • 10-13: TSA Officer at ANC detects a loaded .380 pistol.
  • 10-13: TSA Officer at IND detects a loaded 9mm pistol.
  • 10-13: TSA Officer at PHX detects a loaded .357 pistol.
  • 10-13: TSA Officer at SAT detects a loaded 9mm pistol with a round in the chamber.
  • 10-13: TSA Officer at MIA detects a loaded firearm of unknown caliber.
Unless you're a law enforcement officer or Federal Flight Deck Officer who is able to fly with a firearm in the cabin of the aircraft, your firearm (s) must be declared to the airline and checked in your luggage. You can go here for more details.

Just because we find a firearm on an individual does not mean they had bad intentions, that's for the law enforcement officer to decide. And just so you know, we also look for explosives and bomb components as well, but thankfully those are extremely rare and we're happy to keep it that way.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team


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.

38 comments:

Nadav said...

It still puzzles me why people insist on boarding airplanes with these items. There are signs all over the airport showing what is forbidden. And it's not just the TSA, it's all over the world.

Hiding knives in the handles shows way more than "oops I forgot", as well as the shoe-sole knife.

Nadav

B.Gutierrez, Houston, TX said...

First of all, thank you for posting this blog. I am not aware of how many (flying public) viewers visit this site but stories like this need to reach the public. Perhaps reaching out an partnering with media outlets to spread the word (like a column)wouldn't be a bad idea. Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Is the firearm found at MIA the one a TSO tried to bring to work or is this another incident?

How did the TSA know there was $405 in the wallet? Does TSA routinely count money in a wallet? if so why?

Still no mention of the child porn incident?

Saul said...

Bob, we get it, the metal detectors and baggage x-ray machines work at detecting guns. They would have done so in 2000 and in 1980 also. You can stop crowing about it now. We get it. There are stupid people who (maliciously or not) try to bring their gun past the checkpoint.

"A passenger at EWR was relieved after answering a page on the public address system. He had left his wrist watch and a wallet containing $405.00 in cash at the checkpoint."

How did you know how much cash was in the passenger's wallet? Did the TSO rifle (pun intended, perhaps) through the wallet and count the cash, in the alleged search for the passenger's name? After reading this article -- http://travel.usatoday.com/flights/story/2011-10-13/Next-layer-of-air-security-Chat-downs-on-top-of-pat-downs/50757204/1 -- I would not be surprised if he did.

«Despite the low numbers, George Naccara, TSA's federal security director for Logan, says the experiment is a good move by the agency to help narrow their search for potential threats. He says people found carrying fraudulent documents or large amounts of cash could represent terrorists testing airport security.»

"And just so you know, we also look for explosives and bomb components as well, but thankfully those are extremely rare and we're happy to keep it that way."

And yet, we still have to take our shoes off, something that no other country routinely demands of its airline passengers. And we still have the liquid restrictions. And we have the body scanners or patdowns. Perhaps shoe and liquid explosives really aren't the threat you make them out to be.

[Screenshot of preview captured.]

RB said...

Yet not one single word about the TSA employee who brought a concealed weapon to work or the TSA employee arrested on child porn charges.

Mike said...

Wow, great finds! Also, having something such as a syndicated column for this type of information is a great idea.

To the poster who is hung up on watching child porn in every post- go seek counseling and find something better to do with your time.

Anonymous said...

What about the Eduardo Valdes, the TSA Screener who was arrested and booked into jail after he showed up for work at MIA and another screener found a gun in his bag? He states he simply forgot, which is the same excuse most people have, but unlike many others who did this, it was an illegal gun and he did not have a permit to carry. Why isn't that "gun found" incident included in here? What is this blog????? Al Jazeera??????

Anonymous said...

"we found a bunch of stuff...here are some examples...blah, blah, blah"

Still no answer to the FACT that, based on the latest available figures, the TSA MISSES up to 70% of the bombs/weapons passing through the checkpoints.

That means, while the TSA may have found 21 guns, they missed up to 49 guns. And still the world didn't end and no planes were hijacked.

Hmm.... maybe the mere presence of guns isn't the actual problem??

Anonymous said...

Bob, was the gun the TSO illegally brought into a secured area part of the finds?

Andy said...

You forgot one:

•10-11: TSA Officer at MIA attempts to bring a gun through an employee checkpoint.

Anonymous said...

Saul, the machines in use at my home airport were horribly inferior and outdated in 2001. There was a good chance that the operator would have missed seeing an item with those machines. One was black and white for crying out loud.

Wallets and other items get inventoried. Sometimes it helps TSA locate the owner, by name or phone number, or lets TSA ask a specific question about the contents if there is no owner info listed. Wallet without ID? How much money is in it? Any personel pictures in it? Anything attached to the keys you left at the checkpoint? Whats the desktop picture on the laptop? Etc. Also helps to prevent complaints of theft or damage.

Anonymous said...

Same question as always, were any of these persons a threat to commercial aviation security? If not, then the entire story and the searches are a waste of resources. If none of these persons were charged with attempted air piracy then none of them were a threat. All they were were idiots. Crowing over capturing weapons from idiots is the blind leading the blind.

You can have a planeful of armed marines and have zero risk. Two members of Hezbollah are a nasty threat even if screened. Weapons are no dangerous without humans to make them so.

Abbey said...

Interesting set of items found going through security. My concern would be the items that were possibly harmless, but you've got to wonder why people attempted to conceal them. I'm a young woman and I can honestly say none of my friends own lipstick knives.
I do not think it is safe to let people who attempt to fly with these weapons to continue to fly once they have been caught. As Americans, we should have a great understanding that no matter where we are going, or what we're going to do once we get there, there are just some items that are not prohibited on airplanes and no exceptions should be made for people who try to sneak these items.
Being able to travel in an airplane is a privilege and people who risk jeopardizing the safety of themselves or others should not have the privilege to fly.
Accidents happen, but when security finds weapons in concealed places, they are not protecting the safety of everyone else by letting the person who was ignorant of following the rules to fly.

Anonymous said...

its funny bloggers complain on here all the time about the tsa not doing anything positive and when there is a post about items that are discovered all of a sudden its not worth it. yet again the tsa will ALWAYS do the wrong thing.
as far how much money someone has in lost in found? anyone that works any cust service industry will tell you that you log in anything found with great detail, espically when it comes to money. it is verified by someone else, usually a supervisor and logged in. this way when the person comes back it is all there and if there is a problem the log is used to verify what was found. now why the tsa would include this on here i dont know but anyone with any understanding would find this sensible.

Anonymous said...

Knives are not a threat to airplane security, or at least not anymore of a threat than a large human or a number of sharp glass or metal items that can easily be obtained in the "sterile" area. They should be ignored.

Guns are detected using metal detector and X-rays.

Full body scans and behavior detection add nothing to airport security, and must be stopped.

Anonymous said...

So what?

Anonymous said...

Why did the passenger have to remove his watch and wallet in the first place? Watches and wallets aren't dangerous.

Anonymous said...

The lipstick knife looks significantly less dangerous to me than the pair of scissors and knitting needles a lady brought with her on my last security check.

Neither is a real problem.

RB said...

And another one bites the dust...

"TSA employee Dianna Perez, 28, of Inglewood, also was arrested for allegedly accepting the bribe, said Laura Eimiller, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Los Angeles."

read more here:

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/10/la-man-bribes-tsa-employee-to-get-marijuana-on-plane.html

RB said...

TSA keeping America Safe?

"TSA Took My Toddler’s Juice"

" Wouldn’t you think that a 3-year-old qualifies as a small child? When I suggested this to the agent, she informed me that “small child” means “infant,” even though nowhere in their printed policies is that stated as emphatically and clearly."

read more here:

TSA Took My Toddler’s Juice



http://cockeysville.patch.com/articles/tsa-took-my-toddler-s-juice

Anonymous said...

You should be sure to add this item to the next "Week in Review"-- 10-15 pounds of marijuana on a flight from L.A. to Boston is quite a catch.

Maybe you'll even mention the corrupt TSA agent that accepted a bribe to allow the marijuana-filled bag through? Maybe you'll mention that the FBI affidavit claims that this TSA agent previously accepted bribes of $500 each to allow drug bags to circumvent security nine previous times?

Or maybe you'll ignore the TSA corruption and criminality which, if you read this blog in its totality, you seem convenced doesn't exist.

After all, as RB noted above:

...not one single word about the TSA employee who brought a concealed weapon to work or the TSA employee arrested on child porn charges.

And both those incidents happened during the week that was reviewed here. Nothing really new about such things, though; they seem to be a regular occurrence. I guess TSA employees consider themselves to be above the law, and the TSA management has no desire to do much of anything about employee lawbreaking.

Anonymous said...

When will people learn.

It's very difficult to get these items past the well trained Airport Security Screeners.

It's much more efficient to simply bribe them like in this story:

http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2011/10/17/former-la-fire-chiefs-son-arrested-on-drugs-charges/

What happens next time, Bob, when it's C4 instead of Mary Jane?

Screenshot saved.

Mike E. said...

"Just because we find a firearm on an individual does not mean they had bad intentions..."

As far as I can tell, the ONLY people on whom you find firearms are the ones with no bad intentions.

Anonymous said...

So you have shown that warentless searches will reveal contraband. Is this something you find surprising?

You are willing to list the number of items that were detected, but have continued to ignore the main question. How many lives are saved by the actions of the TSA each year?

John Wayne Airport said...

It's unfortunate that people try to be sneaky and think the rules aren't for them.

Jenny said...

It's even more unfortunate that so many people actually believe these stupid rules are helping anything.

A lipstick knife. I'm shaking in my boots. Awesome catch. Really.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said... on October 19, 2011 at 8:59 AM
.... How many lives are saved by the actions of the TSA each year?


As you alluded to, the appropriate question is, "How many lives have been lost due to the actions of the TSA each year?"

Since driving is more dangerous statistically than flying, every person that now drives to avoid the TSA places themselves and others at a greater risk for death....

Anonymous said...

Mike E. said...
"As far as I can tell, the ONLY people on whom you find firearms are the ones with no bad intentions."

Yes, the only people they will catch are:
1) People who forget they have something
2) People too stupid to understand how screening works

Neither is a big danger.

The smart terrorists will either find a way to evade the searches or just go somewhere else to kill people.

You can't stop terrorists by siting and waiting for them to come to you and give themselves up. That's what the TSA is doing.

Anonymous said...

As you alluded to, the appropriate question is, "How many lives have been lost due to the actions of the TSA each year?"

Since driving is more dangerous statistically than flying, every person that now drives to avoid the TSA places themselves and others at a greater risk for death....



To clarify my post,

I never said that the answer to my question: "How many lives are saved by the actions of the TSA each year?" would be a positive number. However, positive or negative I still want to TSA to quantify the benefits/drawbacks of their work.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"However, positive or negative I still want to TSA to quantify the benefits/drawbacks of their work."

That will never happen - the TSA doesn't want to talk about the harm they are causing.

At what point does the damage caused by huge numbers of false positives outweigh the possible damage they are trying to prevent? People in the medical field have to deal with thesis kind of trade-offs all the time. The TSA totally avoids talking about it.

Anonymous said...

Jenny said:
"It's even more unfortunate that so many people actually believe these stupid rules are helping anything.

A lipstick knife. I'm shaking in my boots. Awesome catch. Really."

Lol, Jenny. I was in a hurry when I went through screening in Denver earlier this week and forgot to take my "3-1-1" bag out of my suitcase. The crack TSA staff didn't notice it. After me and my stuff were both radiated, I grabbed my bag, went to the gate and boarded my flight.

Here's the weird part: The airplane did NOT BLOW UP.

I'm at a loss to explain this.

Lisa L. said...

I am stunned at the amount of firearms taken from the passengers ! Eventhough you said that they might not have bad intentions, it remains troublesome nonetheless.

The lipstick knife is funny, but the knives conceiled in the luggage handle is scary.

At least you have stories to tell at the end of your days.

Caroline Sound said...

Why do people think they can just walk on a plane with concealed weapons do you think they are trying to test you?
I don't understand why so many seem to walk around with offensive weapons claiming they didn't know they had them with them! Sorry very hard to believe. Zero tolerance should be enforced!!Keep up good work!

dbp5458@live.com said...

Hi, Sadly what is being done is catching honest people with weapons. Sounds like honest people with not a whole lot of sense. But there are a few people with concel/carry permits that toss the gun in a bag and forget about it. THE REAL PROBLEM, is there is no ability to catch people with 'bad intent' (criminals, terrorists, whatever). Here's an example: Those 'new xray' machines look for a generic body shape. Myself and several hundred thousand others do not posses the generic body shape, IS ALWAYS FLAGGED AS SUSPECT. So I and others get some low life that checked again. But I just want to get on the plane. Preferrably without getting put in the hospital by the TSA (some guy said he was doing his job); or something else stolen. The stealing is not frequent but does happen. ANYWAY: Since the xray machine looks for certain generic shapes; it would take some criminal roughly 2 minutes to figure out all the have to accomplish to get thru the machine is create a shape the machine 'likes'. In short, TSA has nothing to do with safety. We could be just as safe having relatives walk to the airport gates, as in the 1970's.

Shine said...

I agree with Nadav. Why do people still insist in trying to board the plane with items that they know are prohibited? And joking about "about to blow"? If you are bored, there are other ways to entertain yourself.

Anonymous said...

Hmm,people act like the lipstick knife is a joke. If somone had told me a little over ten years ago that a few guys could take a plane over with a couple of box cutters I'd have thought they were joking. The blade from a box cutter isnt much bigger.

Ryan B said...

Why do people "accidentally" board planes with these items? Do you not realize what is on you at the time you are traveling? Hiding anything while going through an airport should be a crime and worth some type of detainment. This is what keeps us safe. Thank you TSA for doing your job!

-Concerned Flyer

beptucaocap said...

First of all, thank you for posting this blog. I am not aware of how many (flying public) viewers visit this site but stories like this need to reach the public. Perhaps reaching out an partnering with media outlets to spread the word (like a column)wouldn't be a bad idea. Just a thought.