Friday, December 9, 2011

TSA Week In Review: 5 Grenades “Grenading”

5 Grenades Grenading (EWR)
5 Grenades Grenading (EWR)
5 grenades “grenading” and a partridge in a pear tree! Not one, but 5 inert grenades were discovered in a passenger’s checked luggage at Newark (EWR). Read here and here why even inert grenades at the airport are a problem even though they can’t explode. In a somewhat related incident at LAX, an expended smoke grenade was found in a passenger’s carry-on bag.
I’m sure you’ve heard the “What’s In Your Wallet” commercials…Well, a frustrated passenger at Boston (BOS) stated he had a bomb in his wallet. The police ended up citing the passenger, so while there was no actual bomb in his wallet, there is now less cash…
Not counting all of the usual items our officers find, this week they also found stun guns, firearm components, ammunition, replica firearms, brass knuckles, a belt buckle knife, a brass kubotan containing a 2½-inch double-edged knife, switchblades, butterfly knives and batons. 
Unfortunately these sorts of occurrences are all too frequent which is why we talk about these finds. Sure, it’s great to share the things that our officers are finding, but at the same time, each time we find a dangerous item, the throughput is slowed down and a passenger that likely had no ill intent ends up with a citation or in some cases is even arrested. This is a friendly reminder to please leave these items at home.

Just because we find a prohibited item on an individual does not mean they had bad intentions, that's for the law enforcement officer to decide. In many cases, people simply forgot they had these items in their bag. That’s why it’s important to double check your luggage before you get to the airport. 

On the other hand, there are artfully concealed items...  Artfully concealed means that the prohibited item was intentionally concealed with the intention of sneaking it through security:

Sword Cane (COS)
Sword Cane (COS)
A 20” sword cane was discovered during X-ray screening at Colorado Springs (COS). The passenger said the cane was purchased for him by a relative and he wasn’t aware of the sword.

One could say a passenger was “foiled” after his knife was found in his carry-on bag inside a box wrapped in tinfoil at Columbus (CMH). The passenger actually admitted he was trying to conceal it from us. 
Aluminum foil may protect you from aliens and mind rays, but it’s not going to hide anything from us in the X-ray.

Foiled Knife (DEN)
Foiled Knife (DEN)
We’re looking for dangerous items and not booze, but miniature bottles of liquor were discovered in a passenger’s socks during screening with the body scanner at Denver (DEN). Hint – most miniature bottles of liquor are under 3.4 oz. and can be brought in your carry-on baggage as long as it’s in a baggy. No need to smuggle them…

Belt Buckle knife at Newark (EWR). It's a belt buckle. It's a knife. It's a belt buckle, it's a knife. and so on...


It's a knife. It's a Belt Buckle. (EWR)
It's a knife. It's a Belt Buckle. (EWR)
Our officers found 25 loaded firearms and 4 unloaded firearms in carry-on baggage since I posted last Friday. Here’s a rundown of the 29 firearms our officers kept off of airplanes this week: 
  • 12/2: BTR – Loaded .40 - BNA- Loaded .40 w/ One Round Chambered - LAX - Loaded .40 w/ One Round Chambered - BZN – Loaded .380 - SJC – Loaded .38 - IND - Loaded .40 w/ One Round Chambered - RSW - Loaded .38 - CLE – Unloaded .38 - DFW – Loaded 9mm w/ One Round Chambered - MIA - Loaded 9mm w/ One Round Chambered 
  • 12/3: DEN – Loaded 9mm 
  • 12/4: DEN - Loaded 9mm - BNA – Unloaded .25 - MCO - Loaded .380 - MEM - Unloaded .38 
  • 12/5: No Firearms Found! 
  • 12/6: PDX – Loaded .380 - IND – Loaded .22 - AUS – Loaded .380 - DAL – Loaded .22 w/ One Round Chambered- FLL – Loaded 9mm 
  • 12/7: MCO – Loaded .22 - MDW – Loaded .357 - JAN – Loaded .40 - LIT – Loaded .380 w/ One Round Chambered 
  • 12/8: BNA - Loaded .380 w/ One Round Chambered - PDX – Loaded .22 - LAX – Unloaded .45 - TPA – Loaded .38 - TPA – Loaded .45
You can travel with your firearms in checked baggage, but they must first be declared to the airline. You can go here for more details on how to properly travel with your firearms. 

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. 

Including checkpoint and checked baggage screening, TSA has 20 layers of security both visible and invisible to the public. Each one of these layers alone is capable of stopping a terrorist attack. In combination their security value is multiplied, creating a much stronger, formidable system. A terrorist who has to overcome multiple security layers in order to carry out an attack is more likely to be pre-empted, deterred, or to fail during the attempt. 

Blogger Bob Burns
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.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Again, Curtis, why your recent infatuation in hyping routine detections of items carried by people who intended no harm to any aircraft? And why have you once again neglected to mention that none of the genuinely "dangerous" items were found through anything but your most passive, non-invasive screening techniques?

RB said...

What no mention of the super dangerous pills that TSA screeners went to GQ over at Chico?

Really, nothing?

Anonymous said...

Must keep showing what you find in order to take everyone's attention off your other problems.

Typical bureaucratic behavior. But, in all fairness at least you are capable of finding something even if it isn't dangerous(inert grenades).

Nadav said...

Compared to last week, this week was pretty boring, except the 29 firearms.

Hopefully people will understand that saying they have bombs stops the lines because TSOs are trained to have no humor at all.

Nadav

Anonymous said...

How many persons with colostomies did you embarass?

Anonymous said...

Based on the TSA's previous performance: if you found 5 grenades then 15 made it through undetected.

Instead of boasting whenever you manage to find anything tell us how effective you are based on tests of the checkpoint.

In past tests you missed far more items than you found.

TSM said...

Quoted:
"On the other hand, there are artfully concealed items... Artfully concealed means that the prohibited item was intentionally concealed with the intention of sneaking it through security: "

And yet most if not all of these passengers were allowed to fly.
It just doesn't make sense Bob.

Quoted:
"Nadav said...
Hopefully people will understand that saying they have bombs stops the lines because TSOs are trained to have no humor at all.

Nadav

December 10, 2011 2:13 AM"

Seriously?!?!?You really believe it's ok for someone to say they have a bomb and joke about it?
Wow! Please come and try that at my checkpoint.
How about going up to a cop on the street and saying "I have a gun". I mean after all, they do have a sense of humor, correct?

Mike Toreno said...

"Hopefully people will understand that saying they have bombs stops the lines because TSOs are trained to have no humor at all."

No. The fact that screening clerks are trained to do something doesn't mean anything. The screening clerks at JFK are trained to know what a NEXUS card is, but they don't. Whether they just didn't pay attention during the training, or are too lazy to brush up on the training, I don't know.

Rox said...

Wow that is absolutely crazy! Who are these people carrying grenades? Holy cow, scary! And here, I still get nervous when I know that my shampoo isn't the right size. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

I bet none of those items belonged to terrorists intent on hijacking and airplane.

Added to that:

How many innocent people were doused with ionizing radiation?

How many people had perfectly innocent personally belongings, like shampoo, removed from them?

How many people got hurt walking barefoot or straining to remove and replace their shoes?

How many people´s privacy was invaded by whole body imaging and/or rub downs?

How many people worsened pre-exsisting medical conditions by the stress they endured at the checkpoint?

The trade-off here is not good.

Anonymous said...

I really don't care what the TSA finds. All I want is to get to my destination without some nutcase trying to take over the plane. TSA workers are doing a thankless job. Cut them some slack.

Anonymous said...

Why are you crowing about finding 5 inert grenades in checked baggage? Thats not illegal as far as I know.


Why don't you crow about the TSO who took a gun thru a checkpoint illegally?

Anonymous said...

More bragging about the number of items you've stolen from passengers.

Please explain how any of these objects could be used to bring down an airplane because I don't see it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"All I want is to get to my destination without some nutcase trying to take over the plane."

We all want that, but it doesn't automatically follow that the TSA is the proper way to accomplish that.

Just because a danger is real doesn't mean that any random response to it is reasonable.

Anonymous said...

Not only inert grenades but you also found legal prescription medications and detained a traveller over that. Thank you for saving so many lives and detaining someone traveling with their prescription medications!

Great job!

Steven Gargin said...

Um.... so? Okay, you found grenades with no explosives in them. They are about as dangerous as my underwear. I remember my brother mailing me an empty grenade one time when he was in the navy. I was 8. I thought it was very cool. No harm done. Now, I can understand freaking out about this if it were carry on as this could be used to scare other passengers... but it was checked. So.... what's the big deal?
And sorry, but at this point I think you make up stuff like this just to make us think you are doing something. I may be wrong, but the TSA goofs up so much I can't help but think any stories like this are wagging the dog.

Anonymous said...

Bob you are awesome! It's a great blog, well written, informative and hilarious (and scary at the same time). Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

The verb that is associated with grenades is "exploding," not "grenading." Except these grenades were incapable of exploding. Which means that this is completely inconsequential. And I'd appreciate being treated as a human being, not as "throughput."

Anonymous said...

"It's a great blog..."

Independent outside review disagreed.

Go see what Time magazine had to say about this blog.

Caroline Sound said...

Again I am amazed at the hord of things you find and yes I guess some is unintentional but those concealing weapons quite scary!
I still don't get why people think its ok to take a weapon on board a plane and why some don't know they have them in their bag!!!!!

Michael said...

Bob,
it's unbelievable, that people are so silly to take these things into airport controls... I bet the empty grandes could be used to scare the heck out of people on an airplane and take control over it, even althoug it's a bluff. The cane and the knives are without comment. It's bad to know these kind of psychos are on the road, but good to know someone checks and disarms them.

Anonymous said...

"I bet the empty grandes could be used to scare the heck out of people on an airplane and take control over it, even althoug it's a bluff. "

Why would you think a "grande" could be used to take over an airplane? Do you think an aircrew is going to allow ANYONE to take over control?

As a former airline pilot - one who was airborne the morning of 9/11 - I can assure you that NO aircrew will "allow" hijackers to take over an airplane.

Anonymous said...

“Why would you think a "grande" could be used to take over an airplane? Do you think an aircrew is going to allow ANYONE to take over control?

As a former airline pilot - one who was airborne the morning of 9/11 - I can assure you that NO aircrew will "allow" hijackers to take over an airplane.”

An inert grenade is as dangerous as an unloaded gun, flash either to a cop and your likely to get shot, show them to a group of unarmed people and you have their undivided attention.
Also, I would bet money that more people are afraid of a grenade than a box cutter, and look where those got the terrorists on 9/11. The TSO’s have a tough job dealing with all of the self entitled people out there who seem to think that flying on an airplane is a constitutional right; it’s a choice.