Friday, December 2, 2011

TSA Week in Review: Smooth Travel This Holiday Season – Plus Machetes Too!

2 1/2" Blade From Walking Stick (ORD)
2 1/2" Blade From Walking Stick (ORD)
I’m back! I’ve been off on vacation, but have no fear, because I’m back in the cockpit and ready to navigate my cubicle through the blogosphere. 

The busiest travel time of the year has passed and I have to say the data is impressive. We are pleased to report that screening operations during the Thanksgiving holiday at the nation’s airports went smoothly overall. With over 12.38 million people who traveled this Thanksgiving more than 99 percent of passenger’s screening experience took less than 20 min. We appreciate the partnership of the traveling public to make this a safe holiday travel season. 

Now for the wacky stuff…
Machetes were found in two separate incidents at Philadelphia (PHL) and Los Angeles (LAX) with one of the blades measuring 14 ½ inches. I wasn’t aware of any overgrowth at PHL and LAX. Perhaps we should notify the grounds crew?
Grenade Found At GSP
Grenade Found At GSP
In a fashion similar to turducken, an inert grenade was found stuffed in a sock that was stuffed in a shoe at Greenville (GSP). Read here and here why even inert grenades at the airport are a problem.
Not counting all of the usual items our officers find, this week they also found stun guns including one disguised as cell phone, brass knuckles, switchblades, a kubaton/knife combo, butterfly knives, firearm components, collapsible batons, throwing stars, a cat’s eye, an asp, a 7” military knife, a 6½-inch double sided dagger, pepper spray, ammunition, and a 3 1/8” double bladed knife.
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.  
Military Knife Found at BWI
Military Knife Found at BWI
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 Items: Artfully concealed means that the prohibited item was intentionally concealed with the intention of sneaking it through securityFor example, I blogged about this artfully concealed item yesterday: A stun gun disguised as a smart phone. 

A 2½-inch blade, manufactured as part of a walking stick, was detected during checkpoint screening at Chicago O’Hare (ORD)
Our officers found 23 loaded firearms in carry-on baggage since last Friday. (Not counting the unloaded ones we found). Here’s a rundown of the loaded weapons we kept off of airplanes this week:
11/27/2011: TSA Officer at ONT detects a loaded .40 pistol with a round in the chamber.
11/28/2011: TSA Officer at IAH detects a loaded .380 pistol with a round in the chamber.
11/28/2011: TSA Officer at EWR detects a loaded pistol.
11/28/2011: TSA Officer at RIC detects a loaded .38 pistol.
11/28/2011: TSA Officer at GPT detects a loaded .22 pistol.
11/29/2011: TSA Officer at ABI detects a loaded .380 pistol with a round in the chamber.
11/29/2011: TSA Officer at BNA detects a loaded .38 pistol with a round in the chamber.
11/29/2011: TSA Officer at TPA detects a loaded .22 pistol.
11/29/2011: TSA Officer at CRP detects a loaded .40 pistol.
11/29/2011: TSA Officer at SAT detects a loaded .380 pistol.
11/29/2011: TSA Officer at DFW detects a loaded .40 pistol.
11/30/2011: TSA Officer at GSP detects a loaded .38 pistol.
11/30/2011: TSA Officer at MCI detects a loaded .38 pistol with a round in the chamber.
11/30/2011: TSA Officer at AUS detects a loaded .38 pistol.
11/30/2011: TSA Officer at IAH detects a loaded .38 pistol.
11/30/2011: TSA Officer at ATL detects a loaded .38 pistol.
12/1/2011: TSA Officer at PWM detects a loaded 9mm pistol.
12/1/2011: TSA Officer at CMH detects a loaded .380 pistol with a round in the chamber.
12/1/2011: TSA Officer at CRW detects a loaded .380 pistol with a round in the chamber.
12/1/2011: TSA Officer at STL detects a loaded .380 pistol with a round in the chamber.
12/1/2011: TSA Officer at ACT detects a loaded pistol.
12/1/2011: TSA Officer at AUS detects a loaded .380 pistol.
12/1/2011: TSA Officer at DFW detects a loaded .380 pistol with a round in the chamber.
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.

TSA Blog Team

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