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
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