Saturday, December 17, 2011

TSA Week In Review: Flash! Bang!

Fruit Cake
Live Flash Bang Grenade Found at ELP
Hand grenades again… This time it was a LIVE flash bang grenade in a carry-on bag at El Paso (ELP) and it caused a shutdown of the checkpoint resulting in a 30 minute delay affecting 150 passengers.

Non Metallic Knife (BUF)
Non Metallic Knife (BUF)
A passenger opted out of the body scanner at Buffalo (BUF) and during the pat-down, a 9” nonmetallic serrated knife was found in his pants pocket. The passenger stated later that he opted out of the body scanner because he was trying to get the knife through security. At least he didn’t simply say he forgot it was there…
 A 2’ machete was discovered in  a passenger’s carry-on bag. The passenger stated they were going to the jungle and forgot it was there.
Firearm Found Strapped To Passenger's Ankle (DTW)
Firearm Found Strapped To Passenger's Ankle (DTW)
Notable News: Earlier this week, we blogged about a 76-year-old man who tried to come through the checkpoint with a loaded .380 strapped to his ankle. Just more proof the technology works… Read more here. - TSA Pre™ rolled out in Vegas this week! If you’re interested in expedited screening, check it out! – TSA Administrator John S. Pistole responded to a White House We The People petition. Take a look at the response
Not counting all of the usual items our officers find, this week they also found stun guns, firearm components, ammunition, replica firearms, brass knuckles, nunchucks, switchblades, butterfly knives, collapsible batons, and several knives with blades up to 8”. 
Knives Found at (JFK)
Knives Found at (JFK)
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:
SFO – Passenger wrapped an unloaded .380 pistol in aluminum foil and placed it in an X-ray proof bag inside his checked bag. Yeah, with the X-ray proof bag, we can’t see what’s in it, but we can see the bag which means we have to look in it.
SLC – Razor blade taped to bottom of laptop.
RAP – Razor blade concealed in shoe sole.
PSE – Three Lite-Brite’s found in checked baggage with marijuana stuffed in them. Not looking for drugs, but an organic substance stuffed in with electronics is alarming.
Our officers found 13 loaded firearms and 6 unloaded firearms in carry-on baggage since I posted last Friday. Here’s a rundown of the 19 firearms our officers kept off of airplanes this week:
12/9:  BHM – Unloaded .40 – FLL – Loaded .22
12/10: TUS – 9mm Loaded w/ Round Chambered – DTW – Loaded .380 w/ Round Chambered
12/11: MSY – Loaded .380 - SGF – Unloaded .380 – ATL - Loaded .22  w/ Round Chambered
12/12:  IAH – Unloaded 9mm – ELM – Loaded .380 – SGA - Unloaded 9mm
12/13: ECP – Loaded .38 – BHM – Loaded .380 – DAL – Loaded .380 w/ Round Chambered – BUR – Loaded .22
12/14: IND – Unloaded .380 – BOS – Loaded .22 – BHM – Unloaded .45
12/15: SLC – Loaded 9mm – MIA – Loaded 9mm
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.  

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.