Friday, February 24, 2012

TSA Week in Review: Artillery Projectile Fuse?

M557 projectile fuse, inert grenades, drugs concealed in peanut butter, knife concealed in laptop, knives, smoke grenades.
M557 Projectile Fuse: (See Pic) This is the nosecone fuse used with shells fired out of various guns, howitzers and mortars. Instead of having a detonator, it was filled with wax and used as a training device. Of course, we didn’t know that at first and it didn’t help that it caused our explosive trace detector to alarm. Great job to the team at Salt Lake City (SLC).

Knife Inside Laptop: Similar to when a surgeon stitches a scalpel inside a patient, a computer tech put a computer back together and left his knife inside. You can imagine the passenger’s surprise when our officers at Jacksonville (JAX) discovered it. After all, the passenger had just rented the computer, it wasn’t theirs!

Have I Ever Mentioned That Grenades are Prohibited?: Two inert grenades were discovered at Columbus (CSG) and a live M18 smoke grenade was discovered at Seattle (SEA). If that’s not enough, yet another live smoke grenade was discovered in checked baggage at Colorado Springs (COS). It’s obvious why smoke grenades aren’t allowed, but read here and here  for more information on why inert grenades cause problems at checkpoints.

Somebody Doesn’t Read the TSA Week in Review: Just like the incident I wrote about last week, another passenger attempted to conceal marijuana in a hollowed out peanut butter jar. Just like last week, we found it.

How to Complicate Things: A passenger at Houston (IAH) told an officer: “If I miss my flight, I will come back and strangle you.” The passenger missed their flight. Another passenger, while waiting in line to board his flight at Palm Beach (PBI), told fellow passengers: “Good luck getting on this plane because it’s going down.” It didn’t go down, but it was delayed for 52 minutes affecting 89 passengers.

If at First You Don’t Succeed…:  After a passenger attempted to check an unloaded 9mm in her checked baggage at Norfolk (ORF), she was informed by the airline that she needed a hard-sided lockable case in order to check it properly. (See details on properly checking firearms) Instead of heeding their advice or giving the firearm to her father as she said she would, the passenger attempted to conceal the firearm with other items in her purse. We found it.

Gellin’ Like a Felon?: During additional screening, officers at Denver (DEN) noticed a bulky area under the insole of a shoe and discovered narcotics.

Miscellaneous Prohibited Items: In addition to all of the other prohibited items we find weekly, our officers also found several stun guns, a throwing star, nunchucks, brass knuckles, realistic firearm replicas, knives, knives, and more knives, firearm components, ammunition, and an expandable baton.

9 loaded firearms.


Firearms: Here are the firearms our officers found in carry-on baggage since I posted last Friday.

35 guns discovered. 25 were loaded.
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. Firearm permits policies may differ from state to state. Travelers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with state and local weapons and firearm regulations for each point of travel prior to departure.

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.

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
 
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.

58 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Bob, Can you just post all the common questions and assign them a number? You know like...
1 - Peanut Butter issues
2 - Strip search issues
3 - Liquids ban
4 - Shoes off
etc.

This way, since everyone is going to keep trotting out the same questions, we can save everyone a little time.
They can just say "Hey Bob, How about addressing a #2? Hmmm, on 2nd glance, that seems kinda strange!

Anonymous said...

Unless you're talking about a remote airport in Hawai'i, Norfolk (Virginia) has the airport code ORF/KORF.

Oh, yeah. I-n-s-u-l-i-n p-u-m-p.

Patrick Mannion said...

A great job as always.

FK said...

M557 Projectile Fuse...Instead of having a detonator, it was filled with wax and used as a training device.

So... NOT a threat to the plane.

Two inert grenades were discovered at Columbus

So... NOT a threat to the plane.

another passenger attempted to conceal marijuana in a hollowed out peanut butter jar

So... NOT a threat to the plane.

...an unloaded 9mm ... the passenger attempted to conceal the firearm with other items in her purse.

So... NOT a threat to the plane.

A passenger at Houston (IAH) told an officer: “If I miss my flight, I will come back and strangle you.” The passenger missed their flight

In other words, a stressed out passenger, fed up with slow, inefficient and useless Security Theater made a poor choice of wards to express his frustration, and the TSA screener made sure to make the guy late to make an example out of him.

How DARE someone express their frustration with the slowness of the TSA! We'll just go ahead and delay him longer!

During additional screening, officers at Denver (DEN) noticed a bulky area under the insole of a shoe and discovered narcotics.

So... NOT a threat to the plane.

realistic firearm replicas

So... do I really need to say it again??

Here are the firearms our officers found in carry-on baggage since I posted last Friday.

A third of which were unloaded and thus... NOT a threat to the plane.

Maybe the TSA "Otter" concentrate more on stuff that is, I dunno... a threat to the planes?

Anonymous said...

Kudos to "FK" for completely missing the point.

RB said...

Of all the items listed how many were found by Whole Body Imagers only?

At $200,000 each I would hope most of the items found were by Strip Search Machine. But I am betting none!

Anonymous said...

" Anonymous said...
Hey Bob, Can you just post all the common questions and assign them a number? You know like...
1 - Peanut Butter issues
2 - Strip search issues
3 - Liquids ban
4 - Shoes off
etc."

Ok, so let's add:
5 - Insulin Pump
6 - "Not a Threat" issues
7 - "Whole Body Imagers" issues
8 - Anything RB has to say

Anonymous said...

"A passenger at Houston (IAH) told an officer: “If I miss my flight, I will come back and strangle you.” The passenger missed their flight"
----------------
They should have missed thier flight due to being arrested for making a threat of bodily harm.

Anonymous said...

"A passenger at Houston (IAH) told an officer: “If I miss my flight, I will come back and strangle you.” The passenger missed their flight"

Which will likely be the end of the matter for the passenger. The veracity of screeners at trial is seriously in question.

Anonymous said...

"Kudos to "FK" for completely missing the point."

Then maybe you can enlighten us. The TSA claims to protect commercial air travel yet, week after week, it claims credit for items that are in no way threats to...commercial air travel.

I'd be glad to hear what you think the point is. The rest of us see it as a nearly comical waste of taxpayer money.

BobG said...

In other words, they found a whole bunch of stuff that had nothing to do with the security of the aircraft or of the passengers. So who cares?

unikorna said...

I had to stop and tell you how impressing and inspirational your blogging story is. I am a beginner blogger and you have really motivated me to go on. Kisses and hugs :).

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Kudos to "FK" for completely missing the point.

Which would be... what, exactly? That the TSA (which supposedly "protects the Nation's transportation systems" - that's a direct quote from tsa.gov!) is crowing about 'accomplishments' which have absolutely nothing to do with security??

TSA: do your job. Find and confiscate items that may threaten the flying public. (Without violating our Rights!) And leave everything else alone.

Anonymous said...

"They should have missed thier flight due to being arrested for making a threat of bodily harm."

Well, most LE would appreciate that the remark was satirical, a protected form of speech, despite what the TSA might believe.

Or do you suggest that the passenger be punished by being arrested? If so, that's not legal.

Anonymous said...

Y'know fellow Anonymous poster suggesting putting numbers to frequent topics and issues:
I will not let the insulin pump fiasco go because TSA has to accommodate people with disabling conditions and medical devices have the same rights as anyone else, including those in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). I am a traveler with several disabilities and will not give up the fight for those of us in this category to be treated with dignity and respect rather than inconvenience and suspicion.

Anonymous said...

No mention of the Sacremento TSO's just goofing off and not paying attention to their jobs? What a surprise. Not.

When will the TSA figure out how to hire, train, and retain those people willing to do their jobs correctly? When will the TSA figure out how to fire those who won't do their jobs correctly?

(screenshot)

Mike Toreno said...

"Just like the incident I wrote about last week, another passenger attempted to conceal marijuana in a hollowed out peanut butter jar. Just like last week, we found it."

That was to distract attention away from the bales. Just like last week, you fell for it.

Jim Huggins said...

Don't forget the two incidents this week --- in Sacramento and JFK --- where TSA allowed passengers to walk through a checkpoint without completing screening. As a result, TSA had to shut down those concourses, delaying many innocent passengers for several hours.

Well done!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous on February 25, 2012 7:29 PM asked (with my editing):

"When will the TSA.. train those people.. to do their jobs correctly?"

The answer the TSA will give: We already do.
The answer you want to hear: Soon.
The truthful answer: It'll never happen. Why? The staff lawyers employed by the TSA have a vested conflict-of-interest in maintaining their employment.

Anonymous said...

Bob, I realize the TSA is in the midst of a charm offensive and I realize part of that is to convince the American public that - despite evidence to the contrary- the TSA is doing a good job. Luckily for the American public but unfortunately for the TSA, you need to answer the questions raised and criticisms leveled in the Congressional report for reform:

A Decade Later: A Call for TSA Reform (http://republicans.transportation.house.gov/Media/file/112th/Aviation/2011-11-16-TSA_Reform_Report.pdf)

The results are devastating to the TSA, including:

- an admission that the current screening results are no better than those published prior to the results being declared classified (pretty convenient to the TSA, don't you think?).

- The suspension of the SPP defies the will of Congress

- TSA has engaged in security theatrics at the expense of true security

There are many, many more instances of the TSA failing the American public included in the report. I urge all Americans to read it and engage their Senators and Representatives in both Houses' efforts to reform the TSA.

(screenshot)

Anonymous said...

I actually love this blog and yes, I do find it great reading.
Keep up the posts and the good work.


I find it interesting how FK missed that all of those weapons could have been used to threaten flight crew or passengers if the person carrying them decided to do that.There is no way that people on board would know it is unloaded if threatened with it. Also, the "bulky area" is allowed to be searched because there is no way of knowing that it was not a weapon unless checked. If the TSA had found Mac-n-Cheese it would have been OK. The fact that it was (probably, likely) an illegal drug means it is subject to confiscation.

From an earlier quote:
"TSA: do your job. Find and confiscate items that may threaten the flying public. (Without violating our Rights!) And leave everything else alone."

Yep, they did.
Oh, we shouldn't take these things away from people who were dumb enough not to put them in checked luggage in the first place(assuming they were legal to be carried on the plane)?

BTW: if you threaten people in public even in a joking manner you are going to be watched closely at the very least.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"I find it interesting how FK missed that all of those weapons could have been used to threaten flight crew or passengers if the person carrying them decided to do that.There is no way that people on board would know it is unloaded if threatened with it."

OK - then what? What exactly would be the point to threating a flight attendant? What are we being protected against?

FK said...

Anonymous said...
I find it interesting how FK missed that all of those weapons could have been used to threaten flight crew or passengers if the person carrying them decided to do that.There is no way that people on board would know it is unloaded if threatened with it.

If the TSA was doing its job RIGHT, then everyone would know that the only thing to get through would be fakes and replicas. And thus, they wouldn't be threatened by them.


From an earlier quote:
"TSA: do your job. Find and confiscate items that may threaten the flying public. (Without violating our Rights!) And leave everything else alone."

Yep, they did.


Nope, they didn't. They confiscated things that were of no real threat. (Strike 1) And they violate our Rights doing so. (Strike 2) And they don't leave everything else alone. (Strike 3. TSA, you're OUT!)

Anonymous said...

Hey, Bob- I got somethign for next week's review:

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/02/tsa-airport-checkpoint-unattended-terminal-shutdown-sacramento.html

"TSA airport checkpoint left unattended in Sacramento, causing shutdown"

Turns out the metal detector was left unattended 'just for a minute'. But don't worry- they dumped the terminal and re-screened everyone. Because, as we all know, terrorists are just hanging out in airports, waiting for the TSA to look the other way so they can slip through. ::rolleyes::

Oh, but don't worry- the "two TSA officers have been removed from screening duties and are to undergo additional training."

'Additional Training'- is there anything it can't do?

Anonymous said...

The TSA is doing exactly what they were trained for!!! If any person is capable of determining whether a gun is loaded or not once it is pointed at you...especially on a plane - then you must be super human!! In any situation a gun pointed at someone - whether loaded or not is a serious threat and the person with the gun can persuade persons to do what they want - because it may be loaded!! Bullets are easier to hide!! Knifes can always be persuasive inert grenades are persuasive...

Anonymous said...

How many of these items were found with the AIT scanners? It always seems like the traditional metal detector/xray machine finds these items.

The reason I ask is twofold. I don't see that the new scanners are any more effective at their higher cost. Also, I have a medical condition that prevents me from using the AIT scanners. If I get selected to go through them, I don't have a choice and have to opt-out. This has led to some patdowns that I feel are excessive and involve inappropriate physical contact. I am always willing to go thorugh the metal detector and have no issue with my bags being x-rayed.

In my case, I can either not fly or face the possiblity of an invasive patdown. It's not much of a choice.

Guy E said...

I think that despite the inconveniences(and they are only inconveniences)the TSA did find those items that were inherently risk related. by themselves they were not a risk to the plane but with the missing parts (bullets, detonators) or whatever from another person combining them together could very well be a risk to a plane. I think that we need to look at the larger safety picture. I will take some inconvenince and let the TSA do what they do to allow me and my family to fly safely thanks. I am not so fragile that i can't take searches or scans for the deterent to crime which could have devastating consequenses if missed. With out geting into statistics of how and where things have slipped by in the past, TSA procedures are a valid deterent to the masses. IMHO it is needed and the TSA is clearly continually upgrading training and procedures to keep up with new threat issues.
I say good job TSA!

RB said...

Has the TSA Blog gone on hiatus?

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, you'be found nothing that would not have been found before the TSA existed. Useless..

kimm said...

"...Anonymous said...

Oh, we shouldn't take these things away from people who were dumb enough not to put them in checked luggage in the first place(assuming they were legal to be carried on the plane)?...."

Who wants to put things of value in their checked luggage when you probably have LESS than a 50/50 chance of the item still being IN your checked luggage when you get to your destination, thanks to the sticky fingers of the hired hands....

Anonymous said...

TSA Fail

25 year veteran of FBI Counter-Terrorism specialist lays bare the utter failure of TSA and the security "theater":


Don’t take my word for it; listen to a report by congressional investigators released just two months ago:

“Today, TSA's screening policies are based in theatrics. They are typical, bureaucratic responses to failed security policies meant to assuage the concerns of the traveling public.” Translation? TSA doesn’t know what it’s doing, but is trying to put on a good show to keep the traveling public from catching on. The report, entitled, “"A Decade Later: A Call for TSA Reform" sharply criticized the agency, accusing it of incompetent management. Former DHS Inspector General Richard Skinner dropped this bomb, “The ability of TSA screeners to stop prohibited items from being carried through the sterile areas of the airports fared no better than the performance of screeners prior to September 11, 2001.”

TSA Fail

Anonymous said...

Guy E

How do you handle being in public? After all, no one is "inconvenienced" at the groacery store, the mall, the sidewalk or on the highway! Are you afraid to leave the comfort of your home? Oh, by the way....that isn't too secure today either unless you have a fortress around it.

Anonymous said...

Guy E said...
"I am not so fragile that i can't take searches or scans for the deterent to crime which could have devastating consequenses if missed."

The TSA does not, and never has, try to prevent terrorists attacks. All they want is to keep them off of airplanes. There is a huge difference.

Only catching and locking up or killing terrorists results in a real increase in our safety. If a real terrorist tried to take a gun onto an airplane all the TSA would do is take the gun away. The terrorist would be free to keep trying until they are successful. How exactly is that safer?

Anonymous said...

"But don't worry- they dumped the terminal and re-screened everyone. Because, as we all know, terrorists are just hanging out in airports, waiting for the TSA to look the other way so they can slip through. ::rolleyes::"

Better than that - the TSA did NOT dump the terminal; it only "found" the unscreened passengers and rescreened them. So much for the sterile area, eh?

Anonymous said...

"BTW: if you threaten people in public even in a joking manner you are going to be watched closely at the very least."

That's fine. Given the criinality of the screening corps (higher than the public at large and LE agencies), we're watching you very closely, too, TSA.

Anonymous said...

"The TSA does not, and never has, try to prevent terrorists attacks. All they want is to keep them off of airplanes. There is a huge difference."

You better tell TSA and DHS, quick! Both websites contradict this contention.

TSORon said...

An Anonymous poster said…
[[Well, most LE would appreciate that the remark was satirical, a protected form of speech, despite what the TSA might believe.

Or do you suggest that the passenger be punished by being arrested? If so, that's not legal.]]

Actually Anon, in most states that is known as either “Assault” or “Communicating a Verbal Threat”, both of which are a crime. Should he have been arrested? Yes, indeed he should have been. Does “Arrest” constitute punishment? No, not really. It is the entry point, one of many, into our nations Criminal Justice System, and is not considered a punishment. It is often mischaracterized as “punishment”, as you have done, but in reality it is the beginning of society’s method of making one of its citizens responsible for their actions.

IOW, the guy should have kept his mouth shut and moved on. Threatening someone is not “protected speech”.

Fishstick said...

I used to enjoy checking this blog out for little tidbits of information now and again. My problem is that I keep clicking the comment link. I tend to get a little irritated at the repetitious comments that keep coming up time and time again. So I’m finally going to vent.

TSA Misconduct:
Let me start off by saying any DHS employee who takes advantage of their position for their own personal gain or satisfaction should be charged with giving aid and comfort to the enemy because that’s what they are doing. Every time some TSA employee steals from a checked bag means thousands of people losing trust in the system. If I was AQ I would milk these incidents for all their worth. Hang the traitors from the nearest lamppost.

TSA Week in review posts:
The purpose of these posts is to communicate with potential terrorist and let them know they will get caught if they try to bring similar things through the checkpoint. Not AQ but the local ALF nut or recent convert to radical islam who wants to become famous. Thus they lessen terrorist attacks. No terrorists were caught, just diverted. I hope TSA lies occasionally and tells us they found something there was no way they could have found.

Drugs:
Its none of TSA’s business whether you have drugs or not. The conduct security searches. If you are stupid enough to hide drugs in your crotch and provoke a pat down that’s your problem. As government employees they are obligated to report you to the police if they find drugs. TSA should put up some signs saying, “Hey Bud, nix the drugs, please. We don’t want to have to deal with them its too much paperwork.”

AIT vs Metal Detector:
The metal detector detects, METAL not explosives. The AIT detects both. Which one should the TSA use? Yes the guns would have been caught by the old system but plastic explosives strapped to your thigh would not be. Metal detectors are old technology. That’s why when you opt out they check for guns with the metal detector and then check for explosives with the pat down. Prior to the AIT machines there was a security gap. If you think the AIT will give you cancer then lobby your congressman stop whining on the blog.

People who are not a threat:
Yes it is stupid that a passenger can carry a shotgun into the checkpoint have it found during a pat down and the be allowed to go check in their checked bag. They should be arrested, but half the posters on this blog are opposed to giving TSA law enforcement powers so who would arrest them? Unless the local cop wants to enforce some federal law it isn’t going to happen. Now, when they let them go everyone seems to assume they are just an innocent passenger who forgot something. Is it possible they are on a watch list and will be met with a surveillance team when they land? Perhaps they have been added to a watch list. Just because local law enforcement lets them go doesn’t mean that they are not a threat.

Other:
Why the heck does TSA put all the liquids passengers forfeit in a large trash can? If they are potential explosives treat them as such, if not let them on the plane. The only reasoning I can think of is that the alternative is to give them back to the passengers who will exit the checkpoint put them in the large trash can and go through screening again. So it saves the passengers some time, but it sure looks stupid.
TSA- let us have knives we promise we will let the terrorist live long enough for interrogation.

Finally – TSA isn’t keeping all terrorist related danger off aircraft its just letting the terrorists know that Italy has a much easier target at their train stations, and Im glad for that.

Deus Vult!
(screenshot taken because I’m important)

Anonymous said...

AIT does not detect explosives, it detects images. Using image creates millions of false positives and (very importantly) allows false negatives (such as in body cavities).

Trace chemical scans detect explosives. That is the approach you should use.

Anonymous said...

"The metal detector detects, METAL not explosives. The AIT detects both. "

Well, most likely not, as the inventor's of the technology pointed out before it was introduced at great cost to the government. The AIT is easily foiled.

Nice try though.

"Yes it is stupid that a passenger can carry a shotgun into the checkpoint have it found during a pat down and the be allowed to go check in their checked bag. They should be arrested, but half the posters on this blog are opposed to giving TSA law enforcement powers so who would arrest them?"

Why should a person who is legally entitled to be armed be arrested for...being armed? If the policy decision is to disallow firearms on aircraft, that's a different matter.

Screeners should NOT be given LE authority - the educational, training and experience requirements for screeners fall completely short of any minimum required for this type of responsibility.

"Why the heck does TSA put all the liquids passengers forfeit in a large trash can? "

Because what the screeners provide is theater, not security. Everyone knows there's no threat, thus the disposal in a completely inappropriate way for hazardous materials, let alone explosiver materials to be handled.

"(screenshot taken because I’m important)"

Yes, you are. Not that good at analysis but as an American with rights, you are important.

Anonymous said...

"Actually Anon, in most states that is known as either “Assault” or “Communicating a Verbal Threat”, both of which are a crime. Should he have been arrested? Yes, indeed he should have been."

Don't quit your screener job, Ron. Look into the elements of the "crime" you reference. The person who made the comment - if such a comment was ever made - no responsible responsible DA/PA would charge based on the comment alone. Sorry, but being frustrated and making a comment to a screener is not a crime.


"Does “Arrest” constitute punishment? No, not really. It is the entry point, one of many, into our nations Criminal Justice System, and is not considered a punishment."

Now you're making me wonder what kind of training screeners receive. Arrest is merely an "entry point" to the justice system?

Again, screeners may disagree but arrest without the officer being having probable cause that a crime has been committed is a violation of civil rights, period.

"It is often mischaracterized as “punishment”, as you have done, but in reality it is the beginning of society’s method of making one of its citizens responsible for their actions. "

Wow. Words fail me at the ignorance of this statement. This makes the "air travel is a privilege, not a right" argument seem positively Platonic by comparison.

Anonymous said...

Steve Moore, who identifies himself as a former FBI Special Agent and head of the Los Angeles Joint Terrorism Task Force Al Qaeda squad, says that the TSA is useless. He says that they don't catch terrorists. He says they won't catch terrorists. He says that they can't catch terrorists. Oh, he also claims 35 years' piloting experience and a father was United's head of security and anti-hijacking SWAT training and experience.

Anonymous said...

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was formed to ensure America’s freedom to travel. Instead, they have made air travel the most difficult means of mass transit in the United States, at the same time failing to make air travel any more secure.

TSA has never, (and I invite them to prove me wrong), foiled a terrorist plot or stopped an attack on an airliner. Ever. They crow about weapons found and insinuate that this means they stopped terrorism. They claim that they can’t comment due to “national security” implications. In fact, if they had foiled a plot, criminal charges would have to be filed. Ever hear of terrorism charges being filed because of something found during a TSA screening? No, because it’s never happened. Trust me, if TSA had ever foiled a terrorist plot, they would buy full-page ads in every newspaper in the United States to prove their importance and increase their budget.

Anonymous said...

From an FBI Special Agent:

Frankly, the professional experience I have had with TSA has frightened me. Once, when approaching screening for a flight on official FBI business, I showed my badge as I had done for decades in order to bypass screening. (You can be envious, but remember, I was one less person in line.) I was asked for my form which showed that I was armed. I was unarmed on this flight because my ultimate destination was a foreign country. I was told, "Then you have to be screened." This logic startled me, so I asked, "If I tell you I have a high-powered weapon, you will let me bypass screening, but if I tell you I'm unarmed, then I have to be screened?" The answer? "Yes. Exactly." Another time, I was bypassing screening (again on official FBI business) with my .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol, and a TSA officer noticed the clip of my pocket knife. "You can't bring a knife on board," he said. I looked at him incredulously and asked, "The semi-automatic pistol is okay, but you don't trust me with a knife?" His response was equal parts predictable and frightening, "But knives are not allowed on the planes."

Kat said...

TSORon said: IOW, the guy should have kept his mouth shut and moved on. Threatening someone is not “protected speech”.

Interesting. I guess this means that all those TSOs who threaten "Do you want to fly today?" should either keep their mouths shut, or be arrested.

Anonymous said...

Fishstick said...
"AIT vs Metal Detector:
The metal detector detects, METAL not explosives. The AIT detects both."

Not correct, the AIT scanners do not detect explosives, they detect shapes. If someone shapes the explosive so it blends into their body profile it will be invisible to the scanner. The ability of these scanners has been greatly oversold.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"The TSA does not, and never has, try to prevent terrorists attacks. All they want is to keep them off of airplanes. There is a huge difference."
You better tell TSA and DHS, quick! Both websites contradict this contention.

If the job of the TSA is to catch terrorists, then they are doing a pretty terrible job. They haven't caught one yet.

Anonymous said...

"IOW, the guy should have kept his mouth shut and moved on. Threatening someone is not “protected speech”."

Oh, it certainly can be, Ron. I've threatened my Senator with defeat in the next election if he doesn't shape up. I've threatened to have a police officer disciplined for misconduct. I've threatened the TSA with privatization. Each of these are protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution.

Why on Earth would you assume that threatening someone is not protected speech? Does the TSA teach screeners ANYTHING about the Constitution other than how to violate it?

TSORon said...

An anonymous poster said…
[[Oh, it certainly can be, Ron. I've threatened my Senator with defeat in the next election if he doesn't shape up. I've threatened to have a police officer disciplined for misconduct. I've threatened the TSA with privatization. Each of these are protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution.

Why on Earth would you assume that threatening someone is not protected speech? Does the TSA teach screeners ANYTHING about the Constitution other than how to violate it?]]

Sorry, but hair splitting is not the way to discuss the subject. We both know there is a difference between threatening to strangle someone and threatening to defeat someone in an election. One is a crime, the other is not. The individual in question has the three elements necessary to have his actions considered a crime. Intent, opportunity, and capability. He expressed his intent by making the statement, was physically present and therefore had the opportunity, and he had hands and there is the capability.

Like I said, he should have kept his mouth shut and moved on. He’s lucky he wasn’t arrested and charged.

Anonymous said...

TSORon said...
"Sorry, but hair splitting is not the way to discuss the subject. We both know there is a difference between threatening to strangle someone and threatening to defeat someone in an election."

I have to side with Ron here - the type of threat does make a difference and the remark was a stupid thing to do.

However, I think most people can tell the difference between a remark made in frustration and a real threat of bodily harm.

Anonymous said...

"However, I think most people can tell the difference between a remark made in frustration and a real threat of bodily harm."

That's entirely the point. No reasonable person would impute any seriousness to the remark in question, regardless of screener legal analysis.

Anonymous said...

"Sorry, but hair splitting is not the way to discuss the subject. We both know there is a difference between threatening to strangle someone and threatening to defeat someone in an election. One is a crime, the other is not. The individual in question has the three elements necessary to have his actions considered a crime. Intent, opportunity, and capability. He expressed his intent by making the statement, was physically present and therefore had the opportunity, and he had hands and there is the capability. "

He had hands! My God, you didn't tell me he had hands!

Sorry for responding to your comment in a manner you didn't appreciate.

Hair splitting is precisely the way to get to the heart of many legal matters.

If you don't want to be responded to in this manner, be more precise in your speech. You said that threats were not legally permissible speech. I demonstrated that you were wrong. Speak more precisely and I'll respond to you point. Speak incoherently and I'll respond to your ridiculous point.


"Like I said, he should have kept his mouth shut and moved on. He’s lucky he wasn’t arrested and charged."

It is improper for a public servant - even a screener - to suggest that an American citizen with First Amendment rights "[keep] his mouth shut."

It is not "luck" that kept him from being arrested, it is proper LE discretion. Your suggestion earlier, made again here, that he be arrested because he offended a screener is an absolutely disgusting suggestion that LE abuse its authority.

Privatize now. The screener corps, as exemplified by Ron's comments, is out of touch and out of control.

Bert said...

Dear FK,

really? That is what you think? I mean honestly?

A gun pointed to your head during a flight threatening to kill you in case they do not land the plane somewhere... I am sure that makes you sweat. As you do not know its not loaded. And that is a harm to the plane. Same true for grenades and projectile fuses. Commom - that basic common sense.

TSA, like Police officers, work for YOUR security. Yes, they do work rigid protocols and it takes time. And every time I fly (twice a week) I thank them. Because they do that for me, not for them. What is your alternative proposal?

Best,
Bert

Anonymous said...

Bert said...
"A gun pointed to your head during a flight threatening to kill you in case they do not land the plane somewhere... I am sure that makes you sweat. As you do not know its not loaded. And that is a harm to the plane. Same true for grenades and projectile fuses. Commom - that basic common sense."

While having an unloaded pointed at your head would be unpleasant it doesn't cause harm to the plane. The pilot is not going give in to the demands.

"TSA, like Police officers, work for YOUR security."

The TSA and Police officers are nothing alike. You insult police by comparing them to the TSA. The police provide real protection, the TSA just plays stupid security games.

FK said...

Bert said...
A gun pointed to your head during a flight threatening to kill you in case they do not land the plane somewhere... I am sure that makes you sweat. As you do not know its not loaded.

If the TSA did their job correctly, I would know. That's the point.

And that is a harm to the plane. Same true for grenades and projectile fuses. Commom - that basic common sense.

And bottled water? Nail clippers? Nipple rings? Bottles of breastmilk (both empty, and full)?

Are these things also "harm to the plane"?

Anonymous said...

"TSA, like Police officers, work for YOUR security. Yes, they do work rigid protocols and it takes time. And every time I fly (twice a week) I thank them. Because they do that for me, not for them. What is your alternative proposal? "

"TSA" is an organization, police officers are individual so I'll assume you mean to say that TSOs are like police officers. TSOs are not, however, like police officers; LEOs are well trained, generally know their jobs and do a pretty good job.

TSOs are part of the security theater blasted by Congress in a report released in November 2011 for being hugely ineffective.

Thank whoever you like but the TSA provides little to no real security at a huge cost to taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

"A gun pointed to your head during a flight threatening to kill you in case they do not land the plane somewhere... I am sure that makes you sweat. As you do not know its not loaded."

No, you're a "layer" of TSA security! Didn't you realize that? Good job, passenger, you've helped the TSA do its job by providing an opportunity to expose a threat.


"And that is a harm to the plane. Same true for grenades and projectile fuses. Commom - that basic common sense. "

"Commom - that basic common sense?"

Anonymous said...

"Kat said...
TSORon said: IOW, the guy should have kept his mouth shut and moved on. Threatening someone is not “protected speech”.

Interesting. I guess this means that all those TSOs who threaten "Do you want to fly today?" should either keep their mouths shut, or be arrested.

March 2, 2012 2:25 PM"
------------------
Actually, that's not a threat, it's an offered choice. If you want to fly, you will need to comply with the screening process. Everyone screams about DYWTFT, but in actuality, every single person who goes through the CP faces that same choice.
It's only when it's used unreasonably as a threat that there is a problem.