Thursday, March 29, 2012

Good Catch! - Explosives Discovered in Carry-on bag at Philadelphia International Airport


While searching a bag this morning at Philadelphia International Airport, our Officers discovered some suspicious items that were spotted on the X-ray monitor during screening. Using the better safe than sorry philosophy, the D-E checkpoint was closed since the incident involved possible explosives. 

Passengers were moved to a safe distance while the Philadelphia Police Department Bomb Squad safely removed the items, which included a water bottle wrapped in black electrical tape and filled with flash powder, and three M-80 fireworks. We were unable to share the photograph due to an ongoing investigation, but hope to be able to share it in the future. 

The passenger was arrested and is currently in the custody of Philadelphia Police. 

If you read our TSA Week in Review blog posts, you know that our Officers routinely find dangerous and odd items, and this discovery is another great example of our Officers remaining alert and preventing a very dangerous item from being taken aboard the plane.  

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.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good job Folks!

Thanks for making ti a safer place to fly--I'm terrified of flying but it really is nice to know someone is keeping an eye out for stuff like that.

Sandra said...

You'd better use this opportunity to "crow", Bob, 'cause there's no other good news for the TSA: screeners shooting up hotel rooms; a manager running a prostitution ring; drug running in Hawaii.

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Sandra said...

And now you've gone and done it again. Do you think we are stupid, Bob?

You post this thread at 3:26 p.m. and at 3:39 the first comment pops up that is favorable.

You did this with the wedding dress thread and got caught. One would think you'd not do it again - but then again you work for the TSA.

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RB said...

http://www.staradvertiser.com/s?action=login&f=y&id=144832405

"A methamphetamine ring that operated between southern California and Hawaii used employees of Delta Air Lines and the Transportation Security Administration to bypass airport security, moving drugs to Hawaii and money to California, a federal criminal complaint says."

=============================

TSA Manager Arrested for Running Prostitution Ring
Agency had gotten earlier complaint


Read more: http://www.myfoxdc.com/dpp/news/local/tsa-manager-arrested-for-running-prostitution-ring-032812#ixzz1qXMaf0tC

=============================

TSA officers charged with trashing South Beach hotel room, shooting gun

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/03/28/2718902/tsa-employees-charged-with-trashing.html#storylink=cpy
=================================

Come on Bob, if your are going to brag about TSA doing its most basic job you can't leave out the rest of the news.

Oh, post copied for submission to DHS OIG.

Anonymous said...

I to the N to the S to the U to the L to the I to then N spells INSULIN!
Pump, Pump, Pump!
Not letting you off the hook for TSA's ignorance toward those with disabilities and refusal to adapt the Americans with Disabilities Act into its procedures.

Blogger Bob said...

Sandra,

Thanks for reading the blog! It's great to hear from you again, but I wanted to let you know you are incorrect. If I was taking the time to write anonymous pro TSA comments, there would be a heck of lot more of them.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob Burns
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

The sad thing is if it wasn't for the water bottle being involved, it probably would have got through security. I'm sure when they saw the bottle on the x-ray machine, they were excited to bust the guy for carrying more than 3.4 oz of water. I bet they were surpirsed when they saw it wasn't water. Although I notice this was caught with a traditional x-ray machine and not the overly expensive AIT scanner.

I'm glad the TSA found something that was a danger to the plane. I doubt it would have taken the plane down. The blog post doesn't include the details of the news articles that seem to indicate this was a forgetful passenger with some fireworks. That's not an excuse by any means.

At least the TSA has some good news today. It's been a rough couple of days with the screeners shotting up the hotel room, the TSM running the prostitution ring, and the drug runners in Hawaii.

screen shot taken

Anonymous said...

Good job PHL TSA! We should always remember why you are here!

DropCrate.com said...

According to wikipedia commercially available M-80s are not really "M-80s" but "just a lure to make consumers think they are more powerful than they are". Was this just a children's noise maker or a real explosive? Are you just trying to "lure" Americans into thinking the TSA is more effective than they really are? Unless they traveler had criminal intent this sounds like another bit of TSA grandstanding.

Anonymous said...

@ Sandra - If anything, I would think that Bob’s anonymous handle is RB. Who else posts a ton of comments then gets others to post in a reactionary way with the intent to provoke (aka trolling).

Anonymous said...

I note that this "good catch" didn't even require the use of body scanners or groping the passenger.

MSG Richard said...

So many hateful things are said about the TSO’s that try to protect the flying public every day. I must ask? What percentage of TSA employees are military service members, retired, reserved, prior law enforcement. Would all these negative comments be made of our outstanding military service members? I bet not! The public will be surprise that a very high percentage of TSA employees are ex-military or ex-law enforcement. Thanks TSA for all that you do every day for us - The United States of America!!

Anonymous said...

" I forgot" yeah right, naive to believe!

RB said...

DropCrate.com said...
According to wikipedia commercially available M-80s are not really "M-80s" but "just a lure to make consumers think they are more powerful than they are". Was this just a children's noise maker or a real explosive? Are you just trying to "lure" Americans into thinking the TSA is more effective than they really are? Unless they traveler had criminal intent this sounds like another bit of TSA grandstanding.

March 29, 2012 4:07 PM
....................
Real M-80's have been illegal in the United States since 1966.

Don't know what the guy had but doubt they were M-80's.

Anonymous said...

MSG Richard said...
"So many hateful things are said about the TSO’s that try to protect the flying public every day."

Trying to protect isn't good enough. In the real world you get praise for actually succeeding. not just for trying.

Anonymous said...

What exactly is "flash powder" and how dangerous is it?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the positive remarks about TSA. TSA doesn't pret
end to know your jobs, so don't pretend to know theirs. If your unhappy about the screening procedures, you are free to ride the bus or drive yourself there....

Anonymous said...

Wow, congratulations, TSA. You kept firecrackers off a plane without having to strip-search a toddler.

[screen shot taken]

Michael said...

1.) A water bottle filled with flash powder with three M-80s probably has less explosive power than an up the rectum suicide bomb that Al Qaeda used in August of 2009 in an attempt to kill Saudi Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef.

2.) The person was either deranged or probing the checkpoint.

I am not saying it wasn't a good catch. But part of the TSA's response when addressing the 2009 attempt was that such a bomb has little if any utility. (Unless in my opinion, in either instances you were sitting near the bomber.) If such a bomb can be dismissed with such language then so can this one.

I think what people are upset about, as witnessed by the comments here is that the TSA pats itself on its back every time it does its job and when someone does get through security with a gun or some other contraband they ignore it, threaten to arrest the person (after the incident), talk about the hundreds of things they have spotted ...

Lots of water bottles make it through security. We all see them on the planes. Maybe this week we won't and the barrels at the checkpoint will be a little fuller, but next month we will for sure.

Jerome Solanum said...

So was he a terrorist? Did you guys a real live terrorist? Or just a regular criminal?

Anonymous said...

3 "M-80s" and flash powder?

Wow, somewhere a mailbox is safe.

Good job, now you can report about the pimp, drug-runners, and hotel room vandals.

Anonymous said...

You are right MSG Richard. I'm a RETIRED AECS 22yrs of proud service and still serving through DHS/TSA.

Sandra said...

I never said you were writing the anonymous comments, Bob. I said the same thing happened with this thread as happened with the wedding dress thread.
Let me refresh your memory:

"Let's see -- the original Puppy Post was uploaded at 1:18 pm and the first I-Love-TSA Puppy Response was posted less than 20 minutes later. Just 7 minutes later, two more I-Love-TSA responses were posted simultaneously. That means all three of these people had to have been looking at the site in real time and, coincidentally, all three had recent happy experiences flying to weddings, all chose to submit positive comments, and, Lynn was monitoring the blog in real time just waiting to approve and post reponses as quickly as possible.

Some advice: You need to do a better job concealing the fact that these posts were made by other TSA public affairs people in adjacent cubicles. All of these fake supportive comments uploaded within minutes of the original post really are insulting and patronizing."

Some advice: Learn to read.

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Anonymous said...

I wonder what other things got through considering that you only catch 30% of illegal items during testing.

And if that statistic is no longer accurate then I look forward to a post with up-to-date metrics.

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Anonymous said...

There's bad apples in all agencies and all entities. Where are the bad TSA employees now? gone.
There are also fireworks that can wreak havoc when placed in strategic places. Good Catch
There's also fault finders that have nothing better to do than look for all that is wrong out there. They don't build, they only tear down though. "Semper Fi" Jack Cameron

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"There's bad apples in all agencies and all entities. Where are the bad TSA employees now? gone."

Don't think so. The standard TSA response to messing up is retraining.

Other than someone who actually broke the law and was arrested, can you point to a specific TSA employee who was fired for poor performance?

RB said...

Anonymous said...
@ Sandra - If anything, I would think that Bob’s anonymous handle is RB. Who else posts a ton of comments then gets others to post in a reactionary way with the intent to provoke (aka trolling).

March 29, 2012 4:07 PM
................

I answered your post but Bobby didn't like my comment even though it met ever requirement of the illegal TSA Posting Guidelines.

Anonymous said...

Blogger Bob said...

Sandra,

Thanks for reading the blog! It's great to hear from you again, but I wanted to let you know you are incorrect. If I was taking the time to write anonymous pro TSA comments, there would be a heck of lot more of them

------------------------------

Bob,

I want to thank you for illustrating you do read the blog comments and questions.

It's nice to know that when someone asks a question, and it isn't answered, it is a willful action on the TSA's part.

Thank you for demonstrating once again the disdain the TSA has for the public.

Hope you enjoy your weekend

Anonymous said...

Wow. Lots of haters out there. I hope you are posting negative comments on the Apple Blog as well, or do the working conditions in China make you feel guilty as you listen to the Bare Naked Ladies on your iPhone?

Adrian said...

There's bad apples in all agencies and all entities.

But the TSA screens all of their employees and all of the airport employees who have access to the "sterile area". There should be far less drug running, pimping, smuggling, kidnapping, and so forth, among the screened population than the general population. If their screening processes aren't good enough for that, then why do we trust them to have unfettered access to the sterile area? How do we trust things like Pre-Check?

Anonymous said...

@RB you have just been awarded the honorary title of TSA Blog Complaint-Ologist. Show some gratitude! TSA has over 50 thousand employees and chances are there are few rotten apples in the bunch. My advice is just get over yourself RB.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"TSA has over 50 thousand employees and chances are there are few rotten apples in the bunch."

Yes, but if they can't find them among their few thousand employees, how do you expect them to find them with 100% accuracy in the millions of airline passengers?

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "What exactly is "flash powder" and how dangerous is it?"

Flash powder is essentially a mixture of oxidizer and metallic fuel and it burns really fast. In the right concentrations and mixtures, it creats those fireworks we love to see on the Fourth of July. In the wrong (or at least uncontrolled) situations, it can cost someone a finger or in large enough amounts, their lives. I hope this helps.

West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting to note that everyone keeps bringing up the prostitution ring, the smuggling, and the one dude from TSA who went crazy in a hotel room. The odd thing about this is that everyone seems to think that these things invalidate all the good that TSA does. The fact that some dude shot up a hotel room doesn't make the explosives harmless. And the fact that a few criminals are found in the group makes TSA -*gasp*- just like every other organization in the world.

Gilbert said...

Good catch, but I always have to think...if you were a criminal, why airplanes???

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"And the fact that a few criminals are found in the group makes TSA -*gasp*- just like every other organization in the world."

Except that the TSA claims that their pre-check program can identify terrorists. If they can't identify the criminals in their own organization, how are we supposed to trust them to identify terrorists?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Anonymous said...
"And the fact that a few criminals are found in the group makes TSA -*gasp*- just like every other organization in the world."

Except that the TSA claims that their pre-check program can identify terrorists. If they can't identify the criminals in their own organization, how are we supposed to trust them to identify terrorists?

April 5, 2012 8:41 AM

---------
TSA never said that there precheck can identify terrorists.

The precheck is just that a precheck. How many criminals are there in this world that have no criminal records? Plenty.

If I was a criminal that havent been caught yet I could easily apply for a federal job since there is nothing that would raise a red flag. The important thing is that when a crime is committed that the agency reacts and responds accordingly. If you guys cant see the importance of this catch you are indeed a bunch of fools, and I sincerely mean that. If you dislike the TSA so be it, but to try and downplay something like this is just absurd.

Anonymous said...

"The fact that some dude shot up a hotel room doesn't make the explosives harmless. And the fact that a few criminals are found in the group makes TSA -*gasp*- just like every other organization in the world."

You don't find the presence of sexual predators a problem in for an agency that insists on touching women and children? You don't find the presence of illegal activity troubling for a group of people who could be compromised to facillitate the implantation of an explosive device on an aircraft?

Read the Congressional Report: The presence of illegal activity is far higher in the TSA than other agencies of its type.

Anonymous said...

So how is it that the majority of americans dont like the way the TSA opperates but theres still no change. Democracy seems to be fading into a totalatarian state. Its funny how all these scanners were sitting in warehouses collecting dust, then the underwear bomber happens and we have new contracts for these machines. ex military or ex cop makes no differences, they are still the gestopo of transportation. Just wait till the Vipr squad comes to a highway near you. Seriously vipr... you should have just named it cobra command. Cuz GI JOE has been secretly taken over by cobra command so, it just seems fitting.

Anonymous said...

Good catch, but I noticed that it was caught using baggage X-ray.

Still no report of TSA catching someone with an item that requires AIT to detect.

James said...

One inconvenient side effect of something like this is that security everywhere in the area will tighten up. One thing's for sure, if something like that happened at the local airport, I might take a lot longer to get into my apartment in central london.

Anonymous said...

How many of these "discovered" items were placed in baggage for the purpose of screening drills? In other words, how many of these items were the result of the TSA detecting ACTUAL threats and how many are just the TSA trying to justify their existence by saying "we can find stuff"?

Anonymous said...

good job