Friday, March 23, 2012

TSA Taking Nail Clippers from Soldiers? - Nail Clipper Myth Buster

Nail ClippersAn inaccurate account alleging that TSA Officers took nail clippers from soldiers returning from Afghanistan is starting to spread around again. We blogged about this back in 2010 and FactCheck.org even busted the myth, but in the last week, I’ve had several people email me to ask me if it’s true, or to let me know that it’s spreading again.

The unattributed story claims TSA confiscated multi-tools and nail clippers, while all soldiers on board were allowed to carry military issued firearms. The bottom line is the story is not accurate and couldn't possibly be true. At Indianapolis International Airport, military charters arrive at the remote transit terminal, exclusive for these types of flights.  TSA staff does not have access to this facility and, we do not conduct any screening operations there. Also, nail clippers have never been prohibited by TSA

The facility in question is run by the Indiana National Guard, so in 2010, the Director of Public Affairs for the Indiana National Guard provided us with this quote:

“TSA does not have personnel or conduct any screening in the facility where military charters are processed at Indianapolis International Airport.”

Shawn D. Gardner
Director of Public Affairs

Indiana National Guard
Please feel free to forward this to anybody who may have been misled by the original story. 

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13 comments:

TSA AND PROUD said...

Way to nip this in the bud. However, You will have to Nip and Nip and Nip over and over and over and...well, I think you get the picture. Thank you...Nver ending battle to prove ourselves.

Anonymous said...

This is almost as funny as the "Cup-Cake Caper!!"

FK said...

Also, nail clippers have never been prohibited by TSA.

Liar, liar.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7670500/ns/msnbc_tv-countdown_with_keith_olbermann/

"Ever wonder what happened to those nail clippers confiscated before boarding a plane? Monica Novotny found that seized items may be up for for sale online."

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/02/09/eveningnews/main1302676.shtml

"In Harrisburg, Pa., there's a warehouse chock-full of the knives, scissors, tools and other items confiscated at checkpoints at three major East Coast airports since 9/11....Fifteen pounds of used nail clippers "would usually go for $20 or $20," says Mary Beth Enggren, who runs the salvage program for Pennsylvania."

http://www.usatoday.com/travel/flights/2006-02-06-confiscate-usat_x.htm

"Some fliers, though, view it differently. April Miller, a Chicago-based regional manager for a publishing company, says TSA screeners at the city's Midway Airport took a $25 eyelash curler and a nail clipper without giving her an option. "They just took the items and said I could not board with them," she says."

And so on, and so on. Try a simple Google search for 'TSA Nail Clipper'

STOP LYING, BOB. Or at least make the lies a little harder to prove.

Jose S. said...

I am an Air Force veteran that always gets stopped by TSA for a random check. I show them my identification showing this and get treated with no respect. It seems that our freedoms are slowly being taken away everywhere I go when I fly. I am about sick and tired of this and will try to not fly if I don't have to. I was in the military to "support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic."

Stephen said...

Ref nail clippers.

I too have had them confiscated. Just another case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.

@SkyWayManAz said...

A friend of mine had a son who worked in an airport gift shop past the checkpoint in 2002. He found it amusing they sold nail clippers since they were being taken away at the checkpoint. He claims TSA took his away he bought at that very shop. Now clearly they were allowed to sell them because as Bob rightly points out they weren't banned. There are however to many easily sourced articles from reputable media outlets pointing out that screeners did in fact confiscate them. I’m not talking about people blogging in their underwear. I’m talking about major city newspapers, TV network anchors, etc . . . Now hopefully all TSA screeners know better now. Know it's not a banned item and know not to confiscate them. Clearly this wasn't the case for a long long time.

It would be refreshing if instead of insisting that nail clippers were never banned there was an acknowledgement that there was confusion on this point by the screeners in the past. Better yet an apology but I’m not holding my breath on the acknowledgement. You may think this is a myth but it endures because it simply happened to far too many people to say they were never banned and leave it at that. A half truth is the worst kind of lie. It may be a truth that per policy they were never banned. Reality doesn't always match policy and clearly didn't here. A little humility on your part Bob might help. We're all human and we all make mistakes.

I respect what your agency is attempting to accomplish. I'm not one of the haters bemoaning how unacceptable any security procedure is. However we both know things happened that were unprofessional and completely unacceptable. We both know these things continue to happen and it is getting harder for TSA to get away with them. More and more of the public expects it and is on the lookout for it. TSA dug a very big hole in the credibility department all by itself. They are their own worst enemy in this regard. This is exactly why people so easily believe the worst about TSA. This is why there are even cases I’ve posted on here words to the effect that gee you know I’d really like to believe TSA on this one but . . . It’s hard for people to keep accepting whatever version of events you put on here when a lot of us have seen the same thing or simply expect it precisely because we get yelled at by screeners. Most of the time I meet professional screeners but there have been a lot of times over the years I haven’t. Unfortunately yelling is part of the TSA culture and is simply allowed to continue even though it would subject someone to disciplinary action in any other profession.

FK said...

Stephen said...
Ref nail clippers.

I too have had them confiscated. Just another case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.


More like the left hand "not knowing" what the right hand is doing, and repeatedly denying that it is doing what it's doing, even after being told.

FK said...

@SkyWayManAz said...
It would be refreshing if instead of insisting that nail clippers were never banned there was an acknowledgement that there was confusion on this point by the screeners in the past. Better yet an apology but I’m not holding my breath on the acknowledgement.

Don't you know, the TSA does no wrong? Why would they apologize?

We're all human and we all make mistakes.

Ah, but the TSA calls them 'random and unpredictable security measures'. Then they quietly send the sceeners involved off to a few weeks vacatio... er, "retraining". (Why they weren't trained right the first time is never explained.)

I respect what your agency is attempting to accomplish.

Me too. They just aren't doing it very well. Not well at all. Horribly, in fact.

-They miss 70% of the test bombs. Heck, they miss a goodly percentage of things in real life, too.
-They rollout Billions of dollars of fancy equipment that can be defeated by 'hiding' something on your side. (or, um... internally... for that matter.)
-They insist on banning harmless things like water, soda, and juice. But a terrorist can put their 3.4 ounce bottle of nitroglycerin in a quart baggie and walk right through security.
-They ban nailclippers (oh- sorry, Bob, they aren't banned, your screeners just 'randomly and unpredictably' take them anyway), but allow 10" steel knitting needles.
-They ban knives of any size, but scissors (which are two knife blades hinged together) under 4" are fine.
-They say their body scanner machines "can't" save the images, but the specifications they gave for the machines specifically includes that ability.
-They use 'we're just doing it for your own safety', and 'it's voluntary- you don't have to fly' (when it is the only practical way to travel long distances) to justify why they don't need to obey the 4th Amendment, then act as agents of the cops if they find drugs or other, non-safety related things.
-They insist they don't grope people... I guess the many, many, many people who claimed to have been groped (with nothing to gain by the claim) are all lying.
-There is a horrible disconnect between the 'official' rules of what is allowed and not allowed, and the screeners definitions and decisions regarding those. (Really, Bob, "random and unpredictable" only goes so far to cover up incompetence and mistakes!)

Face it, they do a horrible job. The only reason a plane hasn't been taken down by a terrorist isn't because the TSA is there, but rather because no terrorists have tried. I would LOVE to see an expose on how easy it is to get stuff past security. Of couse,the TSA would NEVER allow it.

Anonymous said...

I really like the comment form anonymous : This is almost as funny as the "Cup-Cake Caper!!"

Anonymous said...

I am a very frequent flyer. 3-5 times a week. I have nail clippers on my key chain, and on a d-ring on the outside of my shoulder bag. I have never been hassled and have never even had them looked at.

@SkyWayManAz said...

FK couldn't agree more with 90% plus of what you said. I was groped in 2002 by the very first TSA screener I ever met. He was verbally abusive shouting at me letting me know I was being uncooperative and refusing to empty my pockets. Took awhile to figure out that in his groping he felt the button in the back pocket of my slacks. I'm not sure what non banned item I could have used at that point to remove the button to cooperate fully. I explained to him it is a button and men's slacks have a button there. "WELL HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW THAT!?" was his response. I don't know what to say to that because there is no answer I could have given that wouldn't have further escalated a situation the screener turned out of control long ago. But hey I'm sure I'll see on here one day how screeners didn't grope people then so I must be lying. At least they explain they're going to touch you there now. On this blog that's called progress . . . I think :(

I wouldn't say no terrorists have tried but the underwear bomber was screened in Europe and as Sec. Napolitano correctly said, "The system worked." I think we all knew she meant something else a little more CYA but yes Madame Secretary the system did work, the "Let's roll!" system.

Utah Concealed Carry said...

We should be giving them firearms at the gate.

Anonymous said...

Well, Bob, please inform the screeners at DBQ and MLI that nail clippers are not banned, because I've had them taken at both of those airports.

I really do sympathize with you. In actuality I think you have the absolute worst job at the TSA. The stupider the things that happen in the field are, the more hideously creative you have to become to "explain" them away.

BTW, tax dollars pay your and your coworker's salaries. Try to stop treating us, as your de facto employers, with such contempt.