Friday, March 23, 2012

TSA Week in Review: Debrainer Discovered at BWI

Knives, Inert IED, Knives, Inert Land Mines

Debrainer: I’m not sure what this is actually called, but I’m sure in the right hands, this implement of death is quite capable of extracting a brain. It’s like brass knuckles on steroids and it was found at Baltimore (BWI). Keep one on hand for the zombie Apocalypse. (See photo - top left)

IED Training Aid: Have you ever wondered what an improvised explosive device looks like? Well wonder no more… Just take a look at the photo above of an IED training tool that was found in the carry-on bag of an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Specialist at Seattle (SEA). It’s all there, minus the battery, and the C-4 charge is inert. There was no malicious intent, but we wanted to share this and say “great job!” to the TSA team at Seattle.

Landmines Again?: After reporting on finding landmines the first time, I thought it would be the last. Nope… a passenger at San Diego (SAN) had two inert shells from anti-personnel mines in their carry-on bag. These are totally harmless, however, read here and here  for more information on why inert items cause problems at checkpoints. We don’t know they’re inert until we check them out and checking them out can often inconvenience your fellow passengers.

Model Rocket Engines: 9 model rocket engines were discovered in checked baggage at Cape Girardeau (GGI). Take a look and see what they can do. Pretty cool…

Automobile Air Bag.
Airbag: No, we’re not referring to a significant other or in-laws, we’re referring to actual airbags for automobiles. During additional screening in checked baggage at San Francisco (SFO), a box was discovered with the word “EXPLOSIVE” labeled on the item. It was an airbag. I blogged on this subject last year. According to the FAA Office of Security and Hazardous Material, airbag actuators are on the list of hazardous materials and are prohibited from transport aboard passenger aircraft. They’re similar to a solid rocket booster. Disclaimer: Co-workers or annoying neighbors may be referred to as airbags, but they are not considered hazmat.
Even More Examples of What not to say at the Airport:
  • While at the ticket counter, a passenger  at Los Angeles (LAX) asked the ticket agent: “What are you going to do if I have a bomb?”
  • Another passenger at Los Angeles (LAX) told our ticket checker: “I have a bomb in my pocket.”
  • And yet again, another Los Angeles (LAX) passenger told our Officers: “I can buy water at the gate and  mix an explosive.”
Miscellaneous Prohibited Items: In addition to all of the other prohibited items we find weekly, our Officers also found firearm components, realistic replica firearms, a stunning amount of stun guns, the holy grail (not really), brass knuckles, a plethora of knives, ammunition, and batons.

8 loaded guns and a knife.
Firearms: Here are the firearms our Officers found in carry-on baggage since I posted last Friday.

29 guns discovered. 21 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 possession laws vary by state and locality. Travelers should familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws 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.

After reading the TSA Blog, be sure to lather, rinse, and repeat.

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


36 comments:

Anonymous said...

And yet not a single terrorist was discovered.

RB said...

Have to wonder just why TSA is so ineffective in getting information to the public explaining that these things are being brought to the airport can't fly.

Guess TSA screeners are too busy looking for water, cupcakes and patting down little kids in wheelchairs.

Perhaps TSA should focus on things that are not dangerous.

JoJo said...

Good grief, TSA. We used to be lucky to get 2 blog posts a week. Now you're doing 2 in a day! Gotta keep pushing that Corbett story down, huh?

TSORon said...

It’s a no-win situation RB. We have signs, announcements, ad’s, blogs, newspaper articles, interviews with national media outlets, and the folks at the checkpoint telling people what they can and cannot bring through, plus much much more. All for nothing. Well, not “quite” all for nothing, there are some people out there that pay attention to the world around them and don’t violate the rules. Then there are the others.

The others are the ones who continue to bring knives, guns, explosives (inert and live), tools (over 7 inches), baseball bats, swords, and the entire gambit of things that just should not be there (A de-brainer, really?). These are the ones that TSA can never reach no matter what steps we take until they are at the checkpoint and actually being told why they can’t go through with these things. I mean geez, guns have been prohibited on commercial aircraft since the 1970’s (with a few notable exceptions), and we still catch 15 to 30 of them a week at the checkpoint. What would you suggest that we do, have each and every passenger sign a legally binding statement that they have none of these items in their possession or their accessible property (carry-on bags) as a means of getting the idea through to them? What do we do with those who refuse, or those who fail to read the statement they are signing? Have law enforcement arrest those who don’t read and deny access to those who refuse? Sorry, we can’t “MAKE” someone abide by the rules, they have to make that choice. And in my book, “I forgot” is not an acceptable excuse.

Anonymous said...

Please, please, PLEASE knock it off with the cutesy comments. You're not entertaining anybody but yourself, and it makes it even harder to take you seriously.

Anonymous said...

You're now promoting red team finds?

Anonymous said...

Keep up the great work TSA! And Bob!

Oh Bob! You are on a roll my friend. This is my favorite weekly post. I love Fridays even more than I did before. It is wonderful that you can highlight the great job TSA is doing and have fun at it.

And an IED? Seriously? An IED???? Even thought it isn't real, I bet that it looks about as real as the real thing can be. This is what you are trained to find and your found it. Where is all of the praise? Seriously?

Anonymous said...

It is a fake IED. What's the big deal? You guys must not know your job very well if you can't tell the real thing. Yawn. Wake me up when you catch a tewwowist.

arkiter said...

Keep up the good work Bob. Let the haters hate. Us frequent fliers think the posts are classic. Might want to do a best of the month & little known facts post.

Anonymous said...

I agree with arkiter about the best of the month and little known facts post. Would fun up the joint, and think of the comments. I am also laughing just thing about what RB would post.

Anonymous said...

No terrorists on that list.

None of those need a whole body scanner to be found.

None require the removal of shoes or laptops or liquids to be found.

Anonymous said...

TSORon said....

It’s a no-win situation RB. We have signs, announcements, ad’s, blogs, newspaper articles, interviews with national media outlets, and the folks at the checkpoint telling people what they can and cannot bring through, plus much much more.

While this is true, it is also a bit of dissembling, as there have been so many incidents in the news and mentioned on this blog regarding items being confiscated (and yes, they are confiscated - it is not voluntary if there are negative consequences for refusing to hand over your property) that are not prohibited. A quick example is provided in your post on nail clippers - look at the response posted by FK citing news articles confirming that nail clippers have indeed been confiscated, even though they are not prohibited - yet the TSA stance seems to be that 1) its not happening, or 2) ok, you caught us, but its your fault, not ours.
Take that, public!

TSORon said....(continued)

All for nothing. Well, not “quite” all for nothing, there are some people out there that pay attention to the world around them and don’t violate the rules. Then there are the others.

The others include the TSA, who seem to violate the rules all the time - the difference is that if a member of the general public violates "the rules", the consequences are severe, from missing an important flight to losing valuable property, to suffering assault, molestation and/or arrest. When a member of the TSA violates the rules, they get sent for retraining (sometimes)- on the job, not their own time, and they get paid for it;
in other words, they suffer no loss. There is a clear power imbalance in this relationship when the public is punished so severely for wrongdoing while the TSA employee gets a paid break from their regular work duties.

Anonymous said...

RB - do you read what you write and actually think you're helping your case? Makes no sense to me.

Jim Huggins said...

Since it's a bad idea for passengers to tell jokes about bombs at a checkpoint, does that mean that TSOs can't tell jokes about bombs, either? Fair is fair, right?

TSM said...

" RB said...
Have to wonder just why TSA is so ineffective in getting information to the public explaining that these things are being brought to the airport can't fly.

------------------
Seriously?
RB, I generally disagree with your posts but at least they are USUALLY factual (for the most part) and sometimes informative, and occasionally give me pause for thought about my own opinions. But I gotta say, this one is way off the mark.

Unless you have lived under a rock since the late 60s, (a soundproof one) you know guns are not allowed on planes. Have you (not you, RB, I'm talking about people that bring this stuff to the airport) not EVER turned on a news show, picked up a newspaper, listened to the radio, overheard people talking, been on the internet, read a blog, ever heard of 9/11, etc.
Heck, several movies and TV sitcoms I've seen lately have even mentioned TSA and our policies! Talk about being in the mainstream!

There is no way that ANYONE in this day and age can not know you can't bring a gun on a plane and yet they show up every single day at some (or several) airports in the US.
EVEN if they didn't "know" this directly, there is a little thing called common sense which seems to be in scarce supply with many americans.

RB said...

Anonymous said...
RB - do you read what you write and actually think you're helping your case? Makes no sense to me.

March 24, 2012 9:12 AM
.....................

Makes exactly the same degree of sense as what TSA calls screening.

TSA is focused on things that have no bearing on commercial aviation safety, namely drugs, money, common liquids that are so dangerous TSA tosses them into common garbage containers right at the checkpoint just to name a few things.

TSA is nothing but Security Theater".

kdt said...

Another in a long line of meaningless attempts to justify TSA's existence. How many of these items would have been detected pre-9/11? All of them? How about some comments on the Economist debate between Bruce Schneier and Kip Hawley? http://www.economist.com/debate/debates/overview/225

Note that as of this post, a whopping 87% of those who voted agree that "changes made to airport security since 9/11 have done more harm than good."

Anonymous said...

Another Week In Review, and another list of stuff that is no threat to the plane.

IED Training Aid- no battery,and no explosive. Not a threat to the plane.

two inert shells from anti-personnel mines- Not a threat to the plane.

realistic replica firearms- Not a threat to the plane.

the holy grail (not really)- So, travelers can't joke about what they have, but the TSA is free to make jokes and talk about "things that, you know... go BOOM"???


Just because we find a prohibited item on an individual does not mean they had bad intentions

If they had no bad intentions, then who cares what they had in their bags? A person with no ill intentions with a gun in their bag will do the same amount harm as a person with no ill intentions without a gun in their bag- namely, ZERO.

At least the list is shorter this week.

Anonymous said...

TSORon said...
I mean geez, guns have been prohibited on commercial aircraft since the 1970’s (with a few notable exceptions), and we still catch 15 to 30 of them a week at the checkpoint.

Which kinda implies that, before the TSA existed to find them, there were 15 to 30 guns that made it aboard planes each week. And despite that fact, hijackings were extremely rare.

Hmm.

Fishstick said...

TSA reporting what they find is a deterrent. No they found no terrorists how many terrorist planners decided that the plot to take over an airplane with a inert bomb, that looks like a real one, were canceled?

Anonymous said...

Fishstick said...
"TSA reporting what they find is a deterrent. No they found no terrorists how many terrorist planners decided that the plot to take over an airplane with a inert bomb, that looks like a real one, were canceled?"

That's easy - none.

You can't take over a plane with a fake bomb. After 9/11 no one will ever cooperate with a hijacker again.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, get a job!
Great job TSA, Keep doing what you do!

Bionic Lime said...

For the "de-brainer", it certainly looks like a Kilngon weapon. Just google "klingon weapons" for some similar items.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that anyone at TSA knew what a Debrainer was.

Anonymous said...

I love that you refer to your people as "officers" as if they had any legitimate authority to detain or arrest.

Fishstick said...

Anonymous said...
"You can't take over a plane with a fake bomb. After 9/11 no one will ever cooperate with a hijacker again."

Hey if you can prove a negative im impressed.

So you don't think someone could use a fake bomb on plane still on the ground to order everyone off the plane? To order the airport to allow six friends, with real bombs, on the plane? To they fly this plane into a nearby building in LA? or just blow it up at the airport?

Anonymous said...

Fishstick said...
"So you don't think someone could use a fake bomb on plane still on the ground to order everyone off the plane? To order the airport to allow six friends, with real bombs, on the plane? To they fly this plane into a nearby building in LA? or just blow it up at the airport?"

No, I don't think they could.

Once the person ordered everyone off the plane a swat team would enter the plane and make several holes in the moron who tried this.

Old Jarhead said...

Anonymus must be some kind of moron if he thinks TSA can tell a fake ied from a real one. The rules say not to. These guys don't have time to deal with these idiots who bring restricted items through check points. If you make me miss my flight, you better hope I don't get ahold of you. I 'cancell' your flight plans for a long damn time asshole.

Anonymous said...

Old Jarhead said...
"Anonymus must be some kind of moron if he thinks TSA can tell a fake ied from a real one."

They shouldn't try. They should just call in the local law enforcement and let a real professional handle it. If the cop determines there is a real danger they will do what's necessary to deal with it. They don't use fake bullets.

0megaman said...

Is there a way to block a particular poster? There is at least one internet troll here completely uninterested in debate or discussion. It is not fair to have a malcontent bully this blog. I have some real questions that disappear underneath the plethora of rants.

Anonymous said...

The way you joke around in your blog isn't every effective for promoting TSA! TSA gets enough bashing in the media...shame on you for contributing to it in the TSA blog!!

Anonymous said...

0megaman said...
Is there a way to block a particular poster? There is at least one internet troll here completely uninterested in debate or discussion. It is not fair to have a malcontent bully this blog. I have some real questions that disappear underneath the plethora of rants.

March 28, 2012 11:01 AM
--------
RB?

TSA WIFE said...

Keep up the great work TSA as I am angry to read of those who think any of this is funny as well as this is from a wife of someone who puts his life on the line everyday for these people who dont know what they can bring on an airplane as well as anyone who thinks what you do or find is funny. Its a privledge to fly, so if you dont like the rules or the pat down...Dont FLY...Its that simple. You would not believe the ignorant people TSA employees deal with on a daily basis, so give them some credit. After all, its your life on the line if someone like my husband is not on your flight. Bet you wont think its funnt then, will you?

Anonymous said...

TSA WIFE said...
"Keep up the great work TSA as I am angry to read of those who think any of this is funny as well as this is from a wife of someone who puts his life on the line everyday for these people who dont know what they can bring on an airplane as well as anyone who thinks what you do or find is funny."

I don't think anyone finds it funny to have their rights violated., their bodies molested or their belongings stolen.

"Its a privledge to fly, so if you dont like the rules or the pat down...Dont FLY...Its that simple."

Nonsense - repeating a lie over and over doesn't make it the truth.

"You would not believe the ignorant people TSA employees deal with on a daily basis,"

I'm sure there any many stupid passengers, but the TSA's record isn't any better.

"so give them some credit. After all, its your life on the line if someone like my husband is not on your flight. Bet you wont think its funnt then, will you?"

There is no credit to give because they aren't doing a good job. The TSA security is ineffective. I feel no safer on an airplane than I do anyplace else. If a terrorist really want to blow up a plane your husband won't stop them.

Anonymous said...

That "de-brainer" looks like it was fashioned after the bat'leth, a Klingon weapon from Star Trek.

Frequent Flier said...

Tsa wife mentioned something about her husband putting his life on the line every day...

Are you KIDDING me??

The TSA is an absolute JOKE.