Friday, May 25, 2012

TSA Week in Review: Never Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth


Fireworks, Screwdriver shaped like grenade, concealed drugs, knives.
Gift Horse?: A passenger at Helena (HLN) thought that fireworks were allowed on planes and apparently prefers to store their fireworks in a ceramic horse. Whether it was a gift or not, we don’t really know…

Screwy Grenade: Speaking of grenades, check out the photo of the screwy grenade our officers found at Newark (EWR). It opens up to reveal screwdriver bits.

Fantasy Knife
Bat'leth?: I don’t know what the knife is actually called, but I have to admit that it looks like a compact version of a Klingon Bat'leth. Do you think Klingons travel through LaGuardia (LGA)?

In a Jam: A passenger at Florence (FLO) concealed a bag a marijuana inside a jar of raspberry jam. As I’ve often said, we’re not looking for drugs, but an organic substance stuffed in a jar of jelly looks odd. Also, a jar of jelly over 3.4 ounces is prohibited and likely to bring our officer’s attention to it.

False Top Soda Can: A bag of marijuana was discovered stuffed in a cola can with a false top at LaGuardia (LGA). As with the jam I mentioned above, this looks odd and we’re going to look.

Smoking is Still Prohibited: An MK-13 projectile smoke grenade was discovered in a check bag at Newport News (PHF).

Knives in Odd Places: A small pocketknife was discovered wrapped in a cloth and hidden at the bottom of a stick of deodorant at Detroit (DTW). Another knife was found inside the lining of a bag and taped to the bag handle at Grand Rapids (GRR). And yet another knife was discovered taped to the frame of the bag under the lining at Bradley (BDL). And if that wasn’t enough, a man had a knife in his shoe at New York Kennedy (JFK).

Miscellaneous Prohibited Items - In addition to all of the other prohibited items we find weekly, our Officers also found firearm components, realistic replica firearms, stun guns, brass knuckles, a bazillion knives, ammunition, and batons.

6 loaded firearms.
6 loaded firearms.
5 loaded firearms and an antique firearm.
25 firearms discovered. 21 were loaded.
Firearms - Here are the firearms our Officers found in carry-on baggage since I posted last Friday.

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.


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

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

So if you found 25 guns, are we correct in assuming that 53 made it onto planes? Please correct my math as you see fit.

Chris Boyce said...

Bob,

It seems you overlooked the People's Catch of the week: http://preview.tinyurl.com/7xtqlcn

Under Secretary Pistole, you must be very proud. For American People, this is beyond disgusting.

Anonymous said...

So if we go by your published failure rate, this means that you missed approximate 83 other guns.

PCN said...

I find it terrifying how many guns are found on a regular basis. What are people planning on doing with them? It's not like you can possibly not know that you can't take a gun in your carry on. Come on people...

RB said...

Why does the TSA Blog Team engage in illegal suppression of free speech? Has TSA never heard of the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights?

jihadoflove said...

Bob,

You didn't mention the CBS 3 I-Team report:

http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2012/05/24/i-team-priest-removed-from-ministry-due-to-sex-abuse-allegations-works-at-phl/

From day one, your organization's performance has been truely pathetic.

JoJo said...

PCN said...
I find it terrifying how many guns are found on a regular basis. What are people planning on doing with them? It's not like you can possibly not know that you can't take a gun in your carry on. Come on people...

---

Why does it terrify you? These same people have the same guns on the ground as they try to in the air. With TSA missing more guns than it catches, it means very often there are people with guns on the same plane as you that got by. Yet, remarkably, I can't think of a single gun-related incident on an aircraft in recent time. It might be because the people carrying them aren't dangerous people. You sound like someone who just watch a CNN report on how germy and dirty hotel rooms really are and vow never to stay in one again, when you haven't had any problems before now. Suddenly becoming aware of something that has been a certain way for a long time doesn't suddenly make it more dirty, or more dangerous, or more anything. All it does is make you aware of it now.

(screenshot)

SSSS for Some Reason said...

Was the Screwy Grenade allowed to complete its travels with its owner?

Anonymous said...

RB said...
"Has TSA never heard of the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights?"

They've heard of it, they just don't believe it applies to them.

Anonymous said...

I don't get why you all are so certain that TSO's are missing 70% of guns. Don't you think there would be a huge uproar if this were the case. People are always trying to cast negative attention on TSA so don't you think some media outlet would get wind of 80 guns being missed at security? Get real people and try to get a life why you're at it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"I don't get why you all are so certain that TSO's are missing 70% of guns."

Because every time they have been tested they failed.

For example:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11863165/#.T8IxXmbrSlg

A few minutes on Google will find *lots* of examples of TSA failures.

Adrian said...

For Anonymous who asked why people are assuming the TSA misses 70% of guns and knives:

http://www.economist.com/blogs/gulliver/2011/01/tsa_threat_detection

The government routinely does covert testing on the TSA checkpoints. In a 2003-2004 study, which was leaked in 2006, fake passengers were able to slip guns and knives past the checkpoints about 70% of the time (there were significant variances by airport).

The TSA claims those are old numbers and then touts improved procedures and whole-body imagers, as if to suggest those have improved the detection rate.

The media lately has been citing an unnamed source who claims the detection failure rate still, in recent testing, approaches 70%, at least at some airports.

The TSA refuses to release new test results, so there is no way for the public (to whom the TSA should be accountable) to verify that things have improved, nor is there any publicly available data about the relative efficacy of the very expensive whole-body imagers versus the more affordable magnetometers.

In the absence of better data or a direct claim from the TSA that the numbers have improved, many people assume the 70% failure rate is still a reasonable estimate.

SSSS for Some Reason said...

"...I don't get why you all are so certain that TSO's are missing 70% of guns. Don't you think there would be a huge uproar if this were the case. "

No one knows how many the TSA are actually missing because you can't know how many were actually missed. If you knew that they wouldn't be missed, would they?

We can, however, make assumptions based on past data. With a 70% failure rate reported in the past and no new information available, there are presumably many more guns being missed than are being reported.

We can also, thansk to the TSA now reporting with some regularity, measure the number number of fire arms that are being discovered and it looks like the average is right around 30 guns per week. There doesn't seem to be much change in that trend so we can make some more assumptions.... an average of 30 guns per week have always been on an airplane. And a gun on an airplane is exactly that, a gun on an airplane. It does not mean the terrorists are trying anything. It does not mean there are more terrorists. It does not mean you are less safe now than before the information was being reported. It is simply being able to report with some (questionable) authority the number of firearms security check points have discovered prior to boarding an aircraft.

RB said...

There are roughly 1.5 million commercial airline passengers each day. So that would be 1.5 million * 7= 10.5 million (10,500,000) air travelers for a weekly estimate.

TSA finds about 30 guns along with other items each week (most are known to be harmless water, soda and such), so if my math is correct that would be 30/10,500,000= 0.0000028571428 guns found per passenger at the cost of over $8,000,000,000 (BILLION) dollars (and growing) each year not to mention the significant damage TSA inflicts upon the United States Constitution.

We know from past Red Team tests that TSA screeners missed a significant number of target items when tested although TSA won't reveal just what the current miss rate is (last known was 70%.

TSA is an expense that we cannot afford!

Wintermute said...

Anonymous said...
"I don't get why you all are so certain that TSO's are missing 70% of guns. Don't you think there would be a huge uproar if this were the case. People are always trying to cast negative attention on TSA so don't you think some media outlet would get wind of 80 guns being missed at security? Get real people and try to get a life why you're at it."

First, TSA admits the 70% failure rate right on this very blog, and (they come from a leaked report)... TSA simply claims the numbers are dated.

Then, thanks to an Anonymous person clarifying my 70% comment on another post:

The Joint Majority Congressional Report on the TSA released in November 2011, Section II, page 3, the following conclusion is drawn:

"TSA‘s passenger and checked baggage screening programs have been tested over the years, and while the test results are classified, their performance outcomes have changed very little since the creation of TSA."

So, combining the two, one can draw the conclusion that the failure rate is indeed around 70%.

Unless, of course, the TSA has more recent numbers to share.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Wintermute said...

Anonymous said...

"Six year old news reports are your argument against TSA? Pretty pathetic. A great deal has changed at TSA over those six years including improved technology and training for the screeners.

No, six month old news reports are NOT my argument against TSA. They are PART of my argument against TSA. If the more recent government report had said "...but they've gotten much better in recent years," then maybe it would be pathetic. But the report from November 2011 states "... their performance outcomes have changed very little since the creation of TSA." The only LOGICAL conclusion is that the failure rate is, was, and always has been around 70%.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"By the way, what damage is TSA inflicting upon the Constitution? As far as I can see what they do is well within the limits of the law. Please enlighten us."

What part of "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." don't you understand?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"I am convinced you would be the first on here to scream for TSA's termination should a passenger with a firearm get past screening and shoot someone inside the sterile area of the airport or onboard an aircraft. You are a serious nut case."

When your arguments degrade to nothing but personal attacks and name calling you just ruin your own credibility.

You assume that the current procedures are making you safe and that any change would reduce safety. There is zero evidence to actually support this.

Rubel Hossen said...

I can't think of a single gun-related incident on an aircraft in recent time. It might be because the people carrying them aren't dangerous people. You sound like someone who just watch a CNN report on how germy and dirty hotel rooms really are and vow never to stay in one again. Sara Rosenthal

Dee Noir said...

I don't even travel with gifts anymore when we fly during the holidays. I just mail the gifts to my brother's house and order gift bags from papermart.com and have those shipped to him as well. Then I just put the gifts in the bags when we get to my brother's house.