Friday, July 27, 2012

TSA Week in Review: Cornucopia of Grenades


Grenades
Cornucopia of Grenades – Please, please, please, leave your grenades at home. Like milk and cola, grenades and airports do not mix, yet some still keep mixing them together. Please leave them at home or ship them via your preferred shipper. A grenade belt buckle was found at Northwest Florida (ECP). A novelty grenade designed to be screwed onto a gearshift was discovered at Des Moines (DSM). And two inert grenades were discovered in Orange County (SNA), and another at Denver (DEN) and yet another at Chicago O’Hare (ORD). Read here and here on why inert items cause problems at checkpoints.

Pot in peanut butter and a belt knife.
Items in the Strangest Places – It’s one thing to forget you had a prohibited item in your bag, but when you intentionally try to sneak it past us, you could wind up being cited or even arrested by law enforcement. Here are a few examples from this week where passengers tried to sneak items past our Officers.
  • A pocketknife was found concealed in the side lining of the carry-on bag at San Juan (SJU).
  • A 3-inch knife was found concealed in the belt buckle of a passenger at Houston Hobby (HOU).
  • Yet again, a passenger tried to conceal marijuana in a jar of peanut butter. Marijuana stuffed in a jar of peanut butter looks odd on the monitor. We’re not looking for marijuana, but we have to report it when we come across it. This time it was at Seattle (SEA).
  • Multiple razor blades were detected concealed in the shoes and wallet of a passenger at Burbank (BUR).
  • A 6” knife concealed in a metal tube was discovered in Guam (GUM).
Water filtration system.
Certain Water Filtration Systems Look Like Pipe Bombs – I’ve read about this 3 or 4 times now where a water filtration system looks like a pipe bomb on the X-ray monitor and the checkpoints/terminals have to be evacuated while the bomb experts do their thing. So… if you have a water filtration system that is similar to this one, you might want to consider shipping it or coordinating with TSA or your airline prior to travel. This time it was discovered in checked bags at Phoenix (PHX).

Stun Gun
Stun Guns –9 stun guns were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints around the nation at: Tallahassee (TLH), Atlanta (ATL), Raleigh-Durham (RDU), Lubbock (LBB), Knoxville (TYS), Washington Dulles (IAD), 2 at San Diego (SAN), and New York LaGuardia (LGA).

People Say the Darndest Things – Here is an example of what not to say at the airport. Statements like these not only delay the people who said them but can also inconvenience lots of other passengers if the checkpoint or terminal has to be evacuated:
  • A passenger approached an Officer at Los Angeles (LAX) and asked: “Would you help me get a bomb on a plane?”
  • A passenger at New Orleans (MSY) told another passenger: “I have explosives in my bag.”
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, ammunition, batons, and a lot of sharp pointy things.

Loaded Guns
Loaded Guns
Loaded Guns
Loaded Guns
32 Guns Discovered at TSA Checkpoints Last Week




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.










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42 comments:

RB said...

So TSA has given up on all pretense of finding anything by use of Strip Search Machines.

Curtis said...

I noticed that there was no section about 'body scanning discoveries' this week. Does that mean that 800 scanners found 0 items this week, or just that you have realized that the public doesn't care about people trying to hide their weed?

Rich Roth said...

Good job on a lot of those finds, I have trained a lot of folks on X-ray detection, and some of those you have found are very difficult to see.

If the public knew how hard it is to keep you attention span up for even relatively short spans of time, I think they would have a much better appreciation of your work.

I have trained a lot of folks, but one thing I found out quickly is that certain folks can read x-ray pictures quickly and effectively, i was not one of them. I could do a good job I think, just not fast enough.

If I was a screener on your team, the passengers would be throwing rocks at us.

Good job, folks and have a great weekend.

Rich

Anonymous said...

How much did you pay ABC News to write the story trying to humanize the TSA workforce entitled "Six Things You Don't Know About TSA Screeners"?

Like this weekly TSA blog, the ABC News story overlooks how thousands of law-abiding Americans are inappropriately "handled" by your disgraced organization. You can post blogs and news stories to try and justify your sordid actions.

Thank God that a great many of Americans still remember what's acceptable - the TSA actions are NOT.

Anonymous said...

Again, when people unintentionally forget, is it really necessary to issue a citation and prosecute? What purpose does that serve? They don't need to be "taught a lesson" because they are not the repeat offender or habitual criminal. Their item is confiscated and destroyed. I would think that would be enough. The authorities should be focusing their efforts and resources on prosecuting the intentional law breakers.

Anonymous said...

Yay, Bob- you did it! The embarrassing 'feeding tube' article is off the front page!!

Anonymous said...

Was nothing found by the body scanners this week? Usually you find several non-threatening items. Does this mean that toothpaste and drugs were allowed onboard aircraft? How did those planes not fall from the sky?

Anonymous said...

Great. With all the money spent on you guys you can´t tell a pipe bomb from a water filtration system, and evacuate terminals because of them?? And you admit it??

And why again are you still using full body scans??

Anonymous said...

tsa keeps us safe and secure when we fly! just last week they got my nail clipper. wow what a fuss they made! than one time they took some kids sparkily shooooooooe laces! guess the 5-6 year old could have strangled someone with them!

Anonymous said...

Bob said...

"We’re not looking for marijuana, but we have to report it when we come across it."

Why do you have to report it?

RB said...

Rich Roth said...

.....I have trained a lot of folks on X-ray detection,.....

If the public knew how hard it is to keep you attention span up for even relatively short spans of time,......


Many jobs require high attention span. Seems the problem is that TSA Employees have limited abilities in this area.

Anonymous said...

"If the public knew how hard it is to keep you attention span up for even relatively short spans of time, I think they would have a much better appreciation of your work."


Missing 70% of detectable items is a good job? By what metric?

$6M/gun is a good job? The cost of the TSA is a 747 each and every week it plays security games. That's a good job?

Anonymous said...

"So… if you have a water filtration system that is similar to this one, you might want to consider shipping it or coordinating with TSA or your airline prior to travel. This time it was discovered in checked bags at Phoenix (PHX). "

Nah. I think the public should expect more expertise for $8B/year. For what it's worth, water filtration systems look nothing like pipe bombs.

The same old - and accurate - complaint: Real security is the answer. Put professionals in charge. Replace the unqualified screeners staring at a screen they're ill-equipped to interpret and get serious about security.

Anonymous said...

What? No mention of the body scanners?

Does this mean that all the $200,000 scanners in all the airports in the United States didn't find even one measly tube of toothpaste this week? What happened?

Or does it mean that some official deep inside the secretive bowels of TSA Headquarters finally figured out that reporting a handful of false positives every week only harms their effort to convince the public that irradiating and strip searching passengers is a necessary and effective security measure. If that's is the case, I suppose that person deserves congratulations. Better late than never. But how long will it take for the TSA to figure out that burying their problems doesn't make them go away?

This week's report does clearly vindicate the TSA's restrictions on liquids and gels. If the vigilant TSO in Seattle had not been looking for contraband peanut butter, he or she would not have found the marijuana. While marijuana isn't a threat to aviation, it is an Evil Substance that is one of the Enemies in another ongoing endless War. It is now an undeniable fact that the liquids ban protects us from Evil! This fortuitous interdiction should suffice to silence all the critics of the War on Liquids, and to justify all the hassles it causes!

And yet again, the TSA found a motley collection of metallic devices that could have been found with the measures in place before the TSA existed. Even though this report again shows that much higher cost of TSA security doesn't give us any better screening than we had before, it is still better than nothing.

Keep up the good work!

Wintermute said...

You're admitting that the TSA cannot tell the difference between a water filtration system and a pipe bomb? Something is seriously messed up here, and it's not passengers flying with water filtration systems.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I seem to recall that ScreenerRon, among others, claimed that flights from Europe wouldn't be able to fly to the US unless they agreed to use scanners. The risk was just too large, they told us.

Yet, flights arrive on the order of every few minutes and there are no x-ray scanners in use.

When will the flights be prohibited from entering US airspace?

@SkyWayManAz said...

Bob I’m normally supportive of almost everything I’ve seen confiscated in these posts but a water filter? I don't know why someone would have a water filtration unit in their checked bag but I would never have thought there would be a problem with packing one. It's not a banned item for either checked or carry-on bags according to your website and the TSA app. I had a game console in a carry-on bag once that on the X-Ray looked like a vague outline of a gun, or at least something that could hide a gun underneath it. I had no problem with the screener asking to take a look at the bag and she laughed when she saw what it was. Problem solved, they didn’t need to call the cops or evacuate the terminal. I'm not sure why there was all the panic over a water filter, can't you swab it instead of evacuating the terminal? Sounds more like poor judgment on TSA's part with an item they claim to allow for transport.

Search Results For:
filter (water)

Check or Carry-on
You may transport this item in carry-on baggage or in checked baggage. For items you wish to carry-on, you should check with the airline to ensure that the item will fit in the overhead bin or underneath the seat of the airplane.
Please be sure to wrap cords tightly around electronics items and pack your bag in neat layers (layer of clothes, layer of electronics, layer of clothes, layer of shoes, etc.) to help officers get a clear look at your bag.



Even if an item is generally permitted, it may be subject to additional screening or not allowed through the checkpoint if it triggers an alarm during the screening process, appears to have been tampered with, or poses other security concerns. The final decision rests with TSA on whether to allow any items on the plane.

Anonymous said...

Well Bob it looks like you finally got the denial of the abuse of the lady with the feeding tube pushed off the main page and you never once challenged any of the comments nor answered any of the questions presented. The only TSA replies were from TSORon who said the TSA doesn’t work for the people and then there was Kelly who said she was so good and ethical that she is always assumed right and the flying public is always assumed wrong. What more could you have said? In my opinion just two glaring examples of the normal arrogant face TSA presents to the flying public every day. Have a great day Bob…

Wintermute said...

Anonymous said...

"Hey, I seem to recall that ScreenerRon, among others, claimed that flights from Europe wouldn't be able to fly to the US unless they agreed to use scanners. The risk was just too large, they told us."

As evidenced by my debunking of his "facts" comment some time back, ScreenerRon often states "facts" which are, in fact, no so much. Sometimes he's wrong. Sometimes he states "opinion" as fact. And sometimes, when called out for it, he stoops to insults. But proper procedures are followed by him when replying, I'm sure, so his comments are approved quickly while ours sit in queue for days.

Anonymous said...

"We’re not looking for marijuana, but we have to report it when we come across it."

I would appreciate it if you could clarify this remark. Is there a specific law that requires you to report substances that you suspect to be illegal drugs or is it merely your policy to do so? What exactly stops you from simply saying, "We found a bag of unidentified vegetable matter. We determined it was not a threat?"

You've made this claim on multiple ocassions. I've asked for clarification on multiple ocassions. I would appreciate a response.

Anonymous said...

congratulations on continuing to disarm law-abiding citizens. and let me extend my hearty well-wishes on stealing a belt buckle!!! seriously, a grenade belt buckle looks enough like a real one to be considered a threat??? pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Blogger Bob, you plan to explain the process at DEN I witnessed recently, where those with paper boarding passes were required to show them to the TSO at the scanner, but those with e-boarding passes on their phones were told not to worry about it since they couldn't bring the phones through? more inconsistent and arbitrary security theatre which does not contribute to the anti-terrorist mission?

Anonymous said...

90% of the anonymous comments are written by the same person.

TSORon said...

Anonymous said...
[[Hey, I seem to recall that ScreenerRon, among others, claimed that flights from Europe wouldn't be able to fly to the US unless they agreed to use scanners. The risk was just too large, they told us.]]

Thats not something I have said Anon. I'm fairly sure that someone has mentioned, but it would not have been a member of the TSA.

Red Menace said...

I suggest you start handcuffing people when they get on planes. You never know. Someone might slap and/or choke another person. We need you to protect us from these monsters.

Anonymous said...

Bob,

Why aren't you talking about the screener at Love Field who got caught stealing last week?

RB said...

TSA has again demonstrated just how our of touch its leadership is.

"TSA Deputy Hasn’t Seen Statistics About Agency’s Criticisms

By Staff|8/1/2012 10:37 AM

Testifying at the House Subcommittee on Transportation Security Wednesday, TSA Deputy Administrator John Halinksi said that he isn’t aware of the extent of criticism directed at the agency’s airport screeners, a statement that Subcommittee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) quickly took issue with."

........................

"John Halinksi said that he isn’t aware"

Well there's your problem!

Anonymous said...

"So… if you have a water filtration system that is similar to this one, you might want to consider shipping it or coordinating with TSA or your airline prior to travel. This time it was discovered in checked."

So we're supposed to take personal responsibility for the ineptitude of your TSOs, then?

Anonymous said...

Bob, what's the point of the blog nowadays?

In the early days of the blog, even if people didn't agree with you, at least you and other bloggers interacted and answered questions. Now it's just puppy post after puppy post, with the occasional post saying "You may have heard about this incident, we wanted to tell you that we did nothing wrong" peppered in.

Why not just convert this to regular news posts and dispense with the illusion that you might actually answer a question or two?

Anonymous said...

Why aren't you talking about the screener at Love Field who got caught stealing last week?

It's for the same reason they're not talking about the two separate bribery cases at LAX, where baggage screeners took bribes from drug smugglers to ignore drug-filled suitcases.

The TSA wants to pretend that it is infallible and incapable of error. For some reason they believe this pretense is necessary for security. So when serious problems get exposed, they pretend the problems don't exist.

Yes, we'll hear from Bob when it's an incident that involves an individual victim of an individual TSO's incompetence, arrogance, or simple disregard for procedures. That's because it's an opportunity to tell us that the TSA is always right, and thus the victims of these incidents are liars.

But if it involves a serious or systemic failure that can't be excused, defended, denied, or blamed on passengers, they simply ignore it. If it's not worth mentioning, it doesn't exist.

Ignore what you might read about the TSA outside of this blog or official press releases. The TSA is always right.

Anonymous said...

Testifying at the House Subcommittee on Transportation Security Wednesday, TSA Deputy Administrator John Halinksi said that he isn’t aware of the extent of criticism directed at the agency’s airport screeners...

I have real trouble believing this. If anything, I'm convinced that TSA leadership is not only aware of the criticism, but they're proud of it.

Based on their failure to address any of the obvious and long-standing problems with screening, it's clear that they believe effective airport security needs to be as intrusive and aggravating as possible. The continuing criticism is proof that their screening is effective. They really want the public to hate them, since security should provoke hatred (and better yet, fear) in those who are subjected to it. I think John Pistole would become seriously worried if the TSA-bashing suddenly stopped.

It's similar to the way some corporate executives brag about the poor morale of their employees as proof of their commitment to cost-cutting and "shareholder value."

TSA leadership is indeed out of touch with the public their agency claims to serve. But that's entirely intentional. They're fighting a War, and everyone who enters a TSA checkpoint is the Enemy. If they make the Enemy upset enough to complain and criticize them, it means they're doing their job well.

I'm not convinced John Halinski actually said he was unaware of the criticism. But if he said that, he probably meant that he was unaware that anyone considered the criticism as indicating a problem with the TSA.

RB said...

Noticed on the image of the Water Filter that some text was blocked out. Would that text be a label indicating exactly what the items purpose was?



CAPTCHA still is unusable.

Anonymous said...

RB said...
Noticed on the image of the Water Filter that some text was blocked out. Would that text be a label indicating exactly what the items purpose was?



CAPTCHA still is unusable.

August 3, 2012 9:20 AM
--------------------
RB if your point is that the text should have told them what the item was - How exactly would you go about reading that while it was in an xray machine? Text doesnt show up on xray. Or are you just more uninformed than you pretend?

RB said...

RB if your point is that the text should have told them what the item was - How exactly would you go about reading that while it was in an xray machine? Text doesnt show up on xray. Or are you just more uninformed than you pretend?

August 4, 2012 9:22 AM
.............................
Nothing like a personal attack being allowed by the TSA Blog. Based on your comment about text not being visible on the x ray seems you are very likely an employee of TSA. So much for those claims of high standards of personal integrity and such

Anon, don't you think TSA opened the bag containing the water filter? Would viewing the item and noticing what is written on the item be overly hard for TSA screeners?

The question remains why did the TSA Blog or whoever took the image block out some text?

Anonymous said...

Uhhh if i found something on an xray that resembled a pipe bomb i'd leave it in the xray! Why take it out and put the whole airport at risk?? that's what bomb technicians are for!

Wintermute said...

Anonymous said...
"Uhhh if i found something on an xray that resembled a pipe bomb i'd leave it in the xray! Why take it out and put the whole airport at risk?? that's what bomb technicians are for!"

How would taking a pipe bomb out put the airport at risk? Is it less dangerous while it's in a bag? A bomb technician is not needed when the owner of the bag is right there and can be asked what the item is. Not that a passenger would be honest if they were, indeed, attempting to smuggle a pipe bomb through, but that's what BDO's are for.

Anonymous said...

RB said...
RB if your point is that the text should have told them what the item was - How exactly would you go about reading that while it was in an xray machine? Text doesnt show up on xray. Or are you just more uninformed than you pretend?

August 4, 2012 9:22 AM
.............................
Nothing like a personal attack being allowed by the TSA Blog. Based on your comment about text not being visible on the x ray seems you are very likely an employee of TSA. So much for those claims of high standards of personal integrity and such

Anon, don't you think TSA opened the bag containing the water filter? Would viewing the item and noticing what is written on the item be overly hard for TSA screeners?

The question remains why did the TSA Blog or whoever took the image block out some text?

August 4, 2012 11:27 AM
-------------------
Wow RB, For someone as anti-TSA as you, you really spend alot of time on this blog site! You made a post on Aug third that was responded to on Aug 4th which you then responded to less than 2 hours later. Sure do spend alot of time here.

Anonymous said...

"Thats not something I have said Anon. I'm fairly sure that someone has mentioned, but it would not have been a member of the TSA."

It was GSOLTSO. Are you saying that GSOLTSO is NOT a member of the TSA?

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "It was GSOLTSO. Are you saying that GSOLTSO is NOT a member of the TSA?"

What was the comment you are referring to Anon? I would like a clarification on which comment we are discussing, and could you give me the location that I have supposedly posted it?

West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Wintermute said...
Anonymous said...
"Uhhh if i found something on an xray that resembled a pipe bomb i'd leave it in the xray! Why take it out and put the whole airport at risk?? that's what bomb technicians are for!"

How would taking a pipe bomb out put the airport at risk? Is it less dangerous while it's in a bag? A bomb technician is not needed when the owner of the bag is right there and can be asked what the item is. Not that a passenger would be honest if they were, indeed, attempting to smuggle a pipe bomb through, but that's what BDO's are for.

August 5, 2012 1:52 PM
------------------------
He's not talking about leaving it in the bag, which i agree, would not provide any protection. he is talking about leaving it in the xray machine which would at least mitigate the blast somewhat.
And why would you take the word of the owner of the bag? I'm sure any would be bomber would be sure to admit that's what is in their bag. How many times have passengers sworn there is no way they could have a handgun in thier bag when the xray op is staring at one clear as day?

Wintermute said...

Anonymous said...

"And why would you take the word of the owner of the bag? I'm sure any would be bomber would be sure to admit that's what is in their bag."

Did you not read my whole comment? That's what BDO's are for. Surely they'd be able to ascertain whether the passenger was lying or not. Or are BDO's not reliable enough? In which case, why do we have them?

David K said...

What TSA will say to a Brazilian passengers when he is carrying a Pump that in portuguese is Bomba that sounds Bomb. Sometimes miscomunication can bring a lot trouble. I hear 1 case before when a young brazilian traveller told the screener that this was his bag with a bomb.. inside they found a pump used for making surfing board.