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


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. 

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