Friday, April 27, 2012

TSA Week in Review: Black Powder, Grenades, and Claymore Mines


Black Powder Flask – 5 ounces of black powder in a small flask was discovered at Syracuse (SYR). Even an amount as small as 5oz of black powder in a small container can cause a significant explosion.  Replica Grenades and Mines – Four replica grenades and two replica Claymore mines were discovered in checked baggage at Guam (GUM). I know I’ve said it over and over, but for anybody who may be new to reading this post, we realize that replicas are totally harmless, however, we don’t know that until we’ve gone through all of the motions. Read here and here for more information on why inert items cause problems at checkpoints.
Black Powder Flask – 5 ounces of black powder in a small flask was discovered at Syracuse (SYR). Even an amount as small as 5oz of black powder in a small container can cause a significant explosion.

Replica Grenades and Mines – Four replica grenades and two replica Claymore mines were discovered in checked baggage at Guam (GUM). I know I’ve said it over and over, but for anybody who may be new to reading this post, we realize that replicas are totally harmless, however, we don’t know that until we’ve gone through all of the motions. Read here and here for more information on why inert items cause problems at checkpoints.

IED Training Aids - We found a similar item just a few weeks ago, but once again, an IED training kit with a training components, a block of simulated SEMTEX-H, and a simulated blasting cap were discovered in checked baggage. This time it was at Columbus (CSG). And in case you’re wondering, it wasn’t an internal test

IED Training Aids - We found a similar item just a few weeks ago, but once again, an IED training kit with a training components, a block of simulated SEMTEX-H, and a simulated blasting cap were discovered in checked baggage. This time it was at Columbus (CSG). And in case you’re wondering, it wasn’t an internal test.
Items Concealed in VCR: A checked bag  at Newark (EWR) appeared to contain a VCR that had been tampered with. After TSA’s Explosive Detection Team cleared the bag to be searched, it was determined that the contents inside of the unit was a VHS tape along with 23 smartphones each individually wrapped in aluminum foil and taped to the unit. (See photo) There was nothing prohibited or dangerous, so the items were cleared for travel. I don’t know which is more surprising, smartphones in a VCR, or that somebody is still using a VCR. 

Items Concealed in VCR: A checked bag  at Newark (EWR) appeared to contain a VCR that had been tampered with. After TSA’s Explosive Detection Team cleared the bag to be searched, it was determined that the contents inside of the unit was a VHS tape along with 23 smartphones each individually wrapped in aluminum foil and taped to the unit. (See photo) There was nothing prohibited or dangerous, so the items were cleared for travel. I don’t know which is more surprising, smartphones in a VCR, or that somebody is still using a VCR.
People Say the Darndest Things - Here are examples 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 has to be evacuated:  
·     A passenger receiving a pat-down of their waistband at Minneapolis (MSP) told our officer: “This is where I normally keep my explosives.”

·     A passenger approached a TSA Supervisor and stated she had not been properly screened and that she had not gone through the walk through metal detector or body scanner. After reviewing the CCTV, it was determined she had indeed been screened by the walk through metal detector. 
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, an inordinate amount of knives, ammunition, and batons.

6loaded firearms.
6 loaded firearms.
5 loaded firearms.
Firearms - Here are the firearms our Officers found in carry-on baggage since I posted last Friday.

31 guns discovered. 29 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.
 
 
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