Friday, April 12, 2013

TSA Week in Review: Inert Land Mine, Stun Cane, Guns, and More



Inert Ordnance and Grenades etc. - We continue to find inert hand grenades and other weaponry on weekly basis. Please keep in mind that if an item looks like a realistic bomb, grenade, mine, etc., it is prohibited - real or not. When these items are found at a checkpoint or in checked baggage, they can cause significant delays in checkpoint screening. I know they are cool novelty items, but you cannot bring them on a plane. Read here and here on why inert items cause problems.
Inert IED Components (ORF)
Inert IED Components (ORF)

  • A passenger at Norfolk (ORF) had six inert pressure plates, 50 inert initiators, an inert land mine, inert explosives, and two initiation systems in the his bag. The passenger stated he was a military instructor. Remember, even though these are training items, they are designed to look like the real deal. We don’t know they’re inert and we can’t take the passenger’s word for it. A commercial aircraft is not the proper way to transport inert explosive training items or anything that looks like an explosive for that matter. 
  • An inert grenade was discovered in a passenger’s carry-on bag at Dallas Love Field (DAL).

Inert Hand Grenade (DAL)
Inert Hand Grenade (DAL)
44 Firearms Discovered This Week – of the 44 firearms, 38 were loaded and 13 had rounds chambered. See a complete list and more photos at the bottom of this post.


 
Loaded Firearm (ATL)
Loaded Firearm (ATL)
Stun Guns – Nine stun guns were discovered this week in carry-on bags around the nation.  Two were discovered at San Francisco (SFO), and the others at Atlanta (ATL), Baltimore (BWI), Kansas City (MCI), Los Angeles (LAX), Manchester (MHT), Richmond (RIC), and Shreveport (SHV).



Assorted knives discovered at checkpoints around the country.

Items in the Strangest Places –It’s important to examine your bags prior to traveling to ensure no prohibited items are inside. If a prohibited item is discovered in your bag, you could be cited and quite possibly arrested by local law enforcement. Here are a few examples from this week where prohibited items were found in strange places.

  • A stun gun built into a cane was discovered at Los Angeles (LAX).
  • A belt buckle knife was discovered at New York (JFK).
  • A knife concealed in a cane was discovered at McGhee Tyson (TYS).

What Not to Say at an Airport – Statements like these not only delay the people who said them but can also inconvenience many other passengers if the checkpoint or terminal has to be evacuated:

  • After being asked by a ticket agent if he had packed his own bag, a passenger at San Juan (SJU) stated: “I packed my own bag and put a bomb in it.”
  • A passenger at New York (JFK) stated that he had a bomb. Port Authority Police responded and interviewed the passenger who stated that he was joking.

Miscellaneous Prohibited Items - In addition to all of the other prohibited items we find weekly, our Officers also regularly find firearm components, realistic replica firearms, bb and pellet guns, Airsoft guns, brass knuckles, ammunition, batons, and a lot of sharp pointy things -- to mention a few… 

Firearms Discovered This Week

Five loaded handguns.

Four loaded handguns.

44 guns discovered at checkpoints. 38 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. The passenger can face a penalty as high as $7,500.00. 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 order to provide a timely weekly update, I compile my data from a preliminary report. The year-end numbers will vary slightly (increase) from what I report in the weekly updates. However, any monthly, midyear, or end-of-year numbers TSA provides on this blog or elsewhere will not be estimates. 


If you haven’t seen it yet, make sure you check out our post highlighting the dangerous, scary, and downright unusual items our officers found in 2012. The 2011 list can be found here. 

Bob Burns  
TSA Blog Team  

If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact us by clicking here.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yawn, is this the best you can do?

Anonymous said...

I am 78 yrs. old. Last month I was patted down upon leaving,and later, on my return trip I had my hand swabbed. Is it possible to find out why?

Thank you

Anonymous said...

Still nothing useful found with the naked scanners. Why are you still using these slow, invasive, potentially harmful and ineffective machines?

SSSS for some reason said...

Ooohhh!!! 44 guns this week!

Too bad there wasn't a terrorist attached to any of them. Better lick next week.

Anonymous said...

why do you keep saying naked scanners? Thay did away with those awhile ago.

Anonymous said...

Appreciated

Anonymous said...

Appreciated

Anonymous said...

Appreciated

Anonymous said...

Appreciated

Anonymous said...

Why aren't the hand held metal detector wands used anymore? I went through an airport that did not have the body scanner. I alarmed the metal detector so that meant I received a full body patdown. The hand held wand could have been used in that situation and would have had the added benefit of localizing what is causing the alarm for future travel.

You say that the body scanners are used to find non-metallic threats, but what if the airport doesn't have the scanners? Also, if the scanners are so important, why was the one removed from the airport I travelled through? They used to have one.

Anonymous said...

They did not eliminate naked scanners. They are primary forms of security in most airports today. I wish they would do away with them, considering how slow and ineffective they are, not to mention invasive.

RB said...

How can three postings on 4/15 at 10:02, 10:03, & 10:05 that have zero content be cosidered reasonable post given that the TSA Blog makes it a practice to violate the civil rights of some people who try to comment.

Wintermute said...

Anonymous said...
"why do you keep saying naked scanners? Thay did away with those awhile ago."

Did they? They made an announcement that they were going to start pulling the worst machines, but I have not seen anything stating they've finished pulling them.

Anonymous said...

what if these people, who are obviously not terrorists, need to defend themselves? why are you disarming innocent people who could stop someone from hijacking a plane or worse? do you want the terrorists to win or something?

Anonymous said...

Don't forget for next week, Bob:, the day that The TSA detained a passenger for... a sandwich.

"Jason Cruz was at New York’s JFK International Airport last Thursday. He was scheduled to fly from New York to Los Angeles. The flight from New York to LA is a long one, so Cruz understandably grabbed some food before boarding the plane. He went to a local Astoria deli and grabbed his sandwich of choice, which is nicknamed “The Bomb” because of its explosive flavor."
...
"A TSA agent heard Cruz’s comment and reacted immediately, thinking he was referring to an explosive bomb rather than a ‘bomb’ tasting combination of bread, meat, and cheese.
TSA agents took the men in to custody. Cruz and his friend were questioned extensively in a holding area and airport police were called.
"

(And before anyone makes a comment about 'making bomb jokes at the airport'- HE WASN'T. He was speaking privately to his friend, not joking to a screener.)

TSA =
Taking
Sandwiches
Away?

Oh, and, of course,:

In more serious news, the TSA appears to be better at preventing sandwiches from boarding planes than real bombs. As part of a training routine, an undercover TSA training agent stuffed a mock bomb in his pants and tried to board a plane. He passed through all security checkpoints with no problem.

“He did have a simulated IED in his pants. They did not find it,” an agent said.


Keep finding them sandwiches, boys!

Elblanco said...

Anonymous said...
what if these people, who are obviously not terrorists, need to defend themselves? why are you disarming innocent people who could stop someone from hijacking a plane or worse? do you want the terrorists to win or something?

--------------------------------

How do you know they aren't terrorists? You don't! So this is a completely useless arguement.

Cosmos said...

The naked scanners will all be gone by June nationwide. If your airport had a full-body scanner and does not any more, it's because it was a backscatter (naked) scanner, not a millimeter wave (radio wave, non-invasive) scanner

Anonymous said...

Cosmos,

MMW are naked scanners too. All they do is use different waves to detect objects under clothing. Recently they have also been equipped with automatic detection software, which does not eliminate the capability of generating nude images.

These machines will alarm at perfectly innocent items under your clothes, including prosthesis, insulin pumps, colostomies, scars or bandages. They continue to lead to unnecessary secondary searches of perfectly honest people, because they continue to use technology that peaks under your clothes and over the surface of your body (instead of detecting metal or explosives, as the TSA should be).

MMW machines are naked scanners, no matter what TSA propaganda wants us to believe.

Ken Noto said...

Are you still over-examining CPAP machines? They're a medical device for people diagnosed with Sleep Apnea.

Many times in the past I've been subject to overzealous examinations by TSA Agents who didn't know what my CPAP machine was, or that it was a sanctioned medical device.

Then there were times I tried to show them TSA's own documentation regarding them only to be ignored and told to "STEP ASIDE". One time I spoke up and the Agent called the Manager over - I expected better treatment, but she warned me to "SHUT UP or ELSE!" It got so bad that I no longer took my CPAP machine with me while traveling by Air.

So, what's the current policy, and are your Agents aware of it???

Kat said...

http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/passengers-cpaps-bipaps-and-apaps is the link for the TSA's official policy on sleep apnea machines. However, if you print this out and try to show it to a TSA employee, they will yell at you and inform you that the web site is out of date, so it doesn't matter what it says.

Anonymous said...

Those who insist that the millimeter wave scanners are "naked machines" obviosuly do NOT know what they are talking about. The scanner projects a generic human avatar that does NOT have any human features of the actual human private parts. In fact, the sceen is located as your exit the machine so you can see for yourself that is is NOT a naked body projected and it shows a box over the location that a metal object is placed under the clothing. People, you should REALLY educate yourselves before you spew out wrong information.

Anonymous said...

What? Nothing found in over a week?!

Anonymous said...

As someone who has traveled in the last two years roughly 200,000 miles, I have been very impressed with the courtesy and professionalism that I have seen from the TSA employees. I am impressed with what TSA was able to find just in this one week period, and it does reduce the chance that "a gun with a terrorist attached" would ever get through. Even before 9/11, no one was allowed to fly with a loaded gun and frankly no one should be able to.
Thank you TSA!

Anonymous said...

Please don't allow knives. It's common sense and if you sell them which you do you should make a buck off of each of them. Money in money out.

RB said...

Anonymous said...
Those who insist that the millimeter wave scanners are "naked machines" obviosuly do NOT know what they are talking about. The scanner projects a generic human avatar that does NOT have any human features of the actual human private parts. In fact, the sceen is located as your exit the machine so you can see for yourself that is is NOT a naked body projected and it shows a box over the location that a metal object is placed under the clothing. People, you should REALLY educate yourselves before you spew out wrong information.

April 22, 2013 at 3:13 PM
...................

The Whole Body Imagers are nothing less than an electronic strip search. Just because TSA has added a new layer that does not project a naked image doesn't mean the machine doesn't create and save a nude image for later review. Do keep in mind that TSA required these Electronic Strip Search machines to have the ability to store images and to have common network connections.

Now TSA claims to be removing backscatter strip search machines but only because the first generation backscatters did not have ATR. Well new contracts are going out for more deadly XRAY Backscatter Strip Search machines with ATR capability. It is clear that TSA cares nothing for the health and safety of the public not to mention the TSA clerks who operate these machines and aren't even allowed to wear a radiation exposure badge.

TSA is acting more like a criminal operation rather than a security agency.

RB said...

Anonymous said...
Please don't allow knives. It's common sense and if you sell them which you do you should make a buck off of each of them. Money in money out.

April 23, 2013 at 4:04 AM
.............................

No it is not common sense to prohibit small knives.

TSA does not prohibit scissors with pointed blades.

TSA does not prohibit knitting needles.

TSA does not prohibit screwdrivers.

TSA does not prohibit flatware in first class cabins.

TSA does not prohibit all manner of things that make perfectly good weapons.

I suggest you pull up your big boy pants and go on about your life.

RB said...

Anonymous said...
Please don't allow knives. It's common sense and if you sell them which you do you should make a buck off of each of them. Money in money out.

April 23, 2013 at 4:04 AM
........................
Small knives are no threat or at least no more of a threat than items already permitted by TSA such as;


Sharp Scissors (two knives)
Knitting Needles
Tools such as screwdrivers
Common items like pens and pencils
Shoelaces
Heavy laptop computers
belts
and many other such items.

Anyone with half a brain could create a weapon from items listed above. Yet they don't, probably because the threat is so low as to be near nil.

Anonymous said...

Quoted:
RB said...
Anonymous said...
Those who insist that the millimeter wave scanners are "naked machines" obviosuly do NOT know what they are talking about. The scanner projects a generic human avatar that does NOT have any human features of the actual human private parts. In fact, the sceen is located as your exit the machine so you can see for yourself that is is NOT a naked body projected and it shows a box over the location that a metal object is placed under the clothing. People, you should REALLY educate yourselves before you spew out wrong information.

April 22, 2013 at 3:13 PM
...................

The Whole Body Imagers are nothing less than an electronic strip search. Just because TSA has added a new layer that does not project a naked image doesn't mean the machine doesn't create and save a nude image for later review. Do keep in mind that TSA required these Electronic Strip Search machines to have the ability to store images and to have common network connections.

Now TSA claims to be removing backscatter strip search machines but only because the first generation backscatters did not have ATR. Well new contracts are going out for more deadly XRAY Backscatter Strip Search machines with ATR capability. It is clear that TSA cares nothing for the health and safety of the public not to mention the TSA clerks who operate these machines and aren't even allowed to wear a radiation exposure badge.

TSA is acting more like a criminal operation rather than a security agency.

April 23, 2013 at 9:25 AM
----------------
Ah RB, keep reading and reposting that fiction!
The new scanners do not even generate a nude image and then cover it over. The directly generate the cookie cutter image. But like so many others that post here, you'll continue to insiste because, well, because you can. May not have a basis in fact, but it feels good I guess.

Anonymous said...

These whole body scanners are not "naked" scanners. The only scanners in use at the majority of TSA operated airports are those that transpose threats detected on a virtual person's image. These body scanners do find metal objects, in fact they find anything you are carrying down to the lint in your pocket.

TSA found 44 handguns in a week, lets say that 50 is the average equaling 200 a month. 2,400 handguns a year discovered by TSA sounds like a good reason to take five seconds to get a "pat down" by someone when a scanner or metal detector picks up something.

I have two fake hips and I travel extensively for work. I have to go through this process every time I fly. It takes an agent a minute to pat you down which if trained properly they only ever use the back of their hands to do the process.

It is not a right to be able to fly, everyone knows if they fly they have a chance to go through the entire screening process. If you dont like it go hop the greyhound and quit complaining.

I say bravo TSA employees, do what you do and I salute you.

Anonymous said...

The "cookie cutter image" part is not important. The fact is that these machines look beneath innocent travelers' clothing and are a virtual strip search. They can generate a cookie cutter image *and* they can generate an image of your nude body. The fact that they *can* do and *have done* the latter is the issue of concern.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Those who insist that the millimeter wave scanners are "naked machines" obviosuly do NOT know what they are talking about. The scanner projects a generic human avatar that does NOT have any human features of the actual human private parts.

It is true that SOME of the MMwave scanner are like that. The ones with the software upgrade. (Which was supposed to be done a year ago, but the deadline was pushed back once already- to June 1 2013)

In fact, the sceen is located as your exit the machine so you can see for yourself that is is NOT a naked body projected

And, what, pray tell, happens behind the scenes? The machines explicitly have the ability to save and transmit the RAW ('nudie') scans- this ability was specifically requested by the TSA in their specifications doc, which is available online.

Oh, the TSA CLAIMS nothing is saved... but they LIED for years that the images couldn't be saved at all (until the above document was found).

People, you should REALLY educate yourselves before you spew out wrong information.

Back atcha.

RB said...

Ah RB, keep reading and reposting that fiction!
The new scanners do not even generate a nude image and then cover it over. The directly generate the cookie cutter image. But like so many others that post here, you'll continue to insiste because, well, because you can. May not have a basis in fact, but it feels good I guess.

April 23, 2013 at 3:59 PM

...............................
The new scanners are the same MMW scanners that have been in place all along. The only difference is the addition of ATR software and the video screen on the exit side of the unit. The core software is exactly the same, it does create a naked image, and the machine has both storage and transmission capabilities built in.

The bottom line is that even with the ATR software the search is a general search for anomalies, not WEI, which is all TSA can search for. TSA's use of WBI violates the limited Administrative Search doctrine because it is not limited and violates our Constitutional rights.

Wintermute said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Sorry, Anonymous, but Americans do have a right to fly, which has been upheld by the courts.

For all of the TSA's "good catches," 2 to 3 times as many weapons get through and are on the planes you allegedly ride so frequently. Plus, the FAA was finding twice as many in the 1980s.

The TSA "VIPR" squads have appeared at bus, train, and subway stations, so ground transportation is not a guarantee against their invasive actions.

Anonymous said...

I read a comment on another web site recently (can't remember where) that brought up a good point. The federal government was created by and for the people. The people gives the federal govenment certain powers only because it is to the benefit of the people. Thus, the federal government can regulate, for example, air traffic. I mean, it would be awfully dangerous up in the air without some FAA regulations, right? Now why would the people give the federal government the power to tell innocent travelers that they are not allowed to, say, fly from LA to NYC? People wouldn't--because it doesn't make sense to give this power to the government! The Constitution even recognizes this, as it states that powers not given to the federal government or the states are reserved for the people. The Constitution does not need to explicitly state that U.S. citizens shall have the right to freely travel around their country by any mode because the U.S. government was never given the right to prohibit it in the first place. Prohibiting free travel limits economic development and trade, it limits citizens' ability to assemble, and it adversely impacts life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. So, those of you who keep saying flyers should choose not to fly if they don't like TSA need to step back and decide what kind of a federal government you want in the U.S. Do you want a totalitarian state, or do you want a state that has no more power of you, your family, your business, etc. than absolutely necessary? If you want the former, by all means continue telling others to take the bus--but realize that TSA is already in bus and transit stations and at highway checkpoints.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for what you are doing.
You do America Proud.