Friday, July 19, 2013

TSA Week in Review: A Gag Gift Gone Wrong, 49 Firearms Discovered, and Other Interesting Tidbits


 A gag retirement gift designed to look like an improvised explosive device didn’t look like a gag to the TSA Officer who spotted it on the X-ray at St. Petersburg / Clearwater (PIE). With its metal box and wires strewn about, it looked like it could be the real deal.
Gag Retirement Gift

Gag Gift – A gag retirement gift designed to look like an improvised explosive device didn’t look like a gag to the TSA Officer who spotted it on the X-ray at St. Petersburg / Clearwater (PIE). With its metal box and wires strewn about, it looked like it could be the real deal.

Loaded gun. (HOU)
Loaded Gun (HOU)
49 Firearms Discovered This Week – Of the 49 firearms,  36 were loaded and  10 had rounds chambered. See a complete list and more photos at the bottom of this post.

 
Airsoft Guns
Airsoft Guns – Two Airsoft guns were discovered in carry-on baggage at Los Angeles (LAX). Airsoft guns are prohibited in carry-on bags, but allowed in checked baggage. Read this post for more information: TSA Travel Tips Tuesday: Traveling With Airsoft Guns
 
Stun Guns Discovered at (L-R) DEN, PHX, BWI, MEM, LAS, MDW
Stun Guns Discovered at (L-R) DEN, PHX, BWI, MEM, LAS, MDW
Stun Guns – Eight stun guns were discovered this week in carry-on bags around the nation at: Baltimore (BWI), Las Vegas (LAS),  Phoenix (PHX),  Memphis (MEM),  Minneapolis (MSP),  St. Louis (STL),  Denver (DEN), and Chicago Midway (MDW).
Grenades Discovered at (L-R) SEA, ATL, LAS, SJC
Grenades Discovered at (L-R) SEA, ATL, LAS, SJC
Inert Ordnance and Grenades etc. - We continue to find inert hand grenades and other weaponry on a 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.
  • Four inert/replica/novelty grenades were discovered this week. Two were in carry-on bags at Las Vegas (LAS), and the others were discovered in checked baggage at Seattle (SEA), and San Jose (SJC).
  • An empty M60 igniter was discovered on a key ring at Richmond (RIC). While these do make interesting key rings, they can also be used in harmful ways. So… best not to bring them.

M60 Igniter (RIC)
M60 Igniter (RIC)
Cane Sword (LRD), Box Cutter in Shoe (SLC), Credit Card Knife (ABQ) Lipstick Knife (SAT)
Cane Sword (LRD), Box Cutter in Shoe (SLC), Credit Card Knife (ABQ) Lipstick Knife (SAT)

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 three-inch pocketknife was discovered concealed in a passenger’s bra at Honolulu (HNL) after she went through the metal detector.
  • A box cutter blade was detected concealed in the shoes of a Salt Lake City (SLC) passenger.
  • A 17½-inch sword was detected concealed in the cane of a Laredo (LRD) passenger.
  • Two paring knives were discovered concealed inside the lining of a passenger’s bag at Fort Lauderdale (FLL).
  • A lipstick knife was discovered in a passenger’s bag at San Antonio (SAT). 
  • A credit card knife was discovered in a carry-on bag at Albuquerque (ABQ).  
  • A razor blade was detected in the shoe of a passenger at Phoenix (PHX).

Fireworks (JAX), Flares (PHX)
Fireworks (JAX), Flares (PHX)
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… 
  
Knives Discovered at (L-R) BNA, DTW, DTW, OAK, OAK, SAN, FLL, LAX
Knives Discovered at (L-R) BNA, DTW, DTW, OAK, OAK, SAN, FLL, LAX
                                    
                                      Firearms Discovered This Week in Carry-On Bags
Loaded Gun TPA
Loaded Guns and Ammunition Discovered at Tampa
Firearms Discovered at (L-R) SDF, MIA, ORD, MCI, ADQ, BWI
Firearms Discovered at (L-R) SDF, MIA, ORD, MCI, ADQ, BWI
Firearms Discovered at (L-R) RDU, MSP, JAN, ATL, FSM
Firearms Discovered at (L-R) RDU, MSP, JAN, ATL, FSM
Firearms Discovered at (L-R) BNA, GPT, AMA, DEN, TPA
Firearms Discovered at (L-R) BNA, GPT, AMA, DEN, TPA
Firearms Discovered at (L-R) ATL, CAE, TPA, DTW, LBB
Firearms Discovered at (L-R) ATL, CAE, TPA, DTW, LBB
Firearms Discovered at (L-R) FLL, RDU, RIC

49 Firearms Discovered This Week – Of the 49 firearms,  36 were loaded and  10 had rounds chambered.
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.


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34 comments:

Anonymous said...

I see how strongly TSA is criticized all the time, then I see the report on confiscated arms. Incredible! Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

And as always, nothing found with naked body scanners. Why do you still use those things, again?

Anonymous said...

"A gag retirement gift designed to look like an improvised explosive device..."

So a traveler wants to take it on an airliner? I would expect a 10-year old to know better.

You can't make this up. Boggles the imagination.

Anonymous said...

Is there a common excuse, theme or statement given by the individuals that carry on the weapons, especially the ones that have rounds chambered? Is the safety engaged on the weapons with rounds chambered? These individuals give responsible weapon owners a bad name and image. I hope these individuals are prosecuted to the full extent of the law and their right to carry or own weapons is revoked.

Anonymous said...

I have both hips and a shoulder replaced. For me the body scanner is much easier than being scanned witth the wand all of the time

Anonymous said...

"And as always, nothing found with naked body scanners. Why do you still use those things, again?"

Time to update your facts: TSA does not use any body scanners which show naked bodies.

Susan Richart said...

"Time to update your facts: TSA does not use any body scanners which show naked bodies."

The MMW scanners still take a naked picture and that picture is translated to the gumby icon.

screen shot

Mike Wallette said...

That's our TSA -- keeping the flying public safe from gag gifts, inert weapons and airsoft guns. Keep up the good work, folks!

Anonymous said...

"The MMW scanners still take a naked picture and that picture is translated to the gumby icon."

Entirely false. Get your facts straight.

Screenshot not taken

Anonymous said...

Susan is incorrect. No screen shot taken.

Anonymous said...

TSAnonymous who are denying the facts: Look at the scanned image produced by an MMW machine. Go ahead, they're available here on your employer's blog.

The scan is taken and stored. The computer runs its "super secret wrong 57% of the time algorithm" and sends a "gumby" image with little boxes if it "sees something" to the public screen. If the person conforms with the programmed expectation of a young, healthy short haired white person of the expected gender, then an "ok" screen is displayed on the public screen.

Susan Richart said...

OK, two anonymous people, (if there are really two of you and not just one stacking the deck) if you know so much tell us then how the gumby figure shows up on the screen.

Here's a short course in how it works, which is what I essentially said initially:

The naked image is still produced, but instead of being viewed by an officer, it is analyzed by the Gumby software, which will indicate any potential problems on a diagram.

Why do you think backscatters are gone? It's because Rapiscan could not develop the software to analyze the naked image to produce the gumby image.

MMW uses the same process it has always used - there's just not someone viewing your naked image in a peep show booth.


screen shot/DHS OIG statement

RB said...

As Susan said the TSA Strip Search Machines do create vile naked images and the machines have the ability to save the raw image. TSA has been dishonest ftom day one on the capabilities of these devices.

Anonymous said...

And what proof do Susan and RB provide to backup their claims? Exactly.

TSA body scanners do not take, manipulate, nor save "vile naked images." You have no credibility.

Screenshot not needed

Anonymous said...

"MMW uses the same process it has always used - there's just not someone viewing your naked image in a peep show booth."

Problem?

Anonymous said...

The problem with naked scanners is that in looking for images, and not chemical traces, they can´t tell the difference between an adult diaper or maxipad and a bomb in that area. As a result, anyone with anything personal but perfectly innocent on their body (prosthetic breast, colostomy, scar, bandage, insulin pump, etc) is harassed. This does not happen with metal detectors.

On the other hand, a full body scanner can easily be overcome by using body cavities, the sides of bodies, fake skin, etc.

Inconvenient, useless, slow, invasive, and completely ineffective.

RB said...

Anonymous said...
And what proof do Susan and RB provide to backup their claims? Exactly.

TSA body scanners do not take, manipulate, nor save "vile naked images." You have no credibility.

Screenshot not needed

July 21, 2013 at 11:42 PM
....................

The contract specs called for these capabilities.

Might want to do a little research before posting Anon.

Susan Richart said...

The very fact that our government demands that it be able to look through our clothing at our naked bodies is unconscionable, whether or not someone else is looking at the actual naked image or a rendition of the naked body.

While, in stubbornness, others insist there is no naked image, the fact remains, as RB said, that these machines do look at the naked body and still have the capability to produce and save an image.

I would suggest that you search for and read the procurement specs for the MMW machines if you don't believe him.

Screen shot/DHS OIG statement

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
And what proof do Susan and RB provide to backup their claims? Exactly.

TSA body scanners do not take, manipulate, nor save "vile naked images." You have no credibility.


Well, here's the original specifications doc the TSA put out for the scanners. It lists what the scanners are supposed to do and not do:

http://epic.org/open_gov/foia/TSA_Procurement_Specs.pdf

Some choice quotes:

"When not being used for normal screening operations, the capability to capture images of non-passengers for training and evaluation purposes is needed."

Of course, no explanation of what defines "normal screening operations", or how easy it is take it out of that mode- a toggle switch? A password?

"Enabling and disabling of image filtering shall be modifiable by users as defined in the User Access Levels and Capabilities appendix. "

In other words, they can turn off the filters.

And my favorite:

"WBI Test Mode shall be accessible as provided in the User Access Levels and Capabilities appendix. When in Test Mode, the WBI:

shall allow exporting of image data in real-time;
•shall prohibit projection of an image to the TO station;
shall provide a secure means for high-speed transfer of image data;
shall allow exporting of image data (raw and reconstructed). "

In other words, the TSA's own document specifies that the device is supposed to be able to save and transmit the image data (RAW, and reconstructed).

THAT is the proof that backs up their claims- the TSA's own document.

Anonymous said...

Who cares if a machine takes a picture of your body? Don't we all have the SAME basic parts? Is your face attached to the picture? Are you afraid it will end up on the internet or what? For those of us with metal parts, it is much easier to have our body scanned than it is for a hand search. The human body isn't something to be ashamed of and we all have the same basic parts. Even little kids understand that. Too much clamor over nothing.

Anonymous said...

"I see how strongly TSA is criticized all the time, then I see the report on confiscated arms. Incredible! Keep up the good work."

But the firearms are easily detected by a metal detector! Can't you see that there is no need to irradiate passengers in whole body scanners or take naked picture of passengers in whole body scanners in order to find firearms?

RB said...

Anonymous said...
Who cares if a machine takes a picture of your body? Don't we all have the SAME basic parts? Is your face attached to the picture? Are you afraid it will end up on the internet or what? For those of us with metal parts, it is much easier to have our body scanned than it is for a hand search. The human body isn't something to be ashamed of and we all have the same basic parts. Even little kids understand that. Too much clamor over nothing.
July 22, 2013 at 9:52 AM

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

Well if nudity is not a problem then why did TSA go after a man who strip after alarming a screening device proving he presented no threat?

The human body is nothing to be ashamed of , even little kids understand that.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, you may find it hard to believe, but a large percentage of the population carry a gun with a round chambered at nearly all times. These are what you call "responsible gun owners". You don't need an "excuse" to exercise your 2nd amendment right to carry a loaded gun.

I would venture to bet that a large percentage of these guns caught in screening were guns that the owner simply forgot to move into checked luggage.

Tara said...

Wow. I'm really alarmed by the shoe hiding a box cutter. That can't be an absentminded accident. "Oh, I just forgot I sliced open my shoe and hid a box cutter there..." I hope he was detained and questioned very thoroughly.

Anonymous said...

Can you tell me what action the US Govt. takes on all the owners of these loaded guns?

I think more drastic punitive action is in order to discourage such irresponsible behaviour by a section of the passengers.

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "I see how strongly TSA is criticized all the time, then I see the report on confiscated arms. Incredible! Keep up the good work."

Thank you for the encouragement Anon.

Another Anon sez - "I have both hips and a shoulder replaced. For me the body scanner is much easier than being scanned witth the wand all of the time"

I have heard this commentary from many of our passengers when they come through. There are many cases where the AIT does make the trip through less of a challenge than it could be in the past.

Tara sez - "That can't be an absentminded accident. "Oh, I just forgot I sliced open my shoe and hid a box cutter there"

I tend to agree.

Another Anon sez - "Can you tell me what action the US Govt. takes on all the owners of these loaded guns?

I think more drastic punitive action is in order to discourage such irresponsible behaviour by a section of the passengers."

TSA regulatory assess fines on some situations like this (I am sorry, I do not have stats on that available to me), and they can be fairly stout.

As far as punitive actions, that would be handled by the local LEOs that respond to the discovery of a firearm. Each location has laws that have been decided by the local municipalities/state governments, and apply them accordingly.

West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

So what happens to all the confiscated items that aren't collected? Is there a sale or auction or do they just sit and fill up a warehouse somewhere?

Anonymous said...

West,

Why aren't the metal detector wands used anymore? I set off the metal detector at an airport that only had metal detectors and no body scanners. That forced me to get a full body patdown. I remember they used to use the wands to localize what set off the metal detector. Why don't they do that anymore? It would be faster and less intrusive than the full body groping I got.

Anonymous said...

How in the world does one not know they have a firearm in their carry on luggage. Even a sub-compact pistol with a loaded magazine has sufficent weight and size to know it's there. It's just pure stupidity and those people should have their CCW permits revoked.

Anonymous said...

"Who cares if a machine takes a picture of your body? Don't we all have the SAME basic parts?"

Deprivation of privacy is a well-established power control technique in prisons, "enhanced interrogation" facilities, and the like.

Oh, there's the Fourth Amendment, too.

Anonymous said...

Was the gag gift gift wrapped? It isn't a very good gag otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Folks, the MMW scanner is NOT looking for metal. Metal detectors work fine for such.

It's looking for solid/dense packed material like the explosives packed in the underwear bomb and the like.

Opt out if you don't want the MMW scan. No big deal.

Wintermute said...

Anonymous said...
Folks, the MMW scanner is NOT looking for metal. Metal detectors work fine for such.

It's looking for solid/dense packed material like the explosives packed in the underwear bomb and the like.


Which, according to TSA's own red-team testing, it fails to detect. (The underwear bomb, that is. Which, BTW, was not a viable plot.) Also, it has serious blind spots, and a 100% false positive rate. (As in, it has never detected an item that has been a viable threat to the flight the passenger was boarding.)

Opt out if you don't want the MMW scan. No big deal.

When did sexual assault become "no big deal" in this country? Because that's what the full-body grope is, in any other context.

Anonymous said...

Holy gamoley! Comments on a story about thoughtless people who attempt to carry on board objects that look like bombs or are dangerous sharps or are deadly firearms (really!) degenerates into a series of rants about a body scanner and its ability to store monochrome, low contrast, low def images of naked bodies. Really, people, with the infinite number of full HD nude pictures online, who would need, watch or care?