Friday, October 17, 2014

TSA Week in Review - 37 Loaded Firearms Discovered in Carry-on Bags This Week


Loaded firearm discovered at LAS.
Loaded firearm discovered at LAS.
39 Firearms Discovered This Week – Of the 39 firearms, 37 were loaded and 14 had rounds chambered.

discovered grenade
Grenade (LEX)
Inert Ordnance and Grenades, etc. – We continue to find inert grenades and other weaponry on a weekly basis. Please keep in mind that if an item looks like a real bomb, grenade, mine or other explosives weapon, it is prohibited. When these items are found at a checkpoint or in checked baggage, they can cause significant delays because the explosives detection professionals must resolve the alarm to determine the level of threat. Even if they are novelty items, you cannot bring them on a plane.  Read here on why inert items cause problems.

  • An novelty grenade was detected in a carry-on bag at Las Vegas (LAS).
  • An inert grenade was detected in a carry-on bag at Lexington (LEX).
  • A grenade-shaped E-cigarette was detected in a carry-on bag at Harrisburg (MDT).
discovered bullets in cuff
Bullets in cuff (BOS)

Artfully Concealed Prohibited Items – It’s important to examine your bags prior to traveling to ensure you are not carrying prohibited items. If a prohibited item is discovered in your bag or on your body, you could be cited and possibly arrested by local law enforcement. Here are a few examples from this week where prohibited items were found by our officers in strange places.

  • Two rounds of .22 caliber ammunition were detected sewn into a shirt cuff at Boston (BOS).
  • An oversized bottle of vodka was discovered in the right ankle area of a Minneapolis (MSP) passenger after advanced imaging technology screening.

Knuckle Stunner (ORD)
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 many other prohibited items too numerous to note.

Stun Guns – 11 stun guns were discovered in checked bags this week. Two were discovered at Las Vegas (LAS), and the remainder were discovered at Chicago O'Hare (ORD), Dallas Love (DAL), Denver (DEN), Minneapolis (MSP), Oakland (OAK), Omaha (OMA), Provo (PVU), Sacramento (SMF), and Salt Lake City (SLC).
discovered ammunition
Ammo (CRW)
Ammunition – When packed properly, ammunition can be transported in your checked baggage, but it is never permissible to pack ammo in your carry-on bag.


discovered firearms
Firearms discovered at: (Clockwise from top left) ATL, IAH, CLT, ATL, & HOU

discovered firearms
Firearms discovered at: (Clockwise from top left) ATL, CHA, RIC, IAH, & DEN
Table of firearms discovered in carry-on bags
*In order to provide a timely weekly update, this data is compiled from a preliminary report. The year-end numbers will vary slightly from what is reported in the weekly updates. However, any monthly, midyear or end-of-year numbers TSA provides on this blog or elsewhere will be actual numbers and not estimates.



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 line 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. 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.



If you haven’t seen it yet, make sure you check out our TSA Blog Year in Review for 2013. You can also check out 2011 & 2012 as well.



Follow @TSABlogTeam on Twitter and Instagram!





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

92 comments:

SSSS for Some Reason said...

"...Two rounds of .22 caliber ammunition were detected sewn into a shirt cuff at Boston"

Nice find. Those are wee-tiny little bullets so kudos to whomever saw them on the xray thingy.

But..... I have to ask and many people are wondering the same thing....

So?

Two bullets.

Put in a place that is rather inconvenient if your intent to get them in a hurry while the plane is at altitude.

Why is this newsworthy?

Wouldn't it have been better to just embarrass the shirt owner by not saying anything?

Anonymous said...

You should list all of the other dangerous items you find. How many oversized water bottles and tubes of toothpaste do you find each week. They are obviously too dangerous to let on a plane. When you find guns and knives, are they thrown in the trash cans next to the checkpoint like the dangerous water bottles are?

It's great that we spend millions of dollars on the body scanners. They found a bottle of vodka this and a bottle of alcohol last week. Could you imagine if those bottles got on the plane? What kind of person tries to bring these dangerous liquids onto planes?

RB said...

I see in the news that a TSA screener has been isolated after doing a pat down of a nurse who traveled after having symptoms of ebola.

What happened to the gloves used during the screening? Did the screener touch other people or things with the same gloves?

Was an ETD conducted and if so was the swab reused or disposed of?

I've asked numerous times if TSA disposes of ETD swabs after one use only to be told that answer is some how SSI.

I will ask again; Are ETD swabs used once or multiple times?

Refusal to answer borders on criminal endangerment!

Anonymous said...

As always, absolutely nothing you needed your slow, invasive, and ineffective naked body scanners to detect. Meanwhile, how many people suffered physical searches thanks to false alarms on these useless machines?

Why are Curtis Burns and West Cooper unwilling to address, let alone answer, that question?

How many weeks has it been since you last trumpeted something dangerous (note: a bottle of alcohol is, of course, not at all dangerous, and if not for your inane liquids policies that passenger would simply have put the bottle in his or her bag) you found with the naked body scanners?

Anonymous said...

I continue to wait for some justification for active duty military being included in pre-check, but not retired military or holders of current DoD or LE background investigations. military retirees have at least 20 years documented service to this Nation, pretty much proving their lack of risk. both DoD and LE background investigations should reveal any risk factors. active duty military do not, necessarily, have a background check or any significant length of service. neither citizenship nor a background investigation is required to enlist in the military, in fact there are likely illegal immigrants serving. if it is really about safety, then why are potentially unscreened non-citizens allowed through? sounds like it is just pandering to an admirable group to get PR, not adjusting the rules to ease screening on those who present a lower likelihood of threat.
Let me be clear: pre-911 screening should be the norm. it is all that is required, now that cockpit doors have been reinforced and locked, and flight crews and passengers know that the rules have changed and passivity=death. however, if we are going to continue this massive waste of tax dollars on security theatre, at least have _some_ of the rules make sense.

Anonymous said...

some additional suggestions for TSA to make our travel and security experience as convenient as possible:

1) eliminate TSA and return to pre-911 screening. the TSA makes things no more secure, and arguably less secure, since the last red team results made available to the public indicate that TSA is allowing 70% of prohibited items through, as opposed to 60% or lower in testing of the old systems. in addition, the 911 attacks focused on 2 gaps in security: unsecured cockpit doors, and the training of flight crews and passengers to be compliant. both of those are now corrected - no one is going to take over an airliner with a penknife.

2) full and total transparency of all DHS and TSA regulations, rules, procedures, and watch/no-fly lists, as well as public comment periods for new rules, and an independent appeal process for those placed on no fly or terrorist watch lists (as ordered by the federal courts).

3) eliminate the Pre-Bribe, er, Pre-Check program. it is a waste of taxpayer dollars as well as flat out insulting to be required to pay to have a background check done in order to be screened in a semi-sane way, when I hold a security clearance and a concealed wepaons permit, both of which require a more thorough background check than TSA is likely to do.

4) eliminate ID requirements. it is unConstitutional (freedom to travel domestically is not guaranteed only if the govt can ID you), and it contributes nothing to security. what does it matter if you know my name, if I am carrying a bomb? why is my name any damn business of yours if I am not carrying a bomb or
intending some kind of threat?

Anonymous said...

As always, absolutely nothing you needed your slow, invasive, and ineffective naked body scanners to detect. Meanwhile, how many people suffered physical searches thanks to false alarms on these useless machines?

Why are Curtis Burns and West Cooper unwilling to address, let alone answer, that question?

How many weeks has it been since you last trumpeted something dangerous (a bottle of vodka is, of course, as you and we know, not at all dangerous, and if not for your inane liquids policies that passenger would simply have put the bottle in his or her bag) you found with the naked body scanners?

Anonymous said...

To the anonymous who keeps asking the question about retirees and screening: please cease and desist--you are making a bad name for the rest of us, and we don't appreciate it. I'm not TSA and can't answer the question for them, but I think the biggest difference between active duty and retiree is that no one is monitoring your behavior, which is apparent in this case because if you were active duty, your commander would have already had a discussion with you about your incessant foolish question. Guys and gals are still getting shot at. Standing in line waiting to be screened is a very small burden to pay given their sacrifice. Let it go.

Anonymous said...

RB--is it hard to figure out why the TSA doesn't want to discuss with you their security procedures in open forum? The rest of us have.

Anonymous said...

As always, absolutely nothing you needed your slow, invasive, and ineffective naked body scanners to detect. Meanwhile, how many people suffered physical searches thanks to false alarms on these useless machines?

Why are Curtis Burns and West Cooper unwilling to address, let alone answer, that question?

How many weeks has it been since you last trumpeted something dangerous (note: a bottle of alcohol is, of course, not at all dangerous, and if not for your inane liquids policies that passenger would simply have put the bottle in his or her bag) you found with the naked body scanners?


How long will you continue to show your ignorance by calling them naked body scanners? Being they have all been removed from American airports.
You devalue any and all credibility you may have by doing so...

Anonymous said...

some additional suggestions for TSA to make our travel and security experience as convenient as possible:

1) eliminate TSA and return to pre-911 screening. the TSA makes things no more secure, and arguably less secure, since the last red team results made available to the public indicate that TSA is allowing 70% of prohibited items through, as opposed to 60% or lower in testing of the old systems. in addition, the 911 attacks focused on 2 gaps in security: unsecured cockpit doors, and the training of flight crews and passengers to be compliant. both of those are now corrected - no one is going to take over an airliner with a penknife.

2) full and total transparency of all DHS and TSA regulations, rules, procedures, and watch/no-fly lists, as well as public comment periods for new rules, and an independent appeal process for those placed on no fly or terrorist watch lists (as ordered by the federal courts).

3) eliminate the Pre-Bribe, er, Pre-Check program. it is a waste of taxpayer dollars as well as flat out insulting to be required to pay to have a background check done in order to be screened in a semi-sane way, when I hold a security clearance and a concealed wepaons permit, both of which require a more thorough background check than TSA is likely to do.

4) eliminate ID requirements. it is unConstitutional (freedom to travel domestically is not guaranteed only if the govt can ID you), and it contributes nothing to security. what does it matter if you know my name, if I am carrying a bomb? why is my name any damn business of yours if I am not carrying a bomb or
intending some kind of threat?


Same meaningless drivel week afte week after week...

Anonymous said...

As always, absolutely nothing you needed your slow, invasive, and ineffective naked body scanners to detect. Meanwhile, how many people suffered physical searches thanks to false alarms on these useless machines?

Why are Curtis Burns and West Cooper unwilling to address, let alone answer, that question?

Simple, ask a proper question...
They are NOt naked body scanners as you know, and have not been for years. What makes you think they are getting false alarms? This ughta show your ignorance...

RB said...

Anonymous said...
RB--is it hard to figure out why the TSA doesn't want to discuss with you their security procedures in open forum? The rest of us have.

October 20, 2014 at 10:35 AM
.............
What security procedure?

I have only asked if the ETD swabs are reused or disposed of after each use. How can discussion of that harm TSA's security procedures?

Also I continue to address that Medical Nitroglycerin is not clearly allowed through TSA checkpoints and use TSA's "Can I Bring My" tool as evidence of that fact.

Seems to me that TSA would want to act in a responsible manner and take immediate steps to protect the public health in areas that TSA impacts.

Apparently TSA could care less about that health and safety of travelers given that TSA and its employees hide behind SSI when questioned about these very simple things.

Anonymous said...

Wow, really? You need this explained?

a bottle of vodka is, of course, as you and we know, not at all dangerous, and if not for your inane liquids policies that passenger would simply have put the bottle in his or her bag.

What is the option? Allow liquids of all sizes? Limit the size?
Lets see...liquids can be made into explosives very easily. So there are two choices. Allow liquids and test ALL OF THEM. That wont slow things down at all, will it? Or dont allow liqids except with medical excemptions and only test them?

This is pretty easy to figuer out. TSA knows a bottle of water is not dangerous but the only way to NOT slow things down by checking all liquids is to ban them.
Do I need to tell you why manhole covers are round or can you figuer that one out on your own?

Anonymous said...

"They are NOt naked body scanners as you know, and have not been for years."

Categorically untrue. The current generation of naked body scanners converts the image of a passenger's naked body into the cartoon that's visible. But the naked image is still generated, and the scanners have the capacity to retain those images.

"What makes you think they are getting false alarms? This ughta show your ignorance..."

Other than the thousands of passengers being physically searched by screeners each and every day because the naked body scanners detected sweat, or a pleat in a pair of pants, or the placket of a button-down shirt, or the wire in a bra? Things which are not dangerous, pose no danger to anyone, and would not alarm a sane method oc screening passengers?

Susan Richart said...

Yes, they are naked body scanners, Anonymous. They still take the same naked pictures but, by order of Congress, have had software installed that "translates" that naked picture into a cartoon-like picture that highlights any anomaly, about 50% of which are false.

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
As always, absolutely nothing you needed your slow, invasive, and ineffective naked body scanners to detect. Meanwhile, how many people suffered physical searches thanks to false alarms on these useless machines?

What you don't seem to understand is the people that have metal replacement parts that have to get a pat down for alarming the metal detector I like those scanners because we are able to get through security like most of the public. If you don't like the scanner then you can opt out and go through the pat down.

Sandra said...

Oh, oh - Anonymous posted the same basic response twice within 5 minutes, after he posted several other comments, one right after the other, each of which was a fine display of his ignorance.

Anonymous said...

"How long will you continue to show your ignorance by calling them naked body scanners? What makes you think they are getting false alarms?"

How many times have you ignored the facts presented by commentors about said scanners? Have you actually looked at the specs obtained by EPIC?

Do you know what a false alarm is? If the naked body scanner flags an innocuous item (e.g., a tissue in a pocket) as a dangerous item, a false alarm has occurred.

Anonymous said...

RB said...
I see in the news that a TSA screener has been isolated after doing a pat down of a nurse who traveled after having symptoms of ebola.

What happened to the gloves used during the screening? Did the screener touch other people or things with the same gloves?

Was an ETD conducted and if so was the swab reused or disposed of?

I've asked numerous times if TSA disposes of ETD swabs after one use only to be told that answer is some how SSI.

I will ask again; Are ETD swabs used once or multiple times?

Refusal to answer borders on criminal endangerment!
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
I will answer you then. I see them use the swabs just once, then trow them away. I see this all the time.

Anonymous said...

The article at http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/story/news/local/2014/10/14/full-body-scanners-used-local-inmates-may-flawed/17268169/ is an interesting reminder of TSA's track record.

"'There really is no expectation of privacy,' Davis said."

I suppose what was eventually found to be not suitable for airports is entirely suitable for prison because, you know, 100% of prisoners have actually been convicted of something.

"'The X-ray dosage needs to be carefully calibrated and monitored over the life of the machine,' he said... 'We've been quoted from $5,000 to $40,000 a year on maintenance,' he said. "Guess what I didn't buy? The $40,000 package.'"

That's okay for prison because... well, actually it isn't. Prisoners aren't model citizens, but that doesn't mean they should be irradiated any more than air travelers should be irradiated.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand how people can forget what happened on 9/11 - the way the hijackers were able to breeze through security, the types of weapons they used to take the planes down, the number of people who were killed. People become angry that their drinks are "taken" etc and that they are being screened at all - instead of researching how water or soda can be an initiator for an IED; instead of realizing there isn't a profile for what a "terrorist looks like" - because it could be anyone; instead of realizing the airlines and TSA have decided on prohibited items and that they're listed online and at the airport. TSA doesn't "take" the items and give them to officers. Everything that passengers bring through a checkpoint that isn't allowed to fly is disposed of in mass quantities. Not because they could all be secret weapons, but because they're a known risk. Research how other terrorist plots have been foiled and what kinds of items those terrorists were planning to use. Shoe bomber, underwear bomber, a tang-bomb...etc. There is plenty of information on all of it online and plenty of reason to respect and follow the protocols in place for airports and airport security officers from TSA. I am sure they don't apply to take things from people, but instead its because they want to keep passengers safe on their flights and help work to prevent another aviation attack.

Wintermute said...

Anonymous said...
As always, absolutely nothing you needed your slow, invasive, and ineffective naked body scanners to detect. Meanwhile, how many people suffered physical searches thanks to false alarms on these useless machines?

Why are Curtis Burns and West Cooper unwilling to address, let alone answer, that question?

Simple, ask a proper question...
They are NOt naked body scanners as you know, and have not been for years. What makes you think they are getting false alarms? This ughta show your ignorance...

---
TSAnonymous, read the RFP for the current scanner. They may display a gumby image, but they have the capability to not only store, but also transmit, the underlying image.

Also, a false alarm is an alarm on something which is innocuous on further inspection, such as a button, breasts on someone who the TSAgent thought was male but is actually female (or male parts on someone the TSAgent thought was female), a fold of cloth, etc. All of these are false alarms. Or do you deny that the above do not cause an alarm that needs cleared by other means?

Susan Richart said...

Anonymous wrote:

"I will answer you then. I see them use the swabs just once, then trow them away. I see this all the time."

Try reading this:

"Watching a clerk at ATL right now.
He is standing by the document checker and swabbing hands as people pass by.
He has 2 test strips - and he alternates between them. He swabs hands and puts the test strip in the machine. When the test strip exits the machine, he puts it on top of it and reuses it on the next traveler as the other strip is in the machine.
He is also not wearing gloves...

His buddy just took over and is following the same procedures.
Third clerk in a row now doing the same thing.
And so is the fourth one. However, we have now upgraded to rotating 3 test strips."

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/23155177-post1.html

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

Anonymous said...

"They are NOt naked body scanners as you know, and have not been for years."

Categorically untrue. The current generation of naked body scanners converts the image of a passenger's naked body into the cartoon that's visible. But the naked image is still generated, and the scanners have the capacity to retain those images.

Absolutly False. The old machines took x-rays that were converted, the new and current machines ONLY use millimeter waves that bounce off of skin. Absolutly unable to create an image.

"What makes you think they are getting false alarms? This ughta show your ignorance..."

Other than the thousands of passengers being physically searched by screeners each and every day because the naked body scanners detected sweat, or a pleat in a pair of pants, or the placket of a button-down shirt, or the wire in a bra? Things which are not dangerous, pose no danger to anyone, and would not alarm a sane method oc screening passengers?

Alarming on sweat, pleats and buttons IS NOT a false alarm. Perhaps you should design a better method.

Anonymous said...

Do you know what a false alarm is? If the naked body scanner flags an innocuous item (e.g., a tissue in a pocket) as a dangerous item, a false alarm has occurred.

False.
It has detected an anomoly, which is exatly what it should do. It is then up to teh officer to verify what the anomoly is.

Anonymous said...

Also, a false alarm is an alarm on something which is innocuous on further inspection, such as a button, breasts on someone who the TSAgent thought was male but is actually female (or male parts on someone the TSAgent thought was female), a fold of cloth, etc. All of these are false alarms. Or do you deny that the above do not cause an alarm that needs cleared by other means?

An "alarm" is simply a notification of anomoly. Are these things an anomoly? Absolutly. are they a threat? No, of course not. But the machine can only detect anomolies which the officer mus then verify and clear..
These items are NOT false alarms.

RB said...

I will answer you then. I see them use the swabs just once, then trow them away. I see this all the time.

October 20, 2014 at 7:26 PM
..................
And I have seen them take swabs lying around the ETD tester work area and use those. If they didn't come straight out of a container of swabs the likelihood of having been used previously is high.

I think we can all agree that the answer to the question if the swabs are used once or more than once is clearly not SSI.

I have to wonder what it is that TSA is trying to hide from the public?

RB said...

Anonymous said...
I don't understand how people can forget what happened on 9/11 - the way the hijackers were able to breeze through security, the types of weapons they used to take the planes down, the number of people who were killed. People become angry that their drinks are "taken" etc and that they are being screened at all - instead of researching how water or soda can be an initiator for an IED; instead of realizing there isn't a profile for what a "terrorist looks like" - because it could be anyone; instead of realizing the airlines and TSA have decided on prohibited items and that they're listed online and at the airport. TSA doesn't "take" the items and give them to officers. Everything that passengers bring through a checkpoint that isn't allowed to fly is disposed of in mass quantities. Not because they could all be secret weapons, but because they're a known risk. Research how other terrorist plots have been foiled and what kinds of items those terrorists were planning to use. Shoe bomber, underwear bomber, a tang-bomb...etc. There is plenty of information on all of it online and plenty of reason to respect and follow the protocols in place for airports and airport security officers from TSA. I am sure they don't apply to take things from people, but instead its because they want to keep passengers safe on their flights and help work to prevent another aviation attack.

October 20, 2014 at 8:01 PM

*******************************
We all know what happened on 9/11. Terrorist took advantage of lax screening standards, open cockpits, and a philosophy of cooperating with hijackers.

The screening standards were mandated by the Federal government and allowed for the items used by terrorist on 9/11

The same government that is now doing the screenings directly.

A government responsible for the criminals infesting TSA.

A government that refuses to screen the people who have easy access to baggage and airplanes; airport workers.

A government that has repeatedly violated standing law in recent years.

Then you go on to suggest that common liquids are dangerous. If so then why are these "too dangerous to fly" liquids tossed into common trash bins right at the checkpoint? The fact that TSA doesn't treat these liquids and other items with any concern for risk demonstrate that they are in fact known to be harmless.

As far as a Tang Bomb perhaps you are the one that needs to do some reading:


Tang Bomb

"The problem here is that although the latent energy is there, it requires a fairly large amount of catalyst to decompose it explosively. Hydrogen peroxide is simply not a good enough oxidant to produce a devastating explosion except in highly controlled experiments. You need to have the oxygen right there in high concentration, either as liquid oxygen (you wouldn't be able to get that on a plane) or as part of the explosive itself."

And to suggest that terrorist plots have been foiled by TSA is laughable.

Neither the shoe bomber or the underwear bomber boarded their flights in the U.S.. Even then they were not discovered by screeners at those airports and it was passengers that ultimately handled the situation.

My friend I suggest that you are the one that has been partaking of TSA Kool Aid and it has pickled your brain into uselessness.

GSOLTSO said...

SSSS sez - "Why is this newsworthy?"

The .22 rounds are newsworthy because of the artful concealment method (and the fact that they are included in one of the core three things we are searching for WEI). It is important because an individual can use the same concealment method for something that could be more harmful than a pair of .22 bullets - which can still kill you fairly easily, just in case anyone forgot that.

RB sez - "I will ask again; Are ETD swabs used once or multiple times?"

I responded earlier that discussing the actual process for the ETD machines is SSI, I also included a link to an earlier article that is probably outdated - which was the only public information I can find upon swabs and ETDs.

Anon sez - "What you don't seem to understand is the people that have metal replacement parts that have to get a pat down for alarming the metal detector I like those scanners because we are able to get through security like most of the public. If you don't like the scanner then you can opt out and go through the pat down."

This is one of the major positives regarding the AIT technology. I see many more people that are happy we have it available than I see opposed to the technology (at least at my airport). It provides an alternative to folks with medical implants that were not available when TSA began.

Anon sez - "There is plenty of information on all of it online and plenty of reason to respect and follow the protocols in place for airports and airport security officers from TSA. I am sure they don't apply to take things from people, but instead its because they want to keep passengers safe on their flights and help work to prevent another aviation attack."

In the past I have presented several sources that indicate the feasibility of many different avenues of attack, but they are regularly discounted by many here. The attitude you indicate above is found much more often in TSOs across the country than the ones that come simply to "take things" from passengers.

The most common video I share is one that Dr. Sidney Alford did for the BBC. Many that post here disregard Dr. Alford, but he has a long history of devising designer explosives - if he says that a soda bottle bomb is "fairly viable", then I would be much quicker to take his word than someone without his history. Watch the video here and determine for yourself.

West
TSA Blog Team

RB said...

GSOLTSO said...


RB sez - "I will ask again; Are ETD swabs used once or multiple times?"
.....
I responded earlier that discussing the actual process for the ETD machines is SSI, I also included a link to an earlier article that is probably outdated - which was the only public information I can find upon swabs and ETDs.
..........

And I reject that answering if the swabs are reused or not violates SSI.

We are not discussing the operation or capabilities of the ETD machine.

If you can't answer the fricken question then get someone who can.

As you have told us many times you are on the low end of the TSA food chain. So push the question up the chain.

Anonymous said...

The same government that is now doing the screenings directly.

A government responsible for the criminals infesting TSA.

Really? INFESTING?

A government that refuses to screen the people who have easy access to baggage and airplanes; airport workers.

ALL AIRPORT WORKERS ARE SCREENED.

Then you go on to suggest that common liquids are dangerous. If so then why are these "too dangerous to fly" liquids tossed into common trash bins right at the checkpoint? The fact that TSA doesn't treat these liquids and other items with any concern for risk demonstrate that they are in fact known to be harmless.

liquids can be made into explosives. TSA has two options, allow all liquids or ban them. Allowing them means they either risk a liquid bonb or screen all liquids. Do we have time to wait while all liquids are screened? No, thus they are banned.


GSOLTSO said...

Rb sez - "And I reject that answering if the swabs are reused or not violates SSI.

We are not discussing the operation or capabilities of the ETD machine."

Whether you reject the answer or not is immaterial, you ARE actually discussing the operation of the machine at the base level - so, without publicly posted information to link to, I am not allowed to make a comment on the process of usage for the swabs. If something changes, I will be more than happy to post that information for you.

West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Lets see...

CBP: allows thousands of illegals into the country every year. Our boarders are an open door to those who wish to cross.

Local police: in spite of all attempts, we still have bank robberies, murders, drunk drivers, shootings, rapes and so on

Local fire agencies: In spite of all attempst, we still have fires, arson,

TSA: Not a single terrorist attempt on a US originate flight.

TSA mission is simple:
Protect the Nation's transportation systems to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce.

sounds like 100% success so far.

RB said...

GSOLTSO said...
Rb sez - "And I reject that answering if the swabs are reused or not violates SSI.

We are not discussing the operation or capabilities of the ETD machine."

Whether you reject the answer or not is immaterial, you ARE actually discussing the operation of the machine at the base level - so, without publicly posted information to link to, I am not allowed to make a comment on the process of usage for the swabs. If something changes, I will be more than happy to post that information for you.

West
TSA Blog Team

October 21, 2014 at 10:55 AM
..............
Do you have the ability to escalate the question up the chain of command?

Yes, I noticed that you completely skipped over that little matter.

SSSS for Some Reason said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I don't understand how people can forget what happened on 9/11 - the way the hijackers were able to breeze through security, the types of weapons they used to take the planes down, the number of people who were killed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

I don't understand how people think that the horrible events of 9/11 had anything to do with security screening at the airport.

The terrorists used box cutters, which were not prohibited because of the very short blades. Knitting needles are far more dangerous and are still to this day allowed on aircraft.

The terrorist took control of the cockpit of the aircraft. The standard procedure of the day was to comply with the terrorist so as to prevent further injury from said terrorists.

Cockpit doors have been hardened so you aren't getting in without quite a bit of work. Or a key.

Passengers are not going to comply with flight crew or terrorists now so even if you had someone try and get through the cockpit door they aren't going to be able to do so AND defend themselves from a cabin full of people wanting to stop them from trying to take over the aircraft. IN fact, if a terrorist were to jump up screaming allah ackbar and run for the cockpit door they would have to clean him out of the carpet because he wouldn't be much more than a fine meat paste after the passengers were done with him.

No, the TSA is not what is preventing more terrorist attempts on commercial aviation. The fact of the matter is there are thankfully few actual terrorists in the world and none of them are going to try to take over or take down a commercial aircraft in such a way that the TSA could do anything about it.

The liquid ban, useless. How can twenty ounces of liquid be OK if it is in three ounce containers but 16 ounces in one container is not?

The Naked Scanners, or whatever you want to call them if you don't like the term Naked Scanner... useless. To date they have nothing that couldn't have been found with the Walk-Through-Metal Detectors. And the WTMD cost much less, are much more reliable, and much faster to process passengers through.

Enhanced Patdowns... again, useless. If you are going to treat all passengers as an equal threat you have a system that is cumbersome, ineffective, time consuming, and expensive. And again, less effective and more costly than the walk-through metal detectors.

No, the TSA is not making things better one teeny-tiny bit. Well, they are providing a lovely blog here that is very entertaining, but I don't think that was in their mission planning.

If the TSA wanted to, wants to, provide actual security to the traveling public then they should adopt the FAA model. The TSA can write the standards for security and then provide the certification and/or testing to those standards. They do not, should not!, provide the actual security. Just like the FAA certifies and regulates the pilots but they don't provide pilots to the airlines.... the TSA can certify and regulate the security but not provide the security guards.

It would save the taxpayer money, it would save the passengers time, it would actually have a chance of securing aviation from many more threats than it does now, and best of all by not being the ones groping and touching the traveling public it would solve the Constitutional problems of the current system being a violation of our Fourth and Fifth Amendment Rights. That makes it a win-win-win-win.

RB said...

GSOLTSO said...


"Whether you reject the answer or not is immaterial, you ARE actually discussing the operation of the machine at the base level - ....

West
TSA Blog Team

October 21, 2014 at 10:55 AM"

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

Exactly how does disclosing if the cloth swabs are reused or not encompass a discussion of the operation of the ETD machine at any level?

The cloth swab, patch, or testing media, call it what you will, is completely separate from the ETD machine. We already know that the media is rubbed on items to pick up trace amounts of possible explosives and drugs and then inserted into the ETD machine for processing. Even knowing that the question asking if the media is reused or not does not reveal any capabilities of the ETD machine directly or indirectly.

You know that I will not drop this topic and that I will continue to press for an answer. Especially since TSA is potentially engaged in a practice that endangers the public health.

Dirty gloves, ETD patches and such can easily transmit flu and other viruses. The public has a right to be free from exposure to disease by TSA and I believe that TSA has an obligation to use safe practices when screening people.

SSSS for Some Reason said...

GSOLTSO said...
SSSS sez - "Why is this newsworthy?"

The .22 rounds are newsworthy because of the artful concealment method (and the fact that they are included in one of the core three things we are searching for WEI). It is important because an individual can use the same concealment method for something that could be more harmful than a pair of .22 bullets - which can still kill you fairly easily, just in case anyone forgot that.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Yes, they could have hid something more dangerous, but they didn't. They hid a couple of small caliber bullets.

And, again, two small caliber bullets COULD kill you, but without the firearm to make them work correctly the odds are pretty close to zero of that happening.

Unless, of course, they were slipped into your drink and you choked on one.

To be clear, I am not suggesting the passenger was correct in carrying bullets without proper packaging, I am just pointing out that it was two bullets and the only threat to anyone was to the tailor who made the shirt. Hardly a security catch worth crowing on about.

RB said...

Anonymous said...


ALL AIRPORT WORKERS ARE SCREENED.


October 21, 2014 at 10:52 AM

.................
All airport workers are screened?

100% of the time when entering the sterile area?

As TSA is so fond of saying they have to get it right 100% of the time.

If TSA is not screening airport workers each and every time they enter the sterile area then TSA isn't getting it right 1% of the time.

Susan Richart said...

Our Anonymous friend who supports that TSA in everything it does and doesn't seem to have the little gray matter necessary to critically think about much of anything states:

"These items are NOT false alarms."

The GAO says otherwise:

"In addition, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which conducted the audit, determined that TSA does not track AIT false alarm rates and does not track pat-down rates. “This could lead to inefficiencies and excess cost,” GAO said in the public version of its classified audit report.

http://tinyurl.com/oftael9l

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

Susan Richart said...

"They are NOt naked body scanners as you know, and have not been for years. What makes you think they are getting false alarms? This ughta show your ignorance..."

From the same URL submitted concerning false alarms:

"Pursuant to the Federal Aviation Administration Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, TSA was mandated to ensure AIT systems were equipped with ATR software that displays generic outlines of passengers rather than actual images by June 1, 2013."

Now I am certain that our Anonymous friend won't be able to understand the above, but I have at least tried. :-)

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

Anonymous said...

The Naked Scanners, or whatever you want to call them if you don't like the term Naked Scanner... useless. To date they have nothing that couldn't have been found with the Walk-Through-Metal Detectors.

How do you know this? Do you have statistics to support this claim?
--------------------------------

All airport workers are screened?

100% of the time when entering the sterile area?

As TSA is so fond of saying they have to get it right 100% of the time.

If TSA is not screening airport workers each and every time they enter the sterile area then TSA isn't getting it right 1% of the time.

how often they are screened irrelevant. Fact is, they are.

And as said above...

Number of terrorist attempts from a US based flight since TSA...ZERO.

The record speaks for itself.

Anonymous said...

The body scanners may be great for people with metal implants, but they are terrible for people with insulin pumps. All of the major pump manufacturers tell their users not to go through the scanners because the scanners can damage the pump.

That means that the pump user has to get an "enhanced" patdown. It seems excessive to get on a plane. The patdown seems more suited to a jail than an airport. Also, opting out because of the pump seems to lead to mocking and coercion to go through the scanner anyway, especially at ORD.

Anonymous said...

If you can randomly test liquids at the gate, why can't you randomly test them at the checkpoint? I've also seen bottled liquid scanners at checkpoints but they never seem to be used. What makes (5) 100 ml bottles safe but (1) 500 ml bottle of the same liquid dangerous? Would putting the 500 ml bottle in a ziplock bag make it safer?

Read Something said...

Wow, West did you guys hire an intern? Some new TSAnonymous who believes the less your management shoved down his throat just can't accept the facts, eh?

Wintermute said...

Anonymous said...
"Lets see...liquids can be made into explosives very easily"

I have yet to see any proof that this is true, so if you'd like to prove it, I'm all ears.

Anonymous said...
"RB--is it hard to figure out why the TSA doesn't want to discuss with you their security procedures in open forum? The rest of us have."

RB was not asking anything security related. He was asking something health related.

Anonymous said...
Anonymous said...
As always, absolutely nothing you needed your slow, invasive, and ineffective naked body scanners to detect. Meanwhile, how many people suffered physical searches thanks to false alarms on these useless machines?

Anonymous said...
"What you don't seem to understand is the people that have metal replacement parts that have to get a pat down for alarming the metal detector"

Actually, a hand wand would me much more effective in clearing those alarms.

GSOLTSO said...

SSSS sez - "No, the TSA is not making things better one teeny-tiny bit. Well, they are providing a lovely blog here that is very entertaining, but I don't think that was in their mission planning."

Hah! I see what you did there...

SSSS also sez - "Yes, they could have hid something more dangerous, but they didn't. They hid a couple of small caliber bullets.

And, again, two small caliber bullets COULD kill you, but without the firearm to make them work correctly the odds are pretty close to zero of that happening.

Unless, of course, they were slipped into your drink and you choked on one."

Agreed, 2 .22 bullets are a small item to worry about, but the method of concealment and the fact that someone was attempting to conceal a base component of firearm operation is the important part. Most people would never believe half of the things we find while trying to make certain no WEI get on the planes. Most people would not even consider the ways that people conceal/attempt to conceal all forms of items. Most likely, this was not there for nefarious intent on this airplane, but the fact that they were attempting to circumvent screening needs to be mentioned.

A .22 round is one of the easiest types of firearm rounds that can be used without an actual firearm. It is a rimfire cartridge, and small enough that you can fire it fairly easily, and there are any number of items in the average travelers pack that could be used as a barrel. Of course, the passenger could also choke on it if it slipped into their drink, you are correct.

Read Something sez - "Wow, West did you guys hire an intern?"

I have not seen anything on an intern, and if we did, they would have a handle. It just shows that not all people that post here feel the same way.

Wintermute sez - "I have yet to see any proof that this is true, so if you'd like to prove it, I'm all ears."

I have included the links to Dr. Sidney Alford making up a "soda" bomb and blowing a hole in the side of an airplane several times. I will remain convinced by his commentary and demonstrations on the viability of a liquid bomb plot.

West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

West,

I watched the "soda bomb" video you linked to. With the correct chemicals obviously a plane can be severely damaged. The question is how does the liquid restrictions prevent this from happening?

In the video the man creates a bomb using some powder and a liquid. I'm not sure if any other ingredients are used. The amount of liquid fills a soda bottle. What is stopping someone from bringing the same volume of liquid in small bottles and combining them later? That is what doesn't make sense about the liquid ban. The same volume of liquid is being brought on board.

I did notice in the video that the man says there will likely be a lot of failures. It's somewhat cut off but that leads me to believe that this bomb is unstable and will not work as intended or will kill the bomber before it can be placed.

RB said...

Anonymous said...

"how often they are screened irrelevant. Fact is, they are."

October 21, 2014 at 2:57 PM

...................
Actually how often airport workers are screened is highly relevant.

If the standard is only being subject to screening then that standard is faulty as it only takes one time to have a weapon or bomb slip pass security to bring down an airplane.

And isn't it TSA's Prime Directive to stop bombs or other WEI from entering the sterile area? How can TSA accomplish that goal unless they screen 100% of all people who enter the sterile area on each entry?

My friend you appear to be so constipated that your little brain has had its oxygen cut off.

Susan Richart said...

West, Sidney Alford is 1. a paid consultant to the British government and 2. concocted all his "bombs" in carefully controlled conditions, which could not be duplicated by a bunch of kids playing around with Tang.

For you to claim that his "work" supports your claims is disingenuous at best.

Find someone not paid by a government entity and then maybe your comment would have some semblance of the truth.

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

GSOLTSO said...

Susan sez - "West, Sidney Alford is 1. a paid consultant to the British government and 2. concocted all his "bombs" in carefully controlled conditions, which could not be duplicated by a bunch of kids playing around with Tang.

For you to claim that his "work" supports your claims is disingenuous at best.

Find someone not paid by a government entity and then maybe your comment would have some semblance of the truth."

So you are going to discount the professional opinion of someone that has 40+ years of working in Chemistry and almost 40 years of working in explosives on a professional level - because they do some contract work for the British, American and Australian governments? Wow. You may as well discount the vast majority of industry leaders and advisors to all forms of business - because most of the really good ones do at least some form of consulting or contracting with governments all over the world.

Anon sez - "I did notice in the video that the man says there will likely be a lot of failures. It's somewhat cut off but that leads me to believe that this bomb is unstable and will not work as intended or will kill the bomber before it can be placed."

Dr Alford does indeed indicate that there will most likely be failures in the process. This is a part of a much larger documentary that I can not find linked online anymore (curse you BBC online!!!). Instability is one of the bigger problems facing someone that would want to use something of this nature to blow up an airplane, but there are fairly simple ways (at least according to the explosives experts I have worked with) to stabilize something with additives - at least stabilize it enough to get through a checkpoint and on to a plane.

West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

West,

I'm sure someone with more chemistry knowledge might be able to figure out a way to stabilize the chemicals.

I'm not seeing how the liquid restrictions would stop this. If he made this with a half liter bottle of liquid, then somebody could easily divide that liquid into a few smaller bottles and carry them through security.

I can see the logic in limiting the total amount of liquids, but I don't see the logic for limiting the size of the bottle. The zip lock bag limits the total volume. Why does it matter if there is two large bottles or six small bottles?

I think the liquid restrictions should be relaxed or removed completely. Throw in some random testing of liquids and I think we would be just as safe.

RB said...

GSOLTSO said...
Susan sez - "West, Sidney Alford is 1. a paid consultant to the British government and 2. concocted all his "bombs" in carefully controlled conditions, which could not be duplicated by a bunch of kids playing around with Tang.

For you to claim that his "work" supports your claims is disingenuous at best.

Find someone not paid by a government entity and then maybe your comment would have some semblance of the truth."

So you are going to discount the professional opinion of someone that has 40+ years of working in Chemistry and almost 40 years of working in explosives on a professional level - because they do some contract work for the British, American and Australian governments? Wow. You may as well discount the vast majority of industry leaders and advisors to all forms of business - because most of the really good ones do at least some form of consulting or contracting with governments all over the world.

Anon sez - "I did notice in the video that the man says there will likely be a lot of failures. It's somewhat cut off but that leads me to believe that this bomb is unstable and will not work as intended or will kill the bomber before it can be placed."

Dr Alford does indeed indicate that there will most likely be failures in the process. This is a part of a much larger documentary that I can not find linked online anymore (curse you BBC online!!!). Instability is one of the bigger problems facing someone that would want to use something of this nature to blow up an airplane, but there are fairly simple ways (at least according to the explosives experts I have worked with) to stabilize something with additives - at least stabilize it enough to get through a checkpoint and on to a plane.

West
TSA Blog Team

October 22, 2014 at 11:35 AM
.....................
Under what conditions could a person transport a one part liquid explosive and not have that item go boom at the wrong time?

Or if it is two + part(s) under what conditions can the various parts be mixed without having a lab available.

And the final questions, the ones that completely destroy TSA's credibility is why several 100 ML containers are safe when the same amount in one bottle is not safe or why these too dangerous to fly liquids can be safely tossed into common garbage right at the checkpoint.

TSA's procedures in this area prove that the threat from a liquid based explosive is unlikely.

People see when you do stupid things TSA!

Anonymous said...

"I don't understand how people can forget what happened on 9/11 - the way the hijackers were able to breeze through security, the types of weapons they used to take the planes down..."

Box-cutters were allowed at the time. Your point is not valid.

"...People become angry that their drinks are "taken" etc and that they are being screened at all..."

People are angry because screening is overly invasive to the point of violating civil and human rights and ultimately ineffective. People are not angry simply because screening exists.

"...instead of researching how water or soda can be an initiator for an IED..."

The same water and soda available for sale past the TSA checkpoint? The same water and soda that can be brought through in multiple small bottles without any trouble?

"...instead of realizing there isn't a profile for what a "terrorist looks like" - because it could be anyone..."

I agree. PreCheck is useless.

"...Everything that passengers bring through a checkpoint that isn't allowed to fly is disposed of in mass quantities...."

It's tossed in a garbage bin or auctioned off as government surplus, unless the passenger is somehow able to get to the bag they've already checked.

"...Not because they could all be secret weapons, but because they're a known risk..."

Every item is a risk. A stiletto heel or a pencil can be used to stab. A power cable or a belt can be used to strangle. A laptop computer or a book can be used to bludgeon. Bare hands can be used to punch.

Anonymous said...

...Alarming on sweat, pleats and buttons IS NOT a false alarm. Perhaps you should design a better method...

...An "alarm" is simply a notification of anomoly. Are these things an anomoly? Absolutly. are they a threat? No, of course not.

...But the machine can only detect anomolies which the officer mus then verify and clear... These items are NOT false alarms.


You haven't read about the boy who cried wolf, have you?

And do you really want TSA wasting resources on sweat and pleats? It's okay to demand better of the government, you know!

Susan Richart said...

West wrote: "So you are going to discount the professional opinion of someone that has 40+ years of working in Chemistry and almost 40 years of working in explosives on a professional level - because they do some contract work for the British, American and Australian governments? Wow."

Yes, I do discount his statements and "proofs" because he is too close to the British government and will say what they want him to say in order to keep his contracts.

Along the same lines, I discounted the TSA's claims that backscatter AIT was "safe."

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

Anonymous said...

"How do you know this? Do you have statistics to support this claim?"

Yes. TSA's own blotter posts, posted nearly every Friday for quite some time now, make it very clear that the naked body scanners are finding absolutely NOTHING that is dangerous; indeed, their conspicuous failure to detect anything dangerous led Curtis Burns to stop mentioning them for quite a while until the absence was noted in a comment a few weeks ago. Since then, the blog has noted finding a bottle of completely harmless liquid each week.

No explosives. No bombs. No firearms.

Meanwhile, thousands of people, each and every week, are forced to undergo invasive physical searches because TSA rushed to use slow and ineffective screening technology. And all the blather West Cooper and Curtis Burns can muster does nothing to change the fact that the naked body scanners don't work, don't make anyone safer, and have never found anything that endangers anyone.

Pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Flying has always been part of my career. I appreciate what you guys do to keep me and fellow travelers safe. I always tell the TSA agents of my gratitude on all my business trips. Most anti government people will criticize any form of federal authority. The only reason TSA is criticized is because it is a government agency. If it's not this agency it will be another, I know I live a few miles from the border and around here Border Patrol is all people ever talk about. To all the nay sayers here I would like you to remember the positives when flying and see they outweigh the negative or presumed negative experiences.
Mark

RB said...

I notice that in this weeks TSA post that the first picture is a handgun supposedly found at LAS but when one takes a look at the list of airports and guns found LAS isn't listed at all.

Is the copy and pasting starting to catch up with the blog team?

Anonymous said...

"An "alarm" is simply a notification of anomoly. Are these things an anomoly? Absolutly. are they a threat? No, of course not. But the machine can only detect anomolies which the officer mus then verify and clear..
These items are NOT false alarms."

They're the very definition of false alarms: They are alarms that take place for no good reason. If your smoke alarm at home went off every time you took a hot shower and the ambient temperature of your home went up a few degrees, would you consider that a false alarm? Or would that simply be an "anomoly" [sic] that your alarm did a good job detecting, never mind the inconvenience and hassle of turning off the smoke alarm every time you bathed?

Susan Richart said...

"And do you really want TSA wasting resources on sweat and pleats? It's okay to demand better of the government, you know!"

This is most likely the reason why the TSA won't do a study on false alarms as requested by the GAO - they don't want anyone to know that their machines alarm on such nonsense.

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

Anonymous said...

Why do so many TSA clerks misspell the word "anomaly"?

RB said...

Anonymous said...
"An "alarm" is simply a notification of anomoly. Are these things an anomoly? Absolutly. are they a threat? No, of course not. But the machine can only detect anomolies which the officer mus then verify and clear..
These items are NOT false alarms."
....
They're the very definition of false alarms: They are alarms that take place for no good reason. If your smoke alarm at home went off every time you took a hot shower and the ambient temperature of your home went up a few degrees, would you consider that a false alarm? Or would that simply be an "anomoly" [sic] that your alarm did a good job detecting, never mind the inconvenience and hassle of turning off the smoke alarm every time you bathed?

October 23, 2014 at 9:30 AM

......................
Legislation that allows TSA to conduct a Limited Administrative Search is clear that the search can only be for WEI.

Isn't a search for "Anomalies" a clear violation of the Limited Administrative Search doctrine?
............................

GSOLTSO said...

RB sez - "I notice that in this weeks TSA post that the first picture is a handgun supposedly found at LAS but when one takes a look at the list of airports and guns found LAS isn't listed at all.

Is the copy and pasting starting to catch up with the blog team?"

Please note the following disclaimer on all weekly posts -

*In order to provide a timely weekly update, this data is compiled from a preliminary report. The year-end numbers will vary slightly from what is reported in the weekly updates. However, any monthly, midyear or end-of-year numbers TSA provides on this blog or elsewhere will be actual numbers and not estimates.

Susan sez - "Yes, I do discount his statements and "proofs" because he is too close to the British government and will say what they want him to say in order to keep his contracts."

That is entirely your right, and we will simply have to disagree.

Anon sez - "Why do so many TSA clerks misspell the word "anomaly"?"

1. Not all of the comments are necessarily from TSA employees, they are anon as well.

2. Come on man, Anomaly is tough to work with some days.

Anon sez - "And all the blather West Cooper and Curtis Burns can muster"

Oh come now, I am not nearly as long winded as I used to be.

West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said... The only reason TSA is criticized is because it is a government agency"

No.

I criticize the TSA because they aren't doing what they claim they are there to do.

Eight Billion dollars of my money (not all of it is mine, but as a tax payer at least a couple of the dollars came from me) is wasted every year for the shoe carnival, the magic-zippy-bag that makes liquid safe, and the countless toys that are prohibited because some ninny somewhere might be scared by them.

There is a lot to criticize the TSA about, them being a Government Entity is actually pretty far down the list.

Anonymous said...

I'm still confused on the liquid restrictions. I have a tube of toothpaste that is 5.8 oz. I also have a couple of tubes that are 2.7 oz. Any of these tubes will fit in a quart size zip lock bag. Why can I bring two of the smaller tubes through security but I can't bring a single large tube? The total volume is approximately the same.

I just want the TSA to answer that question. Why does it matter the size of the individual container when the total volume allowed is limited by the size of the zip lock bag?

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "I'm still confused on the liquid restrictions. I have a tube of toothpaste that is 5.8 oz. I also have a couple of tubes that are 2.7 oz. Any of these tubes will fit in a quart size zip lock bag. Why can I bring two of the smaller tubes through security but I can't bring a single large tube? The total volume is approximately the same.

I just want the TSA to answer that question. Why does it matter the size of the individual container when the total volume allowed is limited by the size of the zip lock bag?"

The best answer I can give you, is an old blog post from Kip Hawley outlining the reasoning behind the implementation and ensuing adjustments of the liquids ban in 2008.

West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

I continue to be intertained. Bacause TSA has not "caught" a terrorist or the body scanners have not "caught" a gun or explosive, they are ineffective. With that logic, fire bottles are ineffective because my kitchen has not caught fire. My car insurance is ineffective because I have not had a trffic accident. My fench is ineffective because my dog has not tried to jump. I dont need locks on my doors because nobody is trying to get in.
You know why people tend to not steal cars with alarms? They are affraid they may get caught. They steer away from houses with alarms beause they may get caught.
Did you ever think that perhaps they dont try to get guns throough the scanners because they may get caught. Perhaps just the fact that TSA has so many different types of screening, people with ill intent are staying clear of TSA checkpoints. Just maybe? All I know is, as someone said earlier, since the inception of TSA, not a sinigle terrorist attack has been attempted on a US based flight. Im good with that statistic.

SSSS for Some Reason said...

GSOLTSO said...
Anon sez - "I'm still confused on the liquid restrictions.....

The best answer I can give you, is an old blog post from Kip Hawley outlining the reasoning behind the implementation and ensuing adjustments of the liquids ban in 2008.

~~~~~~~~~~

Thank you for the link and for the stroll down memory lane.

But.....

That link does nothing to actually answer the questions around the 3-1-1 rule.

Mr Hawley said in that linked article "...That is the trade-off: if 3-1-1 is too complicated, you can always just check your bag."

It isn't a question of being complicated, it is a question of being effective.

First, why is 20 ounces OK separated into three ounce bottles inside a zippy bag deemed safe, but 16 ounces in one bottle is deemed dangerous?

Second, if that one 16 ounce bottle is so dangerous why is it just tossed into the bin next to the scanners?

I am one of the good guys, or so my security clearance says, and even I can see the threat inherent in your practice of throwing stuff in the bin like it isn't dangerous. For example... Terrorist One winds his way through the line with Bad-Stuff Part A in a bottle. Nope, not going through and into the trash bin it goes. Terrorist Two winds his way through the line with Bad-Stuff Part B in a bottle. Nope, not going through and into the trash bin it goes. Now you have a situation where the TSA itself has put together the fabled liquid-bomb by its own security measures. Your policy is now responsible for the damages and possible deaths because you *said* you were basing your policy on risk without ever actually analyzing the risks in your policy. If you are truly going to have a risk-based plan you have to analyze ALL of the risks, not just the ones the bad guys are supposedly bringing.

Like I said, thank you for that link. And thank you for trying to answer the question. You didn't actually answer the question but I appreciate that you tried.

RB said...

GSOLTSO said...
Anon sez - "I'm still confused on the liquid restrictions. I have a tube of toothpaste that is 5.8 oz. I also have a couple of tubes that are 2.7 oz. Any of these tubes will fit in a quart size zip lock bag. Why can I bring two of the smaller tubes through security but I can't bring a single large tube? The total volume is approximately the same.

I just want the TSA to answer that question. Why does it matter the size of the individual container when the total volume allowed is limited by the size of the zip lock bag?"

The best answer I can give you, is an old blog post from Kip Hawley outlining the reasoning behind the implementation and ensuing adjustments of the liquids ban in 2008.

West
TSA Blog Team


October 24, 2014 at 10:25 AM

......................
And in the post that West linked to is item #4, which completely destroys the 100 ml restriction.


"4. The preparation of these bombs is very much more complex than tossing together several bottles-worth of formula and lighting it up. In fact, in recent tests, a National Lab was asked to formulate a test mixture and it took several tries using the best equipment and best scientists for it to even ignite. That was with a bomb prepared in advance in a lab setting. A less skilled person attempting to put it together inside a secure area or a plane is not a good bet. You have to have significant uninterrupted time with space and other requirements that are not easily available in a secured area of an airport. It adds complexity to their preferred model and reduces our risk, having the expert make the bomb and give it to someone else to carry aboard. They are well aware of the Richard Reid factor where he could not even ignite a completed bomb. Simple is truly better for them. Also, bomb-makers are easier for us to identify than so-called clean 'mules.'"

RB said...

GSOLTSO said...
Anon sez - "I'm still confused on the liquid restrictions. I have a tube of toothpaste that is 5.8 oz. I also have a couple of tubes that are 2.7 oz. Any of these tubes will fit in a quart size zip lock bag. Why can I bring two of the smaller tubes through security but I can't bring a single large tube? The total volume is approximately the same.

I just want the TSA to answer that question. Why does it matter the size of the individual container when the total volume allowed is limited by the size of the zip lock bag?"

The best answer I can give you, is an old blog post from Kip Hawley outlining the reasoning behind the implementation and ensuing adjustments of the liquids ban in 2008.

West
TSA Blog Team


October 24, 2014 at 10:25 AM
.................
In further study of the information that West linked to we see another gaping hole.

The container itself adds complexity. A 100ml container limits the effect of, and even the ability of, a detonation. It also forces a more precise mix, and a lot more boost -- which makes it easier to detect from that side. Even creative ways to smuggle liquids in are less effective because, eventually, they still have to mix it right and get it into the right container, etc. There are also issues with what kind of container you use, but let's leave them to puzzle that out further...

Limiting the containers to 100 ml makes it difficult to make a complex weapon. But, TSA allows you to bring an empty container that could be used to consolidate the several 100 ml bottles of whatever right through a TSA checkpoint.

AT this point I'm guessing the people making up TSA policy all headed to the bar, got smashed, and set around seeing who could come up with the most outrageous excuses for real security.

TSA's LGA policy does not pass the sniff test.

Anonymous said...

At one time it was reported that TSA missed 70% of test items. Lets assume that is true.

Customs misses about 90% of illegals and 95% of smuggeled drugs.

Why is nobody complaining about the failures of customs?
Dont they also question people without cause? Dont they check your belongings without cause?
Dont they slow down the boarder crossings doing unwarranted searches? Dont they cost billions each year?
compaired to not one terrorist attack or attempt on an American based flight.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...With that logic, fire bottles are ineffective because my kitchen has not caught fire. My car insurance is ineffective because I have not had a trffic accident

~~~~~~~

Then you don't understand how those things work.

Fire Bottles do not prevent fire, nor are they designed to prevent fire. They are designed to extinguish a fire after it starts. To put that to a logical comparison Fire Bottles are to fires what Handcuffs are to Police.

Car insurance does not increase your driving safety in any way because it is only used after an incident, not before. To put that to a logical comparison Auto Insurance is to driving what aircraft oxygen masks are to passengers after a decompression event.

"....All I know is, as someone said earlier, since the inception of TSA, not a sinigle terrorist attack has been attempted on a US based flight. Im good with that statistic."

We're good that you're good with it. The TSA doesn't, however, get the credit for that statistic any more than your auto insurance gets the credit for your safe driving.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I continue to be intertained. Bacause TSA has not "caught" a terrorist or the body scanners have not "caught" a gun or explosive, they are ineffective. With that logic, fire bottles are ineffective because my kitchen has not caught fire. My car insurance is ineffective because I have not had a trffic accident. My fench is ineffective because my dog has not tried to jump. I dont need locks on my doors because nobody is trying to get in.
You know why people tend to not steal cars with alarms? They are affraid they may get caught. They steer away from houses with alarms beause they may get caught.
Did you ever think that perhaps they dont try to get guns throough the scanners because they may get caught. Perhaps just the fact that TSA has so many different types of screening, people with ill intent are staying clear of TSA checkpoints. Just maybe? All I know is, as someone said earlier, since the inception of TSA, not a sinigle terrorist attack has been attempted on a US based flight. Im good with that statistic.

October 24, 2014 at 11:56 AM

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

That's the problem. How do you know if the TSA is more effective than pre-TSA security? There have been no attacks but the 9/11 attacks would have still been successful if the TSA was there because boxcutters were permitted and the terrorists had valid boarding passes.

All I know is that my tiger repellent rock has kept me safe from tigers. I've never been attacked by a tiger since I started carrying it so it must work.

Anonymous said...

West,

The Kip Hawley doesn't really help. If somebody has gone as far as figuring out how to create a liquid bomb, they probably have a way to combine bottles.

I think easing the liquid restrictions would bring some goodwill towards the TSA. I don't see it being less safe if a regular size tube of toothpaste or a bottle of water was allowed. I don't think it would be poorly received like permitting small knives was.

Anonymous said...

"Perhaps just the fact that TSA has so many different types of screening, people with ill intent are staying clear of TSA checkpoints. Just maybe?"

Is your "maybe" worth $8 billion dollars per year?

Maybe I would like to see actual proof that TSA procedures work. Maybe I would like to see independently reviewable cost-benefit assessments. FWIW, the GAO issued a report that debunked at least one TSA procedure, and a university recently released a study concluding that TSA doesn't understand how to deter an intelligent terrorist.

"All I know is, as someone said earlier, since the inception of TSA, not a sinigle terrorist attack has been attempted on a US based flight. Im good with that statistic."

Before 9/11, passengers cooperated with hijackers. Now they won't. What if that change in mindset is enough to deter terrorists? Wouldn't you like to know if it is, so that we can stop wasting billions of taxpayer dollars? Demand proof from TSA that it is spending taxpayer dollars effectively!

Anonymous said...

I know how important your job is and I apreciate everything you do.
the extra time it takes to get through security is ok with me.
Thank you
Lisa

Neal Sonn said...

To the poor spelling TSAnonymous - no, you are incorrect. The TSA misses about 100 guns every week that are in the cabins of up to 100 planes. And zero incidents have occurred. Zero.Because the people caring those guns on the planes are NOT terrorists and have no intention of trying to kill themselves and now up the plane.

Your bosses at the TSA admitted in a court of law that no terrorist is even trying to attack planes.

So all of the billions in confiscated property...all of the billions of naked photos taken of innocent people...all of the billions of dollars and hours wasted...all of the millions of innocent people sexually assaulted by the TSA...

Was for nothing. It didn't stop a terrorist. It didn't make flying safer. It didn't do any of the good intentions the TSA allegedly has.

All it did was steal and assault billions of innocent people.

What a disgusting waste.

Wintermute said...

TSAnonymous said...

"Bacause TSA has not "caught" a terrorist or the body scanners have not "caught" a gun or explosive, they are ineffective. "

No, that is not why they are ineffective. They are ineffective because they miss ~70% of threat items in red-team tests. And ~100% of alarms on the naked scanners have been false alarms (the number of actual items found by them is miniscule). If I did my job that poorly, I'd get fired.

RB said...

Anonymous said...
At one time it was reported that TSA missed 70% of test items. Lets assume that is true.

Customs misses about 90% of illegals and 95% of smuggeled drugs.

Why is nobody complaining about the failures of customs?
Dont they also question people without cause? Dont they check your belongings without cause?
Dont they slow down the boarder crossings doing unwarranted searches? Dont they cost billions each year?
compaired to not one terrorist attack or attempt on an American based flight.

October 24, 2014 at 2:02 PM
..........................
Is this a CBP blog?

RB said...

Anonymous said...
I know how important your job is and I apreciate everything you do.
the extra time it takes to get through security is ok with me.
Thank you
Lisa

October 24, 2014 at 9:46 PM
.............................
And I just threw up in my mouth Lisa.

Anonymous said...

Wintermute said...
"No, that is not why they are ineffective. They are ineffective because they miss ~70% of threat items in red-team tests."

I think you misunderstood what the purpose of a Red Team test is.

Not Bob said...

Hey TSAnonymous (Bob?)

When you link to articles quoting Blotter Bob, your circular logic is showing.

Just because the TSA says their failures don't matter doesn't mean their failures don't matter.

Anonymous said...

"...Why is nobody complaining about the failures of customs? ...compaired to not one terrorist attack or attempt on an American based flight."

What does CBP's record have to do with TSA's?

And where is your evidence that TSA has deterred any terror attacks?

Anonymous said...

"I think you misunderstood what the purpose of a Red Team test is."

You think an explanation from the editor of a homeland security trade magazine is an objective source?!?

Here is how the magazine describes itself:

"Its target audience are officials with homeland security responsibilities at all levels of federal, state and local government, as well as executives of the industries that manufacture the technologies government uses to ensure the nation is protected from terrorism and prepared for every type of man-made and natural disaster. These are the policy- and decision-makers who make the tough choices and the major purchases and sales of the technologies that are employed to keep us safe and secure."

That magazine is primarily about selling technology and secondarily about back-patting.

GSOLTSO said...

SSSS sez - "Like I said, thank you for that link. And thank you for trying to answer the question. You didn't actually answer the question but I appreciate that you tried."

You are quite welcome, sorry said answers are not always to your liking or as informative as you might wish, but we do have to hold to the SSI regulations. I almost exclusively operate with what I can link to on DHS/TSA pages here. If I don't have a page or a Blog Thread to link, sometimes I don't have much info I can put out at all. I also understand that can be frustrating for the readers, but it is also frustrating for us, because we are unable to explain why we do certain things that can be confusing or create challenges for passengers.

Anon sez - "The Kip Hawley doesn't really help. If somebody has gone as far as figuring out how to create a liquid bomb, they probably have a way to combine bottles.

I think easing the liquid restrictions would bring some goodwill towards the TSA. I don't see it being less safe if a regular size tube of toothpaste or a bottle of water was allowed. I don't think it would be poorly received like permitting small knives was."

I can not argue the points you make above. I also can not help but agree that a change in the LAG ban would be welcomed by the vast majority if it were to move in a direction that was less restrictive. At this point, the threat remains something that is viable and needs to be screened for this way per the current regulations and information/intel.

RB sez - "And I just threw up in my mouth Lisa."

I think we can classify this under TMI...

Anon sez - "And where is your evidence that TSA has deterred any terror attacks?"

This argument cuts both ways though, where is your proof that it has not actually been a deterrent? The deterrent/non-deterrent arguments are next to impossible to prove or disprove - there are simply too many variables to state either way.

West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Anon sez - "And where is your evidence that TSA has deterred any terror attacks?"

This argument cuts both ways though, where is your proof that it has not actually been a deterrent?...


I like you, West. I am impressed by the grace with which you handle questions and comments here.

To answer your question, TSA foiling a terror plot would be all over the media if it had happened. Foiling a terror plot would be used to justify every controversial decision that the agency has made. It would be used to justify future budget requests. TSA employees would be briefed about it, if only to boost reportedly low morale within the agency.

RB said...

This argument cuts both ways though, where is your proof that it has not actually been a deterrent? The deterrent/non-deterrent arguments are next to impossible to prove or disprove - there are simply too many variables to state either way.
West TSA Blog Team October 29, 2014 at 1:42 PM

*****************************
With a budget of over $8 Billion Dollars each year I think the impetus is on TSA to demonstrate to taxpayers that our tax monies are not being wasted.

Wintermute said...

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "And where is your evidence that TSA has deterred any terror attacks?"

This argument cuts both ways though,


Actually, it doesn't. Government agencies, other than TSA, generally have to have some proof of their effectiveness in order to justify their budgets. Somehow TSA manages to avoid this. By yelling "terrorism" and hiding behind SSI, as you are so apt to do when non-answering questions.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"When you link to articles quoting Blotter Bob, your circular logic is showing."

Okay, don’t be surprised if no one takes you seriously. I just wanted to make sure you knew how government (includes CBP, local and state agencies, contractors.. ect.) uses these test. TSA didn’t invent this type of testing and took it over from the FAA. I’m not sure what kind of points your guys are trying to make.

Anonymous said...

Is this property you steal from peaceful people under threat of violent force returned to them, unaltered, at some point?

Anonymous said...

We're saying the TSA is an abject failure, as proven by their own tests.