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Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Transportation Security Administration

What to Know Before You Go

Friday, April 10, 2009

All I’ve done here is basically take all of the links for air travelers from TSA.gov and placed them on one page. You can bookmark this or copy and paste it and save it on your desktop.

To stay up to date, follow this link and you can subscribe to an e-mail announcement service that will notify you as changes are made.

What would you like to know that you can’t find in these links? Please take a look and post a comment with your suggestions.

How to Get Through the Line Faster
Step-By-Step Screening (WMV, 3 MB)Female business traveler (WMV, 3 MB)Male business traveler (WMV, 3 MB)Traveling with a baby or small child (WMV, 3 MB)Travelers with special needs (WMV, 3 MB)Ad Council 3 Simple Steps to Security Video (WMV, 3.5 MB)

Liquid Rules: 3-1-1 for Carry-Ons
Why the bag?
Learn more about packing your liquids and gels
Important information on duty-free items

Prohibited Items

Acceptable Identification at the Checkpoint
Click here to view samples of acceptable documents (PDF, 159 KB).
Safe Travel with Batteries & Devices
"Checkpoint Friendly" Laptop Bags
Special Items
Alcoholic Beverages
Batteries and Devices Camping Compressed Gas Cylinders Crematory Containers and Deceased Remains
Currency, Coins, Precious Metals, or Valuable Jewelry
Firearms & Ammunition
Food & Beverages (through security checkpoints) Hunting & Fishing Knitting Needles, Needlepoint & Sewing Lighters and Matches Medications Musical Instruments
Paintball Equipment Parachutes Pets
Photographic Equipment & Film
Scuba Equipment Service Animals Sporting Equipment

Baggage Locks
Safe Skies Luggage Locks
Travel Sentry

Travelers with Disabilities and Medical Conditions
Introduction
Before You Go
Tips For The Screening Process
Mobility Disabilities
Hearing Disabilities Visual Disabilities Hidden Disabilities Pacemakers, Defibrillators, Other Implanted Medical Devices, & Metal Implants Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Machine Medical Oxygen and Respiratory-Related Equipment
Diabetes
Medications
Assistive Devices and Mobility Aids Prosthetic Devices, Casts, and Body Braces Walkers, Crutches, and Canes Augmentation Devices Orthopedic Shoes, Support Appliances, and Exterior Medical Devices Dressings
Service Animals
Children with Disabilities
Medical Conditions and Special Situations Military Severely Injured Program

Traveling with Children
Travel Tips
Baby Formula, Breast Milk, Juice, and Other Liquids
Children with Disabilities

Customer Service
TSA Contact Center
Claims Management Office
Discrimination Lost & Found Screening Process Travel Links
Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP) Got Feedback

Have a great weekend!!!

Blogger Bob

EoS Blog Team

Tags: 

Comments

Submitted by Anonymous on

Great job-Bob

Signed
Flash

Submitted by Anonymous on

Bob, I've been to those links and read most of them. Not a one of them answers many of the questions posters have recently asked you to answer.

Submitted by Anonymous on

3.5" scissors ok
6" screwdriver ok
6" wrench ok

but a pocket knife with blade < 3 inches is outlawed? Is this security or theatre?

Submitted by Aaron on

After the incident in St. Louis, it seems like the TSA ought to have a section on how much cash one can carry through a security checkpoint.

Does cash pose a security risk on an airplane? Under what circumstances will cash trigger a secondary screening by the TSA?

Submitted by Anonymous on

"Is this security or theatre?"

Theatre. TSA has nothing at all to do with security.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Yes, sir, I have a question: Given the fact that another 9/11 style attack is no longer possible due to the fact that (a) cockpit doors are reinforced, (b) the CONOPS for flight crews has changed such that they know not to cooperate with hijackers, and (c) passengers have shown a willingness to beat the stuffing out of anyone who acts up on a plane, why then am I still prohibited from carrying a pocket knife?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Before I go through all the links-- Is this a comprehensive list of all of the rules and regulations that we are required to observe at the checkpoint? Or are there "secret rules" in order to defeat the bad guys and win the day for democracy?

Submitted by Anonymous on

How cool, a one stop listing of all the reasons that I don't travel by air anymore. Can't help but wonder what industries that the TSA will try to kill after air travel.
"Is this security or theatre?"

Theatre. TSA has nothing at all to do with security.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Why you wanna be a stinker?

Submitted by GSOLTSO on

Anon said - Does cash pose a security risk on an airplane? Under what circumstances will cash trigger a secondary screening by the TSA?

The times that having cash will trigger a secondary screening are

A)if the individual is travelling on an international flight and appears to have more than $10k there is a verification of proper declaration of the currency.

B) The density of the cash creates a situation where the bag it is in can not be cleared simply by looking at the image on the X-Ray.

C) During a bag search, other illegalm items in the bag trigger an escalation to a LEO response (drugs, gun, IED, etc).

There may be other situations that cause a search of the bag that have nothing to do with the money in the bag and the money may be searched to clear the bag. This is NOT an all encompassing list of situations, but it is a good list to operate from.

West
EOS Blog Team

Submitted by RB on

GSOLTSO said...
Anon said - Does cash pose a security risk on an airplane? Under what circumstances will cash trigger a secondary screening by the TSA?

The times that having cash will trigger a secondary screening are

A)if the individual is travelling on an international flight and appears to have more than $10k there is a verification of proper declaration of the currency.

......................
West, FICEN Form 105, the document used to declare over $10,000 to Customs, not TSA, does not indicate any requirement for TSA to involve itself at all with the transportation of cash regardless of amount.

This is another case where your agency has overstepped its charter.

Submitted by RB on

Bob, since the Liquid Rules you posted clearly state 3.4 ounces or 100 ml why does the signage in airports disagree with your information here?

Don't travelers deserve accurate information?

Submitted by Anonymous on

After going over the rules, it seems as easy to go through TSA security as it is to figure out the Internal Revenue Code. What of the made-up rules? Travelers are still required to follow even the made-up rules, aren't they?

Now that TSA is still after that traveler in St. Louis by logging in to blogs to threatening him with jail for carrying cash, it seems one cannot escape TSA. Is TSA worse than the Mafia? At least with the Mafia, you might get witness protection. Whose going to protect you from the government? I pity the poor fellow if he has to fly again. I'm sure TSA has him on the top of a list.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if TSA people had to follow rules?

Submitted by Anonymous on

West, why did you provide an uninformative non-answer to a legitimate question about the risk cash poses to air travel?

Submitted by TSORon on

RB Said:
“West, FICEN Form 105, the document used to declare over $10,000 to Customs, not TSA, does not indicate any requirement for TSA to involve itself at all with the transportation of cash regardless of amount.

This is another case where your agency has overstepped its charter.”

And this RB is the reason we pass these types of issues on to law enforcement. Its not our concern, but it IS a concern. Its also policy and directives that give us the authority to refer the concern to the appropriate venue.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"West, FICEN Form 105, the document used to declare over $10,000 to Customs, not TSA, does not indicate any requirement for TSA to involve itself at all with the transportation of cash regardless of amount.

This is another case where your agency has overstepped its charter."

If it is NOT declared, TSO's MUST notify Customs Officers, once they are notified and have taken charge of the situation TSA does nothing. Its a policy that we have to follow

Submitted by Ron on

When I try to use the "Stay up to date" link, I get an "E-mail address is too short (minimum length 6 characters). Please re-enter your secondary e-mail address." message... no matter what I put in the box (even nothing).

Submitted by Kellymae81 on

RB said:West, FICEN Form 105, the document used to declare over $10,000 to Customs, not TSA, does not indicate any requirement for TSA to involve itself at all with the transportation of cash regardless of amount.

This is really getting redundant, but I'll say it again. TSA does not "look" for cash, nor is it required to be declared to TSA. It is declared to customs for international flights. Our procedures clearly state in our SOP that if cash "appearing" to be over the amount of $10,000, we must notify a supervisor. If this situation arises, we are here as secondary confirmation that money is declared (if it is an international flight) and all is legal. That's it. That IS our procedure.
When a person becomes part of Law Enforcement, they are trained on the procedures they must follow. Does everyone like all the procedures of LE....no. Just b/c we think an agency should or should not have certain procedures, doesn't make it so. Unfortunately, we have to follow, regardless of what we think. If you resist a police officer, guess what, you'll get looked further into. That is THEIR procedures.
So when you repeatedly ask, Why? Why? Why? does TSA concern themselves with peoples cash? B/c it is trained procedure. If you don't like the answer to this question, fine. Argue all you want, the answer is not going to change. Please change the subject!

Kelly
EoS Blog Team

Submitted by Kellymae81 on

Anon said:Wouldn't it be wonderful if TSA people had to follow rules?

We do, thankyou. But you all just want to assume that when something bad is posted, all of TSA officers are corrupt and act in this manner. That could not be further from the truth. Out of the around 120 officers we have at my airport, I have never seen one act in this manner. Have a bad day and get a little rude?....maybe. We all have our bad days, but you guys see something once and assume we are all some US citizen hating cult. Not so!

Kelly
EoS Blog Team

Submitted by Anonymous on

alright guys go to the currancy reporting page of the tsa website

http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/assistant/editorial_1848.shtm

you can travel with as much money as you want out of the country as long as it has been declared to US Customs. If TSA finds an amount the looks like it exceedes the amount of 10,000, then the US.TSA must notify U.S Customs to make sure it has been declared.Traveling domesticaly there is no issue

TSA is not looking for large amounts of money but if they are searching a bag and happen to stumble on large amount of money that looks like it exceedes 10,000,drugs,drug paraphenilia then TSA MUST report it.

Submitted by Phil on

* Is it unlawful to photograph, film, or video record computer monitors at TSA checkpoints?

* Under what circumstances are passengers who wish to carry medication through a TSA airport checkpoint required to carry a doctor's prescription for that medication? Under what circumstances must passengers present that prescription?

* How does the No-Fly List process comply with the Constitutional protections against trial in absentia, the right to confront one's accuser, the right to a statement of the charges, and the right of due process?

* TSA bars passengers from securing their checked luggage in a manner that prevents TSA and others from opening that luggage. How does TSA ensure that items are not stolen from checked luggage after it is out of passengers' sight? How does TSA ensure that contraband is not inserted into checked luggage after it is out of passengers' sight?

* What does the TSA consider a liquid?

* If a passenger is selected for secondary screening, what provisions are made to secure that passenger's belongings from theft until the passenger rejoins his belongings?

* Why are persons evaluating full body screens hidden from the person being submitted to the scan? How can the person being scanned guarantee that the images generated are not being stored in some form, used inappropriately, or hacked into while being transmitted to the distant location in which they are currently analyzed?

* In checkpoints using MMW scans as primary screening instead of metal detectors, what is the standard operation regarding small children not capable of going through on their own? Are they all patted down? What body parts does the pat-down include? How are parents traveling alone with small children screened? Must they abandon their child in the check point area to go through the MMW?

* MMW images are analyzed in a "remote undisclosed location", but are not stored or transmitted in any form, according to TSA information. How do the images get from the scanners to the remote location if they are not transmitted?

* Where has TSA published a list of all the rules and regulations that TSA will subject someone to if that person wishes to cross a U.S. Government checkpoint at an airport en route to the gate from which his domestic flight will depart, not including laws that the person is required to abide by outside of the airport checkpoint (i.e., just those rules and regulations that apply specifically at the checkpoint)?

--
Phil
Add your own questions at TSAFAQ.net

Submitted by Anonymous on

So which is it, $10,000 or money that appears to be over $10,000, Kelly? Do you know what $10,000 looks like in all possible combinations of legal tender? Why not just be completely transparent and state that if you don't like the way the person looks any amount of money can look like $10,000 because clearly it did in St. Louis.

Why does the TSA care at all? How does cash threaten the safety of an airplane? Why not be redundant and answer that question Kelly before retreating once again to the safe haven of SSI "policy"?

Submitted by Abelard on
Our procedures clearly state in our SOP that if cash "appearing" to be over the amount of $10,000, we must notify a supervisor.

Then your SOP is garbage.

Your carte blanche is throwing the word "appearing" in to give cover to any TSA that calls law enforcement over to detain a person who "appears" to have more than $10K in their possession. How safe. How convenient. How comfortable to know that you can detain an innocent traveler because he or she "appears" to be carting more than $10K onto a plane.

The potential for abuse here is amazing. How is that "appearance" going to work, exactly, if I am traveling with converted currency?

For instance, you do know that Zimbabwe's currency right now is 25 million Zimbabwe dollars = $1.00 US dollar and that Zimbabwe is issuing up to 100 billion dollar notes, right? (Here's a link to see some of their current currency: http://tinyurl.com/djn923 )

To bring it even closer, the British Pound Sterling is at $1.46 U.S. So, I could feasibly have 12,000 Pounds Sterling in my possession but its U.S. dollar value is $8,219. Are TSO's educated enough to know that I am not carrying more than $10K USD out of the country?

And if they don't, why should I be subject to being detained because TSOs aren't currency literate?
Submitted by RB on

kellymae81 said...

When a person becomes part of Law Enforcement, they are trained on the procedures they must follow.
.....................

Are you now claiming that your Law Enforcement?


When following "Procedures " you as an individual are held accountable for following unlawful procedures.

Just because some suit in your agency signed off on some Operational Directive, such as the one that makes United States currency contraband, doesn't resolve you from responsibility if that order is unlawful.

In the case of making United States currency Contraband I believe your agency has erred badly.

And as said so many times, the carriage of currency can in no way threaten the safe conduct of a flight by a commercial aircraft.

Transport of currency should not be a TSA concern ever.

Your agency is wrong on this point and I will do everything I can to correct this wrong.

So if it's you or any other TSO that finds a big stack of money in my carry-on plan and says anything to anyone just know I will make an issue of your actions.

Submitted by TSO Jacob on

Anonymous said...

“Do you know what $10,000 looks like in all possible combinations of legal tender? Why not just be completely transparent and state that if you don't like the way the person looks any amount of money can look like $10,000 because clearly it did in St. Louis. Why does the TSA care at all? How does cash threaten the safety of an airplane?”

First, figuring out whether or not a stack of money is over $10,000 is not brain surgery. Second, the TSO involved in the St. Louis incident clearly needs to lose his job for overstepping his authority. That being said, I am not sure why so many of you have tuned out the obvious reasons why TSA might turn non-security related events over to proper authorities. Although we do not specifically look for large amounts of currency, a kilo of cocaine, or missing children we are required to alert the proper authorities when we discover one of these items. Just because an object or event does not pose a specific risk to an aircraft does not mean that we as sworn employees of the United States of America should bury our heads in the sand and hope someone else is able to discover the wrong doing. In my opinion, to simply say it’s not my job would not only be irresponsible but also immoral.

Submitted by Tomas on
Abelard wrote...
To bring it even closer, the British Pound Sterling is at $1.46 U.S. So, I could feasibly have 12,000 Pounds Sterling in my possession but its U.S. dollar value is $8,219. Are TSO's educated enough to know that I am not carrying more than $10K USD out of the country?

Sorry, worked that one backward. :o(

£6850 (Br. Pounds Sterling) is $10,001.00 at the quoted 1.46:1 exchange rate.

Even knowing the exchange rate it is easy to invert the conversion and get the wrong answer.

Tom (1 of 5-6)
Submitted by Anonymous on

TSO Jacob said...
...I am not sure why so many of you have tuned out the obvious reasons why TSA might turn non-security related events over to proper authorities. Although we do not specifically look for large amounts of currency, a kilo of cocaine, or missing children we are required to alert the proper authorities when we discover one of these items. Just because an object or event does not pose a specific risk to an aircraft does not mean that we as sworn employees of the United States of America should bury our heads in the sand and hope someone else is able to discover the wrong doing. In my opinion, to simply say it’s not my job would not only be irresponsible but also immoral.

April 12, 2009 12:09 PM
---------
It's all got to do with probable cause. Do you question every adult with a child that passes though your checkpoint to see if the child has been abducted?

You need probable cause( e.g. Amber alert where the child matches the description).

When you search a bag becuase it alarmed, do you always question the person if white powder is in their carryon? What if it is in a baby powder container?

The problem is that TSOs have broader power than LEOs (a LEO cannot stop and ask questions of just ANYBODY, that pesky probable cause thing again)

Actually, the obvious reason is the fact that TSOs get bonuses for finding contraband. And it is "no skin off their(TSO) nose" to call in an LEO anytime for futher questioning.

"Better safe than sorry" should not be, but is, used as "probable cause".

Submitted by GSOLTSO on

Anon said - West, why did you provide an uninformative non-answer to a legitimate question about the risk cash poses to air travel?

That was not a non answer, it essentially told you that cash by itself does not pose a risk, but other items near, under, above or with cash could be a threat. It was a list of times that cash would be searched for certain and also made the disclaimer that there could be another situation that would trigger other screening involving cash that I had not thought of. To clarify cash is not considered a threat, but it can obscure other items in the bag and generate the need to search the bag further. There is also the issue of why we verify the fact that over 10K in cash has been properly claimed on international flights - for that I only have SOP to go by and do not have the reasoning behind it to give you in detail.

West
EOS Blog Team

Submitted by Abelard on
Sorry, worked that one backward. :o(

£6850 (Br. Pounds Sterling) is $10,001.00 at the quoted 1.46:1 exchange rate.

Even knowing the exchange rate it is easy to invert the conversion and get the wrong answer.

Thanks, Tomas. I was debating between using Pounds Sterling or Canadian dollars (which are weaker than the dollar) and mixed the two up on applying the conversion when I went with the Pounds.

So, using Canadian dollars (USD $1.00 = CAN $1.22), I could have CAN $12,000 and still be under the U.S. limit of USD $10,000.

Again, am I going to be stopped and why?
Submitted by GSOLTSO on

Tomas said - Sorry, worked that one backward. :o(

£6850 (Br. Pounds Sterling) is $10,001.00 at the quoted 1.46:1 exchange rate.

Even knowing the exchange rate it is easy to invert the conversion and get the wrong answer.

Dadgummit Tom you beat me to that one!

West
EOS Blog Team

Submitted by George on

@KellyMae: But you all just want to assume that when something bad is posted, all of TSA officers are corrupt and act in this manner. That could not be further from the truth. Out of the around 120 officers we have at my airport, I have never seen one act in this manner. Have a bad day and get a little rude?....maybe. We all have our bad days, but you guys see something once and assume we are all some US citizen hating cult. Not so!

This is true, but it misses a very important point. While the majority of TSOs are (most likely) professional, conscientious, knowledgeable, courteous, and respectful to their customers, a minority are not. That minority of officers who are corrupt, ignorant, arrogant, or otherwise "unprofessional" tarnish the majority who are good people, and damage the entire TSA.

When we personally encounter one of the bad minority, we form a negative opinion of the TSA that is very difficult to undo. When we have several bad encounters, and/or continue to regularly read about "incidents," the inevitable conclusion is the TSA has severe systemic problems with its processes, policies, and culture that encourage and promote corruption, ignorance, arrogance, and "unprofessional" behavior. The pervasive secrecy in everything the TSA does certainly promotes that conclusion, as secrecy and unaccountability are an ideal environment for abuse and incompetence to flourish.

That may not be quite the same thing as "some US citizen hating cult," but it surely contributes to the public relations problems the TSA has. As I have repeatedly said, if the TSA wants to solve those public relations problems they have to make some fundamental changes to their culture. In particular, the have to make it clear to the public through actions and communication that TSOs will be held accountable for meeting "the highest professional standards," and that the TSA has no tolerance for abuse. Their current approach of spinning individual incidents to blame passengers and absolve the TSA only exacerbates the problem. If the TSA's Leaders decide that maintaining the current flawed TSA culture best serves their interests or those of national security (they're not always the same!), that's their decision. But I can't believe that allowing the public to despise and distrust the TSA in any way benefits national security.

Getting back to the original post, I think it's very helpful to have a consolidated set of links to official TSA guidelines. Unfortunately, that still doesn't address concerns that aren't in those published guidelines but get repeated asked and ignored. And worst of all, it does nothing about the problem (acknowledged in the guidelines themselves) that individual TSOs have unlimited authority to modify, augment, or overrule anything in those published guidelines. So an "innocent" traveler (i.e., one who has no intention of committing a crime involving terrorism or air piracy) has no way of being sure that he will emerge from the checkpoint with everything that he brought into it, even if he conscientiously reads and follows the published guidelines to the best of his ability. @KellyMae: But you all just want to assume that when something bad is posted, all of TSA officers are corrupt and act in this manner. That could not be further from the truth. Out of the around 120 officers we have at my airport, I have never seen one act in this manner. Have a bad day and get a little rude?....maybe. We all have our bad days, but you guys see something once and assume we are all some US citizen hating cult. Not so!

This is true, but it misses a very important point. While the majority of TSOs are (most likely) professional, conscientious, knowledgeable, courteous, and respectful to their customers, a minority are not. That minority of officers who are corrupt, ignorant, arrogant, or otherwise "unprofessional" tarnish the majority who are good people, and damage the entire TSA.

When we personally encounter one of the bad minority, we form a negative opinion of the TSA that is very difficult to undo. When we have several bad encounters, and/or continue to regularly read about "incidents," the inevitable conclusion is the TSA has severe systemic problems with its processes, policies, and culture that encourage and promote corruption, ignorance, arrogance, and "unprofessional" behavior. The pervasive secrecy in everything the TSA does certainly promotes that conclusion, as secrecy and unaccountability are an ideal environment for abuse and incompetence to flourish.

That may not be quite the same thing as "some US citizen hating cult," but it surely contributes to the public relations problems the TSA has. As I have repeatedly said, if the TSA wants to solve those public relations problems they have to make some fundamental changes to their culture. In particular, the have to make it clear to the public through actions and communication that TSOs will be held accountable for meeting "the highest professional standards," and that the TSA has no tolerance for abuse. Their current approach of spinning individual incidents to blame passengers and absolve the TSA only exacerbates the problem. If the TSA's Leaders decide that maintaining the current flawed TSA culture best serves their interests or those of national security (they're not always the same!), that's their decision. But I can't believe that allowing the public to despise and distrust the TSA in any way benefits national security.

Getting back to the original post, I think it's very helpful to have a consolidated set of links to official TSA guidelines. Unfortunately, that still doesn't address concerns that aren't in those published guidelines but get repeated asked and ignored. And worst of all, it does nothing about the problem (acknowledged in the guidelines themselves) that individual TSOs have unlimited authority to modify, augment, or overrule anything in those published guidelines. So an "innocent" traveler (i.e., one who has no intention of committing a crime involving terrorism or air piracy) has no way of being sure that he will emerge from the checkpoint with everything that he brought into it, even if he conscientiously reads and follows the published guidelines to the best of his ability.

Submitted by Kellymae81 on

Anon said:Why does the TSA care at all? How does cash threaten the safety of an airplane? Why not be redundant and answer that question Kelly before retreating once again to the safe haven of SSI "policy"?
I have already answered these questions numerous times as has other TSOs. I can't help if you don't like the answer. And not once did I go to the "safe haven" of SSI on this issue. Like I said before, you all like to blow things out of proportion. Are you reading all comments? B/c we have repeated our answers several times.

Kelly
EoS Blog Team

Submitted by Phil on

Someone anonymously asked:

"So which is it, $10,000 or money that appears to be over $10,000, Kelly? Do you know what $10,000 looks like in all possible combinations of legal tender?"

TSO Jacob responded:

"figuring out whether or not a stack of money is over $10,000 is not brain surgery."

Jacob, that's a straw man. No one here said that figuring out whether or not a stack of money amounts to over $10,000 difficult, so there's no reason for you to refute that point other than to distract people from the issue at hand.

We're asking how a TSA bag checker would recognize a set of bills as something that appears to be more than $10,000 without counting them. Can you answer this?


West, would you please address my assertion that white powder or a roll of cash don't "have the appearance of being illegal" any more than a digital music player, a pet, or someone with brown skin do? In each of those cases, there may be wrongdoing, or there may be a perfectly legal explanation for the item or person. I'm very curious how you determine which things that might indicate wrongdoing are worthy of stopping from doing your job of searching for dangerous things and initiating an investigation, and which things are not.

Have you received training on estimating the total amount of cash in a roll of bills simply by looking at the roll in the process of searching for weapons, explosives, and incendiaries?


Kelly, in the comments for the "Incident at St. Louis International post, you wrote:

"If while in a bag check for our primary focus items (i.e. liquids/weapons etc) and we find things such as drugs, it IS our "procedure" to inform supervisors and Law Enforcement.

"No matter how big or small, illegal is illegal and we can't just overlook it, sorry. We can't just hand back your kilo b/c it's not a "threat"."

In response, I noted that barring the result of specialized training that I suspect you have not received, you could not in that situation identify "drugs" by sight any more than you could identify unvaccinated pets, information on digital music players that came from unauthorized copying, or people who are not in the country legally.

I asked, "In each of the above scenarios, do you feel that it is congruent with the United States Constitution to stop someone who is carrying something that might indicate wrongdoing, question that person, then "if all is kosher" let that person go on his way?" Do you?


Bob, could you tell us whether people are prohibited by law from photographing computer monitors at your airport search stations? First you told us that it was discouraged, then you told us that it was prohibited, but you have not responded to multiple requests for the source of your information.

When your new partners Kelly, Tim, and West post comments here now, will they be speaking on behalf of TSA?

Why does TSA count people's money when they find it during a search for weapons, explosives, and incendiaries?

Are people required by law to answer questions from TSA staff about their money?

--
Phil
Add your own questions at TSAFAQ.net

Submitted by Irish on

kellymae81 said...

" ... So when you repeatedly ask, Why? Why? Why? does TSA concern themselves with peoples cash? B/c it is trained procedure. If you don't like the answer to this question, fine. Argue all you want, the answer is not going to change. Please change the subject!"

Kelly, hon . . .

You're a TSO I think everyone's got it that you do things because you follow orders like a good little soldier. You gave a very good answer about why (at least some) TSO's do what they do. However, that wasn't the question.

The question is, why does TSA concern itself with cash IN ANY AMOUNT on any flight? It's not a danger to the aircraft. It's not illegal. It's not the business of TSA. EVEN IF I'm going overseas, it isn't TSA's mission to assure that I comply with Customs regulations.

So, Why? Why? Why? does TSA concern themselves with peoples cash? And, Kelly ... Don't Don't Don't tell me about your rulebook as a TSO. That's Not Not Not the question.

Irish

Submitted by Irish on

TSO Jacob said...

"I am not sure why so many of you have tuned out the obvious reasons why TSA might turn non-security related events over to proper authorities. Although we do not specifically look for large amounts of currency, a kilo of cocaine, or missing children we are required to alert the proper authorities when we discover one of these items."

Okay, Jacob, I understand why you'd call in an LEO if you found something actually illegal (say, I key of cocaine). Doesn't take the TSA; any good citizen should do that. And I certainly understand why you'd call in an LEO if you saw a missing child.

What I do not understand, and no one has been able to explain to me, is WHY TSA would even think having a procedure to call in an LEO if I'm in possession of something PERFECTLY LEGAL.

Irish

Submitted by Anonymous on

RB wrote:

"Bob, since the Liquid Rules you posted clearly state 3.4 ounces or 100 ml why does the signage in airports disagree with your information here?

Don't travelers deserve accurate information?"

_______________________

Yes, they do deserve accurate information, but now your just a broken record. Bob has already answered this questions, you just don't seem to like the answer so you keep asking the question. I should note that I am not saying you have to like Bob's answer - that the signage will not change - but give it a break RB. It was answered; you don't like the answer; move on.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Anonymous said:

"Now that TSA is still after that traveler in St. Louis by logging in to blogs to threatening him with jail for carrying cash, it seems one cannot escape TSA. Is TSA worse than the Mafia? At least with the Mafia, you might get witness protection. Whose going to protect you from the government? I pity the poor fellow if he has to fly again. I'm sure TSA has him on the top of a list."

If you were really afraid of TSA, if you really believe TSA went after people, I doubt you would post on a government web-site, or any other web-site for that matter. Your IP address is easily tracked...

And for those of you who seem to believe the U.S. has become a "police state", as I have seen posted throughout the various topics - oh yeah, this is a police state. The government provides a forum for everyone to complain - and those who do complain don't have to worry about government agents coming after them in the middle of the night to take them away to detention centers. Try talking to people who have lived in nations like that. Maybe you should stop insulting people that have had to do so, and start being a little bit realistic.

Submitted by Jim Huggins on

Kelly writes:

But you all just want to assume that when something bad is posted, all of TSA officers are corrupt and act in this manner. That could not be further from the truth.

I've said these things before, but it's been awhile, so I'll say it again.

1. This blog is supposed to be about, among other things, making TSA better. Kip Hawley said in the post that kicked off this blog:

We need your help to get the checkpoint to be a better environment for us to do our security job and for you to get through quickly and onto your flight. Seems like the way to get that going is for us to open up and hear your feedback...

We can't make things better if we don't talk about TSA's shortcomings. Are those shortcomings isolated incidents or systemic problems? We won't know unless we talk about it.

(Having said that ... yes, everyone needs to approach this dialog with respect and courtesy. Not every TSO is a demon; not every passenger is, either.)

2. TSA demands that every passenger follow the rules (written and unwritten) absolutely perfectly, every time. The fact that I've transited the checkpoint without difficulty the last 20 times means absolutely nothing when I approach the checkpoint the next time. If TSA is going to demand that passengers be perfect, every time, then TSA needs to hold its own employees to that same standard.

Submitted by Anonymous on

RB said:

"In the case of making United States currency Contraband I believe your agency has erred badly."

Currency is not "contraband". It never has been, and as far as I know never will be.

The United States, many years ago, before TSA (gasp!), decided that to protect our currency, money leaving the nation had to be declared. If you can't seem to figure out why, sorry. To me its self-explanatory... (hint, to protect our currency).

By the way, many nations require this as well of their currency.

You also wrote:

"Transport of currency should not be a TSA concern ever."

TSA does also not look for lost/kidnapped children. What would you have us do if we encounter such a situation? Let the child go? Or would you complain if we alerted the police that we found such a child, saying how does that help fight/stop terrorism? We are not tasked with ensuring people declare certain money as they leave the nation. TSA is not tasked with protecting the currency. But if we encounter a situation like that we are tasked with alerting LE.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Pushing hard to get the STL event off the front page, aren't they?

So why can't I use my TWIC card to go through the checkpoint, but someone without real identification can use their Costco Membership card?

Submitted by Robert Johnson on

Quote from KellyMae: Argue all you want, the answer is not going to change. Please change the subject!"

I think you inadvertently gave us TSA's MO towards the public and how it reacts to the public.

If this blog isn't here to facilitate change, then why is it even here? I thought that was TSA's entire point of having a place to question/cheer/argue about its actions.

Quite honestly - I don't care if it's TSA's "procedure" or not. It has no business even asking, even if it's to "refer" it to LE. To do so goes beyond the TSA's charter and is a way to skirt the 4th amendment. LE couldn't legally search those bags, but if TSA finds something "unusual", it can call LE over. You ever hear of the silver platter doctrine? Ask Francine to Google search it for you if you haven't.

Secondly, change the subject - that's exactly what TSA does when a topic it doesn't want to discuss comes up. Sweep it under the rug.

The more I read this website, the more I become convinced that TSA really isn't about engaging the public and fostering change based on the public's feedback. This is clearly a propaganda organ. As you state, Kelly, nothing's going to change so we should just change the subject.

Robert

Submitted by Robert Johnson on

Quote from TSO Jacob: "That being said, I am not sure why so many of you have tuned out the obvious reasons why TSA might turn non-security related events over to proper authorities."

How about 1) It's not your job. 2) You doing it on questionable legal authority. 3) It falls outside the mandate of TSA's charter. 4) It's of questionable consititutionality.

While it can be argued that some searches have been upheld, it can also be shown that TSA has been sued when it has gotten in wrong, despite being a "do gooder." Check out the girl with the flour filled condoms - she got a nice check for around $200k.

Quote: "Although we do not specifically look for large amounts of currency, a kilo of cocaine, or missing children we are required to alert the proper authorities when we discover one of these items."

What it comes down to is how you discovered the item. Being observant for a missing child does not violate someone's rights.
Turning over items to LE that could not be legally searched for by a LEO does.

Quote: "Just because an object or event does not pose a specific risk to an aircraft does not mean that we as sworn employees of the United States of America should bury our heads in the sand and hope someone else is able to discover the wrong doing."

So are you pretending to be a cop or not?

If it's not germaine to aviation security or if it does not put anyone in immediate danger of life or limb, leave it alone.

Cash and drugs fall into this category.

For the record, I support laws against illegal drugs. That doesn't mean I support TSA playing wannabe DEA.

Quote: "In my opinion, to simply say it’s not my job would not only be irresponsible but also immoral."

Not all government employees agree on this one. I have been employed with the US government and still do work for them as a contractor. Sometimes I'm directly involved in the mission, other times I'm not. In those capacities, I saw a lot of opportunties to "do good" and potentially nail a bad guy. I had to ignore those. Why? Because acting on that information would have violated the constitutional rights of those people. Not only could I have lost my job, I could have been prosecuted under federal law and been held civilly liable as well. Acting on what I saw would have required a warrant.

Nothing that I saw put anyone in any danger. Shady for sure, but no one was being hurt. Ignoring it wasn't being immoral or irresponsible, but the right thing to do. Otherwise, I would be trashing the very freedoms and constitution I cherish in order to "protect" someone from rather insignificant.

You could argue that getting a kilo of coke of the streets would be a good thing and I would agree. However, if it comes at the cost of trashing the constitution and the freedoms we cherish, then it's doing more harm than a kilo of coke would ever do.

Also, keep in mind that when you put on your uniform and you are performing your duties as a screener, you're a government actor and a being a citizen takes a back seat. There's different rules that government actors must play by that a citizen doesn't have to. The roles can't be traded back and forth at will.

The constitution was written with he knowledge that some people would get away with bad things occasionally. However, the writers also saw that having those rights in place would also protect the innocent. If getting a drug dealer is more important than preserving the rights of every other passenger that passes thru those checkpoings (and yes, this means SecureFlight too ... a HUGE violation of constitutional rights), then you're really not seeing the forest for the trees.

I hope you have one of those personal liability insurance policies that government employee associations sell.

Robert

Robert

Submitted by Jeff on

Aaron asks, "Does cash pose a security risk on an airplane?"

Indeed it does! Just think of all the malfeasance one could accomplish with $10,001!

- If that were in 100 crisp new $100 bills and one crisp new $1 bill, you could dish out 101 paper cuts to the other passengers!

- You could slide that money under the cockpit door to bribe the captain to open it. BAM! HIJACKED!!

- At $7 a drink, you could order 1428 drinks and get really, really drunk and belligerent.

- You could throw the money over to one side of the plane. In the ensuing scramble of the other passengers to get the bills, the delicate balancing might be upset and the plane could fall out of the sky.

- Little-known fact #137: The ink used to print money contains nitrates. By soaking the ink off $10,001 in US currency (this can be accomplished with ordinary dandruff shampoo), you can create a powerful explosive. However, you need 4 ounces of shampoo (in a single bottle) to accomplish the terrortastic feat. The TSA are protecting you two ways with this one!!!

Thanks TSA, for keeping me 100% safe on the 0.3% of the year I'm travelling by air!

Submitted by Anonymous on

"If it is NOT declared, TSO's MUST notify Customs Officers, once they are notified and have taken charge of the situation TSA does nothing. Its a policy that we have to follow"

Since citizens are only obligated to declare cash to Customs, and only if traveling out of the country, why is this TSA's concern at all? Cash has no impact on safety, period.

Kelly Mae, given the recent confusion demonstrated by multiple TSOs in this forum about the laws regulating travel with cash, what steps has TSA taken to ensure its employees are properly versed in the law?

Submitted by RB on

Bob, since this thread is all about what we need to know at a checkpoint will you please take the time and resolve the misinformation you provided regarding pictures at the checkpoint.

In one statement you said that TSA asks people to not take pictures of xray monitors and some other equipement and later you said taking such pictures are prohibited.

So which is it?

What does the law state?

Submitted by TSO Jacob on

RB - United States Currency is NOT contraband. It never has been, and no one (except for you) has ever claimed it is contraband. If myself or any of my fellow TSOs find more than $10,000 in your carry on bag when you are taking an international flight it will take you about 30 seconds to show our supervisor your Customs form of declaration and be on your way. You are free to make as big of issue as you want, my supervisor and I will be more then happy to listen to your complaints.

Submitted by Mr Gel-pack on

kellymae81 said...

Anon said:Wouldn't it be wonderful if TSA people had to follow rules?

We do, thankyou. But you all just want to assume that when something bad is posted, all of TSA officers are corrupt and act in this manner. That could not be further from the truth. Out of the around 120 officers we have at my airport, I have never seen one act in this manner. Have a bad day and get a little rude?....maybe. We all have our bad days, but you guys see something once and assume we are all some US citizen hating cult. Not so!

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

Kelly, I don't assume all of the TSA screeners are some US-citizen hating cult, I just think the TSA itself is so poorly managed that the inevitable small percentage of bad apples really ruin lots of people's days, and it doesn't do jack squat to effectively address the problem.

Take a 0.1% of your ~100K employees--that is 1000 bad apples. The 0.1% will do their interact with 0.1% of 2,000,000 people per day and maybe misapply their poor training and behavior to 2,000 people each day. Some of those incidents might really ruin people's day, (Like mine, where the STL TSO supervisor made up a rule and wrongly confiscated a gel-pack that was intended to keep 13 oz of my wife's breast milk from spoiling. Now, my wife avoids air travel when she can, and when she can't, she dumps her breastmilk instead of the hassle of trusting in the "judgement" of TSA.)

If TSA had real rules, (not merely the easily misinterpreted SSI guideline SOPs to enforce those rules,) and published them so the passenger had some recourse to them at the checkpoint, then passengers could defend themselves from the few bad apples and actually "play a part". As it is, TSA's management policies defend these bad apples with secret SOPs and mushy passive-voice "general rules" and PR "editorials" that let screeners play their "Law & Order-TSA" security theatre unchecked.

In STL, "The tone and language used by the TSA employee was inappropriate." wasn't the only thing that seemed inappropriate. Publish the darn rules that state Steve Bierfeldt can be detained for carrying $4710 in a metal box.


The popular TSA catch-all crime of "suspicion" is one that only exists in the mind of the TSA agents.

Submitted by Anonymous on

In the case of making United States currency Contraband I believe your agency has erred badly.

And as said so many times, the carriage of currency can in no way threaten the safe conduct of a flight by a commercial aircraft.

Transport of currency should not be a TSA concern ever.

Your agency is wrong on this point and I will do everything I can to correct this wrong.

So if it's you or any other TSO that finds a big stack of money in my carry-on plan and says anything to anyone just know I will make an issue of your actions.
___________________________________

Great RB thanks for your opinion. I guess we will discuss this and give you the answer over and over until we are blue in the face. That is great that you think that TSA has erred badly. But currency is not contraband.
And good job everyone is glad that you understand that currency is not a threat to aviation. Very smart!
Transport of currency will continue to be TSA's concern. Like it has been stated a million time before, TSA does not go looking for things such as money. But if they come accross it, they ask a couple of questions. No harm done. TSA is a government agency that will work in accordance with other government agency to make sure that the law is not being broken. If you don't like that, then you are going to have a sad and disappointing life. Because there are so many other things in this world that actually matter that you are also not going to agree with or like. Get over it!
You keep on doing whatever it takes to correct this so called wrong. Power to ya, RB! You make issues of these things, you will probably get somewhere with that!

Submitted by Anonymous on

* Where has TSA published a list of all the rules and regulations that TSA will subject someone to if that person wishes to cross a U.S. Government checkpoint at an airport en route to the gate from which his domestic flight will depart, not including laws that the person is required to abide by outside of the airport checkpoint (i.e., just those rules and regulations that apply specifically at the checkpoint)?

--
Phil
___________________________________

OK right here, this question shows that you do not care to recognize an answer when it is given to you. I would not ever answer your questions if I was in charge of this blog! You do nothing but waist space on here. The entire answer to this question is this blog. And yet you over look that and repeditively and annoyingly ask the same questions over and over when the answer is right in front of your face. Phil, go bother another blog!

Submitted by Ayn R Key on

Nice. You forgot many questions.

Such as how on the spot fines issued by TSOs square with the Administrative Procedures Act, and how doubling the fines for those who wish to contest them violateds the APA.

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