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TSA Week in Review: Eels on a Plane?

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Friday, March 09, 2012
Firearm disguised as toy, throwing stars, inert grenades, knives, spear gun, smoke bombs, hoax itiem.

Nomadic Aquarium for People on the Go: A passenger was transporting live fish, eels and coral in their checked baggage at Miami (MIA). The passenger was attempting to transport 163 marine tropical fish, 12 Trachemys Scripta (red sliders), 22 invertebrates, 24 live coral pieces, 8 pieces of Scleactinina with mushroom polyps, and 8 pieces of soft coral to Maracaibo (MAR). The passenger surrendered the items to the US Fish and Wildlife Service. We’re not in the business of looking for marine life, but you can probably imagine how odd this looked on our monitor.

A passenger was transporting live fish, eels and coral in their checked baggage at Miami (MIA). The passenger was attempting to transport 163 marine tropical fish, 12 Trachemys Scripta (red sliders), 22 invertebrates, 24 live coral pieces, 8 pieces of Scleactinina with mushroom polyps, and 8 pieces of soft coral to Maracaibo (MAR).

Real Gun Concealed as Toy Gun: (See photo) In an attempt to avoid declaring their firearm in checked baggage, a passenger at Jacksonville (JAX), placed their firearm in a toy police officer kit. They even went as far as sticking a dart in the barrel. Clever but no dice.

Gearshift Grenades: It’s a grenade. It’s a gearshift. It’s a gearshift grenade. (Inert) Read here and here for more information on why inert grenades cause problems at checkpoints.

Message in a Bottle?: A suspicious black bottle with a red wire was found on the floor near a ticket counter at Houston (IAH). It was determined to be a hoax.

Blast off Those Calories: A toy grenade was found at Greensboro (GSO) containing weight loss supplements. We have nothing against weight loss, but anything in the shape of a grenade causes serious concerns at any airport.

Another Example of What Not to Say: A passenger became disruptive during screening at San Juan (SJU) and stated: “I have a bomb, but I disarmed it.” Statements like this will never expedite the screening process.

Miscellaneous Prohibited Items: In addition to all of the other prohibited items we find weekly, our Officers also found a spear gun, firearm components, several stun guns, a replica firearm, brass knuckles, knives, knives, and more knives, and a fantasy knife that slays mythical creatures that don’t exist, ammunition, and batons.

12 loaded guns.

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

29 guns discovered. 24 were loaded.

You can travel with your firearms in checked baggage, but they must first be declared to the airline. You can go here for more details on how to properly travel with your firearms. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality. Travelers should familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure.

Unfortunately these sorts of occurrences are all too frequent which is why we talk about these finds. Sure, it’s great to share the things that our officers are finding, but at the same time, each time we find a dangerous item, the throughput is slowed down and a passenger that likely had no ill intent ends up with a citation or in some cases is even arrested. This is a friendly reminder to please leave these items at home. Just because we find a prohibited item on an individual does not mean they had bad intentions, that's for the law enforcement officer to decide. In many cases, people simply forgot they had these items.

Bob Burns
TSA Blog Team

If you’d like to comment on an unrelated topic you can do so in our Off Topic Comments post. You can also view our blog post archives or search our blog to find a related topic to comment in. If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact a Customer Support Manager at the airport you traveled, or will be traveling through by using Talk to TSA.

Comments

Submitted by Anonymous on

Mr. Burns, in your post of March 7, you refer, with apparent impunity, to potential explosives that could bring down a plane and kill hundreds, by saying "... metallic and non-metallic items, such as… you know… things that go BOOM." Recall that in your position as blogger, you are an official voice of an agency of the federal government.

And yet, in today's post, you chastise a passenger, who may have been arrested, for joking about a bomb.

How were these passenger's words any different than yours?

I eagerly await your answer to this very serious question. Failure to respond will indicate to me, and many other commenters, that you, and by extension the TSA as an organization, considers security to be a joking matter.

Thank you.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Eels- Not a threat to a plane

inert grenades - Not a threat to a plane

A suspicious black bottle with a red wire- not even found by your screening, and- Not a threat to a plane

A toy grenade - Not a threat to a plane

A passenger... stated: “I have a bomb, but I disarmed it.”- But,but,but, I thought you heroes at the TSA had devices and technology and stuff to "detect… you know… things that go BOOM." [Why can you make jokes, but passengers can't?]

a replica firearm- Not a threat to a plane

brass knuckles- Not a threat to a plane

batons.- Not a threat to a plane


You say you aren't in the business of looking for animals or drugs, but you might as well be- you find more things that are NOT a threat to planes, then things that are.


Oh- and nice job pushing the Jonathan Corbett story further down the front page, you know, instead of actually addressing it. Ignore it long enough, and maybe it'll just... go away. hahahahaha...

Submitted by Anonymous on

Huh - 0 comments on today's blog.

372 comments on the 3/7/12 blog, 366 negative and 6 pro TSA.

I'm going back over there

Submitted by Anonymous on

O comments on today's blog

372 on 3/7/12's blog, 366 opposed and 6 for TSA.

I'm going back over there.

Oh now I get it, 'comment moderation enabled'.

Bob, I really do feel sorry for you and your organization...not a singlr person wants to talk about eels, imagine that. In fact, obviously they only want to comment about JC and your pathetic post of 3/7. Otherwise, there would be some kind of comment. Are you gonna have anything intelligent to say about TSA spokeswoman Sari Koshetz? ..... Didn't think so :(

Submitted by Anonymous on

Moving Jon's video right on down the line, aren't we Bob?

RB, I agree that the captchas are a real pain!

Submitted by RB on

And how many of these items were found using the fatally flawed, extremely expensive Whole Body Imagers?

Using just the baggage xray and Walk Through Metal Detectors or Handheld Metal Detectors how many of these items would not have been discovered?

Why is TSA wasting Billions of Tax Dollars on Whole Body Imagers that don't work?

Also, reports from the field are saying that everyone screened by Strip Search Machine are also getting a pat down. Kinda proves the Whole Body Strip Search Machines are flawed, doesn't it TSA?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Eels. Really? This is a blatant attempt to hide two very embarrassing episodes from the public - breast milk scandal and the ultimate proof that full body scanners make us less safe.

Submitted by RB on

Since TSA doesn't seem to want to post comments to the Scanner Issue thread guess we will have to do it here and to keep it on topic to this thread we seem several things TSA claims to have found during screening the past week, although there is no real evidence that TSA found anything.

The question is would the Body Scanners have found all of these items?

Also reports from the field today are saying that everyone being screened with the Whole Body Imagers are also getting a pat down. Doesn't doing pat downs in addition to using the Whole Body Imagers not only slow down the screening process but negates the supposed claim by TSA that the Whole Body Imagers are faster than Walk Through Metal Detectors.

Submitted by Anonymous on

All of you nay sayers and negative bloggers, i would rather hear about findings of inert or interesting things found ,eels, and know that these guys are on the job to make our lives safer. If you think you could do a better job....

Submitted by Lance on

don't listen to any of these guys bob, you're a very entertaining blogger. Of course you realize the seriousness of the situations you find yourself in, but as long as you do your job well, what's the harm in having a sense of humor?

Officers are humans, not robots!

Submitted by RB on

Anonymous said...
All of you nay sayers and negative bloggers, i would rather hear about findings of inert or interesting things found ,eels, and know that these guys are on the job to make our lives safer. If you think you could do a better job....

March 10, 2012 9:45 PM
......................
When you say these guys are on the job to make our lives safer are you referring to the TSA screeners that missed two and one half pounds (2 1/2 lbs) of C-4 plastic explosives in a carry on bag late last year, right?

But heck, TSA captured that dangerous cupcake.

Do we need that kind of protection?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Twice now I've had screeners make bomb jokes to me. I smile and tell them "sorry, I don't joke about weapons at security checkpoints."

If your agents can't keep from joking, you need to give more leeway to regular citizens who are in line.

Submitted by Anonymous on

It's March 11th. Why have no comments been posted to the video thread since March 8th?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Anonymous said...
It's March 11th. Why have no comments been posted to the video thread since March 8th?

Because Blogger Bob will often wait for days (sometimes a week or more) before 'allowing' the posts to go up.

First Amendment issue aside, it's funny that, despite the posts not being posted for days, somehow certain 'anonymous' posters are able to immediately reply to posts that have been submitted, but not made public yet. Can you say 'astroturfers'?

Submitted by Anonymous on

RB said...
"If you think you could do a better job...."

It would be difficult to do a worse job. There isn't any real airport security, getting past the TSA isn't that hard. They cause more harm than good.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Mr. Burns, will this confiscated item make this week's report?

http://gizmodo.com/5892099/add-the-giottos-rocket-to-your-list-of-silly-...

What recourse do passengers have when a TSO confiscates a completely harmless item?

If TSOs such as this are the alleged last line of defense against aviation terrorism, then I don't feel safe flying at all.

Submitted by Anonymous on

so a citizen who wanted to exercise his Constitutionally protected 2nd Amendment rights, and because of the insane policies of our insane government felt the need to conceal his firearm to avoid having to declare it gets mocked on your blog? very professional, Bob. he was wrong, but so is the policy. he was not a threat, your orgnization is. what an embarrassment.

Submitted by 0megaman on

Before 2001, the small Raleigh NC airport had a display of confiscated items. It was amazing, lots of drug paraphernalia but mostly homemade weapons. I always assumed it was some vintage thing, that modern travelers were more….uh, informed. HA, was I wrong!

As far as that Whole Body Imager is concerned, I love it. I feel like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall. “Make it scan girly man.” But I have always been a trend setter, I wore long shorts before you did, I will eat radiated food, and I think germs are good for me not bad for me. Steve

Submitted by Anonymous on

Is there any reason why comments are no longer being posted to this post, the breast feeding post, or the viral video post? I find it hard to believe that people haven't been submitting comments, especially on the breast feeding & viral video posts.

I find it frustrating that there is so much censorship and moderation on a tax payer funded website. As long as the comments don't violate your terms of service, they should be posted quickly. It doesn't matter if they are pro-TSA or anti-TSA. The people have a right to be heard.

Submitted by Alan on

Replica firearms and grenades are always a threat to a plane, how would you like to be sitting next to an idiot that pulls out his replica grenade and says hes going to blow up the plane? I know I wouldnt. As far as joking about bombs, there is a big difference about doing it on a checkpoint or plane and joking in a blog. Most of you people have nothing better to do than complain about men and women who are just like everyone else trying to do their job the best the government will allow. Keep up the good work TSA

Submitted by Anonymous on

So a passenger brings 2 leaded glass sculptures of firearms throught the checkpoint. They are glass but since they are leaded glass, they show up opaque on the xray. LEOs are requested and a bag check is performed. They end up being solid leaded glass with no moving parts. Somehow they are deamed "replica firearms IF the passenger were to color them in with a Sharpie or Magic Marker". I'm not buying it. How far is too far? My argument is that you can fashion almost anything into something to look like a firearm.

Thoughts?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Alan said...
Replica firearms and grenades are always a threat to a plane, how would you like to be sitting next to an idiot that pulls out his replica grenade and says hes going to blow up the plane? I know I wouldnt.

IF (IF!) the TSA was doing a good job keeping REAL explosives off of planes, then anything your seatmate pulls out must be a replica, and therefore safe.

It's only when the TSA sucks at their job that the possibility exists that it might be a real grenade.

SO, you're basically admitting the TSA sucks at its job, you know the TSA sucks at its job, and you don't trust them to tell the difference between a toy grenade and a real one.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Interesting reading. How about an article on all the stuff TSA screeners have stolen?

Submitted by Fishguy on

Hi Bob,

How many years in prison is that dangerous aquatic animal transporter looking at?

I'm hoping you give him, at minimum, 10-20 years in a Federal Penitentiary for such a horrific act of aquatic animal airline terrorism.

This is America, land of the free and home of the brave, and we don't look kindly on aquatic animal transportation. Lock him up and throw away the key, Blogger Bob!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Anonymous Alan said...
"Replica firearms and grenades are always a threat to a plane, how would you like to be sitting next to an idiot that pulls out his replica grenade and says hes going to blow up the plane? I know I wouldnt."

"Wouldn't like it" and "threat to the plane" are not equivalent. A fake weapon can not cause harm.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"Replica firearms and grenades are always a threat to a plane, how would you like to be sitting next to an idiot that pulls out his replica grenade and says hes going to blow up the plane?"

No. Pay attention - replica firearms and grenades are NEVER a threat to an airplane. They may be used to threaten passengers but they can do NO DAMAGE to the aircraft.

"As far as joking about bombs, there is a big difference about doing it on a checkpoint or plane and joking in a blog."

Again, joking does not threaten airplanes. Airplanes can be destroyed by bombs not by jokes.

"Most of you people have nothing better to do than complain about men and women who are just like everyone else trying to do their job the best the government will allow."

No, the men and women I work with have sworn an oath to support the Constitution. I'm not sure if screeners do but they sully the Constitution daily.

"Keep up the good work TSA"

Finally, no. The TSA is completely incapable of providing security. We will require it to reform, downsize and become what it was intended to be. Sorry, but the TSA had a chance and blew it.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Alan said...
"As far as joking about bombs, there is a big difference about doing it on a checkpoint or plane and joking in a blog."

Yes, the blogger is a paid government employee who should know better.

Does any sane person actually believe that that someone who really has a bomb would make jokes about it in front the security checkpoint? Get real.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Keep posting, Bob.

For all the negative stuff that people say, there are still many of us out here that like to read your material and stay informed.

- reader, airline pilot, airplane enthusiast

Submitted by Anonymous on

"For all the negative stuff that people say, there are still many of us out here that like to read your material and stay informed.

- reader, airline pilot, airplane enthusiast"

But there are far more of us who despise the TSA, seeing it as security theater while failing to provide the true security the public deserves. $100B spent and you can't tell the difference between a bottle of water and an explosive, the difference between a breast pump and a bomb, the difference between an insulin pump and a gun or the difference between a cupcake and a bomb.

Submitted by PrometheeFeu on

Dear TSA Bob,

You seem to imply that anyone who jokingly tells your agents that they have a bomb or other prohibited item with them will be subject to further scrutiny. I am somewhat curious as to the reason of your policy. While many terrorists in the past have claimed to have some sort of bomb or weapon, as far as I know, they don't follow up with: "I was just kidding!" Can you please release some statistics as to the number of individuals who announced possession of a bomb and actually have a bomb compared to the number of individuals who announced possession of a bomb but did not have a bomb? Perhaps I am overly cynical, but it sounds to me like your policy is meant as retaliation against people making fun of the whole process. Please prove me wrong.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Care to comment on this incident?

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/03/19/tsa-agent-pats-down-and-swabs...

I repeat: I don't comprehend how you can continue to defend your employer. At some point, morals take precedence over a paycheck. Your employer is one of the most vile in this country's history, and how you can continue to receive a paycheck from the TSA is beyond me.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Dude, they don't care. They have procedures, they have policy, and how dare you criticize the organs of the state.

Submitted by Anonymous on

bomb jokes? i have a freind with me that immigrated from suadi arabia in 95. he said something similer at an airport. we are both now laughing.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I'm tired of these mother effin' eels on this mother effin' plane!!

Thanks

Submitted by Adrian on

Very interesting that there are not many comments on this, why ?

Submitted by Jessica Smith on

Keep posting, Bob.

For all the negative stuff that people say, there are still many of us out here that like to read your material and stay informed.

- reader, airline pilot, airplane enthusiast

Submitted by Agneta on

They have procedures, they have policy, and how dare you criticize the organs of the state.