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TSA Week in Review: 6 lbs. of Black Powder, Detonation Cords, and Timing Fuse Discovered in Colorado

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Friday, September 21, 2012
Black powder and timing fuses.

Black Powder and Other Items Discovered During Bag Search- While resolving an explosives alarm at Grand Junction (GJT),TSA Officers discovered three - 2 lb. cans of black powder, detonation cords, and a timing fuse. The passenger stated he was transportingproperty from his father’s home, which was usedto remove tree stumps.

Non-metallic dagger.

Non Metallic Knife Discovered With Body Scanner- A non metallic knife was discovered in the ankle area of a Houston (IAH) passenger. The knife was found during a pat-down after being detected by a body scanner.

Grenades

Inert Grenades Etc. - We continue to find inerthand grenades and other weaponry on weekly basis. Please keep in mind that if an itemlooks like a bomb, grenade, mine, etc., it is prohibited - real or not. When these items are found at a checkpoint, they can cause significant delays. I know they are cool novelty items, but it is best not to take them on a plane. Read here and here on why inert items cause problems.

  • A Mark 24 shock tube initiator used to detonate explosives was discovered during a bag search at San Diego (SAN).
  • Three inert grenades were discovered this week: Two at San Francisco (SFO) and one at Norfolk (ORF).
  • An inert 20 mm round was discovered at San Francisco (SFO).
Knife hidden in contact lense case.
Gun magazine hidden in CD player.

Items in the Strangest Places - It’s important to check your bags prior to traveling. If a prohibited item is discovered in your bag, you could be cited and possibly arrested by locallaw enforcement. Here are a few examples from this week where prohibited items were found in strange places.

  • A .22 caliber magazine was discovered wrapped in aluminum foil inside a DVD player at Fresno (FAT).
  • Sharper vision? A knife was discovered inside a box of contact lenses at Milwaukee (MKE).
  • A cane sword was discovered at Albuquerque (ABQ).

Stun Guns - Five stun guns were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints around the nation: Akron (CAK), San Francisco (SFO), New York Kennedy (JFK), Birmingham (BHM), and Denver (DEN)

Percussion Caps - Throwing Star & Cane Sword

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

Firearms - Here are pictures of some of the firearms our Officers found in carry-on baggage since I posted last Friday. See a complete list below.

Loaded Guns
Loaded Guns
Loaded Guns
Loaded Guns
Loaded Guns
Loaded Guns
47 guns found in carry-on bags.

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

Comments

Submitted by Skol on

I will never cease to be amazed at the stupidity of people.
While I am at it, if anyone wants to complain at the procedures you guys utilize to keep us all safe, then tell them they can have a special flight chartered for non searched baggage and passengers, cos if you are prepared to get up in the morning and deal with the issues of global travel that we have today, I think everyone else should tow the line or just shut the hell up.

God Bless.

Submitted by Concerned Taxpayer on

You still haven't convinced me that the body scanners are worth the cost and health risks. Your big catch this week was at least a weapon. Realistically, is a knife really that much of a threat on a plane anymore? I can't see any other outcome other than a severe beatdown of the passenger who pulls out a knife on a plane.

Why are they replacing the body scanners at BOS? Is it because of the health risks or the naked pictures that the backscatter x-ray scanners generate? It seems like such a waste of money to install the first set of machines and then replace them so soon.

I may have missed it, but did you mention the gun found at ABQ? It was being carried by a homeland security official and is mentioned in this article:

http://www.kob.com/article/stories/S2769787.shtml

Submitted by Anonymous on

If people who try to board an aircraft with prohibited items were treated as criminals, which they are, and if our prisons weren't such a nice place to live actions like these would slowly cease.

Submitted by Anonymous on

In reply to Skol: not all person mishandled at the check point are complaining about being searched, in general, instead what they are complaining about is being treated rudely. The people working for TSA are humans, but when working with large numbers of people, it is easy to become tired and stressed when working with so many people and passengers are sometimes mishandled: it is these mishandled passengers, sons, daughters, husbands, wives, who have complaints. We cannot broad brush all the complaints as insignificant. But yes, in the end, it is amazing how some people think they can get by with some of their "creative" ways in concealing illegal items as carry on.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Knives are very much a treat because knives can be used to kill people. A person with a knife who kills someone puts the airplane passengers at risk.
Scenario [just for argument sake]: you are sitting next to someone with a knife, you do not know they have a knife, you rest your head against your chair. The person with the knife turns off his ipod, reaches in his sock for a knife and then stabs you or slices your neck near the brachial or carotid atery. What do you do?

Submitted by Jessica on

Wow! Where have these people been?

Submitted by Dave OConnell on

In Charlston, SC last May after a body scan, it was determined that there was a metal object in the groin area where my dungaree zipper was. I am 71 yrs old and was forced to submit to a full body search even after I offered to take off my dungarees! Obviously the zipper set off the scanner. I was told that there was no room for moving off rules in this regard. They were most professional, but I still did not enjoy having them pat my backside and my front side.

Submitted by Anonymous on

In reply to concerned Taxpayer, it was 47 guns in one week and 38 were LOADED, not just one. Not to mention the gun powder, fuse, sword, bullets and all the other dangerous items. I'm all for TSA protecting us.

Submitted by Anonymous on

People who are critical of the TSA still want security. We just think it could be handled better. Look at the items found this and every other week. They are almost always found by the traditional metal detector and baggage x-ray machine. The scanners have found some non-metal knives. However, I've been given larger metal knives in airport restaurants and on planes.

Let's say someone gets a knife on a plane. That person may stab and kill one or two people before being swarmed by other passengers. It would be a sad event, but nowhere near as tragic as 9/11. The 9/11 type event would never happen because of someone with a knife. Anyway what is stopping someone from stabbing you in the airport parking lot or just walking down the street? You are far more likely to get killed driving to the airport than on an airplane.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Anonymous said...
Knives are very much a treat because knives can be used to kill people. A person with a knife who kills someone puts the airplane passengers at risk.

It may put an individual or two at risk... maybe, assuming the person had ill intent to begin with.

But it doesn't put the plane at risk, because, while the knife holder may stab a person or two, they will not be able to take over the plane.

And as for the possible risk to the one or two people who may get stabbed- it's the same risk they take walking down the street (where there are no strip searches, and anyone may have a knife).

As for the person with ill intent- there are plenty of ways to kill one or two people on a plane, even after getting through the TSA 'security'. For instance, crack a CD or DVD in half and use the edge or point to "stab you or slice your neck". Or take their laptop and hit you in the head. Strangle you with a purse strap. Etc.


So, we have shown that a knife on a plane, while it can be used to harm a person or two (just like it can be used anywhere else), cannot be used to take over the plane. Thus, taking away the knife is useless, security-wise.

Also, taking a knife away from a person with ill intent will not stop them from harming or even killing. Thus, taking their knife is useless, security-wise.

To repeat- taking a knife away is useless.

Submitted by Insulin Pump User on

I still want security, but I am tired of being treated like a criminal almost every time I fly. My crime is wearing an insulin pump. The pump manufacturer says not to use the body scanners due to the scanners possible ability to damage this life sustaining device.

When I'm selected for the body scanners, I have to involuntarily opt out. That means that I get a patdown. This patdown varies from airport to airport. I still feel that I am being touched too much in any case. However, some patdowns are more suited to entering prison. They involve multiple contact with my genitals (the TSA calls it "resistance"), hands inside my waistband, and my 1/2" long hair searched. It seems excessive. I'm more than willing to go through the metal detector and have my pump swabbed for explosives. I just object to being constantly touched just because I wear an insulin pump.

Submitted by Jami Higdon on

Security procedures are put into place to keep everyone safe. I am more than happy to put up with all of the security protocols just to ensure that everything is safe. Yes it is inconvenient but in my opinion being involved in an incident just so we can accommodate everyone that wants to complain about it is unacceptable.

Submitted by Anonymous on

@Skol:

These procedures don't keep you safe at all. If you consider how many guns and weapons are missed by the detectors, and how many of those missed items result in incidents on airplanes, you realize that these people wouldn't have caused any problems either.

Submitted by Chip on

"..If people who try to board an aircraft with prohibited items were treated as criminals"

I suspect your tune would change quite a bit if the rules were to be changed just a bit to disfavor you in a situation. When something you have on your person is deemed by the TSA to be a prohibited item, on the spot because the TSA has that authority, and you are suddenly treated like the criminal you make everyone else out to be.... well what would you and that other person worried about being stabbed by the person in the next seat do? If the world is that scary to you maybe it is best if you just stay at home and leave things like Air Travel to the adults of the world who can judge for themselves the potential risks versus rewards that most everything else in the world requires to exist in what has become commonly called 'society.'

Submitted by Anonymous on

I can't believe that people want to be safe but don't want to do anything to be that way. Since I have nothing to hide I don't care if I do have to be patted down if that makes me safe.

Submitted by J Gallagher on

Do they auction this stuff??? I'd love to buy a couple of those pistols and knives!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Only mothers with babies in arms should be allowed "certain" hand baggage. Is there any real need for hand baggage at all ? Isn't safety more important to people ? Should we not move towards that ?

Submitted by Anonymous on

TSA locks are found missing from baggage. This is not encouraging but discouraging the use of TSA locks. Authorities should look into this.

Submitted by Cadeira on

I agree that these procedures don't keep you safe at all. If you consider how many guns and weapons are missed by the detectors, and how many of those missed items result in incidents on airplanes.

Submitted by Anonymous on

" Anonymous said...

I can't believe that people want to be safe but don't want to do anything to be that way. Since I have nothing to hide I don't care if I do have to be patted down if that makes me safe."

-----------

So exactly how does searching you improve security and make you safe if you aren't hiding anything? Such a search is a waste of time, resources, and money.

But since you don't mind, I'm sure you have no problem if we come over to your house and take a look around. Just to keep you safe.

Submitted by Randy on

Is it me or are there more than the usual number of Anonymous TSA apologists on this thread? I mean how does someone get on a plane if their worried about the person sitting next to them slitting their throat? How does that person get on a bus or walk down the street?

Or the person who want to send everyone to prison who tries to bring on a knife.

Don't get me wrong, it's insane how many people attempt to hide LOADED guns in their luggage.

As everyone should know, you're more likely to die driving to the airport than in a terrorist attack. Sigh.

Peace,
Randy

Submitted by Randy on

Is it me or are there more than the usual number of Anonymous TSA apologists on this thread? I mean how does someone get on a plane if their worried about the person sitting next to them slitting their throat? How does that person get on a bus or walk down the street?

Or the person who want to send everyone to prison who tries to bring on a knife.

Don't get me wrong, it's insane how many people attempt to hide LOADED guns in their luggage.

As everyone should know, you're more likely to die driving to the airport than in a terrorist attack. Sigh.

Peace,
Randy

Submitted by Anonymous on

To be completely safe, the TSA should make every passenger walk through the metal detector, use the body scanner, and get a full patdown. Wouldn't that be the only way to ensure safety? The TSA could come check your house before you go to the airport. After all, if you have nothing to hide, why would it bother you?

The TSA found lots of guns this week. So what? That's the bare minimum of their job requirement. If they can't find a gun, how much else would they miss. Wal Mart doesn't put out a press release when a cashier gives back correct change.

The body scanners seem like such a waste of money with possible negative health effects. Look at all the items found this week. Almost all of them would have been found with the safer, faster, and less intrusive metal detector.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I am voting Republican in this election; I voted for Mr. Obama in 2008. I refuse to vote for any person or party who believes law-abiding taxpaying Americans must be groped or virtually strip searched by the TSA to board a domestic US flight. The next time your arms are above your heads and your legs are spread at an airport checkpoint, ask yourself if your happy with the direction of our country. American can, and must, do better! The current TSA practices are a disgrace.

Submitted by RB on

Question for the TSA Blog Team.

Does a standard TSA Screening Pat Down require the TSA screener to make contact with a persons testicles, penis, labia, anal region, or breasts either directly or through a persons clothing?

Screen shot captured.

Submitted by Anonymous on

In response to Concerned Taxpayer, TSORon has informed us elsewhere that the TSA is phasing out backscatter in favor of MMW with ATR.

screenshot

Submitted by Sandra on

Yes, Randy, it does seem as if Bob has been rounding up his friends to post pro-TSA comments. It's so transparent.

Screen shot taken

Submitted by Anonymous on

So my previous comment was not posted, apparently. Glad to see Blogger Bob is doing everything he can to serve the public!

Submitted by Anonymous on

"They who can give up essential liberty, only to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety, and SHALL eventually lose BOTH." -Benjamin Franklin

"In my many years, I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm and three or more is a congress". -John Adams.

"The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution....So as, the second will not become the legalized version of the first".
-Thomas Jefferson

"If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led like sheep to the slaughter". - George Washington

Submitted by Chip And Andy on

"...Since I have nothing to hide I don't care if I do have to be patted down if that makes me safe."

First... Safety is not a Constitutional Right. Government is not here to make you 'safe.' And the specific problem with the 'safety' the TSA provides is exactly that the Government is providing it in a manner that we, the People, originally prohibited Government from doing. If a private firm wants to do what the TSA does then groovy. The TSA, however, is the Government and it has rules to follow that are supposed to have prevented it from doing what it has been doing, badly, for the last decade.

Then.... Having nothing to hide is not the same as showing all you got. This logic has been refuted time and time again, but since you obviously missed it the first several hundred times here goes: You have nothing to hide so you should have no problem telling me your Social Security Number, telling me your mothers maiden name, and your banking account numbers. I work for the government so I can be trusted, I promise.

Submitted by Anonymous on

TSA notes that for many of the loaded firearms found in baggage the passengers had "simply forgotten" they were in their bag. This begs the question of whether someone who forgets a loaded gun in their bag should have a gun in the first place. People that careless and/or forgetful don't need guns.

Submitted by Anonymous on

You won't get a whitewash about the TSA guy in Florida. He was fired.

But how about some numbers to put ABC and Congress' "tip of the iceberg" into perspective.

Over the last 10 years TSA has employed in excess of 190,000 individuals as airport screeners. 381 of them have been fired for criminal acts. That is around 1/10th of 1%. Not too bad considering 3% of the entire U.S. population are under correctional supervision (incarcerated or on probation/parole)
Or how about this nice little tidbit. In the time that TSA has existed, 2.5% of all Congressional Representative and Senators have been convicted of felonies.
If TSA's 381 are the tip of the iceberg then Congress is Antarctica.

Submitted by Anonymous on

@ Anonymous

Comparing TSA screeners to our elected officials is a straw man argument. One has absolutely nothing to do with the other.

Better to compare the number of criminal screeners to criminal DMV clerks.

And neither comparisons change the fact that too many screeners have too much access to our private property and too many of them are dishonest.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I've flown multiple times with pepper spray and a kubaton in my bag that I'd forgotten. A friend flew international from vacation with a 30" spear tip...brought on the plane. He noted ironically that the TSA confiscated his nail clippers on that trip. I deliberately flew with 2 quarts of alcohol in soft flasks. Those sailed right through while they took my sunscreen because it was 6oz. instead of 3oz.

I'm all for confiscating obvious weapons, but honestly, the biggest changes to airplane safety happened because we reinforced cockpit doors, and now passengers know not to sit quietly during a hostage situation.

Submitted by TSORon on

Anonymous said...
[[In response to Concerned Taxpayer, TSORon has informed us elsewhere that the TSA is phasing out backscatter in favor of MMW with ATR.

screenshot
September 24, 2012 2:11 PM]]

No Anon, I didn’t. You should have read my post more carefully instead of posting your misconception here.

Submitted by Randy Belgum on

I am a Sheep Dog, not a sheep.
I stand up to defend myself and others. That said, here is my ridiculous suggestion to appease everyone.
Simple segregation, Separate flights and separate ends of airport. Those who believe TSA is doing a fabulous job at one end of the airport to wait in line and be accosted.
Those who believe they will ban together to fight back against hostile attackers and take their own risks with the way things used to be before Sept 11, on another flight at the other end of airport. Make me sign a waver and send me on my way. Have air traffic control monitor our high risk flights and shoot our asses down if we fail in our attempt to stop the attackers. We knew our risks.
I am a firm believer if someone manages to take away everything on earth that is capable of hurting us in some way, we will all be dead anyways. Just give someone to much water or oxygen to see what I mean.
Sincerely, Sheep Dog

Submitted by Anonymous on

I do believe in security and traveling safe. Even if it means being inconvienced to protect that safety. What I don't agree with I or other people research the TSA website for what is allowed or not allowed and special requests that can be made. Case in point several weeks ago in the news a woman while on a plane found a firearm in her purse which the TSA failed to find. Sure they have found many firearms, yet failing to find one is one too many mistakes. Now a woman with leukemia had her privacy violated and an IV bag ripped open. As a nurse, I am appalled that the TSA who is supposed to be trained and know by the book that such courtesy should be extended to people who ask such request is unacceptable.

How many more unfortunate stories do we have to hear before something is done. How many more people have to be humiliated before TSA agents understand that these are people you are being insensitive to. These agents should be re-trained add more sensitivity training towards people. These agents must be more respectful, these are husbands, wives, sons and daughters, how would they feel if their mother or father, their grandmother or ill family member were treated like this? It only makes me sad that we as humans, cannot be humane to others......

Submitted by James on

I'm really stunned that people have actually attempted to board a plane with this sort of stuff. I always take contact lenses with me on my business trips but I ALWAYS have the cases I carry them in ready for inspection voluntarily! I am sure that the majority of the items in this post were carried with no harm intended, but the value of these body scanners are clearly showing their worth - one day it could be someone with intent trying to smuggle things on bored!