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

Friday, October 17, 2014
Loaded firearm discovered at LAS.

Loaded firearm discovered at LAS.

39 Firearms Discovered This Week - Of the 39 firearms, 37 were loaded and 14 had rounds chambered.

discovered grenade

Grenade (LEX)

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

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

Bullets in cuff (BOS)

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

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

Knuckle Stunner (ORD)

Miscellaneous Prohibited Items - In addition to all of the other prohibited items we find weekly, our officers also regularly find firearm components, realistic replica firearms, bb and pellet guns, airsoft guns, brass knuckles, ammunition, batons and many other prohibited items too numerous to note.

Stun Guns - 11 stun guns were discovered in checked bags this week. Two were discovered at Las Vegas (LAS), and the remainder were discovered at Chicago O'Hare (ORD),Dallas Love (DAL),Denver (DEN),Minneapolis (MSP),Oakland (OAK),Omaha (OMA),Provo (PVU),Sacramento (SMF),and Salt Lake City (SLC).

discovered ammunition

Ammo (CRW)

Ammunition - When packed properly, ammunition can be transported in your checked baggage, but it is never permissible to pack ammo in your carry-on bag.

discovered firearms

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

discovered firearms

Firearms discovered at: (Clockwise from top left) ATL, CHA, RIC, IAH, & DEN

Table of firearms discovered in carry-on bags

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

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

Unfortunately these sorts of occurrences are all too frequent which is why we talk about these finds. Sure, it’s great to share the things that our officers are finding, but at the same time, each time we find a dangerous item, the line is slowed down and a passenger that likely had no ill intent ends up with a citation or in some cases is even arrested. The passenger can face a penalty as high as $7,500. This is a friendly reminder to please leave these items at home. Just because we find a prohibited item on an individual does not mean they had bad intentions; that's for the law enforcement officer to decide. In many cases, people simply forgot they had these items.

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

Follow @TSA on Twitter and Instagram!

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 SSSS For Some Reason on

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

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

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

So?

Two bullets.

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

Why is this newsworthy?

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

Submitted by Anonymous on

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

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

Submitted by RB on

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

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

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

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

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

Refusal to answer borders on criminal endangerment!

Submitted by Anonymous on

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

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

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

Submitted by Anonymous on

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

Submitted by Anonymous on

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

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

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

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

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

Submitted by Anonymous on

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

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

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

Submitted by Anonymous on

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

Submitted by Anonymous on

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

Submitted by Anonymous on

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

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

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


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

Submitted by Anonymous on

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

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

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

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

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


Same meaningless drivel week afte week after week...

Submitted by Anonymous on

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

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

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

Submitted by RB on

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

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

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

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

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

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

Submitted by Anonymous on

Wow, really? You need this explained?

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

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

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

Submitted by Anonymous on

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

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

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

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

Submitted by Susan Richart on

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

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

Submitted by Anonymous on

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

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

Submitted by Sandra on

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

Submitted by Anonymous on

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

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

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

Submitted by Anonymous on

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

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

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

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

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

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

Submitted by Anonymous on

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

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

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

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

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

Submitted by Anonymous on

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

Submitted by Wintermute on

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

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

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

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

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

Submitted by Susan Richart on

Anonymous wrote:

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

Try reading this:

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

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

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

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

Submitted by Anonymous on

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

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

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

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

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

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

Submitted by Anonymous on

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

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

Submitted by Anonymous on

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

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

Submitted by RB on

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

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

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

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

Submitted by RB on

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

October 20, 2014 at 8:01 PM

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

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

The same government that is now doing the screenings directly.

A government responsible for the criminals infesting TSA.

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

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

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

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


Tang Bomb

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

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

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

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

Submitted by GSOLTSO on

SSSS sez - "Why is this newsworthy?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

West
TSA Blog Team

Submitted by RB on

GSOLTSO said...


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

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

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

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

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

Submitted by Anonymous on

The same government that is now doing the screenings directly.

A government responsible for the criminals infesting TSA.

Really? INFESTING?

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

ALL AIRPORT WORKERS ARE SCREENED.

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

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


Submitted by GSOLTSO on

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

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

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

West
TSA Blog Team

Submitted by Anonymous on

Lets see...

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

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

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

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

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

sounds like 100% success so far.

Submitted by RB on

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

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

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

West
TSA Blog Team

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

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

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Submitted by RB on

GSOLTSO said...


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

West
TSA Blog Team

October 21, 2014 at 10:55 AM"
..............

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

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

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

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

Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

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

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

~~~~~~~~~~~

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

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

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

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

Submitted by RB on

Anonymous said...


ALL AIRPORT WORKERS ARE SCREENED.


October 21, 2014 at 10:52 AM

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

100% of the time when entering the sterile area?

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

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

Submitted by Susan Richart on

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

"These items are NOT false alarms."

The GAO says otherwise:

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

http://tinyurl.com/oftael9l

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

Submitted by Susan Richart on

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

From the same URL submitted concerning false alarms:

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

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

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

Submitted by Anonymous on

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

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

All airport workers are screened?

100% of the time when entering the sterile area?

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

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

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

And as said above...

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

The record speaks for itself.

Submitted by Anonymous on

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

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

Submitted by Anonymous on

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

Submitted by Read Something on

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

Submitted by Wintermute on

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Submitted by GSOLTSO on

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

Hah! I see what you did there...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

West
TSA Blog Team

Submitted by Anonymous on

West,

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

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

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

Submitted by RB on

Anonymous said...

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

October 21, 2014 at 2:57 PM

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

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

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

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

Submitted by Susan Richart on

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

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

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

screen shot/DHS OIG statement

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