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Transportation Security Administration

Let’s Close the Book on Book Screening Rumors

Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Books

Do you have to remove books from your carry-on bags prior to sending your bag through the X-ray?

Short answer: No

Longer answer (but still pretty short): You know us… We’re always testing procedures to help stay ahead of our adversaries. We were testing the removal of books at two airport locations and the testing ran its course. We’re no longer testing and have no intentions of instituting those procedures.

So, with that out of the way, you might be wondering why we were interested in books. Well, our adversaries seem to know every trick in the book when it comes to concealing dangerous items, and books have been used in the past to conceal prohibited items. We weren’t judging your books by their covers, just making sure nothing dangerous was inside.

Occasionally, our officers may recommend passengers remove items such as heavy, glossy programs during a special event with a lot of travelers such as Super Bowl programs.

If a bag needs to be opened by a TSA officer, we encourage any passenger with privacy concerns to request private screening.

Follow @TSA on Twitter and Instagram!

Bob Burns

TSA Social Media

Comments

Submitted by RB on

You are right we do know TSA. We know that TSA has no respect for our dignity, privacy, or property.

Submitted by Chip In Florida on

"...we encourage any passenger with privacy concerns to request private screening."

No.

You can do it right here in full public view. I know there are cameras out here, I don't know if there are cameras in there. You have given me plenty of reasons not to trust anyone in your organization so we can do this inspection right here at the end of the xray scanner.

Submitted by S Richart on

The ending of this pilot program was brought about by organized protests. It's just too bad that the same kinds of protests have not arisen over the sexual assault of passengers.

http://www.kiro7.com/news/trending-now/women-searched-at-airport-after-f...

This woman was traumatized by TSA and is now impacted for life.

screen shot/DHS IG statement

Submitted by RB on

What Can I Bring is back to providing useless information:

What Can I Bring?

For items not listed here, simply snap a picture or send a question to AskTSA on Facebook Messenger or Twitter. We look forward to answering your questions, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET weekdays and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekends/holidays.

The final decision rests with the TSA officer on whether an item is allowed through the checkpoint.

nitroglycerin medicine
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Submitted by S Richart on

Chip, there are no cameras in the private rooms and you can't take a camera in with you - although somebody did get away with it at one time - which is why you should never go into a private room with TSA, even with your own witness. A woman reported yesterday that she was made to go into a private room so her shirt could be lifted so TSA screeners could see the scar on her back. The screeners wanted her to drop her pants also so they could see scars on her hips, but she refused to do so. https://twitter.com/Chamberpaint/status/879361823220277248

screen shot/DHS IG statement

Submitted by Gwen Simmons on

On Tuesday, June 27, 2017 I was asked to remove all books from my carry on while going through TSA screening at the Bozeman, Montana airport. When I said that I had never been asked to do that before, the screener said, "It's new." You might want to pass the word that this "new" program ran its course some months ago.

Submitted by HAL 2000 on

Really RB? I have never seen anybody as stubborn and intentionally dim as you, sir. That isn't a compliment.

Submitted by US on

Curtis, why on earth should anyone believe you, given how much you lie to us on a daily basis?

Submitted by Jen on

They're not "rumors" when the DHS Secretary says they will roll the program out nationwide.

"We weren’t judging your books by their covers" is just not true. I had my books searched in security and your agent commented heavily on my reading choices. If he felt comfortable enough to mock my choices in mainstream fiction, I have no doubt he would have yanked me from my flight if he didn't like what I was reading.

Submitted by Max Yost on

No, We, the People, are NOT "going to close the book" on your inspection of reading material. I would like you to explain why you harassed Jon Corbett? http://tinyurl.com/yadlnffu. I would like you to explain why you harassed, interrogated, handcuffed and locked Nicolas George in a cell for five hours. http://tinyurl.com/ycwtor8r

Submitted by RB on

Submitted by HAL 2000 on Thu, 2017-06-29 17:55
Really RB? I have never seen anybody as stubborn and intentionally dim as you, sir. That isn't a compliment.
..............

Exactly what are you mumbling about HAL? I only pointed out a fault in the TSA "What Can I Take" tool. How is that stubborn and intentionally dim?

It's people who don't understand the significance of bad information coming from TSA that are dim.

TSA, when were personal insults allowed?

Submitted by Jennifer F on

This is false. Yesterday (7/2/17) at Phoenix airport my family and I were required to remove all books, magazines, and food from our bags while going through security. If indeed this program has ended (and it should), this must be communicated to the Phoenix airport TSA staff.

Submitted by Boldly on

Submitted by Max Yost on Fri, 2017-06-30 20:26

No, We, the People, are NOT "going to close the book" on your inspection of reading material. I would like you to explain why you harassed Jon Corbett? http://tinyurl.com/yadlnffu. I would like you to explain why you harassed, interrogated, handcuffed and locked Nicolas George in a cell for five hours. http://tinyurl.com/ycwtor8r

Interesting... TSA doesn't have handcuffs or cells. Another example of TSA getting blamed for something that has not and could not happen.

Submitted by Anonymous on

If TSA didn't insist on fake uniforms and badges, maybe people would quit confusing them for airport police.

Submitted by RB on

Submitted by Boldly on Mon, 2017-07-03 11:00
Submitted by Max Yost on Fri, 2017-06-30 20:26

No, We, the People, are NOT "going to close the book" on your inspection of reading material. I would like you to explain why you harassed Jon Corbett? http://tinyurl.com/yadlnffu. I would like you to explain why you harassed, interrogated, handcuffed and locked Nicolas George in a cell for five hours. http://tinyurl.com/ycwtor8r

Interesting... TSA doesn't have handcuffs or cells. Another example of TSA getting blamed for something that has not and could not happen.

****************************
TSA certainly held Stacey Amato prisoner, in a glass cell, incomunicado, for an extended time. TSA's actions cost taxpayers a lot of money on that TSA performance.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Flying out of sacramento today 7/3. Have the tsa precheck(ktn). Tsa pulled my bag & daughters bag out. Had to be opened & searched. I had food , so that prompted them to do a full pat down with me.
All over a bag of snacks.

Submitted by S Richart on

Boldy wrote: "TSA doesn't have handcuffs or cells. Another example of TSA getting blamed for something that has not and could not happen."

In both incidents the TSA was the nexus for questioning and detaining of Jon Corbett or Nicholas George being held in a jail cell for several hours, Boldy. There was no reason to call the police because of a young man's Arabic flashcards or Jon Corbett being questioned about the documents he was carrying. TSA was responsible for both incidents as they were in the incident of the young disabled woman being beaten bloody in Memphis.

Submitted by John Doe on

What if the book title is "How to fool the TSA"?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Bozeman Airport on Saturday, July 8, 11:30 am. Security was directing passengers to remove books.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I was just at the Indianapolis airport where they were telling passengers to remove their books. It was not optional, and since passengers aren't in a position to say "no," this is still in effect. If it's not in effect anymore you should tell you TSA agents to stop making people remove books.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Several reports right here of this "pilot" not having been halted, so what rumor did Bobby close the book on again?

Submitted by RB on

Bobby's report is not verifiable so it must just be a rumor as we have been instructed to believe by other TSA employees.

Submitted by West Cooper on

John Doe sez - "What if the book title is "How to fool the TSA"?

I hope it is a good read!

RB sez - "Bobby's report is not verifiable so it must just be a rumor as we have been instructed to believe by other TSA employees."

Except for the fact that it meets those specific criteria that I tihnk that individual mentioned:

1. Posted at the organizations Official Page (named source)
2. Verifiable information - posted by the organization itself, in a public forum

I am comfortable with taking this as a public announcement by the organization - unlike a story with an unnamed, unverifiable source, with no proof being given to back up said story. Not saying these stories are untrue, just that in comparison, the information being publicly disseminated on the TSAs Official Website carries a bit more weight than "someone said that xxxxxx happened".

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by Wintermute on

West, it's not just "someone said XXXXXX..." It's several different someones are saying the exact same thing is happening at several different airports. Given the TSA's penchant for obfuscating, if not outright lying, then I'd call that better than any "official" statement from the TSA.

Submitted by RB on

Submitted by West Cooper on Mon, 2017-07-10 15:16
John Doe sez - "What if the book title is "How to fool the TSA"?

I hope it is a good read!

RB sez - "Bobby's report is not verifiable so it must just be a rumor as we have been instructed to believe by other TSA employees."

Except for the fact that it meets those specific criteria that I tihnk that individual mentioned:

1. Posted at the organizations Official Page (named source)
2. Verifiable information - posted by the organization itself, in a public forum

I am comfortable with taking this as a public announcement by the organization - unlike a story with an unnamed, unverifiable source, with no proof being given to back up said story. Not saying these stories are untrue, just that in comparison, the information being publicly disseminated on the TSAs Official Website carries a bit more weight than "someone said that xxxxxx happened".

TSA Blog Team
......................
The news article was a public story by a recognized news agency, can't get much more verifiable than that.

When you say "organization" it makes me think of the mob which is how TSA often operates. Do as I say and don't ask questions!

Submitted by Someone on

Quit bashing the TSA, they are trying to protect us from bad people. Sure they have had their wrong doings, but don't make a small annoyance a big problem. I agree that it is wrong when they mistreat people, but what does that have to do with searching books?
If you have a problem, report it to someone who will actually help the situation...Instead of whining like little kids.

Submitted by Warren on

Scanning of ALL reading material just happened today at IND airport by TSA for passengers going through security.

Submitted by Huh on

Passengers at Indianapolis International Airport (IND) were asked to remove books today.

Submitted by RB on

Submitted by Someone on Tue, 2017-07-11 22:56
Quit bashing the TSA, they are trying to protect us from bad people. Sure they have had their wrong doings, but don't make a small annoyance a big problem. I agree that it is wrong when they mistreat people, but what does that have to do with searching books?
If you have a problem, report it to someone who will actually help the situation...Instead of whining like little kids.

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

The bad people are they TSA people!

Submitted by Boldly on

Submitted by S Richart on Tue, 2017-07-04 18:13

Boldy wrote: "TSA doesn't have handcuffs or cells. Another example of TSA getting blamed for something that has not and could not happen."

In both incidents the TSA was the nexus for questioning and detaining of Jon Corbett or Nicholas George being held in a jail cell for several hours, Boldy. There was no reason to call the police because of a young man's Arabic flashcards or Jon Corbett being questioned about the documents he was carrying. TSA was responsible for both incidents as they were in the incident of the young disabled woman being beaten bloody in Memphis.

OK, you can blame TSA all you want. The reality is they are not responsible for the actions of law enforcement. I, like you were not there so I am not going to question the validity of the original request for law enforcement. Whether or not it was justified is completely irrelevant. But I know, you in your heart believe TSA is responsible for everything from the fall of the roman empire to global warming.

Submitted by Boldly on

TSA certainly held Stacey Amato prisoner, in a glass cell, incomunicado, for an extended time. TSA's actions cost taxpayers a lot of money on that TSA performance.

In 2014? Wasn't that a long time ago? Lets talk about something relevant.

Submitted by USMC Retired on

Just a question for everyone who has a complaint about TSA... assuming that you know what the threats are to aviation security... how would you change things for your next trip to the airport?

Keep in mind... it will NEVER go back to pre 9/11 standards.

Submitted by Not TSAgent West on

Boldy's lack of understanding of logical fallacies is showing again...

Submitted by Not TSAgent West on

Retired USMC,

You do realize that even if screening returned to pre-9/11 standards, that security still wouldn't return to pre-9/11 standards, don't you? Two things changed that makes aviation more secure. Hardened cockpit doors and the refusal of passengers to comply with a terrorist with a box cutter, knife, gun, bomb, or other "scarey" object as they were told to do prior to 9/11.

But, more to the point of your (misleading) question, I would return screening to the private companies who own the aircraft. TSA could be moved to a role much like the FAA. The FAA doesn't manufacture the planes and doesn't operate the airlines. They set standards and provide oversight. The TSA should do the same.

If this is too scarey of a thought, and TSA is left in the actual screening business, then please, by the love of %diety%, get rid of the fake cop uniforms and badges, even if none of the remainder is done.

Start providing transparency instead of hiding procedures from the public. After all, security through obscurity never works.

Get rid of the slow scanners and, when absolutely required, perform a pat-down that would not equate to sexual assault in any other context. They tend to miss things because they are too busy "teaching the passenger a lesson" for opting out or having the nerve to false-alarm a slow, ineffective scanning technology to concentrate on doing a proper, thorough yet respectful, pat-down.

There is no viable liquid explosives plot. Quit the liquids charade.

There is no viable shoe explosives plot. Quit the shoe carnival.

There is no viable underwear bomb plot. Even if there were, the machines implemented specifically to combat this supposed threat fails to detect mock versions of this threat, so, again, get rid of the machine. It has a giant blind spot. It's great at finding toothpaste, beads of sweat, folds of fabric, etc, but not artfully concealed weapons. Nearly 100% of alarms have been for an "anomaly" that wasn't actually a threat, which is, by definition, a false alarm.

This should be enough to get the TSA started. But, again, if nothing else, quit dressing up TSA's employees as cops. They're not.

Submitted by Anonymous on

So much for this "trial run being over". I was asked today, 7-19-17, to remove all books and even magazines and notebooks from my bag at the Fort-Wayne airport. It was my school bag so i had to take practically everything out of my bag then the TSA agent still search through all my papers and books after the x-ray.

Submitted by RB on

Submitted by Anonymous on Wed, 2017-07-19 06:17
So much for this "trial run being over". I was asked today, 7-19-17, to remove all books and even magazines and notebooks from my bag at the Fort-Wayne airport. It was my school bag so i had to take practically everything out of my bag then the TSA agent still search through all my papers and books after the x-ray.
...................
So it appears that the "Let's Close the Book on Book Screening Rumors" posting is misleading, not truthful, or as some would put it, a flat out lie!

How typical for TSA and especially the TSA Blog and its Bloggers!

Why should the public have any trust in TSA when TSA can't even get simple issues right?

Submitted by Boldly on

Submitted by Not TSAgent West on Tue, 2017-07-18 20:58

Retired USMC,

But, more to the point of your (misleading) question, I would return screening to the private companies who own the aircraft. TSA could be moved to a role much like the FAA. The FAA doesn't manufacture the planes and doesn't operate the airlines. They set standards and provide oversight. The TSA should do the same.

If this is too scarey of a thought, and TSA is left in the actual screening business, then please, by the love of %diety%, get rid of the fake cop uniforms and badges, even if none of the remainder is done.

Start providing transparency instead of hiding procedures from the public. After all, security through obscurity never works.

Get rid of the slow scanners and, when absolutely required, perform a pat-down that would not equate to sexual assault in any other context. They tend to miss things because they are too busy "teaching the passenger a lesson" for opting out or having the nerve to false-alarm a slow, ineffective scanning technology to concentrate on doing a proper, thorough yet respectful, pat-down.

There is no viable liquid explosives plot. Quit the liquids charade.

There is no viable shoe explosives plot. Quit the shoe carnival.

There is no viable underwear bomb plot. Even if there were, the machines implemented specifically to combat this supposed threat fails to detect mock versions of this threat, so, again, get rid of the machine. It has a giant blind spot. It's great at finding toothpaste, beads of sweat, folds of fabric, etc, but not artfully concealed weapons. Nearly 100% of alarms have been for an "anomaly" that wasn't actually a threat, which is, by definition, a false alarm.

This should be enough to get the TSA started. But, again, if nothing else, quit dressing up TSA's employees as cops. They're not.

I find your response pretty funny. Your upset over uniforms? Because YOU think they look like cops? I guess firemen should turn in their uniforms also? Its a incredibly petty argument at best.
You want to provide the SOP to all? Really? You want to tell potential harm doers with all the policies and procedures so they can study them? Perhaps you should give a bank robber the combo to the safe also.
No liquid threat? I and many experts will disagree with that as with the underwear and shoe threat. Hmm, if you stop screening those items, where do you suppose bad guys will start putting harmful things?

You critical error, among many is you assume TSA equipment is designed to find "threat" items and anything else is a false alarm. That is simply not true. The equipment doesn't know the difference between a tic tac and a blasting cap. Nor should it. If it could, that would open the door for false alarms. The machines are designed (properly) to only detect anomalies thus they are not false alarms. It is then up to the officers to investigate the anomaly. Are they perfect? Of course not and they never will be. But switching screening to "private" wont do anything to change the results. Current private airports have the same test results as federalized airports. Those same officers who are federal now would become private or be absorbed into other federal agencies.
Your arguments, and solutions sadly are personal more than logical.
I'm very confident, if your "solutions" were implemented even in part, 9-11 or something similar would happen all over again. Im glad you are not in the security business. I as a citizen who loves my county can pick easy holes in your plan without even trying. Imagine what an angry terrorist could do to it.

Submitted by Not TSAgent West on

No, providing SOP does not equate to a bank providing the combination to the safe. Providing the actual procedures the bank uses to stay secure does not make it less secure. Your argument equates to "terrorists are too stupid to find a weakness if we just hide our SOP." All hiding SOP does is allow the TSA to claim "proper procedures were followed" when they screw up.

As for the take uniform, who is constantly reminding people that TSA doesn't detain people? If the TSA didn't try to pass themselves off as cops, maybe the public wouldn't get confused over who is doing the detaining. It also allows those TSAgents with an inferiority complex to power trip.

Submitted by Not TSAgent West on

Boldly,

You misread my suggestions. I did not speak to the viability of any specific threat. Just to the viability of any plot involving those threats. Go ahead and conflate the two issues so the public can, once again, see through the flaws in your logic.

Submitted by J Smith on

On July 22 2017 at LAX (Los Angeles) people going thru security had to remove EVERY BOOK and magazine from our bag and place in a SEPARATE BIN. pilot program ended? Or will this become the norm? If so... you are going to need more bins! And expect unnecessarily longer security lines.

Submitted by Chip In Florida on

Boldy tried to add to the conversation "...I'm very confident, if your "solutions" were implemented even in part, 9-11 or something similar would happen all over again. Im glad you are not in the security business. I as a citizen who loves my county can pick easy holes in your plan without even trying. Imagine what an angry terrorist could do to it."

Nothing the TSA does now is preventing the next 9-11 attack.

Nothing the TSA does now if it could be transported back in time would have stopped the 9-11 attack.

You can be confident in your assertions but you will be the only one because the TSA that you think is doing such a good job now already has more holes picked into it than a wheel of cheese in a rat farm. I can imagine a dozen different ways to get around the TSA theater and I am not even slightly angry and am certainly not a terrorist.

You, however, will simply say that the proof is already in place because there hasn't been a terrorist attack on American Commercial Aircraft since the implementation of the TSA. And to you, that logic is infallible so pointing out the magic-rock flaw in it won't change your mind. So..... we come back around to the question game. All you other TSA Agents can play along too.

Answer this simple question and you can keep your beloved TSA:

If 16 ounces of water in a bottle can't go through screening because it might be dangerous why does it become safe when transferred to six individual 3 ounce bottles and placed in a quart-size zippy bag? Is the safety provided by the smaller bottles or the zippy bag?

Submitted by Caceres on

08/02/17: Had to remove books and food from bags at OAJ Jacksonville, NC

Submitted by Liz on

Interesting that we had to pull all our books out of our carry on luggage yesterday in the Indianapolis airport.
They have the most unprofessional TSA staff I've ever encountered.

Submitted by Not TSAgent West on

Hey Blog Team! What do you have to say to these continue to pour in about the "rumoured" book removal requirement? Sure looks like it's not a rumour to me!

Submitted by ROCK on

If you who had a bad experience with TSA I believe you just had an unlucky moment. I've been flying for 42 year's and have never had a bad experience other then once sitting in basic economy class and not having enough leg room the entire flight to my destination but I simply fixed that by upgrading. Also on some lengthy flights, United don't even serve real food on the flight even though I dropped over a grand or two on my fare. For those that completely hate TSA please do me and millions of other travelers a favor and drive or take a boat to your destination. I rather have TSA be thorough then let a mad man or woman on board a flight I'm on. All these security measures were put into place because of all the attempt's to bring planes down, hijackings, criminal or unlawful intention's. The adversaries is constantly looking for every possible way to sneak stuff that go ka boom on planes and in fact there are still many loopholes that need to be tied up tightly because if they are not they can be potential avenues for a method to exploit. We need to support TSA with advancing futuristic security equipment's, screening method's, efficiency, customer service, and instituting the GS pay scale to bring in only the highest caliber, brightest, and truly service oriented officer's into completely professionalize it into the 21st century and beyond in keeping our country safe. The threats are increasing not decreasing and getting sophisticated not unsophisticated. We need TSA to level up to the level of their fellow 22 Agencies!

Submitted by S Miller on

The agents at ORD were going through books in the TSA line today. Coloring books, novels, etc. Is this a new policy?

Submitted by Alan Whitney on

Then why did I have to remove my books at O'hare in Chicago 20 minutes ago...and get literally yelled at when I questioned why.

I am contacting the ACLU.

My wife videoed the whole thing.

Submitted by CPW on

This is total BS, TSA is now saying "papers" instead of books. They have. It closed the book on this process. If so, you should advise your agents at ORD.

Submitted by DAK591029 on

Preposterous, self-serving statement. I had HIPPA-protected patient records in my bag and the TSA office refused to allow the private screening you described. Basically the officer violated Federal law by looking at private medical records of my patients without a legal reason. The TSA officers (2 separate events) feigned or implied that they would escalate the situation if I didn't immediately comply. You are on the wrong side of the battle and violate citizens' rights and the law on a regular basis!
To identify the author of this comment, please use the cipher:DAK591029

Submitted by Anonymous on

They did just ask me to remove books and papers at the airport in Lansing Michigan. I was surprised but even more surprised when I did a search on why and saw all the negative comments here. It's for passenger safety. Just because every passenger searched doesn't have weapons in books is no reason to complain about the extra couple of minutes it takes to do this.

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