TSA strikes again

This is a discussion on TSA strikes again within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; ——– A friend of mine sent me this about his TSA experience. He, unlike most of us, was coming back into the country from Afghanistan ...

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Thread: TSA strikes again

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    TSA strikes again

    ——–

    A friend of mine sent me this about his TSA experience. He, unlike most of us, was coming back into the country from Afghanistan on a military charter.

    ——–

    As the Chalk Leader for my flight home from Afghanistan, I witnessed the following:

    When we were on our way back from Afghanistan, we flew out of Baghram Air Field. We went through customs at BAF, full body scanners (no groping), had all of our bags searched, the whole nine yards.

    Our first stop was Shannon, Ireland to refuel. After that, we had to stop at Indianapolis, Indiana to drop off about 100 folks from the Indiana National Guard. That’s where the stupid started.

    First, everyone was forced to get off the plane–even though the plane wasn’t refueling again. All 330 people got off that plane, rather than let the 100 people from the ING get off. We were filed from the plane to a holding area. No vending machines, no means of escape. Only a male/female latrine.

    It’s probably important to mention that we were ALL carrying weapons. Everyone was carrying an M4 Carbine (rifle) and some, like me, were also carrying an M9 pistol. Oh, and our gunners had M-240B machine guns. Of course, the weapons weren’t loaded. And we had been cleared of all ammo well before we even got to customs at Baghram, then AGAIN at customs.

    The TSA personnel at the airport seriously considered making us unload all of the baggage from the SECURE cargo hold to have it reinspected. Keep in mind, this cargo had been unpacked, inspected piece by piece by U.S. Customs officials, resealed and had bomb-sniffing dogs give it a one-hour run through. After two hours of sitting in this holding area, the TSA decided not to reinspect our Cargo–just to inspect us again: Soldiers on the way home from war, who had already been inspected, reinspected and kept in a SECURE holding area for 2 hours. Ok, whatever. So we lined up to go through security AGAIN.

    This is probably another good time to remind you all that all of us were carrying actual assault rifles, and some of us were also carrying pistols.

    So we’re in line, going through one at a time. One of our Soldiers had his Gerber multi-tool. TSA confiscated it. Kind of ridiculous, but it gets better. A few minutes later, a guy empties his pockets and has a pair of nail clippers. Nail clippers. TSA informs the Soldier that they’re going to confiscate his nail clippers. The conversation went something like this:

    TSA Guy: You can’t take those on the plane.

    Soldier: What? I’ve had them since we left country.

    TSA Guy: You’re not suppose to have them.

    Soldier: Why?

    TSA Guy: They can be used as a weapon.

    Soldier: [touches butt stock of the rifle] But this actually is a weapon. And I’m allowed to take it on.

    TSA Guy: Yeah but you can’t use it to take over the plane. You don’t have bullets.

    Soldier: And I can take over the plane with nail clippers?

    TSA Guy: [awkward silence]

    Me: Dude, just give him your damn nail clippers so we can get the f**k out of here. I’ll buy you a new set.

    Soldier: [hands nail clippers to TSA guy, makes it through security]

    This might be a good time to remind everyone that approximately 233 people re-boarded that plane with assault rifles, pistols, and machine guns–but nothing that could have been used as a weapon.

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    Not surprising. Stick around....it can only get better (or worse as the case may be). By the way...(and don't tell anyone), but my belt can be used as a weapon. Matter of fact....either one of my hands or feet as well. Okay.....my whole body could be a weapon. Maybe they'd just as soon confiscate my brain. Hang in there folks. Change what needs to be changed.

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    Tell your buddy thank you, for the story and his service.

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    This smells fishy to me. What kind of Airplane holds 300 people? There are some but not too many (I don't want to say what kind just yet). Also TSA would have no reason to deplane passengers. This sounds like an internet "friend of a friend" story to me. Now I'm not saying it couldn't be true, but as a career aviaton industry guy it smells fishy. With that said I have worked daily with TSA and have been on a first name basis with more than a dozen TSA employees, some are great and some just OK.

    I have seen TSA do some INCREDIBLY stupid things but for the most part they are just doing their job. I once got hassled for my Swiss Army knife (the litlle one) on my key chain by TSA when I was going into work. I got the "Hey you can't have that" as I was going through a secure door at the airport (not into the departing flight area). I was going into the stairwell to the control tower and the guy was trying to flex his authority.

    I asked him why, and he replied because I could go out the back door of the tower, get onto the ramp and board an airplane with my Swiss Army knife. I laughed and called his boss over (one of my better friends at the airport). His boss then explained to him A) We were not his responsibility and B) That we had a full kitchen (by FAA mandate) upstairs in the tower. He didn't get it, so we walked him up to our breakroom where our fully stocked knife block resides. You should have seen this guys face when I showed him a meat cleaver and a full size French chef knife. It was pretty funny.
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    Distinguished Member Array jumpwing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by atctimmy View Post
    I asked him why, and he replied because I could go out the back door of the tower, get onto the ramp and board an airplane with my Swiss Army knife. I laughed and called his boss over (one of my better friends at the airport). His boss then explained to him A) We were not his responsibility and B) That we had a full kitchen (by FAA mandate) upstairs in the tower. He didn't get it, so we walked him up to our breakroom where our fully stocked knife block resides. You should have seen this guys face when I showed him a meat cleaver and a full size French chef knife. It was pretty funny.
    That's great when you know people.

    For the other 99.98% of us we're stuck dealing with "Mr. Authority Flexer" and the supervisor who backs him up whether he's right or wrong.
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    Soldier: [touches butt stock of the rifle] But this actually is a weapon. And I’m allowed to take it on.

    TSA Guy: Yeah but you can’t use it to take over the plane. You don’t have bullets.

    Soldier: And I can take over the plane with nail clippers?

    TSA Guy: [awkward silence]


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    Quote Originally Posted by jumpwing View Post
    That's great when you know people.

    For the other 99.98% of us we're stuck dealing with "Mr. Authority Flexer" and the supervisor who backs him up whether he's right or wrong.
    True indeed. The really sad/funny part was that I wasn't passing through security when this guy started popping off. I was walking through a side door outside of his area of authority. He just decided to reach out and expand his "jurisdiction" on his own and for no real reason.

    ETA: For the record this was at a small regional airport that I worked at for over five years. Everyone knew everyone by sight even if you worked different shifts. The people who had a similar schedule to you, you knew very well. We had only one little restaurant so every time you ordered breakfast or lunch you wound up sitting next to other airport employees (ramp guys/ticket agents/car rental folks/TSA/etc...). So this guy even knew who I was. Although we were not pals, we were certainly acquainted.
    Last edited by atctimmy; November 22nd, 2010 at 12:40 AM. Reason: content
    Mark Twain:
    The government is merely a servant -- merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a
    patriot and who isn't. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them.

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    It's not about security. It's about the illusion of security. If people "feel" safe they will keep flying. Truth is they're not any safer than before.
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    Quote Originally Posted by atctimmy View Post
    This smells fishy to me. What kind of Airplane holds 300 people? There are some but not too many (I don't want to say what kind just yet). Also TSA would have no reason to deplane passengers. This sounds like an internet "friend of a friend" story to me. Now I'm not saying it couldn't be true, but as a career aviaton industry guy it smells fishy. With that said I have worked daily with TSA and have been on a first name basis with more than a dozen TSA employees, some are great and some just OK.
    I don't know about that particular story, but in 2003, our unit flew to Germany on a 737-200 (long flight with stops) with weapons, and TSA was confiscating nail clippers.

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    I thought they had stopped that stupidity. Four days after 9/11 they broke the little nail file off the nail clippers I had, but let me keep the clipper.

    I'm also afraid if it had been me with the M4 I'd have probably done something stupid, like tossed the clippers as far as I could into the non-secure area and told the idiot to "go fetch"!
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    Quote Originally Posted by atctimmy View Post
    This smells fishy to me. What kind of Airplane holds 300 people? There are some but not too many (I don't want to say what kind just yet). Also TSA would have no reason to deplane passengers. This sounds like an internet "friend of a friend" story to me. Now I'm not saying it couldn't be true, but as a career aviaton industry guy it smells fishy. With that said I have worked daily with TSA and have been on a first name basis with more than a dozen TSA employees, some are great and some just OK.
    A 747 can hold ~300 people. Not to mention, having deployed and returned on these kinds of flights, one of the first things we do when returning CONUS is clear customs. Thus, the deplaning. So, to re-board for a CONUS trip, it would be within the realm of possibility for TSA to say "we need to screen them...they might be terrorists". I say this because TSA "agents" do not exercise good judgment or common sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by atctimmy View Post
    I have seen TSA do some INCREDIBLY stupid things but for the most part they are just doing their job. I once got hassled for my Swiss Army knife (the litlle one) on my key chain by TSA when I was going into work. I got the "Hey you can't have that" as I was going through a secure door at the airport (not into the departing flight area). I was going into the stairwell to the control tower and the guy was trying to flex his authority.

    I asked him why, and he replied because I could go out the back door of the tower, get onto the ramp and board an airplane with my Swiss Army knife. I laughed and called his boss over (one of my better friends at the airport). His boss then explained to him A) We were not his responsibility and B) That we had a full kitchen (by FAA mandate) upstairs in the tower. He didn't get it, so we walked him up to our breakroom where our fully stocked knife block resides. You should have seen this guys face when I showed him a meat cleaver and a full size French chef knife. It was pretty funny.
    Another example of the lack of common sense and sense of authority.
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    Soldier: [touches butt stock of the rifle] But this actually is a weapon. And I’m allowed to take it on.

    TSA Guy: Yeah but you can’t use it to take over the plane. You don’t have bullets.


    I guess the TSA guy has never heard of a butt-stroke to the head. I'm glad I'm not in anymore...I would have been sorely tempted to demonstrate the technique.

    Our own troops being treated as potential terrorists. Brilliant.

    Oh yea, let's let these clowns run health care. Even more brilliant.
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