TSA FAIL: Screener plants white powder on passenger

tsa fail

Image courtesy of failblog.org

Here’s a story that must be read to be believed. Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Daniel Rubin writes that earlier this month, an oh-so-hilarious Transportation Security Administration screener allegedly thought it would be a hoot to plant a baggie of white powder in an airline passenger’s bag:

A TSA worker was staring at her. He motioned her toward him.

Then he pulled a small, clear plastic bag from her carry-on – the sort of baggie that a pair of earrings might come in. Inside the bag was fine, white powder.

She remembers his words: “Where did you get it?”

Two thoughts came to her in a jumble: A terrorist was using her to sneak bomb-detonating materials on the plane. Or a drug dealer had made her an unwitting mule, planting coke or some other trouble in her bag while she wasn’t looking. […]

Answer truthfully, the TSA worker informed her, and everything will be OK. […]

Put yourself in her place and count out 20 seconds. Her heart pounded. She started to sweat. She panicked at having to explain something she couldn’t.

Now picture her expression as the TSA employee started to smile.

Just kidding, he said. He waved the baggie. It was his.

And so she collected her things, stunned, and the tears began to fall.

TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis says the screener in question is no longer with the agency, though she wouldn’t tell the Inquirer whether he was fired or quit.

It goes without saying that anyone with a lick of sense should know better than to play this kind of a prank — especially less than two weeks after an al Qaida terrorist tried to blow up a plane on Christmas Day.


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  1. What is the point of your story, besides to make the TSA look bad? Do you publish every stupid thing that a federal employee does or just TSA employees? You’re right in that he should have known better. It doesn’t matter if it was two weeks after or two weeks before. No time is the right time.

  2. Hi. Blogger Bob here from the TSA Blog. We posted on this today if you’d like to take a look at our blog.

    Also, FYI: The photo you’re using from failblog is not TSA. It’s not even in America. Look at the stanchion and you’ll see “Mezia.” If you were able to see the entire word, you would see “Lamezia” which is an Italian airport. (SUF)


    Blogger Bob
    TSA Blog Team

  3. @ Anthony – You don’t even have to TRY to make TSA look bad. They excel at this without any outside help. I once saw a TSA reading a romance novel while her buddy flossed her teeth behind the xray machine. I feel soooooo safe!

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