Tales of the TSA: Who brings fake grenades, a real garotte, in carry-on?

Some people really deserve to be in Gitmo.  Who in their right mind would pack fake hand-grenades in their carry-on bag, or a real garrote wire for that matter (garrotes are used in spy movies (and real life) to strangle people from behind).  While we’ve criticized TSA in the past, sometimes you have to have sympathy for the morons they’re forced to put up with on a daily basis.

First the garotte, which the TSA found in a passenger’s carry-on bag in Boston, after the passenger acted suspicious.

Garrote found in a carry-on bag by TSA

Source: TSA

Now the hand grenade replicas – because no one could have guessed that these might be a problem taking on a plane in your handbag:

Inert grenades found by TSA in carry-on bag

Source: TSA

The TSA found fake grenades in carry-on bags at four different American airports this week:

Eight replica/inert grenades were discovered this week, one in a carry-on bag at Salt Lake City (SLC), and five others in checked baggage – three at Harrisburg (MDT), three at Anchorage (ANC), and one at San Diego (SAN). The three grenades at MDT caused a 1-hour, 8-minute evacuation of the checked baggage area.

And honestly, who doesn’t pack a last-minute fake IED – along with some fake Semtex plastic explosives – in their luggage before trekking off to visit mom?  And for good measure, the idiot even had the fake plastic explosive marked as real.  This was found in luggage at the airport in Columbus:

Simulated IED found by TSA

Source: TSA

Oh, but there’s more.  The TSA has found inert detonators, an expended rocket launcher, a grenade launcher, a blasting cap, replica Claymore anti-personell mines, inert warheads, inert mortar and bazooka rounds, and then there’s this guy:

A passenger at Norfolk (ORF) had simulated detonating cord, simulated sheet explosives, and two 3.5 ounce cans of propane in his checked bag.

Or this idiot:

live flash bang grenade was discovered in checked baggage at Northwest Florida Regional Airport (VPS). Along with the grenade were 20 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition.

TSA DFW-40mm-Grenade

Source: TSA

What the hell is wrong with these people?


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • Snarki, child of Loki

    Okay, now you’re in the TSA “TerrorTraitor” files for making fun of their super-serious and deadly War Against Toothpaste.

    And Snow Globes, don’t forget the Snow Globe wielding terrorist threat.

  • mr_ed

    They won’t miss your ipad, but you will.

  • mr_ed

    Huffers love the toluene (Tulio) in rubber cement. It’s both toxic and flammable.

  • Fisher1949

    Who decides it’s a garotte, the idiots at TSA? How is this any different from a PVC pipe cutter bought in a hardware store.

    This is just more TSA propaganda published by lazy journalist wannabees.

    Spending $80 billion in ten years to fund an agency made up of uneducated bullies with two page rap sheets is not a celebration, it’s a tragedy. TSA has become a jobs program for people who can’t get hired anywhere else.

    TSA even allows a known pedophile, Thomas Harkins to remain employed as a TSA Supervisor in Philadelphia giving him access to search children. What kind of agency turns a known sex offender loose on children?

    The press has been repeating TSA propaganda and excusing the agency’s failures despite eight incidents of drug and gun smuggling, over a hundred criminal arrests including fifteen pedophile TSA screeners.

    Media pandering to TSA and ignoring its failures is and slowing reform of this troubled agency and making air travel less secure.

  • Tatts

    One of the most common items that TSA confiscates (at least 2 or 3 years ago it was in the top 3) is rubber cement. WTF? Who are all these people flying with rubber cement in their carry-ons? Huffers? Kindergarten teachers? Upholsterers?
    It’s very flammable, so I’m glad they confiscate it. But what gives with some people?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    When it comes to the TSA no stupidity is too remarkable. They confiscated my great Grandmother’s Bible, because of a metal clasp and nearly tore off the cover.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    TSA testing

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “than a good multi-tool.” Thank Gaia for Swiss Army!

  • hauksdottir

    John,

    When I went on a 2-week rafting trip, I had to fly to Colorado. I didn’t have my backpack, but I DID have my survival kit in my daypack… almost certainly containing things the TSA would confiscate now… such as that saw and scissors for moleskin and signaling mirror.

    That was decades ago. I haven’t flown since our own govt went crazy in its overreaction.

  • hauksdottir

    That was my emergency backpack saw… weighs a couple of ounces and takes up almost no space. If you need a splint for a broken arm, you will need someone else to do the sawing, though. ;^)

    As Becca says, they do fall apart.

    I would never have thought about using it as a garotte. If I was angry enough to strangle somebody, I’d use my fingers… less apt to fall apart when needed.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I wasn’t remarking on the stupidity of taking grenades (live or disabled) in one’s luggage. That’s just plain moronic.

    However, those cheap camping saws are commonplace for hikers and in survival kits. Might even be one at the bottom of my hiking pack. The part I find most remarkable is the stupidity of the TSA in declaring an obvious $3 camping saw to be a garrotte.

  • Naja pallida

    If there’s anything I’ve learned in a lot of traveling, especially across international borders, is that you don’t carry anything that security or customs enforcement could use to further harass you any more than the requisite amount. The TSA is probably the most egregious about it, but these kind of things are going to get you a slap upside the head no matter where you travel… and I bet they’re not the most absurd things they have found.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    A campaign saw in your carry on bag? And how about the fake grenades? Maybe it’s just absentminded, but 5 in a week?

  • Naja pallida

    If they had stopped a real threat, you’d can be sure that they’d be all over every news channel bragging about it. Since that hasn’t happened, my only conclusion is that they have stopped precisely zero real threats. But I’m sure they’ve liberated millions of Americans out of countless amounts of money worth of shampoo and fingernail files.

  • MattA

    The more important thing is: what of this was actually a threat to the flight? Yes, it is stupid to bring a fake grenade or fake bomb on a plane. But how many _actual_ threats has the TSA stopped?

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Personal guesses?

    As Noskcire remarked, that supposed garotte is just a camping saw, and the ‘suspicious’ passenger was probably someone who remembered, “Oh shit, did I leave what I think I left in my bag? I wonder if I could get in trouble for that? Will I miss my flight? Will they arrest me?”

    As for the other stuff? I can think of two explanations. One is the TSA does regularly test their own screening — and stories in the past have recounted how they actually LOST some of their test bombs. The other is probably as you say, idiots who believe the screening is a farce (and it is, but not in the way they think) and want to brag how they fooled the TSA.

    But some of the other items? Found in baggage belonging to absent-minded returning servicemembers, perhaps? Or probably more commonly by morons who think they’re clever enough to sneak stuff past screening…and who don’t think at all about the consequences if they are caught.

  • camper

    That’s a wire saw, not a garrote. Was the carry-on someone’s backpack perhaps?

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    That was my reaction as well. That’s not a garotte, although it could be used as one.

    And FWIW, those camping saws are garbage and usually fall apart almost immediately. The pin where the rings attach to the serrated wire comes apart easily due to shoddy soldering.

    As I learned on Les Stroud’s ‘Survivorman’ show (as well as personal experience with solo wilderness hiking and camping) there’s no tool more useful (and durable) than a good multi-tool.

  • noskcire

    The garotte is what I know as a camp wire saw. You cut a springy branch and make a temporary buck saw for cutting fire wood and tent poles. That I can understand. You get them in army surplus stores. The rest of the stuff you get in surplus stores as well but WTF were people thinking about the rest??.

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