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For the last 16 years or so the TSA (Transportation Safety Agency) has emerged to become pretty much the most loathed of all government agencies. Besides the IRS that is. Which is ironic, since both are most hated for emptying our pockets.
But IRS agents wield their power from behind the safety of government desks. TSA agents have to get up right in our faces. And, sometimes in our underpants.
Here are some typical cases, related by passengers who lived to tell their stories. Just barely…
Dangerous Dirty Toenails
It’s pretty obvious that government bureaucracy is out of control at the TSA. The rules are made by people far removed from the front lines of “secure” airport boarding areas. Apparently, long fingernails are just as dangerous in conference rooms as on airplanes…
“When I was traveling with the Army, I had a TSA agent tell me they had to confiscate my nail clippers, as they could be dangerous. He said this as he was handing me back my M-16.”
How’s That Again?
IQ testing is not one of the requirements employees are subjected to prior to being hired by the TSA. But, if this is an example of the intelligence required to do such a sensitive job, maybe it should be…
“My friend was stopped by a TSA agent after arriving at LAX and taken into a separate room for questioning (he has a lazy eye and looks high pretty much all the time.) Another agent walked up to his dad and asked in a really aggressive voice, ‘Is there anything you don’t know about your son that we should know about?’
It’s A Small World After All
Lots of travelers like to buy little souvenirs and give them away as gifts when they get home. Not surprisingly, snow globes at Christmastime are a pretty popular item. And the perfect way to smuggle Plutonium…
“One TSA Agent made me dump out the water from a snow globe because it didn’t specify how much it held. Most of the fake snow and glitter came out with it. They stole my will to live.”
There are plenty of other reasons for tears at an airport than being subjected to a body cavity search by some creepy TSA guy. But, apparently becoming overwhelmed by emotion is now a red flag. Seems like this lady raised one…
“I was ‘randomly selected’ for extra screening after I started sobbing in line. (I kept having to explain that I was crying because I hate goodbyes.) After going through my backpack, the TSA agent tested my tears for explosive substances.”
Heard Any Good TSA Jokes Lately?
Some travelers know they’re going to be pulled out of line every time they get on an airplane. Especially those who have to live with body parts made possible by the incredible leaps made in modern medicine. It must get really old…
“I have a cochlear implant so I never go through the metal detectors. I always have the stupid grope. But, for one TSA agent, that wasn’t enough. He wanted to see the magnet part of the implant, despite my telling him it was under my scalp. Placed in a niche in my skull. Where the bone had been removed.” Next!
Shoot Guns Much?
Assuming TSA agents are trained to recognize firearms and know what it takes to blow stuff up seems to be an exercise in futility. Either that, or this particular agent missed that class…
“A TSA agent in the airport in Vermont was checking out my shotgun before sending it through to be loaded on the plane. After a few minutes he comes up to me and says, ‘This firearm has tested positive for explosive residue.’ ME: ‘You mean, like gunpowder?’ TSA dude: ‘Oh… right…’ (Hangs his head and walks away.)”
The One That Got Away
TSA agents look for weapons that don’t look like weapons. Like nail files, bowling balls and pocket radios. Naturally, that may lead to overlooking the obvious…
“I got strip searched at the airport while a TSA agent inspected the contents of my pockets, which included a 2″ Buck knife. ‘What’s this for?’ he asked. Wanting to be perfectly honest I replied, ‘It’s for cutting things.’ Satisfied that I didn’t have any drugs hidden on my person they folded up the knife, handed it back to me and told me I was free to go. Then they let me on the airplane. With a lethal weapon.”
Smile! You’re On TSA Camera!
TSA agents are trained to look in some unconventional places for weapons, like belts, shoes and, apparently, underwear. But how many of us have made it to adulthood without seeing all kinds of different dental devices?
“A TSA agent asked me what purpose the metal wiring on my teeth served, which was a retainer. I told him it was ‘so I could look beautiful.'”
A Soldier’s Story
The TSA is like any other workplace. And, some employees are dedicated to getting ahead by taking their jobs a bit too seriously. Then there’s this lady…
“I was headed back to Afghanistan in full uniform when a female agent pulls me over. She swabs my assault pack and it comes back as having held explosives. She starts getting all worked up and in my face, asking why the test strips were positive. I looked at her in disbelief, asking if she really was dumb enough to ask why a guy in the Army would have been in contact with explosives. This went on for a while, until another agent told me to go on my way.”