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Travelers, brace yourselves for the latest indignity

Thinking about flying?  Well, in addition to "enhanced" searches and the risk that your privates may be photographed and stored by Transportation Safety Administration screeners, travelers now have one more woe to add to their litany of complaints.

According to the Daily Mail TSA agents at the Columbus, Ohio Airport have been subjecting travelers to random seizures/inspections of their drinks at the gate to "check for explosives".  

Of course, these drinks all were presumably were sold by the airport vendors, as any drink-size liquid containers are supposed to be seized by the bag screeners at the security checkpoint -- a policy that has been in place since 2006.  So at first blush it's somewhat unclear exactly why the TSA agents felt it necessary to screen passengers' Starbucks and soft drinks.

The incident has been leaked onto YouTube (of course):

Ryan Mauro, a national security analyst, told the Daily Mail, "They're worried someone could bring an ingredient past security and then mix it with a drink that turns into something else - a poison or something else."

TSA drink screening
Airport screeners test passenger's Starbucks coffee to make sure he isn't a terrorist.
[Image Source: YouTube]

In June, the U.S. reportedly thwarted an attempt to blow up an airliner by a Yemen-trained, Norwegian citizen who was a member of the militant fundamentalist Islamic group al Qaeda.  Despite the potential terrorist's plot failing, national security officials are reportedly alarmed about the fact that his spotless record and lack of inclusion on no-fly lists could have allowed him to escape scrutiny, were it not for the tips.

In a statement the TSA confirmed it might now be seizing people's drinks as a precautionary measure, commenting, "TSA employs multiple layers of security throughout the airport where passengers may be randomly selected for additional screening.  One measure may include testing liquids that are in a passenger's possession."

Is that a coconut water or a bomb?  Let's find out. [Image Source: YouTube]

TSA agents "examine" the beverages using a special security screen, which appears to involve taking a small dropper or swab sample of the beverage, then testing it on a slide with some sort of reagent mix.

Some say that the policy goes to far, though.  The person who captured the incident on video told the Daily Mail:

I couldn't help but notice the two TSA women that were 'testing' any and all liquids that people had in their hands.  Now remember that this is inside the terminal, well beyond the security check and purchased inside the terminal ... just people waiting to get on the plane. 

My wife and son came back from a coffee shop just around the corner, then we were approached. I asked them what they were doing. One of the TSA ladies said that they were checking for explosive chemicals (as we are drinking them). I said 'really..inside the terminal? You have got to be kidding me.'

I asked them if they wanted to swab us all. She responded with something like, yes sometimes we need to do that. I then asked if she wanted a urine sample.

The TSA is way out of control. I understand that my ranting to one of these $11.00 per hour TSA goons probably does nothing, but you have to say something. Whats next...perhaps the TSA will come to your home prior to your drive to the airport? The police state of the U.S. is OUT OF CONTROL!

Indeed, as the list of indignities grows at a pace proportional to the would-be terrorists' increasingly imaginative plots, one has to wonder where the line must be drawn.

Sources: YouTube, Daily Mail

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It's all about control.
By dark matter on 9/5/2012 1:19:50 PM , Rating: 4
They make you give up freedoms and liberty inch by inch, day by day, month by month, year by year.

Until when you realise they are the real terrorist, it's far too late.

RE: It's all about control.
By mocyd on 9/5/2012 1:33:39 PM , Rating: 2
The government actually passed a bill of rights for passengers.

Before you go critiquing that as being "not enough", bear in mind there are competing factions between the unified industry advocates, and the dis-unified passenger base. This was definitely a step in the right direction.

We still need to deal with a no fly list, and other more practical limits on our liberties as passengers. Drink testing has no practical impact on your life.

RE: It's all about control.
By geddarkstorm on 9/5/2012 2:09:46 PM , Rating: 2
No practical impact? Besides whatever they are contaminating your already security approved drink with, the time it takes, the loss of privacy (4th amendment, remember?), and the tampering with your legally bought (TSA approved) product... It's attitudes like yours that has allowed them to continuously up the ante and subject passengers to more and more inane "security" procedures.

And the No Fly List has a purpose and valid backing; as long as it has the high burden of proof of committing high crimes or the expressed desire to commit high crimes for someone to be allowed to get put on it.

RE: It's all about control.
By FastEddieLB on 9/5/2012 2:58:12 PM , Rating: 2
There's a difference between terrorists and tyrants.

The difference being the former isn't yet in power while the latter is.

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