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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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RE: I just want to feel safe!
By GotThumbs on 9/5/2012 1:26:46 PM , Rating: 2
I disagree.

I don't think they have won, but I'm not as quick to give up as others appear to be.

RE: I just want to feel safe!
By tayb on 9/5/2012 1:44:08 PM , Rating: 2
Give up? In the name of an illusion of security we've all but ripped up our rights to due process, unreasonable search and seizure, probable cause, and cruel and unusual punishment just to name a few. The only silver lining here is that the eroding of the Bill of Rights has happened by way of congressional bills that have expiration dates. In a sense I would say that it is obvious we lost the battle with terrorism but we can still win the war. We can reverse the damage done.

RE: I just want to feel safe!
By x10Unit1 on 9/5/2012 5:08:09 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Not about chemicals By GotThumbs on 9/5/2012 1:22:04 PM , Rating: 2 Well the fact that you do not own the plane is important to remember. Also, ever think someone might place a caustic liquid like acid or who knows what, to sabotage the flight in some way? Personally, my one single goal when I do choose to fly is arrive alive. I could care less about some whiny persons personal freedoms. Go buy your own plane if you have a problem with it. Don't be too naive to think something can't happen to you....I'm sure a few passengers on the planes on 9/11 thought the same thing.

You already did. You are willing to give up anything to "arrive alive".

I assume that means you are willing to be screened before getting on a bus, right? Or before you watch a movie at a theater? Or maybe enter a park? Are you willing to give up everything you have to "arrive alive"?

RE: I just want to feel safe!
By jeffkro on 9/6/2012 1:20:31 AM , Rating: 2
Yup this is something beyond modern American thinking. You are never totally safe.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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