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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: Not about chemicals
By Invane on 9/5/2012 4:19:12 PM , Rating: 2
And what good do you think checking your drinks is going to do to help you arrive alive? If they were to pass security with some dangerous liquid, do you really think they have to put it in their cup to bring it on the plane? They could just release it into a crowded gate terminal and do as much or more damage. They could place it into a body cavity and bring it onto the plane that way.

If you actually believe that the TSA screening drinks is somehow keeping you safer, you need to do a little bit of critical thinking. Allow me to point out a few facts for you:
1) Your odds of dieing from cancer is 1 in 7.
2) Your odds of dieing from a motor vehicle accident is 1 in 100.
3) Your odds of dieing from *falling down* is 1 in 236.
4) Your odds of dieing from fire/smoke is 1 in 1100.
5) Your odds of dieing in an air travel accident? 1 in 20000. And that's including mechanical/maintenance/technical failures.
6) Your odds of dieing by a TERRORIST? Let's try 1 in 20000000.

The number of US citizens that have died from terrorist incidents in total in the last hundred years is just over 3000, nearly all of which were from 9/11 (I researched this some time back, but don't have my link handy at the moment). The number of people killed JUST IN DECEMBER of 2010 from motor vehicle accidents (including pedestrians): nearly 6000. How much safer does having your drink tested make you feel now?

Yet here we are, passing crazy government power expanding laws like the NDAA and the Patriot Act. Here we are, more than willing to give up our constitutional rights against unreasonable search and seizure for a little perceived safety. Here we are, spending billions and billions on the TSA. Here we are practically soiling ourselves every time the government says 'terrorist'.

If you are scared enough of dieing in air travel to allow the government to drastically curtail our hard fought rights and freedoms, you have bought into the government bogey-man propaganda engine.

Not only that, but you should seriously do a little research into the safety of the body scanners they're currently shoving you sheep types through. Let's just say the approval process was a little shady.

I do NOT fear dieing in an air travel accident in the slightest. I do NOT fear dieing by a terrorist. I DO fear losing my constitutionally granted rights piece by piece due to ignorant, easily manipulated, and under educated people in this country allowing it to happen.

"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA

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