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Tag: Airports

TSA Reveals Top 10 ‘Good Catches’ of 2020, Including Dead Baby Shark

Baby shark submerged in liquid. Photo via TSA.

By Steve Neavling

A dead baby shark, a bundle of Roman candles and a book full of knives. 

Those were among the TSA’s list of top 10 “good catches” of 2020, underscoring the sometimes bizarre discoveries at airport inspections. 

Other items on the list include a smoke grenade, cigar humidor resembling a bomb, marijuana hidden in a shampoo bottle, and a long gun hidden in the lining of a suitcase. 

The top finding? Two TSA canine handlers at the Liberty International Airport who “caught each other” and tied the knot in June. 

“On June 25, 2020, two TSA handlers professed their fur-ever love for each other! How dog-gone cute is that?”

Rate of Firearms Seized at Airports Doubled in 2020, TSA Says

Guns seized by TSA.

By Steve Neavling

The TSA revealed Tuesday that the rate of firearms detected at airport security checkpoints doubled in 2020. 

The agency discovered about 10 firearms per million passengers last year, twice the rate of 2019 and “at a significantly higher rate than any other years since the agency’s inception,” TSA said in a news release.

In all, TSA officer detected 3,257 guns on passengers or in their carry-on bags at checkpoints in 2020. About 83% of the firearms were loaded. 

“I commend our officers for their commitment to TSA’s security mission by identifying and stopping these weapons at the TSA checkpoints. Firearms are strictly prohibited onboard planes in the passenger cabin,” Senior Official Performing the Duties of TSA Administrator Darby LaJoye said in a statement. “Bringing a firearm to a TSA security checkpoint poses a serious risk to TSA officer and passenger safety, and doing so may result in significant fines or arrest.”

 Firearms were detected at 234 airports nationwide. The most were discovered at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, followed by Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, and Denver International Airport rounded off the top 5. 

More Than 1,000 TSA Employees Infected with Coronavirus

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

More than 1,000 TSA employees have tested for the coronavirus, and six have died, the agency revealed Thursday.

No federal agency has been hit harder by COVID-19 than the TSA, whose employee have close contact with the public.

The TSA will now require its employees to wear face shields while screening passengers. TSA employees also mush change their gloves after every interaction with the public.

The TSA has come under fire for failing to adequately protect its employees.

“Right now they’re bringing people back to work and the social distance is not in total effect,” Hydrick Thomas, president of the union that represents the officers, told The Washington Post. “Employees are still complaining there’s too many of them in one area.”

TSA employees have been infected at more than 125 airports.

House Democrats Urge TSA to Require Masks at Security Checkpoints to Protect Employees, Travelers

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

House Democrats are urging the TSA to require face masks for travelers at airport security checkpoints to protect agency employees and others.

In a letter to TSA Administrator David Pekoske, Reps. Bennie Thompson and Lou Correa pointed out that nearly 1,000 TSA employees have tested positive for COVID-19 and seven died, Government Executive reports.

“We were pleased to see you fulfill part of that request when you announced on May 7th a requirement for TSA employees to wear masks. However, it is difficult to understand your hesitation to issue a national requirement for passenger masks to ensure that all frontline workers and passengers are equally protected across the aviation system,” they wrote.

The Democrats said mask requirements are a common sense approach to protecting frontline workers and travelers.

“The only controversy surrounding masks is a dangerous political one manufactured by President Trump and his enablers. There is a clear consensus among public health officials that masks are effective in curbing the spread of COVID-19,” they wrote. “TSA employees routinely enforce a number of requirements that are unpopular with the public, such as conducting invasive pat-downs and confiscating liquids, which you and your predecessors have deemed necessary to protect passengers.”

The TSA last month suggested there were no mask requirements because the CDC only recommends – not mandates – face coverings.

TSA Employees Continue to Face Serious Coronavirus Risks at Nation’s Airports

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

No federal agency has been more impacted by the coronavirus than the TSA.

As of Monday, 780 TSA employees have tested positive for COVID-19 and five have died.

Now that coronavirus cases are increasing in at least 36 states, the TSA is trying to provide more training and protective gear to prevent the spread of the coronavirus to airport employees and travelers.

Jay Brainard, the top TSA official in Kansas, has reported that supervisors were prevented from providing screeners with stockpiled N95 masks in March, when it was difficult to buy the respirators. He also said the TSA failed to adequately train employees to deal with the coronavirus.

It’s a difficult job because security requires person-to-person contact, and that’s how the virus spreads.

Congress is asking for more information on the safety protocols to keep employee safe. In a June 16 letter to Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf, Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the Homeland Security, called on more effective protocols.

“Given that COVID-19 disproportionately affects certain demographics, any such protocols must be designed to guard against passengers from certain racial or ethnic minorities being targeted for screening in a discriminatory fashion,” Thompson wrote.

TSA May Soon Begin Temperature Screenings at Certain Airpots to Ease Coronavirus Fears

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The TSA is moving forward with a plan to administer temperature screenings at about a dozen airports as soon as next week.

The White House is reviewing the $20 million plan, which is intended to make passengers feel safer, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Under the plan, passengers with a temperature of 100.4°F or higher would be directed to the Centers for Disease Control.

The agency has expressed concerns over the plan, including whether temperature screenings fall within the scope of the TSA’s mission. Another concern is whether temperature screenings would put agents at a greater risk of getting infected.

Six TSA agents have died from COVID-19 and more than 500 have tested positive.

TSA to Require Employees to Wear Facial Coverings Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The TSA said Thursday it will begin requiring employees to wear “facial protection” at screening checkpoints, more than two months after the pandemic reached the U.S.

The decision comes after 534 TSA employees have tested positive for the coronavirus and six have died, as of Thursday.

“TSA is making this change to protect our employees and travelers as social distancing cannot always be maintained in the screening process,” the TSA said in a statement.

The decision to require masks is “an additional measure to help minimize spread of COVID-19 and help raise the overall health and safety level inside the airport environment,” the TSA said.

“TSA is making this change to protect our employees and travelers as social distancing cannot always be maintained in the screening process.” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said.

Fourth TSA Agent Dies from Coronavirus. Nearly 450 Others Have Tested Positive.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A customs agent at Miami International Airport has become the fourth TSA employee to die from the coronavirus.

Victor Chung, who had worked at the TSA for 17 years, died Sunday.

Nearly 450 TSA employees, including screeners and nonscreeners, have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the agency. So far, 79 of them have recovered.

The screeners worked at more than two dozens airports across the country. At John F. Kennedy International, where 185 TSA employees have tested positive, has been hit the hardest. At Newark Liberty International, 88 TSA workers have confirmed infections. More than 50 TSA workers from Louis Armstrong New Orleans International have tested positive.

TSA workers, especially screeners, are especially vulnerable because they have a lot of contact with the public.