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Tag: TSA

TSA Reveals Top 10 ‘Good Catches’ of 2020, Including a Meth Burrito

By Steve Neavling

From a gun-shaped wine holder to methamphetamine stuffed in a burrito, TSA officers found some unusual items in 2021. 

TSA released its “Top 10 Catches of 2021,” which lists its most bizarre findings by airport security workers.

The list is revealed in a video, which counts down to the No. 1 strangest item, and each is accompanied by a clever quip. 

The idea is to remind passengers of the kinds of items they’re not allowed to take on a plane. 

Here’s the list: 

1. Chainsaw, found at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport

2. A revolver-shaped wine bottle holder, found at Sacramento International Airport.

3. Fireworks, found at Syracuse Hancock International Airport.

4. A “heavy-duty” machete, found at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

5. Bear spray, found at Destin-Fort-Walton Beach Airport.

6. A “well-worn” cleaver, found at Harrisburg International Airport.

7. A firearm-shaped belt buckle, found at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.

8. Meth hidden in a breakfast burrito, found at William P. Hobby Airport.

9. An antique revolver, found at Newark Liberty International Airport.

10. Bullets in a stick of deodorant, found at Atlantic City International Airport.

The 2020 list included firearms, a grenade, and a jar with a dead baby shark. 

TSA Employees Hit Hardest by COVID-19, with More Than 12,500 Workers Infected

By Steve Neavling

More than 12,500 TSA employees have tested positive for COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. 

Of those, 33 have died, according to TSA data.

No federal agency has been harder hit by the virus than the TSA. 

Most of the infected employees are screening officers, who have frequent contact with travelers. 

Miami International led the nation in COVID-19 infections, with 658 employees testing positive. John F. Kennedy International in New York followed with 546, and Los Angeles International Airport had  452.

Other airpots with at least 200 infected TSA employees:  

Newark Liberty International 455

Chicago O’Hare International 444

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International 418

Orlando International 404 

Dallas/Forth Worth International Airport 391

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International 374

George Bush Intercontinental in Houston 316

McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas 276

Phoenix Sky Harbor International 273

Logan International in Boston 259

Philadelphia International 217

LaGuardia in New York 214

Denver International 206

Exploding Golf Balls? Machine Gun Bong? TSA Found Some Weird Items at Airports

By Steve Neavling

Yes, the TSA confiscated a record number of guns at airport security checkpoints in 2021. 

But that wasn’t all the agency found as travelers resumed traveling during the pandemic.

TSA agents discovered exploding golf balls, a stun gun disguised as a smart phone, a Nightmare on Elm Street-themed cleaver, exploding golf balls, grenades, a realistic replica bomb, a machine gun bong and bullets hidden in a Mentos gun container. 

The TSA shared the confiscated items on Instagram

Exploding golf balls. All photos via TSA.
Bullets inside a Mentos container.
A replica time bomb.
A stun gun disguised as a smart phone.
A bong resembling a machine gun.

Newly Hired TSA Agent Literally Leaps into Action to Save Baby’s Life at Airport

TSA Agent Cecilia Morales. Photo: TSA

By Steve Neavling

A rookie TSA agent leaped over a conveyor belt at Newark Liberty International Airport to save a baby who wasn’t breathing. 

Cecilia Morales, a trained emergency medical technician who joined the agency in late October, sprung to action when a mother screamed for help. Morales shouted instructions to the mother, “but she was so nervous and I knew if I didn’t get over there, it wasn’t going to be a good outcome.”

“I jumped over the checkpoint conveyor belt rollers and she gave me the baby,” Morales said in a news release. “I performed the infant Heimlich maneuver on him.”

Holding the 2-month-old baby to keep his airway open, Morales patted him on the back. After the first effort failed, she did it again, and the baby began to breathe again. 

As an EMT, Morales previously saved adults and children with the Heimlich, but she never tried it on a baby. 

“Two months on the job and she’s literally a life-saver,” Thomas Carter, TSA’s federal security director for New Jersey said. “Officer Morales’s quick reaction and actions helped ensure that this family will have a happy holiday season. Her actions were inspiring.”

TSA Manager Ayrana Frazier added, “In the moment Officer Morales was selfless, and her priority was to save a life. We are proud to call her one of our own.” 

TSA Reports Record-Breaking Number of guns Confiscated at Airports

By Steve Neavling

The TSA confiscated a record number of guns at airport security checkpoints in 2021, the agency said Monday. 

The agency confiscated 5,700 firearms, surpassing the previous record of 4,400 in 2019, CBS News reports. About 85% of the guns were loaded with ammunition. 

The rate of gun detections in carry-on luggage doubled from the previous high. 

TSA Administrator David Pekoske attributes the record confiscations to more Americans carrying firearms. 

“The reason? I think there’s just more firearm carriage in the country,” Pekoske said. “That’s the best answer I can give you.”

Here are the top 10 airports with firearm confiscations:

  1. Atlanta 
  2. Dallas Fort Worth 
  3. Houston (IAH) 
  4. Phoenix 
  5. Nashville 
  6. Denver 
  7. Fort Lauderdale 
  8. Orlando 
  9. New Orleans 
  10. Salt Lake City 

Vast Majority of TSA, CBP Employees Are Now in Compliance with Vaccine Mandate

By Steve Neavling

An increasing number of Border Patrol agents and TSA employees are getting vaccinated in compliance with President Biden’s executive order, according to updated data. 

As of Nov. 30, 96% of Homeland Security employees were in compliance. 

About 88% of employees are fully vaccinated, and 89% have received at least one dose. About 7% have “reasonable accommodation requests” and don’t have to get vaccinated, according to the data. 

“The health and safety of our workforce – and the American people that we serve – is of the utmost importance,” Homeland Security Deputy Secretary John Tien said in a statement. “Importantly, we have achieved this level of compliance without any interruption to the critical missions and services we provide the American people: from border and aviation security, to maritime search and rescue, to cybersecurity and the protection of critical infrastructure, just to name a few.  I am so grateful to our dedicated workforce, who have stepped up and done their part to get us there.”  

About 98% of CBP employees are in compliance, and 87% are vaccinated. An additional 11% are exempt. 

In the TSA, 93% are in compliance, with 86% vaccinated and 7% exempt. 

In November, some Republican lawmakers were calling for Border Patrol agents to be exempt from the executive order, saying national security is at stake. At the time, about 77% of agents were fully vaccinated.

Data by Homeland Security

TSA’s 2022 Calendar Featuring Its Adorable Dogs Is Available for Free Download

The TSA’s Hhilbert is named in honor of Army Corp. Thomas Layton Hilbert, who died in Iraq on Sept. 7, 2007.

By Steve Neavling

You can now download the TSA’s 2022 calendar for free.

The calendar features the agency’s dogs, which are used to screen passengers and luggage. Each month features a different dog, along with his or her name, breed, birthdate, airport and favorite treat and toy. 

In March, for example, is Hhibert, an adorable 10-year-old Labrador retriever from Dallas/Forth Worth International Airport. His favorite treat is Puppuccino. 

“He loves all toys, but especially loves a ball, which he will carry around like Linus did with his blanket in the Peanuts cartoons,” the description reads. 

Hhilbert is named in honor of Army Corp. Thomas Layton Hilbert, who died in Iraq on Sept. 7, 2007. 

On the cover is Alona, who was voted cutest TSA canine in August.

The TSA has more than 1,000 canines paired with handlers. 

About three years ago, the TSA began using more floppy-eared dogs to engage with people in airports. An internal TSA review found that pointy-eared dogs were sometimes scaring airline passengers, especially children.

TSA Manager is 33rd Employee of the Agency to Died After Contracting COVID-19

By Steve Neavling

A TSA manager died Saturday after contracting COVID-19. 

Transportation Security Manager Joseph “Joe” Santos, who worked at San Diego International Airport, was the 33rd TSA employee to die due to COVID-19 complications. 

Santos was a military policeman for the U.S. Marine Corps. After retiring, he joined the TSA in March 2002 and helped roll out screening operations at various airports nationwide as a member of the Mobile Screening Force. 

In October 2002, he returned San Diego, and the following month he was promoted to manager. 

“He will be fondly remembered and his hard work, leadership and dedication to the TSA mission will be greatly missed,” the TSA said in a statement. “We offer our heartfelt condolences to Santos’s family, friends and colleagues.”