October 31, 2006, - 11:52 am

“Where’s Seinfeld?”: TSA Liquid Rules Get Even More Ridiculous

By Debbie Schlussel
I’ve written about the absurdity of the ever-changing Homeland Security and TSA liquid rules. But, now, they are even more absurd.
Today’s Wall Street Journal features a piece on the “method” behind “Carry-on Madness.” One line in the article says it all:

Where’s Seinfeld when you need him?

Here’s the essential part of the article:

In a quintessential bureaucratic bedevilment, the TSA allows small bottles and tubes of liquids to be carried aboard airplanes only if they are enclosed in a quart-size zip-top bag. No gallon bags. No fold-over sandwich bags. Even if you have only one bottle on you, it must be carried in a quart-size, zip-top plastic bag. Screeners confiscate any nonconforming items or send travelers to ticket counters to check luggage.

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How do you spell ludicrous? T-S-A. The article goes on to discuss tiny-sized tubes of toothpaste and shaving cream that were confiscated b/c “people didn’t have quart-size platic bags,” said a TSA official.
So, apparently, if your 3-ounce bottle is not in a quart-size plastic bag with a zip-top, then it could be used in a terrorist plot? Or if your 3-ounce container is in a much smaller sandwich bag, then you can put together a bomb with it? Huh? The whole thing is absurd. Welcome to PC government by committee. Extremist Muslims around the world are laughing at us. Islamic terrorists are laughing at us.
Here’s more of the absurdity:

Steve Feld had a squeezed down, nearly empty tube of toothpaste that clearly had less then three ounces in it, though it held more when it was new. He also had a used tube of lotion that “once held fractionally over 3.0 ounces,” he said. A TSA screener grabbed them both.

The TSA claims it’s not about the liquid but about the size of the container, claiming it’s too difficult to mix a bomb in anything 3 ounces or smaller.
But hello . . . do we really need to do this when we could profile? Is some guy named Steve Feld going to unroll his tube of toothpaste and try to mix a bomb in it? Have you ever seen anyone get anything back into a tube of toothpaste (except when they’re on video and the video is run backwards)?
Again, this is absurd. And it will never stop terrorists. As we know, last week, it was disclosed that in 20 out of 22 tries, guns, fake bombs, and other dangerous items were successfully gotten through security at Newark airport.
Maybe that’s because TSA screeners are too busy taking some businessman’s toothpaste or grandmother’s hand lotion. We have bigger fish to fry.
So, why does the TSA keep frying the innocent non-Muslim American traveling public?
TSA chief Kip Hawley claims that those running his agency are not “as stupid as we may look.” Maybe he’s right. They’re even more stupid.

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8 Responses

You know, it is absurd. I left to visit my father in Houston about two weeks ago, and I had forgot to throw my cologne in my suitcase, so I tossed it in my carry on bag. Also in my bag were my iPod, blackberry, and nintendo ds. So, I go to security check out and they ask if I have any liquids. Completely forgetting about the cologne, I said no. By the way, it also wasn’t in a bag. They ran my bag through the x-ray machine, and the girl stopped on it for a while, and then called for a bag check. They took me aside and went through my bag. I thought that maybe some of my electronics had set it off. But no, they went through until they found my SMALL(maybe a 4-5 ounce bottle) of cologne that had maybe less than 4 tablespoons of liquid LEFT IN IT, and told me to either check it, or toss it. I figured I may as well toss it-I’m not going through the trouble to check a bottle of cologne. It was a minor inconvience-albiet, I feel at least, an unnecessary one. Since when is every one a fucking McGuyver? Needless to say, it’s just another of the many folleys of the TSA and their flawed “security”(pshya, right) system.
Debbie, did you hear about the guy that created the fake Northwest Airlines boarding pass generator?(all he did was automate the process, really, the boarding passes that you print out online are easily modifiable via changing their html by hand. HTML is the most basic/simple for of web design code there is)
Anyways, the point of the generator was to show that the no-fly lists are bullshit. You put in a phony name on the generator, tell the TSA security baffoon you don’t have your id(since they’re not allowed to require them) and, if you successfully pass the screening, you’re on your way into the secure area.
For pointing out this crucial flaw, the author of the generator was not rewarded for exposing these “security measures” as simply a way to make the TSA look like it was doing something, but instead, the FBI seized all of his computer equipment and ransacked his house.
For more information, visit this link: http://www.boingboing.net/2006/10/29/ceci_nest_pas_un_fak.html
(check out the previous posts sections to see the story evolve from the beginning)
And here is the blog post announcing the boarding pass generator as taken from http://stop-phishing.blogspot.com/2006/10/airport-insecurity-for-masses.html
“Bruce Schneier coined the term security theatre to describe security countermeasures that provide the feeling of security while doing little or nothing actually to improve security.
The entire airport/TSA experience is a classic example of this. Passengers are frisked, have their nail clippers confiscated, are required to remove their shoes, their belts, to put their toiletries in quart (but NOT! gallon) ziplock bags – all, essentially, so that we can see that TSA is doing something.
Yet, all the while, a tiny fraction (less than 5%) of checked bags are x-rayed, and positive matching of bag->passenger is only done for single leg flights. If you miss any of your connections (or walk out of the airport at the first stopping point), the airline will happily fly your ticking suitcase on to the next destination.
With that in mind – I now now present: Chris’s Northwest Airlines Boarding Pass Generator
Using this, you can:
1. Meet your elderly grandparents at the gate
2. ‘Upgrade’ yourself once on the airplane – by printing another boarding pass for a ticket you’re already purchased, only this time, in Business Class.
3. Demonstrate that the TSA Boarding Pass/ID check is useless.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve written a fair bit about Airport Security at my blog. This project stems from the research I’ve been documenting there.
The goal of this is to prove that the ID/boarding pass check, as currently done by TSA, is deeply flawed, and is trivial to bypass. If we want to make ourselves safer, ziplock bags and 8 dollar an hour security guards checking IDs is not the way forward.
Have fun, and be careful.”

FSM-FTW!(descent) on October 31, 2006 at 12:53 pm

My wife and I traveled this weekend from Jacksonvile to Seattle and experienced the same thing. A female TSA marched up and down the line bellowing in bored intonations all of the rules ad nauseam. She was doing her job which I’m grateful for but the hip dude behind me muttered “TSA nazi”. mmmmm I took the bait. “You would think the government would get a clue and simply adopt the Israeli profiling techniques. It would save lots of time, and money, and reduce the bureaucracy.”, I said. You would think I suggested we make George Bush Supreme Emperor of the Universe. He blanched and choked out a lame protest. Go figure. Lefties are such poor thinkers. Their ultimate fear is a “nazi” bureaucrat? For g_d’s sake don’t ever let these fools get in a position of power.

J-Lin on October 31, 2006 at 1:18 pm

I’m a “lefty” but agree with profiling. Why? Because sometimes safety > political correctness

FSM-FTW!(descent) on October 31, 2006 at 1:21 pm

Whenever I travel by air I always use tan-in-a-bottle and a fake beard and wrap some underwear around my head, I go through the security check with no problems.

Stealthkix on October 31, 2006 at 4:45 pm

OK just to make sure I clearly understand your post and some of the .. umm.. “responses”…
“If you are NOT American and ESPECIALLY if you are Muslim, regardless of gender and age, then you are NOT innocent and should be considered a terrorist suspect” ?!!

ButterflyGlitter on May 10, 2007 at 6:41 pm

You wrote : “So, why does the TSA keep frying the innocent non-Muslim American traveling public?”

It is offensively ignorant and bigoted to assume that all Muslims should be treated as suspected terrorists. If you really feel that it would be OK if the TSA was only “frying” the Muslim Americans, you might like to expedite the profiling process by forcing them to wear identifying symbols on their sleeves! Treating people differently because of their religion is very un-American – this country was founded on religious freedom.

Tifffany Olson on December 23, 2009 at 8:42 pm

Watched as TSA forced an elderly woman through a “microscanner” then beaten an elderly man who became confused at the instructions being snapped/yelled at him in the same device. I was appalled and made the comment they “were acting like Nazi’s” I was immediately surrounded by four TSA guards until the supervisors supervisor arrived and held until a picture was presumably taken of me then I was released. Later I found scissors in my carry on. What clowns.

t combs on December 28, 2010 at 2:06 pm

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