Skip to comments.Attempted TSA frame-up: a warning to travelers
Posted on 05/02/2011 8:52:01 PM PDT by Jubal Harshaw
Today I was the victim of an attempted frame-up by the TSA. Here's my story; I present it as a warning. I suppose the only take-home message is that one should insist on an independent witness, such as a police officer in my case, during TSA searches. Thing is, I don't know how independent most police officers are likely to be.
This morning, I went through LAX, and refused to go through the radiation scanner. I went through a manual search instead. During this process, I was patted down. During the pat down process, the screener announced what he was doing: I'm putting my hand in your collar I'm going to move my hand side to side ... etc. After the pat down process, the screener who patted me down grabbed a test strip that had nothing to do with me, and was sitting on top of the test strip reader, apparently before I'd gotten to the pat down area. I will designate that as test strip A. He continued with his description of what he was doing, though by this time he was talking to his supervisor. I handled the test strip that was on the machine before I put his [referring to me] strip in the machine. The supervisor, who had apparently not expected this apparent rookie to continue his self-descriptive monologue during an obviously inappropriate part of the testing procedure told the screener to get on with the test. The screener then swabbed the same gloves with which he had:
(1) patted me down and (2) handled test strip A
with an apparently fresh test strip, which I will designate test strip B. The screener then put test strip B in the reader. The reader then reported explosives.
I pointed out to both the supervisor and the screener than this was invalid test, since the screener (knowingly, since he'd described to his supervisor what he'd done) had contaminated his gloves with test strip A before handling test strip B. Upon hearing me point this out, the screener then picked up test strip A, which he had previously placed on top of the reader after handling it (apparently to be ready for the next person) and threw it out.
By this time, the police had been called. I explained what had happened to the officer, and asked officer him to investigate. I pointed out that there were cameras everywhere in this area, including two camera emplacements almost immediately above the reader. The police officer apparently called whoever was monitoring those cameras, and told me that those cameras were not working, and had not captured any of these events. I asked for an investigation, and the Officer told me that I could take it up with the TSA.
I was then told by the TSA personnel that I would have to undergo further screening away from the public. I did not refuse, but pointed out that I did not want to go to some back room for some unknown purpose, especially based on a knowingly adulterated chemical test. The police officer offered to accompany me as a witness, and I eventually went to a closed room, where I was again patted down. This time, in the presence of the police officer, I was again patted down, with largely the same procedure. This time, however, with the police officer watching, the new test read negative for explosives. I shudder to think what the second screening, in an isolated area, would have found if the police officer had not been present.
I pointed out again that I wanted an investigation, and stated that the test strip A was sitting on top of the garbage container where the first screener had thrown it. Having apparently heard that the video cameras covering the first test area were nonfunctional, the first screener (the one who had rubbed his gloves with a test strip from the top of the test machine) piped up at this point, and stated that he had thrown away nothing except his gloves.
There was a TSA supervisor there at this point, and I advised that supervisor that the screener had lied about this process, and asked the supervisor point blank how to formally request an investigation into this event. The supervisor told me that I could call the TSA 800 number.
I then went on to my flight.
There's a warning here to everyone who flies. The TSA is apparently in the process of mastering throw down evidence, though they don't seem to be particularly good at it yet. Beware, and ask for a police officer or independent witness when you are searched by the TSA.
Amazing story. Thank you for posting.
Or maybe over-worked.
It wasn’t an attempted “frame up.” It was gross incompetence.
Frighteningly, the latter can be FAR worse as the incompetent pukes such as those who infest TSA build a case to cover their butts. Why worse? Because there is no prior malfeasance involved, so it’s harder to prove.
I’ve heard of seismic crews testing positive due to handling explosives a day or two before a flight.
hmm i wonder if lawn fertilizer- ammonium nitrate- will show up as explosice?
Pardon me, but “frame up” is just a ridiculous interpretation. They repeated the procedure and found nothing worth further investigation. our delicate sensitivities may have been offended, but there was no harm.
It does. In our town they shut the whole airport down for hours because a gardener tested positive. Friggen fools.
I just tell them I am gay and demand a female to pat me down...
They performed a test on an obviously adulterated sample, then lied about the existence of that adulteration. I believe that the only reason the second test came out negative is because there was an independent police officer watching the second test. They didn’t know that the police officer would be there for the second test, and I have no doubt that the second test would have come out a lot worse than the first had the police officer not been there.
You ascribe unto them evil intent, when you missed the real reason: They are freaking idiots who, were it not for the TSA, would not even be able to get a job that requires the phrase “want fries with that?”
I have over 2 million miles under my belt and am still amazed at the idiocy I encounter weekly.
Not sure if you are aware of the “Flyer Talk” forums...but your story is perfect for the “Security” section. I have seen a few stories like yours over there (no glove change after handling multiple test strips, same strip twice, and no glove change after going down past waistband during “enhanced pat down”). The forum is here:
Test strip? Like women use to see if they are pregnant? Sorry, I have not flown since 2005 so I have no idea what is going on here.
There WAS harm. The man are falsely accused of testing positive for explosives and had to go through two sessions of sexual molestation because of TSA carelessness.
Yes. A co-worker of mine rolled her computer case/carry-on through the grass of the hotel she had stayed at. They had fertilized the lawn the day prior. She missed her flight because of it.
second the rec. to go to the flyertalk forums. I don’t go anywhere else for tsa/scanner/etc., info now.
I also won’t fly in the united states except when I simply have to (I don’t live in the US). I am done with the incremental police state crap, and am grateful that I am in a position both personally and professionally to simply decide not to live there anymore.
I simply refuse to fly. Period. The TSA system is pure tyranny.
TAS: Too Stupid for Arbys.
Nonsense. The incident described by the poster does rise in any way, shape or form to the level of “harm,” “molestation” or “frame up.”
Having people forcefully stick their hands in your pants and touch your private parts with no cause, is sexual molestation.
Soon, there will probably be a law in Texas to prosecute the perverts.
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