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.
Then the supervisor asked me if I take medications and I told him yes. He told some medications will give false readings. Explosives? Yes. Anyway after, a few more minutes, I asked what they wanted me to do? They looked at each other and told me I could leave.
While waiting, another agent came over and whispered to me that if I had gone through the naked body scanner, then none of this would have happened. I took this to mean that this was all a ruse, to get me to play along in the future. I have not and I still refuse to give in to the tsa goons!
T.S.A.: Totally Standing Around
We drive everywhere, including from California to Texas.
TAS: Too Stupid for Arbys.
Interesting stuff. Thanks for posting.
As for me, I took my final plane flight in February 2001.
Fyi, some airports overseas require you to go through the naked body scanners, no choice to opt out. No patdowns instead.
My prediction if that happens:
Big Sis and the head of the FAA announce federal lawsuits to overturn the Texas law and get an injunction. If Texas wins in the courts, the FAA threatens to stop manning facilities in Texas and forbidding commercial airlines from operating from Texas to the rest of the US.
I'll wager a case of Bass Ale on it.
That just plain doesn't happen in TSA airport pat-downs. That wasn't what the poster described.
I am a frequent flyer who has a pacemaker, so I routinely get the full TSA pat-down. There just isn't EVER a "hands in your pants" protocol.
The agents painstaking describe every detail of the procedure and are very careful in carrying out the procedure. It's boring as hell.
OK, out of what airport do you fly? It is routine for me (wrong, but routine) for the TSA agents to put their hands in my pants. Last week, at SFO, the TSA agent pulled my pants down to just above my knees during a “search.” Boring as hell? You must have quite the interesting social life.
American ingenuity to the rescue. Fieldwipes are a new type of cleaning wipe designed specifically to remove traces of heavy metals, explosive (or fertilizer) residue, and other trace elements that occur from handing or shooting ammunition or explosives. These are nasty products that you don't want on your skin, anyway. The TSA "wipes" are simple tests that should only be used, when used properly, as a basis for determining if further lab-grade analysis is needed.
“Nonsense. The incident described by the poster does rise in any way, shape or form to the level of harm, molestation or frame up.
Then don’t take his advice. Treat it as totally useless information not worth your time to post about.
Yes it does happen.
They stick their hands in your waistband and rub them around. Then they take their hand and fondle your boobs and stick their hands in your crotch from the back and the front and then again as they feel up your legs top to bottom. And they are doing this to people they have NO professional reason to supspect of being muslim terrorist airplane bombers. It is just for abusive appearances. Disgusting and incompetent.
We can get private - real professionals- to do airport security in Texas as all airports should be doing in light of TSA’s incompetence and abuse of the public.
Very seriously doubt it was a ruse as much as incompetence or a plain old mistake. Test strip A was most likely a true “test strip” that is used to calibrate the machine on a regular basis. These strips are deliberately designed to cause a positive result so that screeners can ensure the machine is functioning properly. After using one of these to calibrate the machine at the beginning of shift, the screener performing the calibration simply forgot to throw it away and your screener picked it up and used it on you.
This is going to get interesting.
There may have been an element of incompetence involved.
Perhaps the screener simply was incapable of doing his job in a professional manner. Perhaps ALL the cameras watching these events really did fail at the same time.
Here’s the thing, however: once the screener flat out lied, and stated that he’d not touched another test strip, once his supervisor (whom the screener had TOLD he’d handled another test strip, and who probably saw him handle the test strip) backed him up, once the TSA decided to go forward with this process based on this obviously flawed test ... that eliminates any possibility of innocent mistake. It’s not just that they performed the test wrongly, it’s that they clearly and unequivocally lied about it.
The morning of the day my son flew home from a visit with his grandparents, his grandpa took him to the range.
Of course he got screened. Of course he was covered with GSR.
When they went to test him, my son started laughing and warned them that he’d come up “hot”. He told them what they’d done. The test came back positive and a supervisor was called as was protocol.
The agent explained to the supervisor what was going on. Horribly, everything he *touched* was contaminated with GSR so as they searched his shoes (which were worn to the range) and his bags, they were also positive.
Everyone was very nice and followed procedure. They searched the heck out of him (nicely) and he was very cooperative. The whole thing took about 20 minutes and they ended up sending him on his way.
T.S.A.: Thousands Sexually Assaulted
Their very EXISTENCE IS A HARM. How dare you?
Soon as Texas leaves the Union, I’m moving there.
Well, bootlicking - you meet all the important people. You just have to work your way up.
People like that deserve a Russian prison.
The fact that TSA exists is living proof we are DEAD as a nation, and never getting back up.
I'm with the other post. Find me a place to leave. So I can watch the rot.
It is to train you to be subservient.
Nuremberg rules are in effect.
I travel by air a lot and have never seen the kind of assaults that are alleged.
YES!! I had a personal radio that tested positive because I set it on the grass that was fertilized the day before.
One has to wonder why they would choose to attempt to frame you, an innocent, random stranger.
Thousands Standing Around
A few weeks ago, I was in the St. Louis airport. I had gone through security and was walking down the concourse towards my gate. I spotted six TSA agents standing around, chatting.
I could not help myself. I walked up to them and said, "Now I see why they call TSA Thousands Standing Around.
One female agents said in a loud voice, "NO SIR!"
A second, large male TSA agent stepped towards me saying, "You ain't seen nothing yet."
A third female agent said to the large male agent, "Leave him alone."
I continued on to my gate slowly realizing that I probably narrowly avoided a very bad day.
The TSA at LAX seems to be especially aggressive and vicious. I try to fly out of Burbank or Long Beach.
Yes, it will get interesting knowing Obama.
Obama is supposed to permit Texans to decide on TSA or private security at airports and he has rejected that obligation. Had he obeyed the law and permitted Texas to choose private security as the TSA has become incompetent, billigerent and abusive, there would be no confrontation with Texas. While Obama is terrorizing women and children with sexualized searches at airports, he’s permitting adults with arms to enter the boarding area in test after test.
It will be a great public debate to have during the election season.
Well, that’s easy. I fly frequently (although not nearly as much as I used to before the advent of the TSA). I’ve been an outspoken critic of the TSA for years. I’ve written letters to congress, talked to people in line at the airports about the dangers of the TSA screening devices and about the violations of the 4th amendment inherent in the TSA, apparently convinced others in the screening lines to opt out of being scanned, filed police reports when I could (I filed a police report at SFO when the screener pulled down my pants in public; the LAX police have consistently refused to accept a police report, regardless of events). The TSA agents have made it clear that they know exactly who I am, including some of my medical history. I am not a random stranger to them.
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