Now TSA wants to test passengers’ beverages at the gate?

posted at 8:16 pm on July 6, 2012 by Howard Portnoy

So, what’ll you have while you wait for your flight: beer, juice, cola, coffee, tea? The TSA is not buying, mind you, but inquiring minds at that agency want to know. In fact their curiosity is such that they want you to volunteer part of your drink so that they can test it at the gate. No, silly, they are not asking you to furnish them with a urine sample (at least not yet!).

What could they possibly be expecting to find? That is a question raised in a news report by Grand Junction, Colo., station KJCT, though answers are not forthcoming.

When asked about the curious policy, all the TSA would tell reporters was

TSA employees have many layers of security throughout airports. Passengers may be randomly selected for additional screening measures at the checkpoint or in the gate at any time.

Travelers interviewed in the newscast rightly insist that they are entitled to know what the agency is up to. Some argue that with the already exorbitant cost of airport snacks, the TSA should let them know before they purchase a beverage whether they are going to be required to relinquish a portion of it. I would take it a step further and say that if agents want a sip of my $5 drink, they should at least be willing to go halfsies on it.

I also think the TSA should come clean on the purpose of this latest intrusion. Are they envisioning enterprising terrorists infiltrating the gate area to plant explosive materials in a drink vendor’s fountain? It sounds preposterous, but if that’s the concern why not monitor the beverages at the point of sale?

Whatever the thinking, the agency only engenders more ill will when they add another “layer of security,” demand passengers compliance, and refuse to let them in on what they are being asked to comply with.

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Wait until they start asking for semen samples. That will be fun.

Mark1971 on July 6, 2012 at 8:18 PM

If the TSA doe not trust their own “secure areas” including the bookstores that sell water bottles, why should we trust the TSA?

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on July 6, 2012 at 8:18 PM

Pure, useless security theater.

mythicknight on July 6, 2012 at 8:21 PM

Wow this thread got off to an unusual start.

SparkPlug on July 6, 2012 at 8:21 PM

Why doesn’t the TSA drop the charade and start walking in goose-step fashion and giving SEIG HEIL! salutes to each other like the good little stormtroopers they really are and just get it over with?!!!

pilamaye on July 6, 2012 at 8:22 PM

Some argue that with the already exorbitant cost of airport snacks, the TSA should let them know before they purchase a beverage whether they are going to be required to relinquish a portion of it.

If the drinks are coming from the airport vendors and not supplied by the passengers then this is just heavyhanded BS.

sharrukin on July 6, 2012 at 8:22 PM

Just look at the the titles of these related links.

TSA agent opens and spills jar of human ashes, laughs

TSA asks female passenger to ‘prove’ breast pump is real

TSA orders 18-month-old off plane, claiming she’s on no-fly list
Woman told to extinguish cigarette by airport security strips naked instead

TSA agents maul child with leg braces, greenlight drug runners for cash

Newark Airport closes after TSA agent dozes

TSA agent arrested for hurling hot coffee at pilot

TSA forces woman with ‘cute figure’ to pass though nude body scanner 3 times

TSA settles with woman whose breasts were exposed by agent

Rape victim arrested, manhandled after refusing TSA pat down

TSA follies: Former “Playboy” Playmate strips, stills gets patted down–twice

Vibrator in passenger’s luggage wins TSA seal of approval

TX bill banning TSA from touching “anus, sexual organ, breast” is
dead

200 thefts per day reported at JFK Airport

Engineer exposes ‘blind spot’ in TSA scanners; smuggles metal through security

Woman with dagger in bag slips past TSA at JFK Airport

“Touch my junk, and I’ll have you arrested”: The TSA’s way or the highway

SparkPlug on July 6, 2012 at 8:23 PM

Incompetence sends fear coursing down Napolitano’s spine. She takes it out on Christian Americans.

pat on July 6, 2012 at 8:25 PM

If the TSA doe not trust their own “secure areas” including the bookstores that sell water bottles, why should we trust the TSA?

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on July 6, 2012 at 8:18 PM

Casting suspicion on the people that typically run airport concessions would be racist.

slickwillie2001 on July 6, 2012 at 8:26 PM

I also think the TSA should come clean on the purpose of this latest intrusion.

You really don’t know?

Dante on July 6, 2012 at 8:27 PM

If the TSA doe not trust their own “secure areas” including the bookstores that sell water bottles, why should we trust the TSA?

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on July 6, 2012 at 8:18 PM

Why would you ever trust government in any form?

Dante on July 6, 2012 at 8:28 PM

…I’ll gladly give them a urine sample every time I go through the gate…as long as they just stand there…I don’t want them zipping me up when I’m done! Aim High!

KOOLAID2 on July 6, 2012 at 8:29 PM

Hey team Romney, how would you like a few million easy votes? Tell us your plans for airport security and the TSA.

diogenes on July 6, 2012 at 8:30 PM

Piddle in the cup is next.

Philly on July 6, 2012 at 8:31 PM

My answer to such a request? “Go buy one yourself, right over there.”

Common Sense on July 6, 2012 at 8:32 PM

What do they do if you refuse?

Kungfoochimp on July 6, 2012 at 8:33 PM

I loathe you, Gerald Portnoy.

the new aesthetic on July 6, 2012 at 8:37 PM

OUT: Your Papers better be,in Herr proper order!

IN: Your Drinks better be in Herr proper liquids!
(sarc)

canopfor on July 6, 2012 at 8:37 PM

prairie dog junction.

mittens on July 6, 2012 at 8:37 PM

“It’s apple juice…take a swig”

Electrongod on July 6, 2012 at 8:37 PM

I drink Diet Coke, typically in the ubiquitous 20-ounce plastic bottle.

If they do this to me, I’m going to cap the bottle, shake the ever living he11 out of it, and tell them to have at it.

mojojojo on July 6, 2012 at 8:37 PM

This type of thing makes me think that Ron Paul wasn’t too far off in wanting to do away with a power grabbing police state. And he got the youth vote…

anotherJoe on July 6, 2012 at 8:38 PM

Super-sized sodas will impounded entirely.

de rigueur on July 6, 2012 at 8:38 PM

The TSA insisted on sampling my infant son’s bottle even though he was, at the moment of the request, DRINKING FROM IT!

These morons wouldn’t be hired to man the 7-11 in the private sector.

Charlemagne on July 6, 2012 at 8:39 PM

My dream: Just one day in power to defund/abolish a buttload of fed agencies and departments. Makes me smile just thinking about it.

4Grace on July 6, 2012 at 8:39 PM

I am so happy the only flying I’ll ever do is in an ultra-light.

To hell with the airline industry, you can fly that mess. I’ll take a car for long trips, and the way things are going in the world I have absolutely no itch to go abroad.

One more industry about to meet the ropes. Again.

Wolfmoon on July 6, 2012 at 8:41 PM

And by “loathe”, I mean something stronger then dislike.

the new aesthetic on July 6, 2012 at 8:43 PM

The TSA was Jerry Sandusky’s back-up plan for an employer before he qualified for sub-standard state housing.

Just sayin’….

beancounter on July 6, 2012 at 8:45 PM

Don’t ask TSA, they don’t know either. Just another “idea” from the bureaucracy to justify their existance.

GarandFan on July 6, 2012 at 8:45 PM

I also think the TSA should come clean on the purpose of this latest intrusion.

This is brain-dead easy. It’s to demonstrate their power to us and make sure we know who is the boss.

slickwillie2001 on July 6, 2012 at 8:46 PM

It’d be easier to simply prohibit beverages from being brought on-board by passengers altogether, much like how some movie theaters prohibit you from bringing in your own food.

Stoic Patriot on July 6, 2012 at 8:46 PM

I drink Diet Coke, typically in the ubiquitous 20-ounce plastic bottle.

If they do this to me, I’m going to cap the bottle, shake the ever living he11 out of it, and tell them to have at it.

mojojojo on July 6, 2012 at 8:37 PM

Oooh that’s a great idea. I drink Diet Pepsi and that fizzes even more than Diet Coke.

gophergirl on July 6, 2012 at 8:47 PM

I’d take a gulp and piss on their shoes.

southsideironworks on July 6, 2012 at 8:49 PM

Oh, I’m sorry sir, yes it’s hemlock, I forgot to drink it…you ok?

Erich66 on July 6, 2012 at 8:49 PM

It’d be easier to simply prohibit beverages from being brought on-board by passengers altogether, much like how some movie theaters prohibit you from bringing in your own food.

Stoic Patriot on July 6, 2012 at 8:46 PM

Wait..what? I can’t bring my own drinks an snacks into the theater? Whoa, wait til I tell the wife. She’s always complaining about the crumbs so will be thrilled to hear that.

Charlemagne on July 6, 2012 at 8:49 PM

If the TSA doe not trust their own “secure areas” including the bookstores that sell water bottles, why should we trust the TSA?

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on July 6, 2012 at 8:18 PM

Why would you ever trust government in any form?

Dante on July 6, 2012 at 8:28 PM

Oh, well I usually like the folks that work for the National Park Service, they are usually pretty cool. I’ve even met a few conservative folks in the Forest Service too.

But if I get approached in a gate area by TSA over a bottle of obviously innocuous “secure area” airport sourced water, (I fly quite a bit), you will probably read about it on the Intertubes. I will respectfully turn tables on them in a legal manner, and they will likely get heavy handed because incompetent people given too much authority really know no other way than escalation.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on July 6, 2012 at 8:50 PM

“It’s apple juice…take a swig”

Electrongod on July 6, 2012 at 8:37 PM

At the risk of being hit with Sherman’s tax – LOL!

Flora Duh on July 6, 2012 at 8:52 PM

Did Nanny Bloomie have anything to do with this?

Philly on July 6, 2012 at 8:52 PM

The TSA is staffed by some of the stupidest people I’ve ever had the misfortune to interact with. Their stupidity is made worse by the fact that they work for the government so are also arrogant in the knowledge that they can be total a-holes and get away with it.

I have nothing but contempt for them.

Unfortunately I fly a lot internationally for my job so have to deal with their assinine policies way too often.

Charlemagne on July 6, 2012 at 8:53 PM

Preferable responses

1. “Sure TSA person, test this … oops, sorry I spilled it all over you, I’m just so clumsy.”

2. Walk over to the nearest trash receptacle and pour it in the can. “Be my guest, test away TSA person”

clippermiami on July 6, 2012 at 9:00 PM

Don’t Tread On Me –is coming in Nov —

wheels on July 6, 2012 at 9:01 PM

Did Nanny Bloomie have anything to do with this?

Philly on July 6, 2012 at 8:52 PM

No…
But if a New Yorker flying home from San Fan…
Must piss in a jar…
More than 16 ounces..
A ticket will be mailed to you..

Electrongod on July 6, 2012 at 9:02 PM

Casting suspicion on the people that typically run airport concessions would be racist.

slickwillie2001 on July 6, 2012 at 8:26

In my local airport, a disproportionate number of the vendors are muslim women wearing head scarves. Hmmmm.

Nutstuyu on July 6, 2012 at 9:06 PM

“It’s apple juice…take a swig”

Electrongod on July 6, 2012 at 8:37 PM

You beat me to it. Iced TEA works as well.

riddick on July 6, 2012 at 9:26 PM

“It’s apple juice…take a swig”

Electrongod on July 6, 2012 at 8:37 PM

You beat me to it. Iced TEA works as well.

riddick on July 6, 2012 at 9:26 PM

Mountain Dew!

slickwillie2001 on July 6, 2012 at 9:33 PM

I guess I should be grateful that the federal government has so “effed up” my industry I can no longer ever afford to take a vacation again so I’ll not have to subjected to this…

I find solace in that perverse logic…

Tim Zank on July 6, 2012 at 9:44 PM

I got pulled from the line at the gate, while I was boarding for first class, to be frisked and my carry-on checked as the other passengers boarded and watched. “Random check”, my a55. Having already been through the indignity of the TSA strip and xray to get into the terminal, there was no excuse for further passenger humiliation.

I hate the TSA.

obladioblada on July 6, 2012 at 9:47 PM

We live in a country 52% filled with idiots. There is no other explanation.

pedestrian on July 6, 2012 at 10:11 PM

We live in a country 52% filled with idiots. There is no other explanation.

pedestrian on July 6, 2012 at 10:11 PM

… and each one of them is a prime candidate for TSA.

AZfederalist on July 6, 2012 at 10:35 PM

I take both domestic and international flights twice a year.

I have always been treated professionally. Nor have I witnessed poor treatment of other travellers.

Is it my low frequency of travel that has spared me personally from the ravages I often read about?

The law of probability at work?

Note I have no interest in defending the TSA: just talking from my own experience.

What say ye?

Sherman1864 on July 6, 2012 at 10:35 PM

Not long now until the “Now TSA wants to put fingers in passengers’ butts at the gate?” article hits The Blog.

(Congrats on getting the story on The Blog HP)

WeekendAtBernankes on July 6, 2012 at 11:01 PM

*hits the Green Room.

WeekendAtBernankes on July 6, 2012 at 11:02 PM

What say ye?

Sherman1864 on July 6, 2012 at 10:35 PM

My opinion, two things. One, your low exposure lowers the probability of bad experiences. Secondly, it also depends upon the airport you are flying into and out of. Some airports higher a lower class of idiot than others and passengers pay the price. There was a time after 9/11 when for some reason I just magically was always “randomly selected” for additional screening.

AZfederalist on July 6, 2012 at 11:03 PM

TSA has prevented how many potential disasters?

Speak up I can’t hear you.

Oh, Zero? Really. In a decade?

Now this is something you can blame Bush for.

CorporatePiggy on July 6, 2012 at 11:32 PM

Did you hear this in the news?

Schadenfreude on July 6, 2012 at 11:47 PM

“So, TSA agent, do I have diabetes or not?”*

* In antiquity, diabetes was discovered by tasting urine. Evidently it tastes different from people who don’t.

Logus on July 7, 2012 at 12:20 AM

I drink Diet Coke, typically in the ubiquitous 20-ounce plastic bottle.

If they do this to me, I’m going to cap the bottle, shake the ever living he11 out of it, and tell them to have at it.

mojojojo on July 6, 2012 at 8:37 PM

Heh. I am so going to do this.

However, if I happen to be drinking a $4.00 Starbucks latte and one of these knuckle draggers tries to take it from me, you will probably read about me in the news.

That said, it does seem there are an awful lot of Muslims working in secure areas in airports. Until we drop the PC-ness and acknowledge who the enemy is and start screening accordingly — like the Israelis do — the indignities and encroachment on our personal liberties will never end.

NoLeftTurn on July 7, 2012 at 12:27 AM

We live in a country 52% filled with idiots. There is no other explanation.

pedestrian on July 6, 2012 at 10:11 PM

Sad but true. No doubt a large percentage of the 52% are working for TSA. I have to fly a great deal and have seen numerous examples of their stupidity and incompetence. These people couldn’t catch cold in a blizzard.

ghostwalker1 on July 7, 2012 at 1:06 AM

Now, I’m not a fan of TSA and being groped or scanned, having been through it more than once.

I think that they have intelligence about a dry ingredient that mixes to form an explosive/corrosive. Something that would be done after clearing security. (Of course, if I’m a bad guy, I’ll wait until I’m on the plane to mix it now.)

Of course, the default TSA is “test everyone, randomly” instead of actually thinking about a good way to implement security.

Sort of why we all have to take off our shoes and belts for shoe bombs and hidden belt knives.

Seriously stupid and a waste of time, pretending to make things more secure why actually not.

ProfShadow on July 7, 2012 at 1:27 AM

What say ye?

Sherman1864 on July 6, 2012 at 10:35 PM

I’d say it’s a factor of your low exposure rate.

I fly 3 to 4 times a month, and I got “randomly screened” 16 times in a row. Note that they have never found anything wrong with me or my belongings.

They were shocked when on the fourth time I started asking for the pat down, I’m tired of being microwaved by folks who have no earthly idea how to keep their machines calibrated.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on July 7, 2012 at 2:02 AM

Well, I have a theory on the “why.” In fact, I pointed out a year or so ago how the whole TSA thing is theater because it would be so easy to get around security with just 2 or 3 well-placed terrorists.

How hard would it be for a terrorist group to get one member a job as a truck driver making deliveries to an airport and another member as a clerk in an airport concession stand? So, all they’d need to do is have the truck driver make a deliver that includes a couple “special” bottles. A third member passes through security, stops at the concession stand to buy a “drink,” and an hour later a plane blows up in the sky.

It took me longer to type that than it took to come up with that scenario. I’m sure the terrorists have come up with a thousand variations.

CJ on July 7, 2012 at 2:53 AM

Has anyone seen The Liquid Bomb Plot on Nat Geo?

http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/national-geographic-channel/all-videos/av-11592-11792/ngc-the-liquid-bomb-plot-1/

It makes perfect sense to NOT allow drinks. If you haven’t seen it before or don’t want to watch the 90 minute documentery, I’ll sum it up the best I can. They took bottles and drilled out a little whole on the bottom of the plastic – draining the contents. Once they were drained, the liquid “Bomb” material was packaged inside and the bottle was glued. If they were to look and see if the bottle was sealed, the top of the bottle would have looked like it was still sealed even though the contents were compromised.

That is why – I think. However, the systems to test all the different liquids. Man, that’s going to be a pretty penny.

Another thing, if you guys are traveling, don’t bring a jar of peanut butter, some ear buds (wire) and some extra batteries for your camera all in the same suitcase. Peanut butter on some scanners have the same signature as some plastic explosives. A good friend of mine found that out the hard way when the TSA came out in full force. No system is perfect – nor will it ever be.

iheart707 on July 7, 2012 at 3:36 AM

What say ye?
Sherman1864 on July 6, 2012 at 10:35 PM
I’d say it’s a factor of your low exposure rate.
I fly 3 to 4 times a month, and I got “randomly screened” 16 times in a row. Note that they have never found anything wrong with me or my belongings.
They were shocked when on the fourth time I started asking for the pat down, I’m tired of being microwaved by folks who have no earthly idea how to keep their machines calibrated.
Difficultas_Est_Imperium on July 7, 2012 at 2:02 AM

Oh boy! Awful! But thanks for the firsthand experience: it is very damning evidence!

Sherman1864 on July 7, 2012 at 7:55 AM

Ve haf vays uf seeing vhat you ur drinken, yeeeeeeeeeessssss!

pilamaye on July 7, 2012 at 7:58 AM

Has anyone seen The Liquid Bomb Plot on Nat Geo?

http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/national-geographic-channel/all-videos/av-11592-11792/ngc-the-liquid-bomb-plot-1/

It makes perfect sense to NOT allow drinks. If you haven’t seen it before or don’t want to watch the 90 minute documentery, I’ll sum it up the best I can.

This is why you can’t take them through the screening checkpoint. That’s already the rule. Once you’re past there, your drink would necessarily have been bought from an airport vendor. So, if they’re worried about what you might buy from a vendor, why don’t they test the drinks at the vendors and leave the passengers alone?

Pablo on July 7, 2012 at 8:04 AM

Just another way to grow their staff. It won;t be long and the ratio of TSA employees to travelers will be 1 to 1.

Recently traveled through Orlando airport. TSA has added staff at both ends of the shuttle trains going to the gate pods to make sure everyone exits the cars. That is an extra 4-5 staff at each end X I don’t know how many gate pods they have. Just another waste of man power and our tax dollars.

Animal60 on July 7, 2012 at 8:11 AM

This is why you can’t take them through the screening checkpoint. That’s already the rule. Once you’re past there, your drink would necessarily have been bought from an airport vendor. So, if they’re worried about what you might buy from a vendor, why don’t they test the drinks at the vendors and leave the passengers alone?

Pablo on July 7, 2012 at 8:04 AM

Because that would be the equivalent of spending more money on stagehands that are never seen in the TSA world of Security Theater.

Animal60 on July 7, 2012 at 8:13 AM

TSA Scoreboard:

Terrorists apprehended: 0
Plots exposed/stopped: 0

jangle12 on July 7, 2012 at 9:58 AM

jangle12 on July 7, 2012 at 9:58 AM

So true. It’s the vigilent passengers that have proved to be the best weapon against the bombers. Even the 9-11 heroes who finally figured out what was happening saved DC from further decimation.

BetseyRoss on July 7, 2012 at 10:53 AM

TSA – Did you have asparagus this morning?

ahlaphus on July 7, 2012 at 10:58 AM

I am so happy the only flying I’ll ever do is in an ultra-light.

To hell with the airline industry, you can fly that mess. I’ll take a car for long trips, and the way things are going in the world I have absolutely no itch to go abroad.

One more industry about to meet the ropes. Again.

Wolfmoon on July 6, 2012 at 8:41 PM

I hear you, but I just love Hawaii so much…

yubley on July 7, 2012 at 11:33 AM

Well, I have a theory on the “why.” In fact, I pointed out a year or so ago how the whole TSA thing is theater because it would be so easy to get around security with just 2 or 3 well-placed terrorists.

How hard would it be for a terrorist group to get one member a job as a truck driver making deliveries to an airport and another member as a clerk in an airport concession stand? So, all they’d need to do is have the truck driver make a deliver that includes a couple “special” bottles. A third member passes through security, stops at the concession stand to buy a “drink,” and an hour later a plane blows up in the sky.

It took me longer to type that than it took to come up with that scenario. I’m sure the terrorists have come up with a thousand variations.

CJ on July 7, 2012 at 2:53 AM

The TSA is not going to stop that because rather than profile, they’re going to test the drinks of 78-year-old grandmothers and 30-year-old husbands traveling with the family, not teh drinks of those who are actually part of that plot.

Steve Eggleston on July 7, 2012 at 11:58 AM

…here! ….gargle with my Listerine!

KOOLAID2 on July 7, 2012 at 1:53 PM

* In antiquity, diabetes was discovered by tasting urine. Evidently it tastes different from people who don’t.

Logus on July 7, 2012 at 12:20 AM
When your blood sugar is high enough your kidneys remove some of the sugar making your urine sweet. the process is hard the kidneys but it will keep you alive a little longer than not removing a little of the excess.

Slowburn on July 8, 2012 at 3:17 PM

There is no practical reason for this. So why are they doing it?

‘It’s no big deal. Why not just comply. They know things we don’t and we don’t need to know.’

It’s part of the condition of the public to accept greater and greater intrusions while traveling. Each step will be small and, by itself, minor. But they add up.

After they get us conditioned to accept intrusion while traveling, they can ratchet up the intrusion in other areas.

‘Hey, it’s OK in airports. Why not the mall?’

schmuck281 on July 8, 2012 at 6:36 PM

I know I’m gonna get flamed, but here goes…

Sherman1864, I haven’t had any trouble. I fly somewhat regularly, and I wonder about those that get snagged regularly have some inconsistency in documentation or habit that you do subconciously to get flagged. I got flagged today on my flight back (first time ever), and it was totally cool with me. I think if you’re irritated with the system, it subconciously puts out a signal that you should be randomly checked. Yeah, that makes the point of ‘random’ moot, but still, if you’re acting impatient and cranky I’d probably random flag you too.

As for the liquids thing, I have never been able to bring any kind of beverage, opened or unopened, through a checkpoint (what is it, 100ml or less for liquids?). Period. They did let me fly with my normal tube of toothpase for about 4 checkpoints before they took it away, but it was half empty. Does that count? I think that with millions of people flying every day, it’s kinda pointless to focus on the about 20 negative incidents. The reason we don’t catch terrorists is because they cannot expose any one of their cellmates to being questioned… they aren’t totally clueless after all. Yes, we have to put up with the bad TSA agents, but overall the fact that we are looking means they aren’t trying.

Also, they may have caught a bunch and they don’t tell us about it for good reason. If the bad guys know we have their stoolies, they change and disappear. At least I would hope that’s what’s going on. I know, silly optimist.

I’m guessing the terrorists aren’t as interested in planes anymore. What’s to stop them from hijacking a plane from another country anyway? Personally, I think the evil ones are plotting nuclear so they’re saving their best act for the end. I pray that I’m wrong.

Symshady on July 9, 2012 at 2:38 AM

Appreciated, Symshady.

Sherman1864 on July 9, 2012 at 9:15 AM