A TSA bomb appraisal officer in Philadelphia International Airport repeatedly “pranked” fliers by slipping a bag of white powder (creatine, a nutritional supplement, being used in equipment testing) into their luggage and then threatening them with arrest. Though his colleagues saw him pull this stunt, he was not removed from duty or reported — merely told “don’t do that,” by another TSA worker. It wasn’t until he reduced a woman to tears that he was disciplined. It’s not clear whether the officer — whose name has been redacted from the TSA memo that was released under a Freedom of Information Act request — was fired, or quit, though reportedly he isn’t working for the TSA any longer.
You know how the TSA has all those signs saying you can be arrested for joking or “making remarks” about bombs? One law for them, another for us, apparently.
After first confirming that the items in front of him belonged to the pair, the TSA employee asked the women, “Do you have anything in your bag that you’re not supposed to?” After the passengers answered, “No,” the worker again displayed some purported cocaine. While a TSA memo notes that the white powder was in a vial, Solomon has said that she was shown a plastic baggie filled with powder.”Did this come out of your bag?” he asked. “The passengers replied, ‘No way. I don’t even know what that is,’” according to a TSA report. The worker “concluded with, ‘I’m just checking. I know it didn’t come out of your bag, it belongs to me. You seem way too nice. Have a good flight.’”
“You almost had me,” one passenger is reported to have responded, according to a TSA memo.
Solomon, crying, eventually approached an airline worker to lodge a complaint about the TSA worker. Referring to “the things that are going on in the world today,” Solomon said she did not consider the cocaine prank a “funny joke.” She added that airport security workers “should be taking our jobs seriously.”
Two other passengers quoted in the TSA records told officials that they saw the bomb appraisal officer showing the women a bag of white powder that appeared to have been removed from a bag. One witness said that she felt bad for the women after subsequently learning that they were the target of a prank. She added that if the officer “had played that joke on her then we (TSA) would still be hearing her hollering and something would have to be done right then and there.”
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