Nov 9, 2010
For ordinary, law-abiding citizens, trying to get through airport security  can be stressful even under the best of circumstances. The airport is hardly the proper venue for a practical joke.
Case in point: A “fun loving” security officer with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at the Philadelphia International Airport pretended to find a bag of cocaine in at least two passengers’ bags.
It was a prank that he, but not the travelers, thought was “funny.” One of the passengers freaked out, with good reason, and reported the incident.
This occurred last January, but further details just became public this week under the Freedom of Information Act.
The Philadelphia Inquirer  explains:
The TSA officer was supposed to be checking equipment instead of passengers, the documents said, and the white substance he had with him was creatine powder, not cocaine.
The Smoking Gun , which obtained the documents, says the screener was a bomb appraisal officer of all things and may have been pranking “unsuspecting targets” because he was bored.
The TSA officer was working near a passenger screening checkpoint “collecting data for several new pieces of equipment that are currently being evaluated by Northrop Grumman,” according to a TSA memo. Since individual data collection phases could each take up to ten minutes, the worker apparently decided to fill up the time by pranking travelers: “While the data was being collected,” the bomb appraisal officer “began to engage passengers.”
Who knows? The unnamed officer may have been angling for a job on the new season of Punk’d.
“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.’”
The officer, who “humbly” admitted he made a mistake, is no longer with the TSA.