TSA Moves On From Your Underwear to Your Starbucks

Not content with fondling your privates and banning liquids from entering the concourse, the Transportation Security Administration is apparently now also screening liquids bought by passengers after they’ve already gone through regular security screening.

A passenger flying from Columbus, Ohio, to Oakland, California, over the holiday weekend captured the practice on video while he was sitting with other passengers in the airport’s embarkment lounge waiting to board their flight.

As the unidentified passenger points out in commentary posted with his video to YouTube, the liquid testing is being done “well beyond the security check” and on liquids that passengers have purchased inside the security perimeter after they already passed through security screening and threw out any drinks they might have brought with them to the airport.

The passenger, identified only as Danno02 in his YouTube channel, writes that his wife and son were approached by TSA agents after purchasing drinks at a coffee shop around the corner from the passenger lounge.

“I asked [the agent] what they were doing,” he writes. “One of the TSA ladies said that they were checking for explosive chemicals (as we are drinking them). I said ‘really..inside the terminal? You have got to be kidding me’. I asked them if they wanted to swab us all. She responded with something like, yes sometimes we need to do that. I then asked if she wanted a urin [sic] sample.”

He concludes his post by asking, “Whats next…perhaps the TSA will come to your home prior to your drive to the airport? The police state of the US is OUT OF CONTROL!”

But the TSA says the practice isn’t new — it’s been going on since 2007 — and is part of random screening techniques designed to catch liquid explosives that might slip through initial screening.

“TSA employs multiple layers of security throughout the airport where passengers may be randomly selected for additional screening,” the TSA said in a statement. “One measure may include testing liquids that are in a passenger’s possession. This is not a new procedure and at no time during the test is the liquid or the container ever touched.”

TSA’s Blogger Bob wrote about the procedure in July, describing how it works.

The test involves a test strip and a dropper containing a nontoxic solution. In case you’re wondering, our officers don’t place the test strips in your beverages/liquids. They simply have the passenger remove the cap/lid and they hold the strip over the opening of the container. Procedures call for moving the test strip to the side and applying the solution from the dropper to test the strip. If the test results are positive TSA will conduct additional testing to make a final assessment.

Unlike with swab tests done at the security checkpoint, however, the TSA officers in the video did not change their gloves between tests to prevent cross-contamination.

While TSA agents lack the authority to arrest or detain anyone, passengers cannot refuse screening once they have proceeded beyond the screening checkpoint entrance.

Our advice is, the next time you’re in an airport, feel free to visit the bar and order a drink — just don’t make it an Irish Car Bomb.