June 25, 2017

TSA is going to inspect your books

The Week - The TSA began a new screening policy for paper products at airport checkpoints in Missouri last month, and now the agency's branch in Sacramento, California, is testing out more invasive searches for books and food items.

In the new system, passengers are required to take all reading material and food out of their carry-on luggage and place it in a separate bin. TSA screeners can "fan" through travelers' books to see if anything is hidden in the pages, but agency officials insist they will not pay attention to the content. Critics have long argued passengers selected for extra screening are not chosen as randomly as the TSA claims, and book content — particularly of a political or religious nature — could re-ignite that debate.

"It's always been a series of insults," said Julie Sze, a University of California, Davis, professor who experienced the test procedure at Sacramento. "Books, magazines, food, those are like my three treasured things. It feels personal on a whole different level."


Anonymous said...

How do they test the food? Visual inspection? Let dogs sniff all over it? Send a sample off to a lab while you wait for your flight? Open it up in security and share it about with the TSA agents?

I've traveled with food, because there are a few family specialties I make. In the past have taken these dishes to family get togethers, but I really don't want TSA pawing through my food before I share it with my family.

Geoffrey Levens said...

My experience is they glance at your food and pretty much arbitrarily decide whether or not it is "soft" or "wet" enough that it could be an explosive. Then they confiscate it. Clever, eh? I have had whole, intact, baked sweet potato confiscated...