Memos Detail TSA Officer's Cocaine Pranks

Worker joked about finding drugs in luggage

TSA screener

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TSA Agent's Coke Joke

NOVEMBER 2--The Transportation Security Administration worker who earlier this year was canned for falsely claiming to have discovered cocaine in the luggage of travelers was a bomb appraisal officer who was supposed to be evaluating new screening equipment at the time he was pranking his unsuspecting targets, records show.

TSA documents released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request provide further details about the January incidents at the Philadelphia International Airport. The name of the bomb appraisal officer has been redacted from the material, though one memo indicates that when the worker was confronted, “He did say humbly that he was completely wrong and he made a mistake.”

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.”

As one passenger gathered their belongings (which had just emerged from an X-ray machine), the TSA worker displayed a “small vial of white powder” and asked, “Did this come out of your bag?” When the passenger replied, “No,” the officer asked, “Are you sure?” The traveler, according to a TSA memo, said, “Yea, I’m pretty sure,” and began to laugh. “Okay, just wanted to make sure. Have a nice flight,” the officer replied.

The white powder that appeared to be cocaine was actually creatine, a nutritional supplement that was “being utilized for the data collection” being performed by the bomb appraisal officer.

His first prank--details of which have not been previously disclosed--completed, the bomb appraisal officer “returned to the equipment to begin another phase of the data collection.”

However, the TSA worker would later return to a screening lane and approach two young women who were collecting their luggage from a conveyor belt. One of the women has been previously identified as Rebecca Solomon, a 22-year-old University of Michigan student who was en route to Detroit. Solomon’s name has been redacted from the TSA documents.

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.”

As part of its probe of the pranks, investigators spoke with other TSA employees, five of whom confirmed that the officer had tried to trick passengers into thinking that cocaine was found in their luggage. One worker said that they told the officer, “Don’t do that,” when a victim of the prank appeared distraught.

Only one of the workers interviewed, however, informed a supervisor of what was transpiring at the security checkpoint. (8 pages)

Comments (34)

Obviously a idiot..But you guys can't use this moron as a example for the TSA...who do you want to work at the TSA, Road Scholars? Have you ever travelled internationally? I find it the same everywhere
The Terminally Stupid Administration is an group of incompetent fools. They are only a symptom of what is wrong with what used to be the USA. The destruction of personal freedom and constant government intrusion upon civil rights and continual surveillance are while I not only no longer live there but will never even visit again. I predict that, withing 50 years, the USA as we have all known it will no longer exist. The reality is, it doesn't actually exist today. But as 52 united states, it is going to be gone. As the economic powerhouse and world leader, it will be gone, too. So long Amerika, it was nice to know ye.
With everyone obsessed with there european heritage, I find it weird that the more & more we move towards there lifestyle the more complaints occur... Look at Australia where search warrants don't exist anymore..hopefully we won't get there
And this is why i hate airports!
TSA are goverment contracted employees with very little amount of training to get this type of job. Their training are done in house. They do not have to go to the training location that all LEO "s go to in Georgia. So what do you expect. Apparently that individual has alot of time on his hands to even give it a thought to do something as such. I hope he is made an example out of this incident. It is very emberassing to the young lady who this pranked was played on. I know it drawn alot of attention. Their should be no exeptions for his ignorance.
My experience with TSA is that they're loafers looking for an easy job with great benefits and early retirement. If it wasn't for suicidal Muslims, none of the TSA jobs would be necessary.
What else would you expect with a bunch of lowly paid and uneducated losers? It's not a coincidence that most of the TSA workers are fat slobs who would otherwise be working at McDonalds.
.. but don't they look good in them uniforms?
This isn't a "prank". It is a VERY serious breech of gov't authority and trust. And folks at TSA are crapping in their pants figuring out how to deal with the settlements and fall-out on this one. No, this wasn't a joke, a funny joke, a prank, a prank gone bad ... this TSA employee might face criminal charges. When a gov't employee goes bad ... the gov't REALLY stomps on them. Given the notoriety this has received at Drudge and Smoking Gun, I would be really surprised if this guy isn't charged with criminal misconduct. And the other TSA employees (except one) that didn't report this to a supervisor immediately, might get canned. For being just plain stupid and forgetting about CYA.
Thanks to the unions, I would be shocked if anything happened to this person beyond a letter of reprimand that will be removed from his record after 90 days of good behavior. Sadly, I would not be at all surprised if the TSA tried to exculpate themselves by inviting the DEA to investigate the “alleged” victims.
I hope everything you said will eventuate!
Driving is not always convenient though preferable to the TSA. We just need to set higher standards for TSA employees and let them knoe if you clown around you will be eliminated...figuratively. Traveling is stressful enough without having morons like this hasseling us....
I hope they all get good lawyers and have a big laugh afterwards!
TSA (The Stupid Asses) are the reason I no longer fly. Every time I have flown since 9/11 I have been harassed, falsely accused of wrongdoing and intimidated, so now when I have to travel, I drive, even if traveling coast to coast.
Ha ha ha. What a funney TSA agent. So if a cop pulls me over and asks if he can search my car, I say yes because I have nothing to hide. Then he says, "is this your loaded .45, bag of crack cocaine, hypodermic, and child pornography?" and follows up with, "just kidding; they're all mine" I guess I'm just supposed to laugh it off as a joke and go home and change my skid mark stained underwear. Ha ha ha. what comedians these guys are.
Does this mean I can make bomb jokes again?
This goof-wad actually seems like he's a pretty nice guy that has a sense of humor in a place that is overly dramatic and invasive. ( I know-- the next guy in line might have a bomb -- one in 100,000 or less.) HUMOR often compensates for embarrassment. It is almost an intant, nervous reaction. Stand-up commics can't help themselves. If the room won't laugh they blurt out some really awful stuff and you can count on the nun in the back row to start the laughter. Creative people with fast minds cannot hardly hold it in when tension, conflict or irony comes into play. He is EMBARRASSED and wants to lighten the mood in a place where WARRANTLESS SEARCHES and gawking takes place. The real story is how homeland security might someday be abused. Our bomb specialist may be the only sane person with an IQ over 120 in the process -- he's just cracking-up.
this "goof-wad" seemingly "pretty nice guy" actually seems like he's a giant douche bag.
Barney Fife happened when Prez Bush took a whole industry of Airport Security Guards, and deputized them to appease the Democrats so they could eventually unionize them. The question is, what did Bush get from the Dems in return? The Department of Homeland Security? Iraq War Redeaux?
With Obama's blessing, terrorists can walk across the Mexican border with nuclear weapons and if law enforcement even dares to question them the cops will go to jail. Why is the government breaking our stones at airports? It makes no sense.
It makes no sense that you're taking a funny story and making it into a political thing.
Didn't this guy get the memo about falsely screaming bomb in an airport, or fire in a theater? If you can be jailed for these violations, then he should be jailed and fined for his "pranks".
Put him on the no fly list
Why hasn't anyone notice the obvious important aspect of this story: The TSA is testing new equipment designed to detect drugs. The new full-body x-ray equipment is really being used to detect currency (wads of bills) and gem stones hidden under clothing. What we really have here is warrentless search and seizures that have nothing to do with airline or aircraft security. This is the gov't looking for un-authorized, un-orthodox or un-reported transport of assets. Why? Because this is your IRS at work. Let no dollar of unreported income go un-taxed, and let's even flush your rights down the toilet as we look for them.
This is not warrant-less search and seizure because people are consenting to search by entering the security line, walking through the detectors and putting their bags in the scanners. They have the full legal right to not consent to the search by not going through the security line (i.e. turning around and going home).
That may be the law, I don't know, IANAL. But consider the logical conclusion here. All law enforcement has to do, to search anyone they want, is to put up a search station in front of any public accomodation, be it airports or roads or hospitals or anything. You can't get in or use the service unless you go through the search station. You "have the full legal right to not consent" by "turning around and going home." How is this different from highway robbery, and how are they different from a gang of highway robbers?
TSA - what a great bunch of jokesters, now licking passengers to keep America safe... You think we're kidding?
TSA is not about "SECURITY". The TSA is specificly designed to lull the American Public into passively accepting random, pointless, searches at the whim of the government. Look at them. TSA screeners are being trained to be smiling and polite. WHY? To appear benign and unthreatening as they strip you of your Freedom. The reason they came up with an underwear bomber is the same reason they came up with a shoe bomber. First they wanted to get into your shoes and then they wanted to get into your underwear. After that they want to get into your body. But job one, day one, they want to get into your head. These are stages of humiliation designed to strip you of your dignity. Look at their faces, if YOU seriously believed the next passenger might be an armed and murderously suicidal killer, would you be all relaxed and cheery? If you seriously believed that the next suitcase you open may blow you to Kingdom Come, would you be a Perky Pixie? If you do NOT believe that ......... WHY ARE YOU HERE!?
> "smiling and polite" !?!?! In my world, TSA agents are a bunch or rude and obnoxious scumbags. I will like to know what airports are you flying.
He is what they look for in MANAGEMENT. They will PROMOTE him "Integrity, Team Spirit, Innovation" is sewn around the border of the newest TSA patch. Have you EVER seen an organization that had to SEW A REMINDER not to STEAL, LIE, and CHEAT on their own shoulders!!!! They STEAL from the "confiscated" items, BACK-STAB the PASSENGERS (and their CO-Workers) and "INNOVATIVELY" CHEAT on their own tests. Supervisors padding their hours to make house payments. Supervisors staggering in drunk. Supervisors yelling all NON-Christians should leave the country Supervisors expressing their desire to see certain U.S. Senators DEAD Real good organization. By the way, The x-rays that take "virtual photos" destroy your DNA at relatively low energy levels. But hey, Michael Chertoff is making lot of MONEY using his status as FORMER HEAD of TSA to sell them. A fish rots from the HEAD.. ------------------------------ The TSA is confiscating liquid, gel, and aerosol, worth millions of dollars. The alleged reason is these MIGHT be dangerous, toxic, explosive, poisonous, chemicals. Do you know what is happening to this treasure? The TSA geniuses are taking these "dangerous, toxic, explosive, poisonous, chemicals" and, tossing them into big bins, sorted by THE LABEL, and , UNTESTED or CRITICALLY EXAMINED Gee. What if I was a "terrorist" and made a bomb that is LABELED like a common flammable item. Yes the TSA geniuses would put it in their pile of OTHER FLAMMABLES, and store it until MY bomb ignited the items it is stored with. The TSA would have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA who GAVE them the bomb, because they don't believe their own story, so they don't record such things. TSA "officers" around the country are drinking "VAP" pop, water, etc. (and accepting "gifts" of food, drink) GEE, what if someone injected some hallucinagens? well ..... how could we tell if THAT happened?........ .
thank you for this calmly reasoned analysis. i learned a lot.
I AGREE with EVERYthing you say, AL! You HAVE SUMMED UP all the TSA "PROBLEMS" quite WELL. Thanks for YOUR "IN" put.
The TSA officer should not only be fired, barred from ANY kind of trusted or govt job for life, but should be put in jail. Clearly there is something wrong with his mind, such a sickness that he would joke about cocaine in peoples' luggage could also make him not recognize threats that people in THAT JOB are supposed to spot. I was going thru a checkpoint at an airport, the metal detector went off and a clearly drunk and alcoholic TSA officer said its because I fell into the side of the screening thing, like the little doorway? I didnt touch the sides, I walked straight thru. No, you were off balance and hit the side of it. his breath smelled of alcohol, he was unshaven, red eyes, in his 50s or 60s. the TSA officer... The only thing was I was running to catch the flight that was boarding, so many people just want to get thru the !@#$ place that these screeners are not reported as they should be Edited to say this was around 9 AM, I think it was in Detroit MI but didnt write it down, so many airports they become a blur
Just an observation of this and other stories in the news today (poop in the pool, riots in SF, for example): I don't believe this species can survive. There are just too many weak links and we all kinda depend on each other, ya know?