TSA Agents Leave Post, Figure Metal Detector Can Monitor Itself

Some things are just fine if you leave them unattended for less than a minute. Like, an apple, or a cat, or even a hammer. But a metal detector at an airport security checkpoint? Nope, you shouldn’t leave that alone when people are walking through it. Tell that to the TSA agents at the Sacramento International Airport.

The Transportation Security Administration had to shut down a terminal at the airport over the weekend, citing a security breach, says KCRA News. Flights were grounded for an hour, because four ticketed passengers and one airport employee waltzed through the abandoned metal detector.

Officials say “a walk-through metal detector was left unattended for less than one minute.” Less than a minute is again, okay when leaving a piece of paper on the table. But not okay here, TSA.

Once the TSA got wise to what had happened, they put the airport on lockdown and found the five people, who weren’t up to anything mischievous when they went through the checkpoint.

Two TSA officers have been removed from their screening duties while officials look into how everything went down. Pretty sure it involves legs, and walking away from the job.

*Thanks for the tip, Harper!

Security Breach Grounds Flights At Sac International [KCRA.com]

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  1. CelticWhisper says:

    They’re not “agents.” And they’re DEFINITELY not “officers.” They’re clerks. No different from the people who sell you stamps at the post office.

    • AngryK9 says:

      I thought they were glorified rent-a-cops.

      • nishioka says:

        Same… built like rent-a-cops too.

        If the terrorists get to the TSA checkpoint, we’re already fucked.

        • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

          Speaking from a strictly mathematical property-damage-and-body-count perspective, if a terrorist wanted to inspire terror (which is the intended goal of a terrorist, yes?) then he/she/they would detonate their weapon(s) in the line-up to go through security.

          • bluline says:

            Absolutely. I’ve been saying that for years. And the effect on the air traffic system would be the same as a 9/11-style hijacking as every airport in the nation would be shut down instantly by the FAA. And I don’t see a way to alleviate the risk, either. Even if the security checkpoint was moved a mile from the terminal, there would still be a choke point and an opportunity for a terrorist with a rolling suitcase full of explosives to create major carnage.

            • nbs2 says:

              That’s why you aren’t in charge of the TSA master plan. There is one place they can deploy in order to avoid having checkpoints – at the exits.

              Leaving the store? Checkpoint. Leaving a warehouse? Checkpoint. Leaving your house? Checkpoint.

              Do that, and choke points are meaningless – those additional checkpoints are just for your protection. Of course, we will still have to take our shoes off and dump our liquids when we pass through the checkpoints.

            • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

              Do it the way they do it in Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport: Have the security checkpoints outside the airport property. Their attitude is “Once the terrorist is on the premises, they’ve already won.”

              • bluline says:

                So the terrorist sets off the bomb at the crowded off-site checkpoint because passengers have to gather in large numbers no matter where the checkpoint is. Same result. Lots and lots of dead and wounded people and a shutdown of every such checkpoint in the country, which, in turn, will shut down every airport.

    • vastrightwing says:

      Exactly. Also this is all just theatre anyway. Sure it’s “pssoible” the TSA might catch someone some day, but the odds are against that. Pfft. I say let all the TSA people walk away, it would make flying so much better.

    • FLConsumer says:

      No, the post office clerks will smile and don’t yell at you. Nor do they wear smurf costumes.

  2. HowardRoarksTSquare says:

    As someone that flew in and out of the 916 more times than I care to remember, I’m not surprised at all one bit.

  3. dolemite says:

    “We’ve spent 50,000 taxpayer dollars on a 5 month investigation. Turns out the agent wanted a taco.”

  4. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    One would hope that there are fundamental rules regarding leaving one’s posted security position and severe consequences for abandoning it.

    I still have General Order 1 burned into my brain from ~ 20 years ago when I was in the Army. I think it would also apply to the TSA:

    “I will guard everything within the limits of my post and quit my post only when properly relieved.”

  5. Hi_Hello says:

    so basically…. no harm was done and you don’t really need a TSA agent.

    Got it.

  6. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    There was nobody there and they STILL walked throught the damn thing? We have been well trained. Sheep.

    • OSAM says:

      I like to consider myself to be like a liquid: I go through whatever is the easiest means of exit. People needed to get to their gate: XRay machines are kind of a tight fit, but these lovely metal archways are quite convenient.

    • longfeltwant says:

      In the security checkpoints I’ve been through, the metal detector was the only portal from one side to the other. It’s not like you can walk around them.

      What I wonder is did these five people x-ray their carry-on baggage?

      • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

        No – Ive been in (regional) airports where the metal detector is stand-alone with a TSA drone on either side. You could walk around them with no problem.

  7. Cat says:

    TSA workers are represented by the American Federation of Government Employees, who are probably fighting for the two to keep their jobs as we speak, and will most likely succeed.

  8. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    If the metal detector isn’t manned, and you walk through with something metallic, does it still sound an alarm? I mean, if the TSA employee was in the area, wouldn’t they hear the detector sound? Stories like this make me shake my head.

    Aside – just learned that the delivery people and lawyers can bypass the metal detector in our little rural courthouse, but citizens who come in to pay taxes or look up information have to go through.

    • webweazel says:

      “Aside – just learned that the delivery people and lawyers can bypass the metal detector in our little rural courthouse, but citizens who come in to pay taxes or look up information have to go through.”

      Just a few years ago, some of my family members, who live in a pretty big city in the Northeast, had to go to court in a semi-rural area a few states away for completion of a relative’s estate who had died. When they came back, they were tickled pink when they noticed that one of the lawyers at the table had an ankle-holster. They knew it was the backup gun to the big boy hidden somewhere else on his person. They thought it was just the coolest thing.

    • Cat says:

      Most delivery people and all lawyers are terrorists.

      • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

        I’m thinking more along the lines of parcel bombs, or someone Fed Exing a weapon to someone in the courthouse who shouldn’t have one so mayhem could ensue. But it’s OK to confiscate, albeit temporarily, my leatherman’s tool so I couldn’t whip it out and pinch the tax collector with the little plyers.

    • druidicawen says:

      It’s not just rural courthouses. The Daley Center in Chicago let’s attorneys walk right in too. Messengers and the rest of us plebs have to be scanned.

    • chargernj says:

      I’ve always wanted to line up with the lawyers and if asked say “I’m a pro-se lawyer” Think that would work? I mean, a person who is acting as their own attorney should be extended the same rights and privileges I should think.

  9. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    If the metal detector detects metal, will the alarm go off if there’s no one there to hear it?

  10. TriplerSDMB says:

    Hey, you have to take a minute to stash the items you’ve stolen from cowed passengers once awhile, okay? Sheesh.

  11. Robert Nagel says:

    What are the odds that some al Queda operative loaded with explosives in his underwear was lurking next to the metal detector waiting, with bated breath, for the agent to leave? The overstated reaction to this incident indicate a lack of appreciation for the task at hand. Their anal pursuit of detail at the expense of the real picture confirms their lack of importance or effectiveness.

  12. Chasing Headless Chickens says:

    I would never leave Cat unattended for less than a minute. Especially with that unattended hammer.

  13. areaman says:

    If the media showed what Sacramento was like more to the rest of the world not as many people would move to California.

  14. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    Turns out that the security gate was equally as effective at stopping terrorism and ensuring our country’s safety with no employees on hand when compared to it’s performance when fully staffed.

  15. Murph1908 says:

    He was probably called over by the body scan guy to check out the body of a hottie who just went through.

  16. Vox Republica says:

    “Did I leave my bags unattended? Yeah, but for less than one minute. So it’s really no big deal.”

  17. Thyme for an edit button says:

    Ugh, TSA!

    I had to go through the naked scanner a couple weeks ago and after I went through, a TSA agent patted down my leg. She just reached down and did it. I felt pretty annoyed that she touched me without my consent. At least I didn’t get groped though.

    • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

      I never had a female TSA agent pat me down even though I always ask politely.

  18. dourdan says:

    um… if i saw a TSA check point with NO ONE i would not just walk through.

    i blame the 5 people who decided it was ok to walk through, with out asking anyone else.

    • Tunnen says:

      Who would they ask if there was no one manning the gate? Unless they taped off or otherwise barricaded the gate, perhaps with a “Do not enter” sign I wouldn’t really blame the passengers. Or at least put up a sign stating “Do not enter until instructed by attendant.”

      If there is an open passage way that does not have any warning signs or barricades to warn people not to pass through, then you can’t fault someone for walking through that area.

    • philpm says:

      I would. They’d have to lock down the airport anyway, so might as well make it worth the effort.

    • Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

      Yeah. I typically wait for someone to wave at me to go ahead and walk through.

    • FLConsumer says:

      Oh, I certainly would walk right through it! If they can’t bother to guard it, I can’t bother to wait for them.

  19. dush says:

    And them leaving their post didn’t actually compromise security at all.

    • FLConsumer says:

      No, if anything the TSA’s absence probably INCREASED security since the smurf actors were away.

  20. oldwiz65 says:

    They were probably off scarfing down confiscated cupcakes!

  21. pika2000 says:

    Again, how is it that they are not abolished yet? Bin laden is dead.

  22. MacUser1986 says:

    Amazing, even unconstitutional organizations can’t do their jobs right.

    I swear the hammer and car mentioned above could do a better job they these clowns.

  23. DragonThermo says:

    Remember what the Democrats said: “You can’t professionalize until you Nationalize!”

    Your tax dollars at work, as it were.