TSA: Terror Sorority Alert

LTB logo

Seriously, I'm already way behind on other stuff—could the TSA stop doing stupid $&*# for maybe 48 hours? Is that possible?

Today's report (thanks, Erika) is that thousands of passengers were delayed for hours at Hobby Airport in Houston, many missing their flights entirely, because the TSA was befuddled by a sorority-convention souvenir booklet.

"We had a large group with a large number of bags to be checked and because of a certain item in those bags there was additional screening necessary," said Bill Begley with Hobby Airport.

A spokesman for the airport says the sorority members were apparently given thick booklets at the convention that could be mistaken for explosives when packed into checked bags. The booklets forced TSA officials to hand check most of the luggage.

"Our souvenir booklet, apparently it's too thick and because of all the colored photos in it, it appears to look like some sort of plastic explosive," [Cassandra] Tomes said.

Books can be dense (no pun intended) and so can look to an X-ray-machine operator like a block of something potentially scary. This happened to me once some time ago, back when I carried paper books, apparently not just because of the book but because I had also thrown some computer cords into the suitcase. So, okay—a big opaque block in some guy's suitcase, apparently with wires sticking out of it, that I understand. But if hundreds of people show up with the same book on the same day, once our Last Line of Defense gets a few dozen looks at it I'd assume they would, you know, communicate with each other and understand it's not a threat.

Of course, I suppose it's not impossible that ISIS coordinated an attack plan with the annual Delta Sigma Theta convention. But the chances of that are sufficiently close to zero that I'd feel safe waving these ladies through.

Oh—"In addition, a few TSA machines broke. That combined with the sheer volume of travelers created the perfect storm for delays." Yep, it was the perfect storm all right. Again we are subject to the whims of a capricious Universe. What can one do?