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TSA Shuts Down Airport, Detains 11 After "Science Project" Found

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the put-down-the-graduated-cylinder dept.

Robotics 537

OverTheGeicoE writes "A group of students and a professor were detained by TSA at Dallas' Love Field. Several of them were led away in handcuffs. What did they do wrong? One of them left a robotic science experiment behind on an aircraft, which panicked a boarding flight crew. The experiment 'looked like a cell phone attached to a remote control car with some exposed wires protruding.' Of course, the false alarm inconvenienced more than the traveling academics. The airport was temporarily shut down and multiple gates were evacuated, causing flight delays and diversions."

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Scare quotes (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39565163)

Why the "Scare Quotes" in the title? Is someone implying that it was actually a bomb, and not a robot? TFA does not.

Re:Scare quotes (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39565257)

Because that way, more people click on it. Don't you know how news sales works?

Re:Scare quotes (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39565603)

Because that way, more people click on it. Don't you know how "news" sales works?

FTFY.

Re:Scare quotes (4, Funny)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565365)

Obviously the OP did not find the experiment worthy of the term "science project". Maybe he thinks he could do a much better one?

Re:Scare quotes (5, Interesting)

bfandreas (603438) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565609)

Excellent technology frightened the merely mediocre. Who we let gain power. Handcuffs were applied by pigs. Who we let to gain power. That's all there is to be said.


There was a time when JPL and MRI lured the brightest from all over the world into the country. Now they all get scared away. If anybody wants to meet me nowadays, I call them back to Europe. There's no way that I'd be traveing to the US anytime soon.

I know quite a lot of stuff that'd be deemed harmful to the US. Like logic, evolution, security related stuff. Maybe not grammar. Screw that. 30 years ago that was a completely different thing. Jimmy Carter. A downhill race ever since.

Who actually does vote those into office that are eternally scared of the stuff they don't understand themselves? Could you please strip them off their right to vote?

When it comes to security (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39565165)

There's no such thing as too much fear.

Re:When it comes to security (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39565291)

Especially when it comes to nerds. FEAR US!!

This will be an awesome story some day, "Dude! I shut down a whole major metropolitan airport, and did hard time at the Federal Pound You In The Ass Penitentiary."

Re:When it comes to security (4, Insightful)

Entropius (188861) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565397)

The hilarity is that if the nerds really wanted to play havoc with US air travel, they could, and there's not a damn thing the TSA could do about it.

You're looking in the wrong place (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39565169)

The terrorists aren't trying to get on our airplanes. The terrorists are blowing up Planned Parenthood clinics.

Re:You're looking in the wrong place (5, Insightful)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565203)

The terrorists are strip-searching people with judicial approval.

Re:You're looking in the wrong place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39565263)

Mod parent up to 5.

Re:You're looking in the wrong place (5, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565259)

The terrorists are laughing up their sleeves.

Smith, we meet again. you all look the same to mee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39565421)

Losing crops before you can harvest energy much?

Re:You're looking in the wrong place (3, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565555)

Don't you know? Americans cannot be terrorists. Only people who hate America can be terrorists, and they also plot their attacks from outside the country.

Re:You're looking in the wrong place (2)

nschubach (922175) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565597)

Every American is a terrorist... if you ask those in charge. They just like to paint "outsiders" as terrorists to scare the citizens into control.

Re:You're looking in the wrong place (4, Interesting)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565637)

Every American is a criminal... if you ask those in charge

FTFY. Why do you think the number of criminal offenses keeps increasing? Ayn Rand hit the ball out of the park:

"There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws."

Re:You're looking in the wrong place (1)

firex726 (1188453) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565565)

Sadly, I can guarantee you that unless the perpetrator was brown skinned or a Muslim you won't hear the word TERRORIST associated to that attack in the MSM.

If it was a White Extremest Christian my money is on property damage, or arson at most.

Re:You're looking in the wrong place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39565617)

Here here!

Before TSA (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39565187)

How many things actually happened in the entire history of commercial flights before the TSA existed? And why do they still exist in light of that? Sheesh.

Re:Before TSA (3, Insightful)

_Shorty-dammit (555739) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565267)

How many things actually happened in the entire history of commercial flights before the TSA existed? And why do they still exist in light of that? Sheesh.

Doh! Wasn't logged in for some reason.

Re:Before TSA (2)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565313)

They're the aviation equivalent of the bear patrol....

Re:Before TSA (1)

NouberNou (1105915) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565681)

Would you like to buy my rock? It keeps away communist tigers.

Re:Before TSA (2)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565439)

I remember when I could get on an airplane without getting finger fucked and fish hooked by some "highly trained" a-hole in a blue suit with a badge...

Re:Before TSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39565661)

I remember when you could get on an airplane with a Buck #110 in your pocket. I kid you not and it would've been a useful tool on 9/11 if all the guys had one in their pocket.

Re:Before TSA (1)

firex726 (1188453) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565573)

Well there are terrorist attacks in other parts of the world, not nearly as frequent as the TSA would have you believe though.

Son, you are SO fucking grounded! (1)

h4x354x0r (1367733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565197)

Like, until you're about 35 years old.

That's a strip search (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39565199)

Thanks, SCOTUS.

Number of actual terrorists blocked by TSA (5, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565201)

Zero.

Number of people nude Xrayed or sexually groped (on their breasts or crotch) or strip-searched or locked in glass jails for carrying breast milk or ..... (this list could go on several pages).

Millions.

I hope none of those machines were malfunctioning and ejected lethal doses. They are never checked. TIME TO END THE TSA. And the Fed (give the power back to the State central banks).

Re:Number of actual terrorists blocked by TSA (5, Interesting)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565347)

The TSA sucks, but I can't say I disagree with their response in this case. The device is described as a robot-like device with exposed wires, resembling a handmade explosive device. According to the statement in the article, the TSA determined that the device was not harmful, the airport reopened, and everything went back to normal. That seems like what is supposed to happen.

The Dallas City Hall statement in the article:

A commercial flight which originated in Kansas City arrived at Love Field this afternoon and unloaded passengers. The next flight crew boarded to prep the aircraft for the next flight when a robotic device was discovered on the plane and the crew notified authorities. Air Marshals along with Dallas Love Field officers detained 11 passengers related to the device. It was determined that the device was not dangerous and was a student’s science project. The student was traveling with fellow students and a professor. That student told authorities the robot was accidentally left on the plane. The airport was temporarily shut down until the device could be determined it was not a threat. Gate #12 has reopened and airport operations are returning to normal.

That doesn't change my opposition to the groping and scanning, of course. But this story seems just a little overblown. I think an airport would have reacted this way regardless of the existence of the TSA.

Re:Number of actual terrorists blocked by TSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39565509)

Down-modded for disagreeing. Love when that happens. I agree with you, that probably did look like a suspicious device. The checked it, and everyone went on their merry little way.

Re:Number of actual terrorists blocked by TSA (3, Informative)

Cosgrach (1737088) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565665)

I hate to admit it, but I'd have to agree on this. They did exactly what I would want them to do. However, I'd have stopped short of arresting to poor bastard who let the thing on the plane. A harmless device and a honest mistake. It could happen to anyone, and it has happened to me.

I left my hat on a plane. I realized it as soon as I got through the gate. I informed the gate lacky and they called up the flight crew. They could not find it (even though I told them exactly where it was), after a bit of haggling with the guy at the gate, I was allowed to re-board the plane (with out escort) and retrieve my hat. The unescorted bit confused me a little. Still does.

This still does not make like TSA any less.

Soooo ... "exposed wires"? (4, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565687)

The device is described as a robot-like device with exposed wires, resembling a handmade explosive device.

So if I put coloured epoxy over the wires so they cannot be seen ...

The point is that the people claiming that this looks like "a handmade explosive device" do not know what "a handmade explosive device" looks like.

It just looks UNUSUAL so they panicked.

Re:Number of actual terrorists blocked by TSA (3, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565691)

The incident probably cost airlines and various travellers plenty of money (delayed flights etc.). Sounds like a new way to harm America: sneak things onto airplanes that look like bombs. It should not be too hard; if you disassemble a typical laptop and turn a few things around, you'll have something that looks like a bomb.

Re:Number of actual terrorists blocked by TSA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39565381)

Number of actual terrorists blocked by TSA

Zero.

A counterargument might be that it only takes one to get through and kill thousands. Just sayin'. I mean, I hate the TSA too and think much of it is security theater. I just don't think the argument you're using is all that convincing.

Re:Number of actual terrorists blocked by TSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39565557)

and have each State issue its own currency? Madness!

Science!!! (5, Funny)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565221)

They grounded us with science...

Obligatory (4, Insightful)

INeededALogin (771371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565237)

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

Earth to Absent-minded Professor. Come in please.. (4, Insightful)

Etcetera (14711) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565265)

What kind of moron takes something that "look[s] like a cell phone attached to a remote control car with some exposed wires protruding" onto an airplane?

Re:Earth to Absent-minded Professor. Come in pleas (4, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565317)

What kind of moron takes something that "look[s] like a cell phone attached to a remote control car with some exposed wires protruding" onto an airplane?

What kind of moron LETS SOMEONE take something that look[s] like a cell phone attached to a remote control car with some exposed wires protruding" onto an airplane? I mean, if snow globes [salon.com] are verboten, how in the world could that contraption possibly get on board in the first place?

Re:Earth to Absent-minded Professor. Come in pleas (3, Informative)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565501)

Better question - if they let it on the plane, then why didn't TSA ask the flight crew what the thing was instead of treating it like a bomb? Seems somebody should have already known it was on the plane during the flight.

Re:Earth to Absent-minded Professor. Come in pleas (4, Funny)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565611)

That would clearly violate the TSAs guidelines on logic and sanity.

Re:Earth to Absent-minded Professor. Come in pleas (2)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565673)

Better question - if they let it on the plane, then why didn't TSA ask the flight crew what the thing was instead of treating it like a bomb?

Because the flight crew had no idea what it was. They're the ones who reported it. This was the incoming flight crew that had just walked onto the plane. And the outgoing flight crew certainly doesn't know what every passenger is carrying, so even if you could find them, they couldn't help.

Re:Earth to Absent-minded Professor. Come in pleas (5, Interesting)

cowboy76Spain (815442) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565577)

Just to be the devil's advocate, imagine the following scenario.

Professor reaches TSA, shows the package, passes it through X-ray / opens it to show there is no chemical / explosive, and answers questions to the fully satisfaction of TSA (yes I am teacher these are the children I teach...).

Sometime later, someone else (who of course has not been told that there was such teacher with such object in the previous flight) finds the surprise. Even if the artifact was competently investigated by the TSA, the people who found it probably had no way to verify that ---> panic button.

To me, this article is bussiness as usual, and per se (the devil lies in details) it does not show up any incompetence / abuse

Re:Earth to Absent-minded Professor. Come in pleas (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39565325)

While not the best decision, I think the point is that he shouldn't have to worry. If it was on the plane, it made it past the TSA, and assuming they did a good job at their theatre, was safe. This whole fiasco is an exercise in how useless and overbearing the security is in airports these days.

Re:Earth to Absent-minded Professor. Come in pleas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39565329)

and then forgets it

I'm guessing they wanted to cause a scare.

Re:Earth to Absent-minded Professor. Come in pleas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39565383)

Honestly I'm perplexed why the TSA let the kid board with the robot. I mean that thing is at least as likley to crash the plane as a pair of nail-clippers.

Also this implies that robots could be good mules for smuggling stuff onto airplanes.

Increasingly these doofuses are resembling the scene from Airplane where the security is harassing the old woman while an obviously middle eastern man walks into a duty free store to by one of the time-bombs they have on display.

Re:Earth to Absent-minded Professor. Come in pleas (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565399)

Obviously someone who thinks that the Goons at the TSA have an IQ somewhere north of 80.

Re:Earth to Absent-minded Professor. Come in pleas (2)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565441)

That is what the flight attendant said it looked like. That does not mean that it looked like that in the slightest. /. once had an article where the police were called on the halo devs for carrying a AF-47 around in public, the AF-47 was in fact a 10 foot long halo sniper rifle replica that does not even look real (http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/11/medium_3ce16ecb6851fdac6329346672baea73.jpg).

Re:Earth to Absent-minded Professor. Come in pleas (0)

MisterSquid (231834) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565551)

It doesn't matter WHAT these type of devices look like. Anything unfamiliar is liable to cause BLIND PANIC for the (delegated) powers-that-be. It's almost as if a simple intended-to-be-viral ad campaign [wikipedia.org] could trigger a panic on the part of law enforcement.

Re:Earth to Absent-minded Professor. Come in pleas (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39565605)

To be fair, a cell phone /left behind/ and /attached/ to another item is pretty damn suspicious. A flight attendant with any sense will clear the area PDQ and alert Security.

Security has to take a bomb threat as real, otherwise what's the fucking point of Security? So hell yeah, lockdown on the area (airplanes are full of kerosene, remember?) -- clear all civilians and let the Emergency Response people have plenty of room.

And the people thought to have left it behind? Hell yes, handcuffs. It's people plural. Even if it's just one people, if it's an actual nutbar they may make a grab for a Security Guard's weapon. Handcuffs until it's absolutely sure that it's safe to remove them.

This was not an unreasonable response. Now the TSA in general, please don't get me started. That's an utter cockup. But this isn't.

Re:Earth to Absent-minded Professor. Come in pleas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39565447)

Someone going to a robotics conference?

Re:Earth to Absent-minded Professor. Come in pleas (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565585)

So the lesson is, if you want to bomb an airplane, enclose your bomb in a smooth, brushed aluminum and/or plastic case?

Re:Earth to Absent-minded Professor. Come in pleas (3, Interesting)

Teckla (630646) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565619)

What kind of moron takes something that "look[s] like a cell phone attached to a remote control car with some exposed wires protruding" onto an airplane?

Uh, someone that does not want the device utterly destroyed?

Checked luggage gets the shit beat out of it. Also, very often, security personnel will go through your luggage, and break even more stuff, through plain negligence, or just plain re-packing it poorly.

I used to carry stuff like this on airplanes... (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565271)

I used to carry stuff like this on airplanes, and through international customs. My company made and sold products that were hacked together PCBs slapped in a box with a motorcycle battery - looked awesome on X-ray.

TSA: protecting the ignorant (1, Interesting)

mschaffer (97223) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565277)

What more can I say. Dallas, TSA, Southwest---we aren't talking about the brain trust here.
I am surprised someone just didn't scream NERDS!

Re:TSA: protecting the ignorant (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39565337)

How about that you are a fucking retard?

Pussies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39565279)

Americans would probably collectively die of fright if they realized that their cell phones and computers actually run on electricity, the same magical force used by TERRORISTS for nefarious activities...

It got on the plane (2)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565283)

If it got on the plane, someone checked it somewhere and gave it a thumbs-up. That makes it more likely to be a toy, just like it looked.

Re:It got on the plane (2)

pluther (647209) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565559)

Or they just didn't notice it as it went through the X-ray machines. TSA misses replica guns and bombs that the FAA tests them with all the time.

Re:It got on the plane (4, Interesting)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565591)

If it got on the plane, someone checked it somewhere and gave it a thumbs-up. That makes it more likely to be a toy, just like it looked.

Or it could have been placed aboard the aircraft by a crew member, ground support personnel, or any other person with access to the sterile area that intended to do something illegal. To get a job that gives you access to the sterile area takes little more than a 10-year background check, with no ongoing checks. There is always the possibility that someone could turn or be a sleeper long enough to get a job. That is why aircrews and airline employees are supposed to look for and report anything suspicious, because there are always ways to get something past security. Things like this actually do happen on a fairly regular basis, but it usually involves theft or drugs. The aircrew was right to report it.

Re:It got on the plane (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565667)

If it got on the plane, someone checked it somewhere and gave it a thumbs-up. That makes it more likely to be a toy, just like it looked.

What's to say that when it passed through security it wasn't a cell phone, an RC car and wires with plugs on them - in different bags and/or from different people? I hate to be defending the TSA, but in this case I think it was perfectly reasonable to suspect this could be an airport/airplane assembled bomb. "Forgetting" it on board might be a way to make it blow up on the next flight rather than become a suicide bomber, honestly I have a hard time finding fault with suspected terrorist bombers being cuffed. Yeah of course it sucks for everyone affected when it turns out to be an innocent mistake but if they didn't react to this, what do you expect them to react to?

That sounds reasonable (4, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565293)

I'm as against the TSA as anyone.

But come on. Considering what was found, why should any authority there NOT freak out? The flight crew did.

It's really annoying it had such a large impact but in this case it was I think fully warranted. Even though I think they should have been allowed to enter the plane with the whole kit unscanned, once they left it behind all bets are off.

Re:That sounds reasonable (3, Insightful)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565469)

People leave stuff on planes. That's a fact. People carry weird looking electronics on board. That's a fact too. You can't scream bloody murder unless there's one. Just because someone has wires n'shit doesn't mean it's dangerous.

Re:That sounds reasonable (1)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565649)

Exactly. Why bother making your bomb look like a cellphone or a laptop, when you could just make it look like some ramshackle basement-made bomb?

Re:That sounds reasonable (3, Insightful)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565479)

Well, if the flight crew is freaking out, then either the TSA let it through or gave it the OK because it's ON THE PLANE.

Either the TSA's useless (for letting a bomb go through)
or the flight crew's panicking (for assuming the TSA let a bomb go through).

Re:That sounds reasonable (2)

cowboy76Spain (815442) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565599)

Or maybe the TSA checked it, but when someone found it later he had no way to be sure that it was a TSA-approved device and them prefered to be safe than sorry.

How do they know that? (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565675)

Well, if the flight crew is freaking out, then either the TSA let it through or gave it the OK because it's ON THE PLANE.

I'm sorry, but that's an incredibly stupid and naive thought.

The flight crew did not scan the passengers. Also by that time there have been a number of ground crew interacting with the plane. It could have even been assembled in mid-air. The crew has no idea where this thing might have come from.

There's not way you can expect a flight crew and even law enforcement to not reasonable consider some very roughly assembled electronics as possibly dangerous when found with no owner.

As I said I'd even be for the guys waltzing onto the plane with no security carrying the thing. That is fine by me, but equally fine is treating something like that as a threat when found totally unattended.

I mean, lets turn your argument around. You say it's OK because obviously the TSA is awesome and let it on the plane to start with, so obviously t came with a passenger. Great then, since now we "know" it was brought on by someone who went through TSA - WHY DID THEY LEAVE IT?

I mean, why on earth would someone who carefully constructed such a thing leave it behind? That makes no sense either, in fact even less sense to me. I would be pretty concerned if I saw that because anyone who had the skills to build such a thing obviously would care about it very much and have the intelligence not to forget they had it. I would be more prone to think something like that left behind was nefarious in purpose exactly because it had been left and forgotten.

Re:That sounds reasonable (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565677)

But come on. Considering what was found, why should any authority there NOT freak out? The flight crew did.

Uh... probably because people in positions of authority are supposed to be trained to not "freak out" in situations like this. React, yes; lose your cool and run around like a porn star with his dick cut off, not so much.

Another TSA Fail (3, Insightful)

gubers33 (1302099) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565323)

The device obviously got through security in Dallas thus it must not have been a threat. It isn't like that was something that was easily concealed or concealed in a bag if the crew found it. The TSA have stopped exactly zero terrorists while harassing and groping millions innocent people and have multiple lawsuits filed against them costing taxpayers more money then their already ridiculous budget. TSA is a waste of taxpayers money, plain and simple.

Re:Another TSA Fail (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565533)

The device obviously got through security in Dallas thus it must not have been a threat. It isn't like that was something that was easily concealed or concealed in a bag if the crew found it.

The pieces probably went through security in Kansas City where the flight originated. We don't know, because the story didn't tell us, if the device was dissassembled when going through security ("ok, a cell phone and a toy car...") or not ("ok, a cell phone attached to what looks like a toy car with extra wires ...").

Meanwhile, somewhere deep in the Arabian sea .... (3, Funny)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565327)

Meanwhile, somewhere deep in the Arabian sea .... Osama Bin Laden is laughing his ass off. His face is shot so that is the only thing he got left to laugh with.

Why? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39565359)

I've flown in the US with Robots Anywhere systems in my carry-ons before (http://www.robots-everywhere.com) and had no real hassle. I've had to explain them to security guards before, but I haven't had them do anything to me except the usual harassment and mistreatment of property.

Well (3, Funny)

Voogru (2503382) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565377)

Look at the bright side. They probably got their robot back. If it wasn't for the TSA, they'd never have seen it again!

they will get it back as a court room evidence (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565587)

they will get it back as a court room evidence

I Am Shocked and Appalled (1)

bistromath007 (1253428) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565379)

Under no circumstances should anything the TSA responds to ever actually appear threatening to a reasonable person. This flies in the face of everything I know about that organization. Where were the real police who should've been dealing with this?

So it looked harmless and was harmless? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39565419)

"The device looked like a cell phone attached to a remote control car with some exposed wires protruding."

Let's assume for a moment that it was exactly what it looked like, a cell phone on a toy car with some wires hanging out. This is cause for alarm why? You'll notice that the description does not say "it looked like an IED."

And once having determined that their childlike notion of bombmaking had generated another red herring, the TSA had cause to further detain the students why?

You know, pretty soon we're going to have an Apple law, which states that all electronics carried in public must have aesthetically appeasing housing. I can only imagine a TSA goon walking down the aisle of an electronics store. "My god man... there are bombs... bombs everywhere!"

This is a bit suspicious. (4, Insightful)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565423)

Okay. These people happened to be flying with something that looks very suspicious. A cellphone wired up to some other electronic device. Okay. Occasionally people do fly with suspicious looking items that are completely innocent. Then these same people "forget" it and leave it on an airplane? When's the last time you forgot a piece of carry-on luggage on a plane? I'm sure it happens occasionally, but when people are flying they are usually careful about such things. Now put the two together. What are the chances that a group of people bring a very suspicious looking electronic device onto a plane and then they all simultaneously forget it there? Isn't it possibly a bit more likely that they were playing some sort of a prank, or trying to test security at the airport and it backfired? Just a thought.

Re:This is a bit suspicious. (1)

wmbetts (1306001) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565635)

My school age daughter forgot luggage on the plane last year. Yes, she was flying alone so we weren't there to remind her. However, 1 professor would have a lot of trouble trying to make sure 10 or 11 students didn't forget anything in the chaos that always happens when a plane lands and people are trying to exit.

Re:This is a bit suspicious. (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565647)

What are the chances that a group of people bring a very suspicious looking electronic device onto a plane and then they all simultaneously forget it there?

It is very likely if 10 kids carry 7 science projects. It takes discipline to check against the list what is and what isn't taken out of those bins and who carries what.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39565425)

Honestly, TSA is in a no win situation here. Based on the description, I'd say that falls under the "suspicious" category. Some "mightier than thou" folks will laugh at the TSA for taking it seriously. But in this rare case, I"m glad they did. ESPECIALLY, since the cleanup crew, who must see lots of horrible things, thought it looked suspicious.

Rail against the TSA for lots of stuff, but I don't see how this is one of those things.

Re:Damned if you do, damned if you don't (1)

ukpyr (53793) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565601)

A/C - if they didn't exist, the flight attendants would just file the bomb err robot in with missing stuff for later claiming. Think of the human productivity cost of this entire stupid affair.

If it was a bomb, it would have been blown up midair most likely. So TSA didn't solve anything here, they just acted like assholes and made a bunch of hubbub.

Great job!

TSA/CYA (1)

ukpyr (53793) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565429)

Isn't the point here that it got on the airplane? That makes the TSA look like they are CYA by making a little show of handcuffing kids. Shouldn't this be a wake up call that the TSA isn't effective? One of dozens this week perhaps? nope.

Of course kids can be trained as terrorists, so maybe they should be shot immediately and the news of such blacked out - so I don't get distracted from buying things and supporting the economy. I dont' want the terrorists to win after all.

Tornadoes (2)

watice (1347709) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565433)

"Southwest Airlines cancels more than 40 flights at Dallas Love Field in Texas in the aftermath of #tornadoes. " http://on.cnn.com/Hc37c4 [cnn.com] Very next day. I think it's clear who the real terrorists are. Tornadoes.

Worst Terrorists Ever (0)

trout007 (975317) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565453)

So let me get this straight. Terrorists would leave a "device" on a plane so that it detonates once the plane is on the ground, there is little fuel left, and all the passengers were off?

I'll relate a story to contrast how far we've come. When I was about 10 years old I built a "device". We played manhunt which was really just hide and seek in the woods. I made a device to act as a detector. I got a foot of copper pipe, two AA batteries, a switch, a mercury switch, and a siren. You would stick it in the ground and tie a string between it and a tree. If someone ran by and knocked it over the alarm would go off. I lost one and it turned up in the street as a copper pipe with wires sticking out of it. A frantic mother called the bomb squad. They came and my friends ratted me out. The cop came to my house and asked me if I built it. I told him yes and what it was. He had me go out and identify it and that was it. No cuffs, no big deal.

plane get reloaded with fuel at the gate and move (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565543)

plane get reloaded with fuel at the gate and move to the next city and if you have a big boom you may also hit the airport fuel tanks / take out a big chunk of the gate area.

Re:Worst Terrorists Ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39565629)

Wow you're dumb, as soon as the plane lands it's refueled for its next flight and loaded with passengers. I sure hope you don't work in the security field.

Questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39565481)

It already passed through TSA the first time. Are you telling me that that's not an effective countermeasure?!

> 'looked like a cell phone attached to a remote control car with some exposed wires protruding.'

So, it didn't look like a bomb? Do people know what bombs look like? Do people think they look like robots?

Also, doesn't this seem like a terrible target for a bomb? Do terrorists normally plant bombs in plain sight where they can be found?

so how did the bloomin' thing get on the plane? (1)

goffster (1104287) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565493)

That kind of stuff never makes it through security.

Charges? (3)

Githaron (2462596) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565497)

They were released with no charges after the situation was cleared up, right? Also, were the handcuffs really necessary?

We are so pathetic.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39565511)

Take a good look folks. Here's your security theatre in action. They were on there way BACK to Houston from Kansas, with a layover in Dallas, from an honors conference.

Ex:
Plane lands and passengers unload. Airflight attendants check entire plane for any leftover luggage and clean aisles. Discover robotic car with wires which was obviously on the flight. Alert TSA to possible dangerous device rather than announces over the Airport PA for passengers of Flight ###, please verify that you have all electronics.

Common sense, you have lost.

Lack of communication (4, Insightful)

codepigeon (1202896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565513)

Handcuffs, really? Couldn't this have been solved in a matter of minutes if the TSA just asked a few questions of the students and teacher?

The same with the shooting in Florida. If both guys had just talked/asked questions that teenager would still be alive.

you don't talk about bombs much less look like (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565525)

you don't talk about bombs much less take some thing that looks like one on to a plane in the post 9/11 world.

Re:you don't talk about bombs much less look like (1)

ukpyr (53793) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565561)

you don't talk about bombs much less take some thing that looks like one on to a plane in the post 9/11 world.

My leg is fake, and full of TNT. We should ban all legs from planes. Sadly then I will have to walk to the east coast and that's really hard with my fake, TNT filled leg.

Now that I think about it, we should ban all solid objects from planes, who knows what's inside!?!? Open it? No! What if it's a bomb?!?!? RUN, RUN AWAY!

Only Terrorists Feed Children Applesauce (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39565581)

Or applesauce [amazon.com] . The TSA had a conniption about a fucking tub of cinnamon apple sauce, because it was 3.9 ounces, which is .9 magical ounces over the amount of applesauce real Americans feed their kids.

How did it get there in the first place? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39565527)

Just out of curiosity, how did it get on the plane in the first place? Isn't it TSA's job to spot that BEFORE it gets on the plane and not after it has been left?

Before everyone starts blaming security and TSA... (1)

ruiner13 (527499) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565537)

Of all the things for them to freak out about, a robotic looking thing attached to a cell phone on an airplane might be something genuine. I know if I saw it, without any context of where it came from, I would not feel very comfortable around it. I hate the TSA, and think that the security theater is ridiculous, but this one I think I'll let slide...

Learn your damn TLAs (2)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565541)

Editors, PLEASE learn your TLAs. The TSA didn't / doesn't detain anyone. The TSA run x-ray machines, search baggage and grope grannies. They have no power of arrest or detention. For that they call law enforcement, such as the police or air marshals. The TSA cannot and do not lead people away in handcuffs.

So... (1)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565571)

Let me get this straight:

Flight crew makes a mistake
Students get hauled off.

On top of that, shouldn't the TSA have caught this "cell phone like thing" with it's magical terrorist preventing scanners?
If it looked questionable, why didn't they see it in the screenings, and why didn't the let the flight crew know about the strange object?

Is the TSA worth it? (4, Interesting)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 2 years ago | (#39565621)

Here's an interesting info-graphic [tomwoods.com] I saw for the first time today. Pretty much falls in line with the rest of the sentiment here.
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