TSA misses three boxcutters carried by passenger in carry-on bag

No matter what the government tells you, you will never be “safe” from security threats on commercial airliners. The word “safe” implies certainty, certainty that you will never be exposed to a security issue. The TSA missed a few boxcutters last weekend as a reminder to us that we’ll never be 100 percent safe.

In reality, we are generally very safe flying on commercial airlines. Airline security, driving a car, riding in a school bus and swimming in a pool are all subject to something akin to the law of diminishing returns. Let me explain.

If you drive your kids to school in a car, they are very safe during the ride. Could the ride be safer? Certainly, you could put the kids in NASCAR-type vehicles with five point belts, fire-retardant suits, helmets and HANS devices for everyone and they would be “more” safe, yet the additional cost to do so is not considered reasonable.

We’re up against the same diminishing returns when it comes to airline security. We are very safe when we fly and everyone understands that. Security has it’s place, but last year we ran up to what could be described as a tipping point. The additional security – in the opinion of many travelers – added no additional measure of safety in return for a lot more inconvenience.

Back to the TSA screw up highlighted in the New York Post.

The incident happened at around 10 p.m. Saturday as factory worker Eusebio D. Peraltalajara, 45, of Jersey City waltzed past the screeners on his way to a Dominican Republic-bound flight, the sources said.

Agent Ahmir Wilkerson, supervisor Anthony DeJesus and at least one other screener allowed his carry-on luggage — with the boxcutters with razor blades — to pass through the X-ray machine, police sources said.

Once aboard Santiago-bound Flight 837, flight attendant Fausto Penaloda, 40, asked him to stow his luggage in the overhead storage bin.

As Peraltalajara’s shoved it into the compartment, Penaloda saw the boxcutters fall out of the bag, according to a police report.

Of course the TSA says passengers were never in any danger thanks to additional security layers. JetBlue security and the Port Authority were contacted by the crew, yet there was no mention in the article of an air marshal on the flight.
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Steve McGough

Steve's a part-time conservative blogger. Steve grew up in Connecticut and has lived in Washington, D.C. and the Bahamas. He resides in Connecticut, where he’s comfortable six months of the year.


  1. Wayne SW on March 3, 2011 at 3:49 am

    This past Jan. I went through security screening at Logan Airport.  I was there as a contractor looking at a project to bid.  I did not realize before I arrived that I had to go through security, TSA, scans, wands and all that.  This was the International Terminal for overseas flights and I passed through security along with tickets holders, soon to board flights for Europe.  I put into the bin my cell phone, camera, wallet, belt, shoes, "box cutter", blue tooth, tape measure, calculator and all these items were scanned.  The box cutter was in plain view.  When the items came out the other side, of the conveyor belt,  I put them in my pocket, put on the belt, shoes and went on to the job site.

    While in the 'major airline' frequent flier club area, the kitchen had all types of knives, cleavers, butcher, steak, bread, etc.  Any passenger at any time that used a steak knife could have put the knife in their carry all or pocket and entered the plane, as they were already beyond the security area.

    When I left the work area, I walked by several restaurants.  Steak knives were on the tables…..TSA Airport security is a JOKE!  There was nothing to prevent a passenger from picking up a knife and boarding a plane.

  2. Dimsdale on March 3, 2011 at 4:29 am

    It's the low bid hiring practices for TSA employees.  Didn't they get a union recently?  😉

  3. Wayne SW on March 3, 2011 at 5:32 am

    Dims, TSA was recently allowed to organize.  They are not there just yet.

  4. pauldow on March 3, 2011 at 6:18 am

    We should be requiring everyone to have box cutters when boarding a plane. That way the terrorists won't have an advantage over the citizen militia.

  5. Lynn on March 3, 2011 at 9:33 am

    We listened to a talk recently by a pilot who is also a counterterrorism expert, Capt. Tom Walsh. He was excellent and said there is a program that has been waiting 2 years for the govt. to implement. No surprise there. He said, pat downs and scanning are ridiculous for everyone. Passengers should be questioned and by behavior profiling only those who are suspicious should go through scanning. Furthermore, visual scanning should be done by agents outside of terminals and while in line etc. Also, he said the money spent on scanners was ridiculous only 1-2 are necessary in an airport. He made too much sense for the govt.

  6. Gary J on March 3, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    Yet———————they want to run your health care.

  7. TomL on March 3, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    Lynn that sounds like the way the Israelis do it

  8. Plainvillian on March 4, 2011 at 3:26 am

    Who flies on airliners?  Businesspersons (politically correct gender neutral term) and those with disposable income.  What groups are most hated by the current administration?  The same groups.


    Like the automobile, airplanes are symbols of American power and freedom and the antithesis of European socialist policy.  When TSA and its attendant intrusion make air travel so repugnant that the airlines fail, the leftist ruling elite will have achieved their ultimate goal.  Of course their crony capitalist friends, like GE, will be happy to ferry them about in their corporate jets and they'll never have to be patted down or take their shoes off.  We are in the best of hands.

  9. Lynn on March 4, 2011 at 3:40 am

    TomL, Exactly. He has based most of his program on the Israelis, however he went all over the world to ferret out the very best of the best. The Israelis have the advantage of only ONE airport and so few planes that they can have an Air Marshall on every plane, we could not possibly do what they do. However, I have NO faith that under this administration anything will be implemented that makes sense. We will have to unionize those incompetant idiots who stand around feeling everyone up.

  10. Law-AbidingCitizen on March 4, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Dims nailed it. Low bid gets us every time. (And, they are in the process of unionizing — OMG!) Not only is the security company the the low-bid winners for the contract, but the prices will go up because the workers will now have to pay for the union parasites. The box cutter is only a symptom: if the flight attendant didn't report it, life would have gone on without a ripple. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your perspective on the matter, the screeners and the supervisor will probably suffer onerous consequences as a result of missing the box cutters.


    How many box cutters, etc., are missed every day by some TSA person? Most are cases of innocent oversight on both sides by either the traveler or the screeners. Is our airline security better or worse as the result of TSA taking over? I'll leave that one to more traveled persons than myself to argue.


    My point is that while this MAY have been an isolated innocent incident (say that three times fast!), the facts are that people employed to see to the traveling public's safety blew it. No excuses are sufficient: not for me, not for a mother having her baby terrorized in front of her because "yadda, yadda" every fifth person gets checked, and certainly not for anyone who has suffered personal, groping invasion of his or her person — hopefully the baby will "get over" the incident and not need counseling to get on with his or her life, unlike the now legions of travelers who have been subject to various TSA indignities.


    Are we, the traveling public, any safer? At least there have been no new 9/11 incidents. Yet, there has to be found a happy middle ground where travelers are vetted as safe without traumatizing them and keep box cutters, steak knives and other implements of destruction (some new type of Jihadist bomb, perhaps?) along with those persons who have no business being on a flight with civilized people.


    It is a question worthy of Solomon. I know that most of the TSA personnel are doing the job of screener not out of first choice, but they have to realize that some measure of dedication is required to be successful at the endeavor.


    Why can't we try Israelis type of passenger sorting? There is a flaw in every other way tried so far.


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