TSA apologizes to "blogesphere" for arbitrary gadget screenings

Last week, Mark blogged about reports that TSA agents in certain US airports were reportedly demanding that air travelers remove *all* electronics from their carry-on luggage (not just laptops, but phones, cables, cameras, everything) during screening. Mark referenced Scott Beale's post, and I believe Beale was the first to speak up about it. He experienced this at SFO, but many others traveling in or out of SFO around the same time (myself included), did not — so everyone was confused.

Today, on the newfangled Official TSA Blog (RSS), there's a super awkward apology of sorts, and an even more awkward but hearty back-slap to bloggers for bringing the issue to public attention. That's their logo, above.

Why awkward? For starters, there's the title: "HOORAY BLOGGERS! A Win for the Blogesphere." (sic). Here's what they say to the, erm, "blogesphere."

Posters on this blog have had their first official impact on our operations. That's right, less than one week since we began the blog and already you're affecting security in a very positive way.

On Monday afternoon we began receiving questions about airports that were requiring ALL electronics to be removed from carry-on bags (everything, including blackberrys, iPods and even cords). This practice was also mentioned on several other blogs and left us scratching our heads.

So…we checked with our security operations team to figure out what was going on. After some calls to our airports, we learned that this exercise was set up by local TSA offices and was not part of any grand plan across the country. These practices were stopped on Monday afternoon and blackberrys, cords and iPods began to flow through checkpoints like the booze was flowing on Bourbon Street Tuesday night. (Fat Tuesday of course).