So yes, TSA is full of dumbasses, even at the top. The background story….On my way back from Dallas, an “agent” fumbled a search of my geekbag looking for my 2in multi-tool. This thing went with me to Amsterdam, Norway, Finland and Denmark; California (twice, once during the latest terrorist threat lockdown), and the outbound trip to Dallas. So a couple of days ago, I complained, after looking at the TSA website and finding that there was no mention of multi-tools, plus everything on mine was under the regulations.

At 6:08 PM -0400 9/25/07, TSA Contact Center wrote:
Thank you for your email message regarding your concerns about the consistency of procedures at our Nation’s airports.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA)  has developed standard screening practices for all of our Nation’s airports, and passengers can expect essentially the same procedures. While the procedures are the same everywhere, the interpretation of those procedures results in some slight variations from airport to airport – situation to situation. 

We work hard to achieve consistency in the security training process. We inspect screening operations at airports and continue to monitor the number and nature of complaints we receive from the traveling public to track trends and spot areas of concern that may require special attention. This ongoing process will enable us to ensure prompt, corrective action whenever we determine that security screening policies need modification or specific employees are the subject of repeated complaints.

TSA’s current security screening procedures require all carry-on luggage and accessible property be screened before passengers take them onboard an aircraft. Regardless of whether an item is on the prohibited or permitted items list, the Transportation Security Officers have discretion to prohibit an individual from carrying an item through the screening checkpoint or onboard an aircraft if the item poses a security threat. 

Therefore, TSA security screening personnel make the final decision on whether to permit items like a multi-tool into the sterile area of the airport. Should you need additional assistance, feel free to contact us at toll free 866-289-9673.

Please visit our website at for additional information about TSA. We continue to add new information and encourage you to check the website frequently for updated information.

We hope this information is helpful.

TSA Contact Center

And me being as pissy as I am right now,
No, it wasn’t. It’s basically saying that you can have something that’s on the approved for carry-on list and no matter where you go it has the possibility of being confiscated. Not only is that not consistent, but it creates greater problems and further lowers the opinion of your Administration. If you are going to be consistent, be consistent and across the board. Either something is allowed, or it is not. There is no open interpretation, rule books are black and white for a reason. Otherwise, it becomes discrimination against various passengers.

Thanks for being useless.


  1. Looks like they sent you a general form letter and put “multi tool” in the “insert offending item here” section. The fact that you have traveled with it before with no issues except for now sounds very much like someone in TSA might have been called on the potential dangers and was chewed a new one. Sounds like you had a frustrating day.


  2. This is the guy who travels with a Hunting bow 2 types of arrows (Longbow and modern hunter) a hunting knife and field dressing tool and the most dangerous thing is in his pocket … A cell phone which alone can take out the avionics sheesh. yeah they have some real idiots i was taken to the head of the queue at JFK by the airline so i could make my connection to Albany only to be returned to the back by the TSA and then made to wait to be searched once though the detecter


  3. And people wonder why I travel by train when I can….

    Essentially, the letter’s saying the exact opposite of what you are. It says “There are no rules. What the agent says is allowed is allowed, and what the agent says is not allowed is not allowed. The ‘rules’ only exist to save agents time by having less to confiscate.”


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