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TSA Finds Water Filter in Luggage at Sky Harbor, Says It "Looks Like a Pipe Bomb"

Go ahead and add water filters to the things you're not supposed to bring to the airport.

The Transportation Security Administration's review of all the good things it did last week includes an interesting bit about a Phoenix passenger's water filter -- between tales of someone trying to hide weed in a peanut butter jar "yet again," and a passenger asking a TSA agent to help them get a bomb onto the plane.

Accoring to the TSA, you may want to leave those water filters at home, because this is the third or fourth time they've seen one, and it just "looks like a pipe bomb."

Here's what our near-10-year TSA veteran Bob Burns has to say about water filter pipe bombs:

Certain Water Filtration Systems Look Like Pipe Bombs - I've read about this 3 or 4 times now where a water filtration system looks like a pipe bomb on the X-ray monitor and the checkpoints/terminals have to be evacuated while the bomb experts do their thing. So... if you have a water filtration system that is similar to this one, you might want to consider shipping it or coordinating with TSA or your airline prior to travel. This time it was discovered in checked bags at Phoenix (PHX).

Several of the comments on the TSA's post were about the water-filter weirdness, and brought up a couple good questions:

You're admitting that the TSA cannot tell the difference between a water filtration system and a pipe bomb? Something is seriously messed up here, and it's not passengers flying with water filtration systems.

Great. With all the money spent on you guys you can´t tell a pipe bomb from a water filtration system, and evacuate terminals because of them?? And you admit it??

That said, the TSA did find actual things at Sky Harbor that can kill people, as people are still trying to sneak guns onto planes.

A loaded 9 mm pistol was found in someone's bag on July 23, and a loaded .32-caliber pistol was found hidden in a guy's carry-on bag the week before that.


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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley