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Ninja Stars and Knives Among Dangerous Items Found by TSA Agents at MSP

Updated: 03/09/2014 11:46 PM
Created: 03/08/2014 4:20 PM KSTP.com
By: Josh Rosenthal

Ask around and you'll find that Transportation Security Administration agents and their long lines and rules aren't exactly popular with travelers at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

"I do hate taking my shoes off, especially in the summer," explained traveler Angela Quiram, "because when you have like no socks on, it's just kind of gross."

Her friend Brianna Jordan added, "I don't like the long lines, and of course it's really awkward and kind of gross to take your shoes off."

But the next time you want to blame the TSA for those long lines at security, remember this: they aren't the ones trying to bring knives and ninja stars onto your next flight. Those are just two of the items TSA agents came across at MSP in the past month.

"These are the kinds of things that you kind of wonder what people are thinking," said Cliff Van Leuven, the federal security director for TSA in Minnesota. He stood over a table covered in unusual and dangerous items. Things like knives, a pink comb and case that are actually a knife and stun gun combo, brass knuckles, fireworks, throwing knives, and a fake cane that's actually a sword.

"We are concerned about wait times, but we're also - as this table indicates - really, really concerned about the security aspect of our job which is priority number one," Van Leuven said.

It's not just a problem in Minnesota. In 2013, TSA agents found more than 1,800 guns in carry-on bags across the country. Eighty-one percent of them were loaded. Agents also found human skull fragments in Florida, a mace in Chicago, pepper spray lipstick in Phoenix, and even an inert suicide vest in Indiana.

KSTP told Quiram about the items and she replied, "who are these crazy people that are trying to bring these things?"

So now the question is, does all this change people's opinions of those long lines and rules?
"They one time took a letter opener from me," Quiram recalled, "so maybe that was on the table of crazy things."

Photo: KSTP

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