No Joke: TSA Uses Gag Drugs at Security Gate

Passenger accused of carrying powder shocked by practical joke

By Teresa Masterson
|  Friday, Jan 22, 2010  |  Updated 11:45 AM EDT
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No Joke: TSA Uses Gag Drugs at Security Gate

Cocaine and marijuana use in Glendale is greater than in Pasadena and Los Angeles County, according to a report.

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A TSA worker pulled a small plastic baggie full of white powder out of Rebecca Solomon’s carry-on bag. After 20 seconds of the young woman’s panic, sweating, and disbelief, the security guard said: Just kidding!

The practical joke on the 22-year-old Wynnewood native by a Transportation Security Administration screener occurred in the Philadelphia International Airport Jan. 5 on her way back to school, reports Inquirer columnist Daniel Rubin.

Solomon didn’t think it was funny.

The University of Michigan student was on her way to Detroit on Northwest Airlines, the same airline and destination for the terrorist who attempted to blow up a plane only 10 days before.

According to Rubin, Solomon stood in the security line, removed her laptop from her carry-on, put all of her belongings on the conveyor belt to be scanned, and then walked through the detector. On the other side was the TSA worker who pulled the small powder filled bag from her carry-on and said, “Where did you get this?”

Going through a range of emotions, from fear that someone had made her a drug or bomb mule, to shock when the security official said it was a joke and the baggie was his, Solomon called security and reported the incident.

"It was such a violation," the Wynnewood native told Rubin. "I'd come early. I'd done everything right. And they were kidding about it."

Security told Solomon that the worker had been training staff in contraband detection that day, to explain why he had a baggie of white powder.

According to TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis, the employee is no longer employed by the TSA.
 

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