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Insane new TSA rule for film inspection



 
 
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  #1  
Old June 16th 04, 04:39 AM
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Default Insane new TSA rule for film inspection

Well, here ya go, people -- our tax dollars at work.

Last week I flew to Chicago from Seattle to photograph the Chicago
Blues Festival. I do a lot of that, flying around the country to shoot
music events. When I shoot Jazz Fest in New Orleans I always take at
least 100 rolls of film, all fresh and factory sealed. I pack the film
in a clear plastic removable insert in one of those insulated lunch
things you find at K-Mart. I toss in a frozen pack of Blue Ice if I
have concerns about the weather being too hot. After the shoot, the
exposed film comes out of the plastic cannisters and goes into a clear
plastic grocery bag containing only the casettes. This has been my
standard M.O. for years, and especially after 9-11, because I want to
make it as easy as possible for the security people when I ask for my
customary hand inspection. The only film I carry these days that's not
already in clear plastic cannisters is p3200 Tmax.

So there I am at the airport with my big clear plastic container,
handing it over and asking for hand inspection. Anybody with a brain
can tell it's film. Anybody with a brain can tell I'm a professional
photographer. (Ten grand worth of lenses and bodies might lend
credence.)

Anybody but the TSA.

Apparently, a new TSA regulation went into effect in April that
requires the opening, inspecting and swabbing of EVERY SINGLE ROLL OF
FILM! That's what they told me at Sea-Tac a week ago, and that's what
they told me at Chicago-Midway today. Last week the TSA person spent
20 minutes cracking open every single factory-sealed roll of film in
my insul-pack. That included two boxes of Fuji 800 20-roll pro-packs.
She took every roll out of its cannister, even though you could see
right through the clear plastic. She peeled open every individually
boxed roll of p3200, Tri-X, Sensia and Ektachrome. Then she handed
them all back to me.

Gee, are you really sure I'm not a terrorist? Maybe you should check
and see if I've got any Kodachrome hidden in my shoe!

Before I left Chicago, I tried to call ASMP to find out what they knew
about this new reg. The phone number posted on their website for the
main office in Philly in no good. So I dialed up the Chicago office
number listed on the website. Surprise. It doesn't work, either, and
there's no listing for ASMP in Directory Assistance.

I figured the best I could do on the way out of Midway was to hope the
TSA people there had a little more sense, and a lot less time to fool
around. What was I thinking?

I asked for the hand inspection, gave them the clear container with
all the film, sent everything else through X-ray and went to wait for
my film. This time it was worse than Sea-Tac.

How could it be worse, you ask? Heh heh heh. Well, ya see, the TSA guy
almost had a meltdown when he realized he was going to have to inspect
about 60 rolls of film (20 of which were cassettes in the clear
plastic baggie). So, after doing about 10 rolls, he called in his
supervisor to assist. They took all my film, used and unused, and
dumped it into one of those big gray trays. Then they opened and
swabbed every cannister, every box AND every cassette of exposed film!

"Midway" through this process, the super turns to me and says, "Can I
see your ID?" Sure, and I hand him my passport. "Got something with
your current address on it?" Er, yeah. I hand him my drivers license.
"Is this current?" I wanted to respond, "Well, DUH! You asked me for
something current didn't you?" But that would have gotten me the Abu
Ghraib treatment. Then he asked for my boarding pass. He took all this
stuff and disappeared for a few minutes. He came back and resumed
checking more film, while I was no doubt having my entire credit
history pulled by the CAPPS computers. (Er, sorry about that student
loan thing in the '80s, but they were late getting to the bankruptcy
court.)

The super also asks, "Are you taking any medication?" I look at him
like he's nuts. What's that got to do with my film? Is Barry Bonds
taking any medication? Does he have anything to do with my film? How
about Sammy Sosa? "No," I answer, and he goes back to checking film.

This insanity goes on for nearly half an hour. I'm standing there
patiently, co-operatively, whatever -- reading my Sun-Times and
periodically thinking how lucky I was to miss all the morning traffic
jams. I had time to burn, and it's a good thing I did, too, cuz these
guys had nothing but matches.

Now, it's not like they were nasty or anything. They were just doing
the job some dumb**** handed down from a bureacratic bunker in D.C..
But can we please buy a clue here? I fit the profile of a professional
photographer. If I had ulterior motives, would I really ask these guys
to hand check my film, especially if I knew they were going to open
every cannister and swab every cassette? Hell no. I'd do what I did
with my vitamins, just to prove a point. I put them in a clear Fuji
cannister, stuffed the cannister in my pocket, and waltzed right
through the X-ray Arch. Of course they didn't stop me. And if I'd had
C-4 in the cannister and a fuse in my shoe and a pack of matches in my
camera bag -- OOPS! I *did* have a pack of matches in my camera bag.
Oh well.

When they finally did hand me back all my film, my papers and the
torn-open film boxes, the super sez, "Um, there must have been some
contamination on the tray." SCUZE ME? YOU GUYS dumped the film into
the tray!!! That's why I just spent half an hour standing here???

I have no idea what that chemical trace agent is on those swab pads. I
don't know if it will affect my film in any way. But I do know it's
going to cost me time and money to find out. And I do know that, if
this ridiculous exercise is going to be standard procedure, I'm going
to be shipping my film FedEx from now on. That's going to cost me,
too. And for what? Increased security? Yeah, right.

I don't know what the TSA is thinking, or if it's thinking at all. Far
as I can tell, this "new rule" hasn't been posted to their web site.
All I could find was this:

http://www.tsa.gov/public/interapp/e...orial_1035.xml
If you plan to request a hand inspection of your film, you
should consider carrying your film in clear canisters, or
taking the film out of solid colored canisters and putting
it into clear plastic bags, to expedite the screening process.


Sigh....

I've been having the usual ongoing debate with my digitally enhanced
pals, who keep trying to bring me over to the Dark Side. But in the
final analysis, it may be the TSA guys in the white shirts who finally
convince me it's time to dump the strips and go for the chips.

Rant over.

JJ

(Personal replies: remove "unspam")


  #2  
Old June 16th 04, 04:52 AM
Mike
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Default Insane new TSA rule for film inspection


wrote in message
...
Well, here ya go, people -- our tax dollars at work.

Last week I flew to Chicago from Seattle to photograph the Chicago
Blues Festival.
When they finally did hand me back all my film, my papers and the
torn-open film boxes, the super sez, "Um, there must have been some
contamination on the tray." SCUZE ME? YOU GUYS dumped the film into
the tray!!! That's why I just spent half an hour standing here???

I have no idea what that chemical trace agent is on those swab pads. I
don't know if it will affect my film in any way. But I do know it's
going to cost me time and money to find out. And I do know that, if
this ridiculous exercise is going to be standard procedure, I'm going
to be shipping my film FedEx from now on. That's going to cost me,
too. And for what? Increased security? Yeah, right.

I don't know what the TSA is thinking, or if it's thinking at all. Far
as I can tell, this "new rule" hasn't been posted to their web site.
All I could find was this:

http://www.tsa.gov/public/interapp/e...orial_1035.xml
If you plan to request a hand inspection of your film, you
should consider carrying your film in clear canisters, or
taking the film out of solid colored canisters and putting
it into clear plastic bags, to expedite the screening process.


Rant over.

JJ

Don't expect any logic from TSA and Home Land whatever.
Your experience is the reason why I ship everything ahead of me.
The whole thing is a big joke designed to make the flying public "feel
safer".


  #4  
Old June 16th 04, 05:32 AM
Mxsmanic
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Default Insane new TSA rule for film inspection

Bill Hilton writes:

Anybody with a brain could also figure out how to open the cannisters and put
explosives in them too ... that's why they swab.


Anybody with a brain could figure out how to put explosives in lots of
things with as small a volume as a film canister, so there is no
particular reason to swab canisters if every other object not being
x-rayed isn't also swabbed in a similar and complete way.

Another option is simply to buy film at your destination.

--
Transpose hotmail and mxsmanic in my e-mail address to reach me directly.
  #5  
Old June 16th 04, 07:23 AM
EDGY01
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Default Insane new TSA rule for film inspection

Has there EVER been a case where it was confirmed that explosives were found
hidden with film??

Dan
  #6  
Old June 16th 04, 11:44 AM
Richard Williams
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Default Insane new TSA rule for film inspection

In article ,
wrote:

How could it be worse, you ask?


Probably only if you were a British journalist flying into LA:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/...231089,00.html

Richard.
  #7  
Old June 16th 04, 01:19 PM
TP
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Default Insane new TSA rule for film inspection

(Richard Williams) wrote:

In article ,
wrote:

How could it be worse, you ask?


Probably only if you were a British journalist flying into LA:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/...231089,00.html


Funny how the US officials in this harrowing account sound like so
many of the Americans on this newsgroup - ignorant, aggressive and
innately hostile.

No coincidence, surely!


  #8  
Old June 16th 04, 01:32 PM
Sabineellen
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Default Insane new TSA rule for film inspection

http://www.bok.bonnier.se/foton/abfo...ena_lappin.htm

She was born a Russian Jew and moved to London in 1993. I wonder if her semitic
looks (arabs are semites too) and foreign accent made her look more suspicious.

  #9  
Old June 16th 04, 01:36 PM
Sabineellen
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Default Insane new TSA rule for film inspection


Funny how the US officials in this harrowing account sound like so
many of the Americans on this newsgroup - ignorant, aggressive and
innately hostil


TP your are you from? your style of humor feels australian or south african.
  #10  
Old June 16th 04, 01:53 PM
howard
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Posts: n/a
Default Insane new TSA rule for film inspection


"Sabineellen" wrote in message
...

Funny how the US officials in this harrowing account sound like so
many of the Americans on this newsgroup - ignorant, aggressive and
innately hostil


TP your are you from? your style of humor feels australian or south

african.



ROFL !


 




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