The TSA reached out to me with the Shaggy Defense. Wasn’t them. They also responded to United on Twitter with this:
Good afternoon. Pls note there are no TSA restrictions on checking comic books or any other types of books. https://t.co/Nu00IvcZSc
— TSA (@TSA) July 24, 2017
On the TSA’s blog they offer this explanation,
We’re always testing procedures to help stay ahead of our adversaries. We were testing the removal of books at two airport locations and the testing ran its course. We’re no longer testing and have no intentions of instituting those procedures.
That doesn’t actually say they didn’t ban comic books from checked bags at the San Diego airport. They’re answering a different question it seems about taking books out of carry on bags (not checked bags) at security checkpoints.
I spoke with TSA spokesperson Lorie Dankers who stated unequivocally that the TSA did not “restrict any comic books from passenger checked baggage.” She says the TSA did not tell United to do so. And that the TSA doesn’t know what would have caused United to make that statement.
To be sure airlines sometimes get ahead of themselves announcing security procedures. For instance Delta had signs made up and prematurely deployed announcing a broad extension of the electronics ban.
— JT Genter (@JTGenter) May 12, 2017
It seems unlikely however that:
- United made this up out of whole cloth
- United put out signage at the San Diego airport
- TSA didn’t question the signage even though it was incorrect
United got the idea from somewhere. Where the screwup occurred is no doubt ‘sensitive security information’. But TSA maintains they didn’t insist on banning comic books, even if United had the impression that they did and passed along the instruction not to put comic books in checked bags to customers.