The agency said it has the legal authority to fine passengers who bring prohibited weapons into airports. A spokesman for TSA added that the incident at the Washington airport showed why it was necessary for the controversial agency to conduct airport security inspections.
“TSA recognizes that most passengers who carry prohibited items do so without ill intent, but even common items like books can be used to hide a potential threat,” TSA spokesman Kawika Riley said in a statement. “That’s why our officers are trained to look beyond the ordinary to ensure that dangerous items and people are not able to board aircraft.”
TSA has often been criticized for its airport security procedures, including pat-downs and the use of X-ray scanners. The agency has come under fire recently after several elderly passengers accused the agency of forcing them to strip before flights, but the agency has maintained that it does not require passengers to remove their clothes for inspections.
The agency has recently released a series of reports of weapons it discovered that were concealed as such common items as a credit card, a belt buckle and a cellphone.