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Government Transportation United States

Man Arrested At Oakland Airport For Ornate Watch 519

First time accepted submitter mbeckman writes "A man was arrested at Oakland airport for having bomb-making materials. The materials? An ornate watch and extra insoles in his boots. Despite the bomb squad determining that there was no bomb, The Alameda county sheriffs department claimed that he was carrying 'potentially dangerous materials and appeared to have made alterations to his boots, which were Unusually large and stuffed with layers of insoles.' The man told Transportation Security Administration officers that he's an artist and the watch is art."
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Man Arrested At Oakland Airport For Ornate Watch

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  • Sigh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Osgeld ( 1900440 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @05:56PM (#42014833)

    With all the bullshit pictures on the linked site, one would think there would be an image of the fucking watch... so I watched the video where bubbly mc blonde flaps along for a min and nothing.

    can someone show the god damned watch already? how ornate is a watch before the bullshit squad get your face on the news?

  • Re:Moron. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hey! ( 33014 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @06:01PM (#42014893) Homepage Journal

    Genius is more like it. The next step is to auction the watch off while the publicity is still hot.

  • by Jim Hall ( 2985 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @06:03PM (#42014909) Homepage

    It's interesting to draw a comparison between this guy making his own watch as an "art project" and Woz's Nixie tube watch [youtube.com] which he says he has worn on flights. Did the TSA just let Woz through because he was Woz?

  • The new normal (Score:5, Interesting)

    by spire3661 ( 1038968 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @06:04PM (#42014931) Journal
    I imagine this https://www.adafruit.com/products/950 [adafruit.com] would give TSA agents pause, especially if its modified even further (blinky lights, toggles etc).
  • Re:materials... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by neonKow ( 1239288 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @06:30PM (#42015115) Journal

    Probably more "fool" then attention seeker, but it should be a wake-up call that anyone who wants to travel should know better than to wear a piece of art around lest you tick off security check points. Certainly says something about the state of our nation's paranoia and the lack of oversight, transparency, and accountability in some of these organizations.

  • by Intrepid imaginaut ( 1970940 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @06:39PM (#42015175)

    Isn't that too broad a charge?

    That the question even needs to be asked is a pitiable commentary on the state of affairs in the US today.

  • Re:Aloha Snackbar (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Daniel_Staal ( 609844 ) <DStaal@usa.net> on Saturday November 17, 2012 @07:10PM (#42015381)

    While I agree with you completely, I think it's a sham that there was no attempt in the article to even try to show the watch in question.

  • Re:The new normal (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ford Prefect ( 8777 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @07:15PM (#42015435) Homepage

    I had this device [hylobatidae.org] discovered in my backpack during a TSA extra-gropey our-explosives-detector-machine-has-beeped secondary inspection. It was powered down, but it actually is a hacked-together, home-made gadget for triggering an external unit [flickr.com].

    The TSA agents responsible were grumbling about having to work next to the ineffectual backscatter X-ray scanners (I'd opted out), and were interested in what camera equipment I had and what I'd recommend for a beginner. Many of the agents are human, and sick to death of the security theatre they have to work with.

    (As a photographer who likes taking pictures [flickr.com] of weird bits of crumbling infrastructure, I've had plenty of run-ins with security guards and the like. Oddly, I've never been arrested.)

  • by green1 ( 322787 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @07:28PM (#42015503)

    Not only analog watches, digital watches are even easier, set the alarm for a specific time, and connect to the buzzer...

    Of course he wasn't arrested because he had a big ridiculouse watch, he was arrested because he made someone look stupid when the bomb squad showed up and couldn't find a bomb... the law for "making an authority figure look bad" isn't written down anywhere, but it is one of the crimes that is guaranteed to get you arrested almost every single time.

  • by KingSkippus ( 799657 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @07:29PM (#42015507) Homepage Journal

    I hear that there's a vast conspiracy to load up every airplane that flies with a highly flammable and explosive material, that sometimes this material even makes up the bulk of the weight of the aircraft in flight. It's everywhere on the plane and people doesn't even realize it, even stored in vast quantities inside the wings of most commercial airliners. The rumor I heard, and I know this sounds a bit outlandish, is that it's even pumped into the engines, where it's actually very common for it to cause small explosions that most people don't even realize or think about.

    The thought of it scared me so much that I decided that I would only drive places in my car instead.

  • by mbeckman ( 645148 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @07:46PM (#42015637)
    It says "first time accepted submitter" because I've submitted before and been rejected, in my opinion because of liberal bias. A previous (unaccepted) post of mine noted that several major news networks had ignored a significant story reporting a study showing climactic temperature decline. Of course, with /. there is no discussion, no appeal. Only speedy, unexplained censorship. P.S. I don't know Timothy.
  • Re:Take that! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by GravityStar ( 1209738 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @08:14PM (#42015809)

    Actually, a pair of boots stuffed with a few insoles sounds like a *perfect* place to keep a (fragile piece of art/ornate watch). Depending on the material of the boots, they could protect the watch from any mishandling of the luggage. Yes, he could have put the watch in a separate box, but that box would have taken up space on its own. This just sounds to me like efficient use of space.

  • by davidwr ( 791652 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @08:31PM (#42015897) Homepage Journal

    In a time of actual invasion or insurrection, the President can do a lot of things he can't otherwise do. Our founding founders knew this.

    The closest we've come in the last 30 years on a national scale were the events involving the 9/11 hijackers before 9/11 and the unknown but thought to be very real and very high threat in the days after.

    On a local scale, there have been some domestic "attacks on the United States" that would warrant Lincoln-esque restrictions on civil liberties in a very small geographic area - city blocks perhaps - for maybe a few hours at most. Had I been in downtown Oklahoma City in the hours before the Federal Building was bombed AND had the feds had specific, credible intelligence, I would forgive them if they denied me my right to be in that part of downtown during that time frame. But I'd demand they explain themselves later or I'd sue them for violating their oath of office, namely, to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States.

  • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @09:27PM (#42016193) Journal

    It did reach its "out of the closet" phase with the Bush II regime - and has been normalized into permanence under the Obama intelligence-state.

    FYI, there is a HUGE GAP between "out of the closet" phase and the "normalized phase".

    What Bush II did was bad enough, but if Obama didn't give TSA a big boost things wouldn't be as bad as it is, right now.

    I am neither pro Bush nor pro Obama. For me, TSA is anti-people thing and no matter which president is for TSA, that president is anti-America.

  • by bdwoolman ( 561635 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @10:42PM (#42016559) Homepage

    He could be in hot water if the US attorney decides to prosecute him for hoaxing under the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 [wikipedia.org]. You know the security theater that makes travel so miserable is not benign. Poke the Homeland Security rattlesnake wrong and feel the fangs. Make a bad joke, or deliberately carry crap to stimulate negative attention, and you may get a lot more than you bargained for.. We see stories all the time about people going through hell even when they made some innocent mistake.

    The people doing this work are under trained and under qualified. They have a lot of power in a limited space. There is stress. And a statistically small, but measurable, threat. Personally I think airport security should be handled much differently. But until they put me in charge of the world the airport gauntlet is pathetic a fact of life. Frankly, with Mr Insole I sense a little mental illness. Hopefully somebody will make the right call. Hopefully the bureaucracy will cut this guy a break. But if the authorities detect that he is a wise ass they might throw the book at him.

    My formula for passing through the looking glass? I keep my wise mouth shut. I wear good quality sweats. No belt. In a quiet corner before I get in the security line I empty all my pockets. Including top pockets. Everything goes in my backpack.( Even receipts trigger backscatter.) I feel for coins. Everything. Usually the scan goes smoothly and I avoid being frisked or wanded so I can quickly snag my backpack off the belt. Then I take another quiet moment to reassemble my belongings. As I do so I often ponder the irony that 30,000 people a year die in cars in the US alone. So that if this was really about saving lives we would have declared 'war' on Toyota and Ford long ago. It is a Franz Kafka world and that's a fact. Maybe one day I'll be offered a political choice in this matter. But to date no major party offers to ratchet this crap back. Not even a little. Sigh.

  • Re:Take that! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @10:47PM (#42016597) Homepage

    Corrections "McGann reportedly took off his watch while going through a security checkpoint at Terminal 2 about 7:45 p.m. and put it in the security bin along with his carry-on luggage". Now security added in this piece of utter bullshit, "covered it with his coat". The Whole idea of putting stuff in the security bin is to have it inspected, the order you put it in is arbitrary. The next bit "his boots were two sizes too big and they were stuffed with layers of home made insoles", "which allowed for large cavities where someone would be able to hide items". OK shit head security but was there actually anything hidden there.

    Basically security fucked up and are now creating more and more bullshit to hide their fuck up. How far are those morons going to push it, right up to the dismissal in court and the smack down of an expensive law suit. Bunch of idiots trying to hide their incompetence in bureaucracy and bullshit.

    PS avoid Huffington Post unless you are after full of hype and missing substantial detail like "being held Friday in Santa Rita Jail in Dublin in lieu of $150,000 bail". So a judge also joined in the parade of fuck ups.

Statistics are no substitute for judgement. -- Henry Clay