Mike Isaac

Recent Posts by Mike Isaac

The TSA Has an Instagram Account — And It’s Pretty Weird

Screenshot_7_5_13_10_54_AMWho knew the Department of Homeland Security had an eye for photography?

The Transportation Security Administration — better known as the TSA, or the folks who pat you down at the airport — has opened its own account on Instagram, the popular photo-sharing service. Yes, really.

Screenshot_7_5_13_2_07_PMThough the TSA hasn’t explicitly outlined exactly why it has decided to embrace the visual social medium, it seems that the feed will be used primarily to point out the confiscated restricted items that passengers have tried to take onboard planes.

Spoiler alert: It’s not a bunch of shampoo bottles. Over the handful of days that the account has been active, the TSA has posted 11 photos, nine of which are pictures of guns, knives, or in one instance, a gun-shaped knife.

One photo was decidedly more tame, a June 27 shot of a cache of fireworks, likely taken to warn travelers not to bring the fun-time explosives with them over the Fourth of July holiday.

The whole thing is rather bizarre, though I suppose the rationale behind the account is to helpfully remind travelers what is and is not permitted in their carry-on luggage. (Though if you need an Instagram account to tell you not to bring a loaded handgun onto an airplane, I’d say you have bigger problems to deal with.)

My best guess is, it’s a way for the TSA to buff its image after a decade of contempt from travelers who have felt increasingly inconvenienced and, with the introduction of body scanners, more exposed than ever before. Perhaps a stream filled with sepia-colored “no-no” shots will help rub some of the tarnish from the TSA’s name.

In the meantime, check out that crazy-looking gun-knife I was talking about before in the photo below.


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— David Pogue on why he’s joining Yahoo