David Barker recently got into an interesting altercation with a US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent who wanted to inspect David’s bag for Bitcoins.
During an enhanced screening, which Barker wrote about later on his blog, he was questioned about having Bitcoins, which are a digital currency, and then later on once — he had been cleared by security — he was questioned by two TSA “managers”.
“We saw Bitcoin in your bag and need to check,” is what the first TSA agent said to Barker, which is, as he remarks in his blog, is impossible since Bitcoin doesn’t have a physical form.
Eventually Barker was able to fly out, but it wasn’t until he was in the air that Barker finally relaxed. His blog post is definitely worth the read, especially for those who have Bitcoin and travel a lot. It contains some useful advice for dealing with bureaucracy, and Barker isn’t shy about acknowledging mistakes he believes he made during the exchange.
But I have to ask: was this a prank by the TSA or are (some of) their employees really that stupid? For sake of national security, I hope this was simply a misunderstanding and none of the above — because I don’t want the people responsible for keeping our flights safe playing pranks (at the airport) or being this incompetent.