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The TSA is looking for Bitcoin

Posted on March 2nd, 2014 at 11:41 by John Sinteur in category: News -- Write a comment


I was about to ask for my attorney, who happens to be my wife, when the orange shirt said, “What about Bitcoin?” I was flabbergasted. This was above and beyond any scrutiny I had ever received from the TSA, and a little frightening that they were looking for Bitcoin. I said I didn’t understand the question. He continued, “We saw Bitcoin in your bag and need to check.” I was incredulous, and asked, “Do you have a superior officer because I don’t think you know what you’re talking about.” The blue shirt replied by repeating that they were “managers,” but if I didn’t answer his questions he could call law enforcement and have me taken into custody. I asked, “Aren’t you law enforcement?” and he replied, “No we’re with the TSA.”

I turned back to the orange shirt and asked “What did the Bitcoin look like?” Bill chimed in and told the agent that what he was saying was impossible because Bitcoin is digital and doesn’t have have any physical manifestation. You can’t “see” Bitcoin. The orange shirt said they looked like medallions or tokens. I said I didn’t understand what he was talking about, and he simply repeated, in a child like way, that Bitcoins are like metal tokens. I told him that I didn’t have any tokens.

  1. Why are we not surprised? My rule for air travel (and eventually, probably, all forms of travel) is to wear nondescript clothing without any sort of conceivably controversial imprints, and pack all but my necessary stuff (laptop, phone, mandolin, aspirin, sandwich) in my check-in baggage. When I fly with my mandolin, I carry it on board. Once I checked it in, in a hard-shell case, wrapped in bubble-wrap inside of an indestructible suitcase. The TSA just had to “investigate it”, and managed to seriously damage it – a 110 year old and irreplaceable instrument! At least it was repairable. They only got a bill for a couple of hundred dollars instead of about $10,000… Unfortunately, calculating the depreciation in the value of the instrument as a result is pretty difficult, or I would have claimed that as well.

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