The Thing I Carry Everywhere That Drives The TSA Crazy

Oct 9, 2014 by

The Thing I Carry Everywhere That Drives The TSA Crazy

This $100 item comes highly recommended if you’re trying to mess with the TSA.

About six months ago I got this thing called DefenderPad. It’s a flat piece of plastic material that sits under your laptop and is supposed to shield you from radiation.

The TSA hates it.

It approximates the length and width of my usual carry on bag. Because it presumably blocks their X-ray machine, it gives the appearance that I’m traveling with some sort of lead-lined suitcase. They can’t stand that.

They already know I’m a terrorist and am obviously traveling to engage in terrorist activity. They’re not sure exactly what act of terrorism is furthered by this small plastic pad, but they know it’s a terrorism implement and freak out accordingly.

They’ve only overtly confronted me about it once. It went like this:

“Sir, what is this?” He held up the DefenderPad.

“It’s for my laptop.”

He stared at me, confused. Then put it down and kept searching.

The end.

The rest of the time, they gather around it like natives seeing their first Coke bottle. They turn it over, whisper to themselves, hold it up to the light, and stare at it in suspicious awe. All the while, I presume they are running it through their mental Rolodex of terrorism devices gleaned from the six hour training that preceded the first day of their undeputized position as paid clowns. Coming up blank, they put it down and move on.

I don’t know what kind of material the DefenderPad is made of, but I’ll pay $1,000 if anyone can make me a suit out of it.


-Jetsetting Terrorist

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  1. Willa

    Clearly you don’t know how much a custom suit costs, and it might well lead to a strip search, you terrorist, you. LOL

  2. Tora

    This reminds me of the time I was carrying a pair of letter openers in my carry-on, because I just blanked and didn’t think/remember about any rules about blades. Thing is, the set of letter openers was made to look just like a pair of very tiny samurai swords. The security agents at Narita were terribly confused… “it looks like you have a really tiny katana in here?”

  3. Markus

    Good Stuff. Love the site.

    Reminded me of this story here:

    You should try and get a Nobel Prize just for shits and giggles.

  4. Draco18s

    I want to buy two or three of them and cut them into smaller (and completely mundanely shaped) pieces.

    “Sir, what do you have in your pocket? We asked you to remove all metal objects and put them through the x-ray machine.”

  5. toyotabedzrock

    They must be able to tell it is lead and not an explosive if they let you keep it.
    I’m pretty sure your laptop is not gonna make you sterile BTW.

  6. Clip Pierce

    I don’t have one, but it’s likely a plastic board sandwiched with electromagnetic-shielding foil or tape. It’s pretty easy with a small amount of the right designed EMI-shielding metal to drive an x-ray scanner crazy.

    Note this is not a good way to subvert the TSA, which is why I have no problem sharing it… it will stand out like a big red dot (literally) on the X-ray scanner color codes, which is why the TSA scanner hates it. They’re obligated to stop everything and inspect anything the scanner detects as blocking what’s underneath.

    There’s no easy way to transport something like that – if you check it, the TSA will (or at least, really should) open your luggage. If you own one of these and want to travel with it, my personal advice is to place it in a separate bin so the screener can quickly examine in.

    P.S. $100 for that seems quite expensive, which is another reason why I don’t own one. Making an EMI shield, if you are really worried about laptop RF (I’m not) is something you can do for $5 with some 3M EMI tape.

  7. dan

    A friend of mine used to keep a ‘happy face’ made of lead strips in his suitcase for that very reason.

  8. Mark

    What your looking for is “Radio Opaque Material” and you can find that easily enough…

    For example:

    Also known as Shielding Material. The link above is a fabric that shields against
    x-ray/gamma/beta/neutron/Terahertz radiation

    If you know someone who can sew you a pair of slacks and a T-Shirt with this material
    then your off to the races 😀 You can often find local seamstresses who can sew basic
    things like pants and shirts and a reasonable price in as little as 48 hours.

    These fabrics can also be applied as a liner to an existing suit jacket, winter
    jacket etc… You could even have someone throw some boxer shorts together for you
    from this material. This is typically the type of fabric you would find in products
    like the DefenderPad or LapShield. It’s pricey but it gets the job done!

    They even make insoles of this material for complete TSA skulldugery 😀

  9. YourMama

    That’s a damn good way to get your name on the watch list. After so many times of “messing with TSA” they’ll put your name on a list that will not only allow you to be followed and monitored (both online and in person) but also allows them to refuse your requests to fly anywhere wether within the US or not. 😂😂😂 I’d pay to watch them refuse your requests to fly. 😂😂😂

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