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Massachusetts woman says cupcake taken at McCarran gate

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

PEABODY, Mass. — A woman who just flew back home from Las Vegas said an airport security officer confiscated her frosted cupcake because he thought the icing on it could be a security risk.

Rebecca Hains said the Transportation Security Administration agent at McCarran International Airport took her cupcake Wednesday, telling her its frosting was enough like a gel to violate TSA restrictions on allowing liquids and gels onto flights to prevent them from being used as explosives. She said the agent told her the frosting was conforming to the jar it was inside.

“I just thought this was terrible logic,” Hains said.

Hains, who lives in Peabody, just north of Boston, said the agent didn’t seem concerned that the cupcake could actually be explosive, just that it fit some bureaucratic definition about what was prohibited. She said he even offered to let her eat it away from the airport security area.

Hains, a 35-year-old communications professor at Salem State University, said she told the agent she had passed through security at Boston’s Logan International Airport earlier in the week with two cupcakes packaged in jars, gifts from a student. But she said the agent told her that just meant TSA in Boston didn’t do its job.

The TSA, which is entrusted with protecting the nation’s transportation system, was reviewing the situation, agency spokesman Nico Melendez said. Passengers are allowed to take cakes and cupcakes through checkpoints, he said.

Hains ultimately surrendered the cupcake. But she said the situation highlighted a lack of common sense by the agent and the ludicrousness of TSA policies.

“It’s not really about the cupcake; I can get another cupcake,” she said. “It’s about an encroachment on civil liberties. We’re just building up a resistance and tolerance to all these things they’re doing in the name of security, when it’s really theater. It is not keeping us safe.”

 

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