The TSA catches a lot of flak: While the agency subjects airline passengers to invasive scans and body searchers, even the American government has serious doubts that air travel has become significantly safer.
But taking a look at the TSA's Instagram feed can give you a clear sense of what the agency's work looks like. The page is filled with pictures of weapons and prohibited items that TSA agents seize on a regular basis. While around 40 firearms are seized at checkpoints every week, there are also plenty of knives, stun guns, grenades and disguised weapons that would make James Bond's Q proud.
"We're just using a new mechanism to reach an audience with Instagram," TSA Press Secretary Ross Feinstein told Wired. "We're not trying to make a statement that people are trying to do anything nefarious with these items. We're just trying to alert people that these are still prohibited items."
Despite the TSA's general lack of popularity among travelers, the Instagram feed has over 72,000 followers. Still, the agency maintains that it would trade social media fame for safer air travel.
"We would love to put a blog post on our website every Friday that says, 'We did not discover any firearms at checkpoints nationwide, we didn't discover any prohibited items like knives or any suspicious items whatsoever,'" said Feinstein. "While we like utilizing social media, we'd rather not find these items."
Check out some of the mind-boggling confiscated items below: