Spoke to the customer service manager of the Houston TSA this morning. She agreed that the bag shouldn't have been placed on the aircraft if the owner (me) could not be found.
She told me the following things seemed to have gone wrong, and that she would review the video of the baggage handlers.
From the TSA website - http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-informat...and-ammunition
"TSA must resolve all alarms in checked baggage. If a locked container containing a firearm alarms, TSA will contact the airline, who will make a reasonable attempt to contact the owner and advise the passenger to go to the screening location. If contact is not made, the container will not be placed on the aircraft."
- mine was placed on the aircraft after search and made its way to my home airport. I was told by the manager that it should not have even made it to the plane.
"If a locked container alarms during screening and is not
marked as containing a declared firearm, TSA will cut the lock in order to resolve the alarm."
- per the manager - mine was
marked as containing a declared firearm, therefore the TSA should not
have cut the lock to resolve anything.
"Travelers should remain in the area designated by the aircraft operator or TSA representative to take the key back after the container is cleared for transportation."
- I was told by the Airline's staff to wait at the gate (i.e. the area designated by the aircraft operator), and specifically told that they would come get me if anyone needed access to my bag. I made certain to verify this three times with the airline staff. Apparently, in this instance, the TSA did not attempt to contact the airline.
As to the handling of medication, since it has now been in someone's hands, or on gloves used to handle equipment, bags, and the contents of other people's luggage, I will not be putting it in my mouth. There were signs that crushed tablets had been placed back in the bottles in addition to the crushed remnants of ones left under clothes on the opposite side of my suitcase and inside my underwear of all places. It all gets thrown away now. Disgusting.