I had a very interesting interaction with a TSA Officer at SEA last week. Used Elite Line since faster that day and used my TSA Laptop Friendly Bag and kept my computer in the pouch. As usual, nothing was on the top or bottom of the laptop in the bag. A youngish officer pulled my bag and asked me if I knew why I was having my luggage examined more closely. I said it is probably because of my Pocket Monkey (a TSA allowed multi-tool that sometimes gets flagged for a closer look. He said "no, it is because you violated a TSA rule by not pulling your laptop out of your bag." I asked him if that was a new rule and he actually said the rule is MANDATORY and ALL laptops have to be pulled from bag. I challenged this and clarified with him that I understand that a laptop MAY be removed from the bag for further inspection but asked if I understood him correctly that ALL laptops must be pulled from ALL bags (as in mandatory). He got miffed and said yes and that I could speak to his supervisor about it. I told him I didn't have time but he was wrong.
I then while at my gate contacted @AskTSA via twitter if he was correct. They sent a link showing that there are TSA Laptop Friendly bags allowed but the Officers MAY pull for further inspection. I told them I knew that already but their SEA Officer said it is MANDATORY that all bags get pulled from bag. Despite several attempts to have @AskTSA acknowledge their Officer is wrong, they refuse to indicate an answer to the clear and concise question if he is right or wrong. Frustrating.
I am going through the same line at SEA in about 45 minutes so will see what happens!