Good News / Bad News

2005-08-13 15:08:21

Airline Security Changes Planned

The Good News:

The staff's first set of recommendations, detailed in an Aug. 5 document, includes proposals to lift the ban on various carry-on items such as scissors, razor blades and knives less than five inches long.

It's about damn time. I travel more than I like to, and I feel naked without my Leatherman. I mean, ever since 9/11 it's been obvious to me that anyone who tried something 'funny' on a plane with a knife or a razor would get their ass handed to them. In fact, I believe this has actually happened at least once or twice.

K. Jack Riley, a homeland security expert at Rand Corp., said hardened cockpit doors, air marshals and stronger public vigilance will prevent another 9/11-style hijacking. "Frankly, the preeminent security challenge at this point is keeping explosives off the airplane," Riley said. The TSA's ideas, he said, "recognize the reality that we know that air transportation security has changed post-9/11. Most of these rules don't contribute to security."

Now all I've gotta do is learn to write pretty and I can get a gig at Rand Corp. I wonder what "security expert" pays?

The Bad News:

It also recommends that certain categories of passengers be exempt from airport security screening, such as members of Congress, airline pilots, Cabinet members, state governors, federal judges, high-ranking military officers and people with top-secret security clearances.

Why is this "Bad News", you ask? Well, two reasons:

One, I agree with Douglas Laird:

Douglas R. Laird, former head of security for Northwest Airlines, said the proposal was a step backward. Laird said exempting certain categories of passengers from security screening would be dangerous because trusted groups have occasionally abused the privilege. ... "Either you screen everybody or why screen anybody?"

Two, once members of Congress, judges, governors, cabinet members, etc stop squawking about the inconvenience of security screening procedures -- what are the odds we'll ever see any changes ever again?