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Letter to Administrator Pistole - TSA Decision to Allow Air Passengers to Carry On Small Knives

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ), a member of both the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security and the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, has called on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to reconsider its new policy allowing items like small knives to be carried onto airplanes.

"The new TSA policy to allow additional weapons on airplanes could further exacerbate ongoing security problems at airports in New Jersey and across the country rather than reduce them," Senator Lautenberg wrote to TSA Administrator John Pistole. "As I am sure you are aware, one of the airplanes used during the September 11th attacks departed from Newark Liberty Airport, and small weapons were used by several of the attackers. The airport has also continually struggled with security breaches, including a recently reported failure to detect an undercover inspector passing through security with a simulated bomb."

March 13, 2013

Dear Administrator Pistole:

I urge you to reevaluate the recent change in Transportation Security Administration (TSA) policy allowing small knives and other potentially dangerous items to be carried onto airplanes. The new TSA policy to allow additional weapons on airplanes could further exacerbate ongoing security problems at airports in New Jersey and across the country rather than reduce them.

TSA's decision to remove certain small weapons from the Prohibited Items List raises serious concerns in New Jersey. As I am sure you are aware, one of the airplanes used during the September 11th attacks departed from Newark Liberty Airport, and small weapons were used by several of the attackers. The airport has also continually struggled with security breaches, including a recently reported failure to detect an undercover inspector passing through security with a simulated bomb.

Aviation groups around the country have also expressed concern about this policy change. Many in the aviation industry, including TSA screeners, pilots, flight attendants, air marshals, and airlines have warned that the policy change could put passengers and airline employees in a dangerous and less secure situation. As the front-line workers on aviation security, their concerns should weigh heavily on TSA's decisions.

Given the considerable level of concern raised by this policy change, it seems evident that this decision should not be made unilaterally. As a member of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security and a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, I urge you to reconsider the planned implementation of this policy.

Sincerely,


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