TSA chief: ‘Small knives can’t bring down a plane’ […of course]

“A small pocket knife is simply not going to result in the catastrophic failure of an aircraft…”

Knives on planes controversy: John Pistole, TSA chief, defended decision Thursday on Capitol Hill

wptv.com | Mar 14, 2012

By Thom Patterson CNN

knives-allowed(CNN) — As the airline industry piles on against him, the man who ordered knives to be allowed on U.S. commercial airliners defended his decision Thursday on Capitol Hill.

“It is the judgment of many security experts worldwide, which I agree with, that a small pocket knife is simply not going to result in the catastrophic failure of an aircraft, and an improvised explosive device will,” Transportation Security Administration director John Pistole told lawmakers. “And we know, from internal covert testing, searching for these items which will not blow up an aircraft can distract our officers from focusing on the components of an improvised explosive device.”

After his testimony at the Homeland Security subcommittee hearing, Pistole was expected to face questions from lawmakers who are concerned about traveler safety in a post-9/11 era.

Supporters believe the rules should be more passenger-friendly and focus on larger threats. Critics believe even small knives pose too much of a risk for airline crews, arguing that box-cutter knives were used in the 9/11 attacks.

In the nine days since the TSA opened a can of worms by announcing it would ease the ban on small knives in airline cabins, the list of groups concerned or opposed to the idea has grown to include airlines, airport screeners, federal air marshals, flight attendants and pilots.

Committee member Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-California, is expected to join critics during the hearing. Swalwell co-authored a letter to Pistole saying he was “mystified” by the move, calling Pistole’s decision “another example of a questionable TSA policy.”

“We’re unaware of a single incident involving these knives”

Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, supports the rules change. Commercial aviation must be secure from threats as the highest priority, but Pistole also has a priority to make the TSA both “more passenger-friendly and threat-focused,” McCaul said in a recent statement.

Former TSA head Kip Hawley — who agrees with the change — said sharp objects can no longer bring down aircraft.

The TSA made its decision after a threat assessment determined that allowing small knives in cabins would not result in catastrophic damage to aircraft. But after consulting with Federal Air Marshal Service leaders, the agency opted to continue excluding knives that most closely resemble weapons, specifically knives with blades that lock in place, or have molded hand grips. Box cutters and razor blades also would remain on the prohibited items list. The rules are to go into effect on April 25.

The agency is aligning its knife policy with the International Civil Aviation Organization, which includes the United States and 190 other member nations. The group says each member exercises its own discretion about how to deal with the issue of knives in the cabins.

Under the new rules, knives with blades that are 2.36 inches (6 centimeters) or shorter and less than a half-inch wide will be allowed in airline cabins so long as the blade is not fixed or does not lock into place.

The rules also allow passengers to carry up to two golf clubs, certain toy bats or other sports sticks — such as ski poles, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks and pool cues — aboard in carry-on luggage.

Airlines for America, the airline trade association, said Monday that “additional discussion is warranted” before small knives are allowed on planes.

Many critics of the new rules contend that in addition to adding an unnecessary threat to the safety of airline crews and passengers, the changes won’t make a difference in the TSA’s ability to concentrate on other threats.

Knives are probably the most common items surrendered by passengers at screening points, aside from liquids. Travelers surrender about 35 knives at Baltimore-Washington International Airport on an average day and about 47 per day at Los Angeles International Airport, officials say.

CNN’s Catherine E. Shoichet contributed to this report.

8 responses to “TSA chief: ‘Small knives can’t bring down a plane’ […of course]

  1. And wasn’t 9/11 was all about box cutters?

  2. Gah–I was trying to say– “Wasn’t 9/11 all about box cutters?”

  3. “Wasn’t 9/11 all about box cutters?” NO. It was all about enacting the prewritten patriot act, invading Afghanistan in order to facilitate the massive cultivation of opium poppies, invading Iraq and killing Hussein, the implementation of the US version of the gestapo/kgb homeland security, and finally eviscerating the US constitution under the guise of protecting the citizens from the phantom entity known as terrorism. And that is just the short list.

  4. I agree with everything you said–but my point was–they’re allowing knives on planes when the hijackers used measly box cutters?

  5. Can anyone even really prove there were the suspects on the planes with the alleged box cutters? I am not attacking you but I always ridicule and demean the official lie every chance I get.

  6. Oh I agree with you totally-

    My thing was just they went on about boxcutters for years–but now knives are ok?

    But yes it’s all engineered BS–

  7. I agree with both Wil and Fred. Of course the entire thing was a giant psyop staged in concert with the media tools. No plane at Shanksville, therefore no “heros” rushing to crash the plane. No plane at Pentagon other than a guided drone warhead. WTC planes questionable. Many explanations can be correct or partially correct at the same time. The main point is that Mohammed Atta was not on flight 11 http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/sep/02/september11.usa and the entire box cutter story from the Korans to the flying lessons to Atta’s passport magically floating down to the street are all patent bullshit. Anyone who believes this crap is a fucking idiot. Atta was a stooge given a history that only clumsily lends a speck of credence to the fairy tale. Yes he was given cash by US ally Gen Mahmoud who was meeting with Bush and the Senate Intel boys on 9/11. And of course “Bandar Bush” as they call him, helped out too because only special friends of the intelligence elite could be trusted to work with these stooges.

    Box cutter ruse used to take everything from pen-knives to plastic spoons. Shoe bomber…remove your shoes. Underwear bomber…practically strip searching. Next psyop will involve a fake bomb up somebody’s butt and then it’s bend over and spread em…systematically guiding the masses into increasingly degraded status as subhumans to be poked and prodded by low-life TSA agents whose morals are significantly below average. Then of course all the things Fred says, quite obvious to anyone with a bit of sense.

  8. Hurry!

    You have until June 24th to give your opinion on TSA’s airport full body scanners!


    Are these scanners safe?

    The backscatter scanners can cause cancer:

    The millimeter wave scanners can rip DNA strands:


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