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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Santos opposes new TSA policy that OKs knives

Washington, D.C. may be hundreds of miles away but Rep. Teresita A. Santos (R-Rota) wants to be heard in her opposition to the Transportation Security Administration’s recent decision to allow passengers to bring knives and certain sports equipment aboard airplanes. She said this policy will result in airline passengers “flying in deadly skies all over the world.”

Santos said the new policy, which lifts a longtime ban on knives and other items in airplanes, would be “extremely counterproductive to anti-terrorists preventive measure enacted since…Sept. 11, 2001.”

She sent yesterday a letter to TSA Administrator John S. Pistole, registering her “strong opposition to TSA’s new policy that would allow passengers to carry pocketknives with blades less than 2.36 inches long and less than half an inch wide onboard airplanes, which is scheduled to take effect on April 25.”

The lawmaker asked TSA to refrain from implementing the new policy and first discuss the issue with all stakeholders before enacting a major policy change “that will dramatically impact employees and the flying public.”

“If not, then we would all be flying in deadly skies all over the world,” Santos said in her one-page letter to Pistole.

Santos also told Saipan Tribune that she has sought the assistance of Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan’s (Ind-MP) in sending copies of the letter to U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security chair Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and Subcommittee on Transportation Security chair Richard Hudson.

The U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Subcommittee will hold a hearing on March 14 (March 15, Saipan time) to seek answers regarding TSA’s efforts to advance risk-based security. Pistole has been called to testify before the subcommittee.

“This letter comes timely for said meeting,” Santos, chair of the Rota Legislative Delegation, said yesterday.

In her letter to Pistole, Santos said the new TSA policy “might allude that our aviation security has become too lenient, posing unnecessary risks on airline passengers, in-flight attendants, crewmembers, and pilots.”

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