The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

March 6, 2013

New TSA rules on knives draw fire from 9/11 families

(Continued)

Burlingame suspects the TSA decided to allow folding knives because they are hard to spot. She said the agency's employees "have a difficult time seeing these knives on X-ray screening, which lowers their performance testing rates."

Asked to respond, a TSA spokesman reiterated that "the decision to permit these items as carry-on was made as part of TSA's overall risk-based security approach and aligns TSA with international standards."

Several relatives of those who died on United Flight 93, whose passengers tried to wrest control of the plane before it crashed in Shanksville, Pa., questioned the policy change.

"What's the difference between a pocketknife and a box cutter, for crying out loud?" asked David Beamer, whose son Todd led the Flight 93 revolt with the words, "Let's roll." ''I cannot see the upside to this."

Alice Hoagland, whose son Mark Bingham was another leader of the attempt to take back Flight 93, called it "a dreadful mistake to loosen the rules."

"We are increasing the chances of flight attendants and passengers being attacked while in the air," said Hoagland, a retired flight attendant. "This decision was made in order to make the TSA look a little better, to ease up on the standard so they won't have egg on their face."

Hamilton Peterson, who lost his father and stepmother on Fight 93, said, "I have enormous respect for the great work of the TSA; however, I am concerned this may undermine overall counterterrorism vigilance and may well prove to be dangerous to future passengers and crew who will inherit the danger resulting from this decision."

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