By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Calling a decision by the Transportation Safety Administration’s top leader to allow passengers to bring knives on airplanes “borderline idiotic,” US Rep. Michael Grimm (R-C-Brooklyn-Staten Island) said he has introduced legislation to prevent it from happening.
Grimm reacted with anger to testimony TSA Administrator John Pistole gave at a hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee on March 14. Pistole stood by his decision to lift a ban on knives in airplane cabins.
“Administrator Pistole has made it clear that congressional action is needed,” Grimm said. “If we have to force his hand, we will. I have introduced the ‘No Knives Act’ with Rep. Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts), which would reinstate the TSA ban, and will do all I can to work with my colleagues to move this bill forward and into law,” he said.
Under the new rules, passengers are permitted have pocketknives in their carry-on luggage.
“The TSA Administrator’s views on lifting the knife ban are borderline idiotic. We live in a post-9/11 world, and there is no excuse to take liberties when it comes to public safety. As a former federal law enforcement officer, I know firsthand that even a 2-inch blade can cause very serious harm when used by a trained individual,” said Grimm, a former FBI agent.
“There is no place for a knife in an airplane cabin; and if one must travel with a knife, it can be checked in a bag,” Grimm said.
The Christian Science Monitor reported that during his testimony, Pistole defended the policy shift. The TSA Administrator told lawmakers that the new standards would not compromise the safety of airline passengers. The regulations would allow TSA workers to concentrate their efforts on screening for bigger and more dangerous threats like explosive devices.
“At yesterday’s hearing, Administrator Pistole stood firm in his position to allow knives on planes. His complete disregard for the security concerns raised by the members of congress, key stakeholders like flight attendants and air marshals, and the general public is a disgrace,’ said Grimm, who spoke out on March 15, the day after the hearing.
“This is not the type of decision that should be made from the top down. This is a matter of safety, and Pistole’s obstinacy will not be taken lightly,” Grimm said.