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Small Knives And The TSA’s New Strategy

The TSA’s new strategy on airline security: Small knives are OK and so are “trusted” passengers. But who makes that list? And how?

A Transportation Security Administration officer directs a traveler to step through a metal detector at a security checkpoint at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport in Linthicum, Md., Friday March, 1, 2013. (AP)

A Transportation Security Administration officer directs a traveler to step through a metal detector at a security checkpoint at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport in Linthicum, Md., Friday March, 1, 2013. (AP)

Latest news from the TSA – the agency that provides airport security for America’s air travelers:  starting next month, knives will be allowed again as carry-on items in passenger airline cabins.  Just small ones.  Pocket knives.

But still, it will be the first time since 9.11 you could do that.  Golf clubs allowed again, too.  And pool cues and lacrosse sticks.  There’s pushback on this, but it’s part of a larger strategic shift from focusing on risky objects to focusing on risky people.  And that’s the bigger deal.

This hour, On Point:  knives on a plane, and which security line will you be put in?

-Tom Ashbrook


Susan Stellin, reporter covering technology, business, and travel for the New York Times.

Sara Nelson, vice president of the association of flight attendants.

Kip Hawley, head of the TSA from 2005 to 2009. Author of “Permanent Emergency: Inside the TSA and the Fight for the Future of American Security.” (@kiphawley)

Marc Rotenberg, president and executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center .

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times “Aviation security leaders are moving forward with plans to shift toward a risk-based system of passenger screening — an idea supported by the travel industry and government officials who want screeners to focus on travelers who may present a security threat.”

CNN “The Transportation Security Administration’s announcement last week that pocket knives and other previously prohibited items will be allowed in airline cabins starting in April has sparked an outcry among many concerned travelers, lawmakers and aviation professionals. The new rules won’t ease screening for passengers, some say, while adding an unnecessary threat to the safety of airline crews and passengers.”

Today “‘This cannot stand,’ Nelson told Matt Lauer about the announcement that knives would be allowed on board. ‘This has to change. They’re a deadly weapon, and they’re unnecessary. It is unnecessary to put these on our aircraft. After Sept. 11, the policy changed, and it changed for a reason.’”

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