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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Folding Knives To Be Allowed On Planes

Agnus Dei Farrant |
March 6, 2013 | 4:07 p.m. PST

Executive Producer

(Christian Kitazume/Creative Commons).
(Christian Kitazume/Creative Commons).
The Transportation Security Administration announced Tuesday that people will be allowed to carry folding knives with blades up to 2.36 inches long onto planes beginning April 25, CBS News reported. Some family members of Sept. 11, 2001, attack victims have spoken out against the decision.

Agency officials said the new policy is meant to bring U.S. security policy in line with international standards and free TSA screeners to focus on more serious threats to airline security, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Debra Burlingame’s brother, Chick Burlingame, was a pilot on American Airlines Flight 77 that was hijacked and crashed into the Pentagon. Burlingame said the new plan is dangerous.

From CBS: 

Looking at the list of allowed knives, Burlingame said, "Do you really think a terrorist can't make deadly use of these permitted items?"

Burlingame called attention to a written statement from the alleged planner of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, that said the hijackers trained with Swiss Army knives "to prepare them for using their knives during the hijackings."

Douglas Laird, a consultant who was security director for the old Northwest Airlines and also worked for the Secret Service, told USA Today that small knives posed few problems when allowed before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"I think it's not a threat," said Laird. "It makes common sense. We're not talking about machetes here."

Glenn Winn, who used to head security for United and Northwest airlines, said it was a mistake because the Sept. 11 hijackers used box cutters to gain control of planes that day. 

"I'm shocked by what they're doing," Winn says. "I don't know what they're basing this on. You sure don't see any lessening of problems in the Middle East."

The new rules will also allow passengers to bring some sporting equipment, including ski poles, golf clubs, billiard cues, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks and novelty baseball bats. Box cutters will still be banned in carry-on bags, USA Today reported.

Airline insurers have also voiced concern over the new federal policy. 

Joe Strickland, head of aviation for Allianz Global Corporate and Specialty, which provides hull and liability insurance for airlines, spoke to USA Today.

"We think this move is a bad idea," Strickland said. "It's not in the interests of the traveling public or flight crews in the aviation industry."


Read more of Neon Tommy’s coverage on the TSA here.

Reach Executive Producer Agnus Dei Farrant here.



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