Mr. Pistole on the PR trail… again

The following commentary was written by Wendy Thomson of the advocacy group Freedom to Travel USA.

In a recent series of interviews, TSA Administrator Pistole once again “reminds” us that those vast minions of “no-goodniks” are a clear and present danger.

He also, once again, paints his agency as core anti-terrorist group “fulfilling a national security mission.”

Harrumph. That, from someone that starts “every day with an intelligence briefing that informs me what terrorists are thinking. This information plays a key role as we determine how we should change our protocol.”

Does it occur to anyone else that the statements above are a bit incongruous?

So, if Mr. Pistole gets briefed every morning and knows what terrorists are thinking, then obviously he knows he doesn’t have to assault the flying public wholesale. And if he knows what the terrorists are thinking, in order to change protocols… tell me, public: in your experience, just how successful has Mr. Pistole been in having a finely-tuned agency, altering protocols on a daily basis to react to all of this excellent intelligence?

Mr. Pistole also states that “it’s about looking at the little things that can cause catastrophic failures in aircraft, not just looking for common prohibited items like a small knife.” Well and good — in fact, the first part of that sentence is something that I can actually support.

However, careful analysis would suggest that even Mr. Pistole believes a small knife is fairly useless as a weapon that can cause catastrophic aircraft failure. So – voila – prohibited items don’t necessarily represent a significant risk: “prohibited items” have launched a life and definition all of their own, independent of whether any of them are really dangerous. Sounds suspiciously like “because we’ve always done it that way”.

I have a theory about government and law. My analogy is a closet. Just picture one of those closet doors opening, only to have all of the “stuff” that’s been crammed in there over the years tumble out in total disarray.

Our government and laws are in the same mess. The TSA rules and regulations are no different. There is so much “stuff” crammed into the TSA’s closet that they couldn’t find that soccer ball in an instant if they wanted to.

Time to clean house, Mr. Pistole. If you really are privy to all that “intelligence” that tells you what the bad guys are thinking, then I respectfully suggest that you use it.

Unfortunately, I believe that not even you trust that “intelligence.” So please, stop the hype and sham.