Frequent flyers, rejoice. The TSA Shuffle may be changing soon, as some forward-thinking folks at Homeland Security are considering letting people take small pocketknives and fingernail scissors on airplanes again, and go through security screenings without taking their shoes off by default.
K. Jack Riley, a homeland security expert at Rand Corp., said hardened cockpit doors, air marshals and stronger public vigilance will prevent another 9/11-style hijacking. "Frankly, the preeminent security challenge at this point is keeping explosives off the airplane," Riley said. The TSA's ideas, he said, "recognize the reality that we know that air transportation security has changed post-9/11. Most of these rules don't contribute to security."The proposed new rules might also, you know, allow some folks to escape screening entirely:
The TSA memo proposes to minimize the number of passengers who must be patted down at checkpoints. It also recommends that certain categories of passengers be exempt from airport security screening, such as members of Congress, airline pilots, Cabinet members, state governors, federal judges, high-ranking military officers and people with top-secret security clearances.So, let me get this straight: Racial or ethnic profiling, bad. VIP profiling, good.
(By the way, is anybody else mildly squicked by the name "Homeland Security?" I couldn't be more supportive of the War on Terror, but the word "Homeland" has unpleasant echoes of Vaterland for me... just a little too Ein Volk, ein Reich, for my tastes...)