An editorial / By Dale McFeatters
Scripps Howard News Service
August 15, 2005
One change being contemplated is elimination of the humiliating ritual in which passengers are routinely required to remove their shoes. (The TSA Web site insists that passengers are NOT REQUIRED - their capitals - to remove their shoes, but then carves out exceptions for virtually every kind of footwear that a normal person would consider "shoes.")
The proposed change would confine shoe removal to passengers who trip the metal detectors, are flagged by the computer screening system or arouse the suspicions of TSA's screeners. Reasonable enough.
Another change would lift the ban on small sharp items like scissors, penknives and razor blades, a rule that was zealously over-enforced and has left the government with the problem of how to dispose of vast stockpiles of confiscated nail scissors and other items.
There is one proposed change that the agency should scrap, exempting a privileged class - members of Congress, Cabinet officers, governors, federal judges, high-ranking military officers, airline pilots, holders of top-secret security clearances - from screening.
If there is to be a war on terror, the elite should suffer the same hassle, inconvenience and delays as the rest of us. And there's another reason: Does anybody believe the TSA would have tried to fix its shoddy and poorly administered no-fly list if it hadn't repeatedly bagged members of Congress?
There should be no VIP exemption. It's one guarantee that TSA will keep trying to make airport screening customer friendly.
Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, http://www.shns.com