When the head of the Transportation Security Administration announced recently that passengers could start bringing certain small knives and golf clubs on airplanes, quite a few in the airline industry were a bit perturbed, including many flight attendants. Pistole admitted yesterday that he could’ve rolled that policy out in a smoother manner.
Pistole spoke in front of a Homeland Security subcommittee, Politico reports, saying he could’ve talked to groups like the flight attendants and law enforcement about the decision beforehand.
“I could have done a better job of bringing them in earlier,” Pistole said.
But with that said, he’s not backing down on the policy, saying that pocketknives and their ilk aren’t a threat to airplanes. And besides, he pointed out, five billion passengers around the world follow similar rules set out by the International Civil Aviation Organization.
“We’re unaware of a single incident involving these knives,” he explained, adding that U.S. standards are stricter than the ICAO ones.
Despite his assurances that the decision is a good one that will prevent the TSA from getting distracted from its more important task of finding explosives and save valuable time as well, several lawmakers have made noise about introducing legislation to overturn the decision, including two House representatives who have already done just that.
If that bill passes, Pistole says “obviously” the TSA would have to reinstate the knife ban, but until then he’s not budging.
“There are 535 members of Congress. There’s a lot of different opinions,” Pistole told reporters after the hearing. “Someone has to make a decision based on all the experts … and do what is right for the greater good.”