Senators call for review of TSA knife policy

New TSA regulations state that it is now

New TSA regulations state that it is now permissible to bring a small knife (like this Swiss army knife) onto planes. (March 5, 2013) (Credit: Newsday/ Thomas A. Ferrara)

Two U.S. senators called on Wednesday for an audit of the Transportation Security Administration's plan to allow passengers to carry small knives on planes for the first time since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) asked the Department of Homeland Security inspector general to review the TSA's policy two days after the agency delayed implementation of the rule.

Opposition was widespread after TSA Administrator John Pistole announced the change on March 28. Unions representing flight attendants and pilots said the change could jeopardize flight safety.

TSA officials have said allowing small knives, as well as golf clubs, ski poles and other sporting equipment in carry-on luggage would let TSA screeners focus on finding greater threats, such as explosives. The new policy will also speed up checkpoint screening, the TSA has said.

But Schumer and Murkowski said in a statement that confusion over what knives are allowed and which ones remain banned would actually create checkpoint delays. They called on Homeland Security's acting inspector general, Charles Edward, to "closely scrutinize TSA's process on this critical matter going forward and complete a special review before the change is implemented."

When announcing the delay on Monday, Pistole said more time was needed to process feedback from an advisory committee of representatives from the aviation industry, consumer groups and law enforcement.

Each day, the TSA confiscates about 2,000 small folding knives from passengers.

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