Commerce Committee Hearings on the
Transportation Security Administration’s Changes to the
Commercial Aviation Prohibited Items List
Chairman Ted Stevens
December 12, 2005
First, we welcome the witnesses who will appear before the Committee today, and thank them for their willingness to participate in this hearing.
Before proceeding further, I commend Assistant Secretary Hawley and TSA’s Federal Air Marshal Service for their response to last week’s incident at Miami International Airport. The Air Marshals reacted exactly as they were trained and deployed to do, and the incident, while truly tragic, sends a strong message to all that such threatening conduct will not be tolerated aboard U.S. aircraft.
The purpose of today’s hearing is to request that Mr. Hawley explain to the Committee the reasons for instituting new commercial aviation security procedures, including changes to TSA’s list of items prohibited onboard commercial aircraft.
On December 2nd, Mr. Hawley announced that certain items currently prohibited from being carried onboard commercial aircraft will be permitted effective December 22, 2005. Mr. Hawley indicated other security measures implemented since September 11th, such as hardened cockpit doors, render the prohibited items list overly inclusive. In TSA’s view, screeners spend significant time searching for items that TSA argues no longer pose a serious threat, to the detriment of time that must be devoted to screening for items that are more dangerous.
Some Senators and staff have been briefed by TSA since the agency’s announcement. This hearing will make a record for the full Committee of the reasoning for TSA’s decision.
Witness Panel 1
The Honorable Edmund HawleyAssistant Secretary for Homeland SecurityTransportation Security Administration
Witness Panel 2
Ms. Patricia FriendInternational PresidentAssociation of Flight Attendants - CWA, AFL-CIO