TSA delays knife policy; Swalwell declares victory

U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell is declaring now that the Transportation Security Administration has decided to delay implementing its new policy allowing certain knives and sporting equipment on plans.

Swalwell, a freshman member of the Homeland Security Transportation Subcommittee, had taken a lead role in grilling TSA officials at hearings and organizing other House members to write in opposition to the policy, which they say was revised without adequate input from pilots and flight attendants.

“Today’s announcement by TSA is welcome news for airline passengers and crews,” Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, said in a news release. “I appreciate that TSA Administrator Pistole listened to the 133 Members of Congress who signed our letter asking for this reversal in policy, stakeholders like pilots and flight attendants, and the general public who oppose this disturbing decision. This delay in implementation is a positive step by the Administrator that will allow stakeholders to have their rightful input into a decision that directly affects their safety and that of the flying public.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • DanvilleDemocrat

    No secret I’m a fan of Rep. Eric Swalwell — yet hard to see this as anything but an unqualified and major, victorious achievement (with bipartisan bona fides, no less) for a freshman congressman . . . and one Ellen Corbett would have trouble matching come ’14 (setting aside Corbett’s crappy fundraising).

    Swalwell smartly picked a government agency — TSA — that most people recognize as a necessary evil yet loaded with unnecessary “security kabuki theatre”. He focused on a policy that seemed as an odd way to streamline the security screening process, prosecuted his case, and went after this like dog chasing a car.

    John Pistole — TSA’s director — easily could’ve ignored the entreaties of a freshman member of congress, even one boasting a letter signed by 133 colleagues on both sides of the aisle plus endorsements from flight attendants’ and airline pilots’ unions. Heavens knows that the implementation of the full-body scanners — despite almost a greater amount of hue and cry over those — were implemented in spite of protests.

    Yet Swalwell stared down the TSA on a new policy and won. Beat that, Corbett.

  • Ignatius

    “Swalwell stared down the TSA on a new policy and won.”

    Swalwell directed his staff to write a letter and then asked a few other members of Congress to sign it. Members of Congress ask tough questions and publicly disagree with bureaucrats on a regular basis. This is hardly David knocking out Goliath.

    If you were the TSA director, which two things from the list of three below would impact your decision-making the most?
    1. The fact that there was just recently a major terrorist attack in a large city, and there is still public unrest
    2. The fact that tens of thousands of airline employees are imploring you to change your mind as they feel it would be dangerous to their jobs, threatening to strike
    3. The fact that less than a third of Congress signed a form letter saying they disagreed (keep in mind they churn out these letters all the time)

    I am sick and tired of everyone cooing over Swalwell like he’s a baby farting for the first time. DanvilleDemocrat can come back when Swalwell has accomplished something real for the families of the 15th district.

  • DanvilleDemocrat

    Ellen, is that you?!? ^^^^