FlyersRights.org, the largest US airline passenger organization, has warned the Trump Administration that more 9/11 type terrorist attacks may occur unless it changes a series of ineffective or dangerous aviation security policies it is pursuing.
Paul Hudson, President and former longtime member of the Aviation Security Advisory Committee, noted,
“We are alarmed that the Trump Administration is hiding and failing to correct past inadequacies and compounding them by pursuing newly misguided policies including-
- Ignoring and hiding a rulemaking petition filed by FlyersRights.org in 2017 to fix the ammunition loophole that allows and even encourages carrying of guns and ammunition with no added security in checked baggage. In January 2017, a mentally deranged combat veteran, inspired by ISIS, killed 5 and injured 5 with an automatic pistol and ammunition taken from his checked baggage at the Fort Lauderdale airport. Instead of banning ammo and guns carried together in checked baggage, or requiring additional security, the TSA reaffirmed its policy allowing guns and ammo in checked baggage. The TSA also refused to publicly file the petition for public comment as required by law, while advertising to the public ways to legally carry more guns and ammunition on airliners, thereby enabling more mass airport shootings.
- FY 2018 budget proposal eliminating budgets for airport security patrols and turning over all airport security other than passenger and baggage screening to local law enforcement (some Florida legislators have responded by calling for airports to become easy conceal carry zones);
- Refusing any airport perimeter security so that the US is vulnerable to Brussels, Istanbul airport, and Manchester style terrorism (such attacks killed about 320 and paralyzed travel for days);
- Highly invasive pat downs, especially on children, disabled, elderly, transgender and sexual assault victims, thereby undermining public confidence and instilling fear and loathing by many passengers for the TSA, and used by no other country. For background, see https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/tsa-reaches-out-mother-boy-viral-pat-down-video-n740796.
- Continued refusal of high level TSA and DHS officials to meet with passenger groups and the exclusion of US based airline passenger organizations from its Aviation Security Advisory Committee.
- Ignoring Congressional subpoenas and requests on dubious grounds apparently to cover up mismanagement.
- No effective registration, security or defense against armed drones, now being used by terrorist organizations in the Middle East, from attacking U.S. targets.
- TSA Ignoring requests for retrieval of confiscated property return, fair and transparent methods for damage or theft claims of passenger property or challenges to inclusion on watch or no fly lists.
The U.S., despite many TSA problems, has been fortunate to have avoided massive new aviation terrorism attacks since 9/11/2001. But unless effective security policies are updated and bad ones discontinued, we fear that such relative good fortune will not continue despite good faith efforts by most TSA employees.”
Previously, FlyersRights.org successfully supported in court cases the continued banning of knives in airliner cabins and the application of the Whistle Blower Protection statute to the Dept. of Homeland Security.