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New TSA rules on knives draw fire from 9/11 kin

By Karen Matthews

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 04:47 p.m. HST, Mar 06, 2013

NEW YORK >> Some family members of victims killed in the Sept. 11 terror attacks sai  today that they are outraged by the Transportation Security Administration's decision to let passengers carry pocketknives on planes.

TSA Administrator John Pistole announced Tuesday that airline passengers will be able to carry pocketknives with blades less than 2.36 inches long and less than half an inch wide. Souvenir baseball bats, golf clubs and other sports equipment also will be permitted starting next month.

The agency said the policy aligns the U.S. with international standards and allows the TSA to concentrate on more serious safety threats.

Unions representing flight attendants and other airline workers decried the change, and several relatives of people killed when terrorists hijacked four U.S. airliners on Sept. 11, 2001, criticized the move as well.

"I'm flabbergasted," said Sally Regenhard, whose firefighter son was killed at the World Trade Center. "I'm really disgusted by this latest news."

Regenhard said she recently had a container of yogurt confiscated by the TSA because it was a gel. "I'm just wondering why a yogurt is more dangerous than a penknife or a golf club," she said.

Debra Burlingame, whose brother Charles was the pilot of the plane that crashed into the Pentagon, said a pocketknife can be just as deadly as a box cutter, like the ones the hijackers used. Box cutters will still be banned under the new rules.

"When you're drawing a blade against someone's neck, they're quite lethal," Burlingame said. "This is bad news."

Burlingame said Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told interrogators that the hijackers each used "a Swiss knife," a brand of pocketknife, to butcher a sheep and a camel as part of their training. The transcript of the 2003 interrogation was part of the 9/11 Commission Report.

Burlingame suspects the TSA decided to allow folding knives because they are hard to spot. She said the agency's employees "have a difficult time seeing these knives on X-ray screening, which lowers their performance testing rates."

Asked to respond, a TSA spokesman reiterated that "the decision to permit these items as carry-on was made as part of TSA's overall risk-based security approach and aligns TSA with international standards."

Several relatives of those who died on United Flight 93, whose passengers tried to wrest control of the plane before it crashed in Shanksville, Pa., questioned the policy change.

"What's the difference between a pocketknife and a box cutter, for crying out loud?" asked David Beamer, whose son Todd led the Flight 93 revolt with the words, "Let's roll." ''I cannot see the upside to this."

Alice Hoagland, whose son Mark Bingham was another leader of the attempt to take back Flight 93, called it "a dreadful mistake to loosen the rules."

"We are increasing the chances of flight attendants and passengers being attacked while in the air," said Hoagland, a retired flight attendant. "This decision was made in order to make the TSA look a little better, to ease up on the standard so they won't have egg on their face."

Hamilton Peterson, who lost his father and stepmother on Fight 93, said, "I have enormous respect for the great work of the TSA; however, I am concerned this may undermine overall counterterrorism vigilance and may well prove to be dangerous to future passengers and crew who will inherit the danger resulting from this decision."

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entrkn wrote:
I was an airline employee 12 years and I support these changes. The only reason the 9/11 hijackings were successful is that US airlines were too cheap to have cockpits protected by bulkheads like the ones that EL-AL has featured since the 1960s. Now they all do have those better protected bulkheads and the TSA should be focusing on the greatest current threats and not be distracted by obsolete ones.
on March 6,2013 | 04:20PM
HD36 wrote:
Did they ever figure out how flight 93 made it through the 50ft hole in the Pentagon , even though its wingspan is over 100 feet?
on March 6,2013 | 04:42PM
bsdetection wrote:
Take off the tinfoil hat and check the facts. It was flight 77, not 93. The hole was 75' wide, not 50'. One wing hit the ground , not the building. The other wing hit load bearing columns. Airplane wings are not designed to withstand a 500 mph impact. On YouTube, look for videos of midair collisions to see how easily wings break apart. You're confusing a real world event with Roadrunner cartoons where a smaller colliding object leaves a hole in the larger object that perfectly matches its outline.
on March 6,2013 | 05:17PM
HD36 wrote:
Why doesn't the government release the video from the 85 cameras surrounding the area that was hit? All they released was 5 frames that show a flash of smoke and flame. No plane can be seen. NASA engineers have said the plane nose is made of material that couldn't penetrate the outer layers of the Pentagon. A reporter took footage 5 minutes after the "plane" crashed into the Pentagon. Not one shred of the plane is on the lawn. Why did the FBI confiscate all the tapes minutes after the crash, and until this day, they are not released? What is the government hiding?
on March 6,2013 | 06:17PM
HD36 wrote:
NASA engineers said the plane was going over 110 knots above its maximum speed 20 miles before it hit and therefore they would have come off. An eye witness in the building who crawled out of the hole, said she saw absolutely no plane debris, and thought it was either a bomb or missle that hit the Pentagon from her experience in the Army. Like you say, the wings easily break apart, yet nothing was found at or near the scene.
on March 7,2013 | 04:28AM
McB0B wrote:
Yes but some people don't believe in things they don't understand. This is one example. Gravity is another. Be careful out there.
on March 6,2013 | 05:32PM
HD36 wrote:
On Sept. 10, 2011 Secretary of Defense Donalad Rumsfeild said on live television that the Pentagon is missing 2.3 trillion dollars in transactions. Funny that the "plane" hit the exact spot where all the records and accounting for the missing money would be. 34 of those record keepers were killed. Why is it that airplane pilots from the military and private sector stated that it was impossible to fly a plane, at that low a trajectory, going over 110 knots above its maximum speed, into the Pentagon at that angle? Why was NORAD told to stand down by Donald Rumsfeild? This was heard by Maneda while he was in a bunker with Rumsfeild but completely deleted before it went to the 911 commission? You can fool all the people some of the time, and you can fool some people all the time.
on March 6,2013 | 06:24PM
HD36 wrote:
How do you explan building 7 collapsing in the exact same way as the twin towers, like a controlled demolition, even though it wasn't even hit by a plane and was several blocks away? Is it possible this was all an inside staged job to rally the public to start a war? Then shortly after we go after Iraq which had nothing to do with it? Is it because Iraq was breaking the OPEC petro-dollar recycling system by trading oil for Euros, thereby depriving the government the ability to fund expansion? Think a little deeper and point your bs detector at the government.
on March 6,2013 | 06:32PM
djmlim wrote:
With cut backs in TSA workers this probably something really not necessary. Most people that use the airlines for travel have adjusted the type of items that are packed in carry-on and on their person when flying. To change carry-on restricted items is I think going to make going through security even worst than it is already. When I go fishing in Alaska I have adjusted my carry-on to be within the limits of what is allowed. I check a bag that has my items not allowed in the cabin of airplanes. There are many other items that should be allowed on aircraft that remain restricted. A golf club could be a lance or type of sword or a club like weapon who knows!
on March 6,2013 | 05:22PM
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