The Transportation Security Administration published a meeting notice in today’s Federal Register (78 FR 20685) announcing that the Aviation Security Advisory Committee (ASAC) will be holding a closed meeting on April 22nd, 2013. The closed meeting will provide TSA the opportunity to provide classified briefings to the Committee on:
• Threat intelligence related to TSA's prohibited items list; and
• TSA risk-based initiatives pertaining to passenger prescreening.
Readers might recall that last month Rep. Thompson (D,MS), the ranking member on the House Homeland Security Committee, introduced HR 1204, the Aviation Security Stakeholder Participation Act of 2013. That bill would require this type of consultation with the ASAC prior to making decisions like the recent decision to allow passengers to resume carrying small knifes on board airliners.
I am a pretty creative guy, but I am hard pressed to be able to describe some sort of intelligence information that would convince airline industry representatives and labor groups that there are no terrorist organizations that would consider trying to hijack an aircraft with a box cutter. I mean the most effective airline hijackings in history utilized just such a weapon. And the likelihood of having to find an FBI informant to acquire one is really small.
No this is a political move on the part of the Administration to forestall action on Thompson’s bill that would provide some sort of editorial control over the security theater being played out at the nation’s airports.