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Fri, Jun 30, 2006

TSA Chief Talks Of Lifting Lighter Ban

...But It Will Take An Act Of Congress

Transportation Security Administration Chief Kip Hawley says it's a case of not seeing the forest through the trees: that screeners are spending so much time looking for recently-prohibited cigarette lighters in carry-on luggage... that they aren't devoting enough time to search for actual bombs.

Hawley made those comments to USA Today Wednesday, adding that forcing screeners to confiscate lighters at checkpoints "is a distraction from the serious nature of finding (bomb) components."

Despite being just one item out of 68 on the list of objects prohibited onboard a commercial airliner, Hawley says lighters make up 80 percent of all items confiscated by screeners.

Unlike the agency's move last December to allow small tools and scissors back into the cabin, however... Hawley says it will take an act of Congress -- literally -- to lift the ban on lighters. You see... lighters are the only items specifically banned from airline cabins by Congress... and that means Congress would have to vote to lift the ban.

Other items like guns, box cutters, and baseball bats are prohibited by the TSA -- and common sense -- but not by Congress.

Oh, what a twisted web we weave... when bureaucrats decide which forests get the trees. Or something like that...

FMI: www.tsa.gov

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