An Aisle Seat And A Box Cutter

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Two years after box cutters were cited as weapons used to hijack the airliners that changed the world’s view toward terrorism, the management of airport security has been overhauled ... and two things remain very similar. You can still get an aisle seat, and you can still get a box cutter onto an airliner. On Friday, James Loy, the head of the Transportation Security Administration, admitted this problem is very much a reality thanks to a series of budgetary concerns his agency is struggling with. When it was first created, the TSA hired 55,000 screeners. On Tuesday, the agency was forced to cut another 6,000 screeners from its dwindling workforce. The cuts, cited as a necessary step to deal with budget shortfalls, will bring the total number of screeners down to 45,000 by the end of 2004. Loy told reporters last Friday the TSA’s problems go far beyond the staffing issue, as old technology is still limiting the agency’s ability to catch banned items from boarding aircraft. Loy said the agency is focused on researching and developing better technology; however, the TSA cut most of its $75 million research budget for 2003 to address the ongoing budgetary deficit. Your tax dollars at work.