...And Found Wanting...

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The report also recommends that, in the event that aerial-advertising waiver restrictions are repealed, the TSA should determine whether more comprehensive background checks are warranted. Lawyer Julian Hayes, who represents the U.S. Aerial Advertisers Association, told AVweb that he has no problem with more-comprehensive checks. "Nobody would object to any level of scrutiny, if they could just get back into the air," he told AVweb yesterday. Hayes added that he doesn't see the GAO report as a step toward reinstating waivers, no matter what security checks are in place. "There is too much pressure on the TSA to keep [the ban on waivers] intact," he said. Hayes said the major leagues and NASCAR like the ban for their own reasons, which have nothing to do with national security. "Aerial advertisers have been discriminated against," he said. "The government is kowtowing to big business and big money." The GAO report says that the "TSA does not believe aerial advertising aircraft pose a significant threat, [but the] TSA's summary assessment of general aviation concluded that a variety of factors made general aviation vulnerable to terrorist attacks." The GAO also said the TSA should keep better records and more clearly define the procedures for issuing waivers and conducting background checks. FAA and TSA officials generally agreed with those recommendations, the GAO report said. The report notes that the TSA plans to issue a set of "best practices," or recommended guidelines, to improve security at general aviation airports, and a self-assessment guide for general aviation airport managers, sometime this month.