TSA Watch I: "False Sense of Security"?
If any TSA-watchers remain unconvinced that aviation security and national politics are hopelessly intertwined, last week's comments by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Undersecretary Asa Hutchinson to the Washington Aero Club should set you straight. At that luncheon, Hutchinson told attendees that Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) would not be reopened to general aviation in the foreseeable future (read "not before the November election"). Any such move in the next few months would be at odds with the widely acknowledged Bush administration campaign strategy to ensure the electorate has the potential for new terrorism acts uppermost in its mind as Election Day approaches, according to seasoned observers. Published reports of Hutchinson's comments to the Aero Club include references to what were termed "ongoing security threats" related to the Washington, D.C., area. Of course, those threats were not listed -- that would be too much information. Instead, and although the TSA has prepared a Congress-mandated plan to allow GA back into DCA, it has been back-burnered until further notice. Also, Hutchinson did not elaborate on why he might consider the aviation industry to be asleep at the switch. Hutchinson offered no details on either the DCA-access plan or a schedule for its public disclosure.