The Federal Aviation Administration authorization bill awaiting President Barack Obama’s signature directs the Transportation Security Administration to let more airports privatize their screening areas. But according to Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, handing off such duties to private companies could result in another 9/11 attack.
“My comment: we are looking forward to returning to 9/11,” Jackson Lee said at a House Homeland Security subcommittee hearing.
Politico reports that TSA chief John Pistole said the new bill would open the program to all 450 U.S. airports that currently use TSA screeners.
Democratic Congressman Jerry Costello, meanwhile wondered why Republicans would limit privatization efforts to airport screeners.
“I think if we’re going to start contracting out the security of the flying public, then why don’t we contract out the FBI or DEA or Secret Service or Capitol Hill Police?” he said
According to Politico, Costello, a former police officer, said screening should remain in the hands of trained professionals, not companies looking to make a profit.
“Security is, in my judgment, a function for professional law enforcement officials and should not go to the lowest bidder and that’s what you have when you contract out,” he said. “The safety of the traveling public should not be jeopardized in order to save money.”
It seems Costello and Jackson Lee believe preventing another 9/11 attack is a task that can only be accomplished by union workers.