In the end, the head of the TSA blinked.
Following a barrage of criticism from politicians, unions, airlines and consumers, John Pistole said on Wednesday knives with blades just under 2.5 inches long and other items that could be used as weapons will not be allowed on board planes after all.
In a statement, TSA said it decided to reverse its previous decision after discussions with law enforcement, passengers and “other important stakeholders.”
TSA had originally proposed allowing small knives, golf clubs, souvenir baseball bats and other such items on planes. That ignited a firestorm of opposition that forced Pistole to put the decision on hold for a time.
Pistole’s decision was based on the idea that there are enough layers of security in place that a terrorist won’t be able to use a small blade to hijack a plane again. He further suggested that paying attention to those items only forces security agents to spend less time trying to spot the terrorists’ preferred weapon: explosives.
But TSA’s decision blindsided lawmakers and others with a stake in aviation security, and lack of engagement with them was one of the key critiques that lawmakers leveled against TSA when it first announced the policy change. So it may be no surprise that TSA is now citing its conversations with these aggrieved groups as its reason for the reversal.
Reps. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who planned to offer an amendment to…