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Passenger Groups Want More Sway With TSA

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The Transportation Security Administration this week announced the new membership of its Aviation Security Advisory Committee, but passenger rights advocates complain they are still not adequately represented. As expected, some of the TSA’s biggest critics were not invited to the party.

Passengers should be represented on the ASAC, which was established in 1989 following the destruction of Pan American World Airways Flight 103 by a terrorist bomb, groups say. “Where’s the passenger advocate?” says syndicated columnist and consumer advocate Christopher Elliott. Kate Hanni, founder of FlyersRights.org, agrees. “There are virtually no consumer advocates on this committee,” she says. “It’s again frontloaded with the [airline] industry.”

The 24-member committee includes people who have been directly affected by terrorist attacks. Hanni notes the inclusion of one passenger advocate, Glenn Johnson, board chairman of the Victims of Pan Am Flight 103, Inc., set up by families of those killed by a bomb on Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland on Dec. 21, 1988.

It’s no coincidence that TSA’s biggest critics were excluded, says Hanni, who supports having airport body scanners removed as a primary screening method.

But the TSA disagrees and insists it did not renege on earlier promises to include passenger advocates as well as law enforcement and security experts, airport operators, airline management, aircraft and security equipment manufacturers. “The Aviation Security Advisory Committee plays a vital role in helping TSA continuously enhance our ability to ensure the security of the traveling public,” TSA Administrator John S. Pistole said in a statement. A spokeswoman for TSA says: “IAPA and the Global Business Travel Association represent the interests of airline passengers within ASAC’s aviation consumer advocates category.” The GBTA is a travel management and consulting company.

Michael A. Cintron, director of consumer and industry affairs at the International Airline Passengers Association, which sells insurance to frequent fliers, is on the committee. Hanni says it’s a for-profit group that is not devoted exclusively to passenger rights. According to IAPA’s website, it provides insurance products for frequent flyers, and other products and services.

However, critics say this is another example of a group that provides services to the industry rather than campaigning for passenger rights. “They will not take a stand against the airlines because they sell goods and services related to the airlines,” Hanni says. Cintron did not respond to requests for comment.

Here’s a full list of the committee members:

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    • Heard of a story of a young 17 year old girl pulled from the line, and away from her panetrs, the TSA agent was overheard as saying have a hottie for you Not entirely sure what became of that story. But do know, it was not all that long ago, TSA had a recruiting drive by advertising on pizza boxes. Then you can add the white powder TSA guy in PHL, the little wiener TSA guy in MIA, the too numerous to account for theft rings involving TSA agents. But these TSA guys/gals are following orders same as the Abu Garib prison guards, concentration camps in Germany. Until the powers to be quit living in theory land’, this is looking like it is going to stay.Sorry you had to go through that ma’am, my family is not flying, no matter the need. As sexual assault is not worth any plane ride.r

    • very good, it’s very useful to me, thank you very much!

    • Quote from Pisrole, “One of my main priorities since joining TSA has been strengthening our relationship with stakeholders”

      So he is stating clearly that the passengers that the TSA is supposed to protecdt are not stakeholders. The passengers and tax paying non-passengers are paying for this, but apparently have no stake in the success or failure of the TSA.

    • ABOLISH THE TSA.
      Let its deviants and depraved perverts patronize private peep-shows, not degrade airports ogling and groping us at our expense.

    • This advisory committee will be nothing more than a rubber stamp for whatever perverse practices Pistole want TSA to inflict on passengers next. This is a complete sham and yet another waste of taxpayer money by an agency that has perfected the art of Government waste and corruption.

      TSA is nothing more than a jobs program for misfits pretending to provide airline security. After tens of billions of dollars over ten years they can’t cite one success, 60% of the freight in the cargo hold of airliners is unchecked.

      There have been 55 confirmed security failures by TSA so far his year. Add to that there have been 59 TSA screeners arrested for serious crimes since January, including murder. Of these, ten have been charged with sex crimes involving children and four for smuggling contraband, which could have contained explosive, through security and onto aircraft.

      TSA can’t prevent crime within their own ranks, yet we’re supposed to trust these deviants with airport security. This agency and those in it are a national disgrace

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