So…I Got A Phone Call From The US Congress…

19/1/2010 – So…I Got A Phone Call From The US Congress…

Last week while heading out to pick my kids up at the bus stop I receive an unexpected phone call. Of course given that I never expected two Federal Agents to show up at my door one evening, nothing should phase me, but this call was unexpected. So who called?

I got a call from the US House Committee on Homeland Security. If you thought Federal Agents at my door was unusual…how often does the United States Congress call you?

This call was not threatening, not intimidating, or even trying to investigate me. This call was a genuine conversation with the US House Committee on Homeland Security seeking my insight and opinions on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and airport security in general.

In writing Flying With Fish I have repeatedly stated that my goal is to inform travellers, and when it comes to airline security and the safety of passengers my intent has been to be offer insight and understanding to travellers. It appears that the US House Committee on Homeland Security has been reading Flying With Fish and hopefully the opportunity has arrived for my insights and opinions to reach those who need to hear what I have been saying.

I appreciate the opportunity to start a dialog with those tasked with independently overseeing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In this world there are those who stand outside the wall and scream at the bricks and those who prefer to sit down and start a conversation once the door has been opened.   For me…I think I’d rather start a conversation rather than stand outside and scream now that the door has been opened.

It should be noted that despite my incident with the TSA last month, Flying With Fish is still one of the few non-governmental sites listed on the TSA’s Blog Roll as recommended resources for travellers.

Happy Flying!

Comments

  1. I’ve had that conversation, too, thanks to my exposing the SOP document back in December (http://www.wanderingaramean.com/2009/12/tsa-makes-another-stupid-move.html). I actually attended hearings on the issue (as a guest, not a witness) and was called out during those hearings. I also have followed up several times with various staffers there in an effort to help educate the members on the bits they simply do not understand.

    At the end of the day, however, Congress has no real control over the TSA. Congress can say what they want but if the TSA chooses to not respond – as has happened in a most egregious manner with regard to the SOP document – there is nothing that Congressfolk can really do. If they speak ill of the TSA they’ll get attacked by an opponent in the next election as soft on terrorism and likely lose their seat. None of them are willing to risk that for the sake of actually doing something useful for aviation security in our country.

  2. I don’t disagree with you. The House Committee on Homeland Security is an independent Committee tasked with bringing the DHS to accountability. The DHS however has time and time again shown it has no accountability on multiple fronts.

    Do I see the potential for rapid change? No, I don’t

    Do I see that people are paying attention and listening? I do…and that gives me the ever small glimmer of hope that someone somewhere is listening and looking out for the best interest of the travelling public.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

    PS: I had chosen not to publish the TSA SOP when I received a copy of it.

  3. Congratulations on walking through the door because calm, polite rationality can get things done. Not always, but I have to have some optimism.

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