Monday, April 19, 2004

... because terrorists prefer Wal-Mart

The TSA is considering doing away with the post-Sept. 11 restriction that lets only ticketed passengers past airport security checkpoints.

"Why would they do that?", you might ask.

Is it because the TSA recognizes that there's no harm a non-flying person who goes through a metal detector can do on the concourse that a flying person can't also do? No.

Is it because the TSA wants to allow folks to be able to meet friends and families at the gate rather than out at baggage claim? Not really.

No, the TSA is considering relaxing this rule because business is hurting at the 100-store shopping mall inside the Pittsburgh airport.

The mall, you see, is inside the security area, meaning only people going to or coming from flights can shop there. And since Sept. 11, 2001, business is down about 12%.

Don't get me wrong. It's stupid to stop people meeting passengers from going up to the gates for "security" reasons. I like that the rules keep the concourses from getting so crowded and the security lines from backing up, but there's no legitimate "security" reason to keep the general public on the backside of the concourses.

But the change (if it happens), is being prompted by a loss of retail sales? Yeah, that's about right for the federal government. I imagine it doesn't hurt Pittsburgh's efforts to relax the rules that the head man in charge of homeland security is their state's former governor.


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