"You have a huge army of pilots that are now armed, you have significant numbers of federal air marshals, you have secure cockpit doors, you have an alert public," Mica said. "Terrorists aren't dumb, they can see what the weakness in the system is."
More than 18,000 screeners have been trained on advanced explosives detection techniques, Mica said.
But Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee's aviation panel, objected to the policy shift. In a letter to Hawley, she wrote that the change "could undermine the progress we have made in securing our skies since the 9/11 attacks. Security demands vigilance; we cannot become complacent."
On the Net:
Transportation Security Administration: http://www.tsa.gov
Small scissors will be allowed on aircraft
Supporters of the changes say security enhancements since Sept. 11, 2001, make it far less likely that hijackers could commandeer a jet and crash it into a building.
Boston Airport's top executive yesterday blasted federal Homeland Security regulators for proposing to ease restrictions on passengers' bringing scissors and tools on board airplanes.