Former Transportation Security Administration head Kip Hawley is on a media tour criticizing the inefficiency and misplaced logic of searching for insignificant tools like knives and scissors. According to ABC News, Hawley says passengers should be able to carry knives on planes because they don’t pose a significant risk.

His thinking stems around the fact that no matter how many knives someone carries on board, they’ll never be able to get into the fortified cockpit or cause major damage. Instead, he argues, TSA agents should focus on finding things like explosives or toxins, which can kill far more people and actually take down a plane.

Here’s more of Hawley’s logic explained to Charlie Rose:

“You can’t take over a plane with a knife,” he told Charlie Rose, because the cockpit doors are now secure. “It’s a risk management issue. You could say, ‘Yes, somebody could bring a knife and stab the guy next to him,’ that’s a risk. When I tried to get small scissors taken off the prohibited items list, there was a scream of, ‘There’ll be blood running in the aisles!’

“I think what risk management would dictate is you’ve got to find the bombs, because a bomb will take down a plane. And if you’re so busy fishing around looking for Swiss Army knives, it diverts your focus. So my theory is, let’s not have the officers look for knives and small things. Focus on bombs, toxins, things that could destroy the plane.”

Although the thinking is pretty sound, don’t expect things to change anytime soon. This is basically the musings of a disgruntled former administrator looking to stir up controversy and sell his books. Many of the current policies that have been stacked on top of each other to slow down the screening process were implemented under Hawley.

Aside from no longer screening people for knives, he also says that the TSA is sitting on key technology that screens liquids, so we’d finally be able to carry on water and other items. But, it seems like they aren’t eager to release this equipment for a reason not given by Hawley.

Think about it. If we’re able to carry knives on planes once again, there may just be more heroic stories of knives saving lives in the sky, like this one.


Timothy Martinez Jr. is the community director for Knife Depot and the editor of The Cutting Edge. If you have any questions or ideas for The Cutting Edge, you can contact him at
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