GOP's aviation bill secures safety, leaves president...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 31, 2001

GOP's aviation bill secures safety, leaves president with options

The Sun's editorial on the House Republican aviation security bill did not accurately reflect the legislation I authored ("Airport security masquerade," Oct. 23).

Last week my bill was endorsed by President Bush as "the quickest, most effective way to increase aviation security."

The bill includes numerous programs and measures discussed in detail with aviation security experts. We mandate important changes in aviation security to give the public confidence that vital security measures will be taken immediately.

We require deployment of federal marshals on commercial flights, strengthened cockpit doors and federal or state law enforcement personnel at each screening location.

We transfer the oversight of airline security screening from the airlines to the federal government, and require federal supervision of the screening process, comprehensive background checks on employees and oversight of the training and testing of the screening employees.

But we do not tie the president's hands and force him to hire only federal employees for security screening.

This is not about federal vs. non-federal employees. It's about providing the best possible security.

If the president, the FBI, the Department of Transportation and the homeland security agency determine that the European model is best for America, our bill allows them to implement it. But it is also flexible, because if the president determines that every one of the screeners should be a government worker, our bill allows him to act on that.

We give the president this flexibility because we know security issues in Tel Aviv are not necessarily the same as at O'Hare International Airport and issues at Heathrow are not the same as those at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

U.S. Rep. Don Young

Washington

The writer chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Let low-wage workers protect the politicians?

If the Republicans in the House who are holding up the Senate plan to federalize airport security personnel are so convinced of the efficiency and flexibility of privatization, I wonder why both the Capitol Police and the Secret Service are professional government workers.

Surely, if the members of Congress believed their own rhetoric, they would first move to privatize those who protect them.

If instead their objections to the Senate plan lie in concern that federalizing those jobs will create new union jobs and Democratic voters, I propose a switch of personnel: The well-trained government Secret Service officers who guard the president and the Capitol Police officers who guard Congress can be replaced with the under-trained, under-paid and under-motivated workers who take no more than a cursory look at the X-rays of carry-on luggage to protect the average American citizen.

Then the total sum of living-wage, union jobs won't disturb the House Republicans' ideology, and they can personally benefit from the security of having low-wage workers protect them.

Chris Muldowney

Baltimore

Battling al-Qaida resembles fight against the drug lords

Gail Gibson's article "Al-Qaida battle likened to mob fight" (Oct. 29) made a lot of sense. A better analogy, though, than the Cosa Nostra is the foreign mobs of Colombia's Cali and Medellin cartels, which were successfully attacked and beaten by the Drug Enforcement Agency.

We should call upon the DEA's expertise to help in this fight for our national life.

Jack Taylor

Ellicott City

The writer is a former DEA special agent.

Healy's departure hurts the Red Cross

We are greatly concerned by the departure of Bernadine Healy ("President of American Red Cross resigns," Oct. 27).

We did not give our donation to the Red Cross to be used for anything but the disaster. We feel that if we can't trust our donation to be used where it was earmarked, it should be sent back. We need to trust that the monies will be used as designated, not as Red Cross workers want.

Ms. Healy was doing a good job and needed to get money to those in need immediately, not wait to see if they qualified.

George Junkin

Barbara Junkin

Bethany Beach, Del.

Israel's assassinations target the terrorists

The column "A divisive force in life and in death" (Opinion Commentary, Oct. 29) has again vindicated my refusal to subscribe to your newspaper.

The comment that "his [Israeli Minister Rehavam Zeevi] death came after Israel successfully carried out 60 political assassinations" shows The Sun's ability to ignore facts and substitute biased opinion.

The facts are that Israel assassinated murderers and terrorists who have carried out the destruction of civilians - not terrorists dressed as political figures (such as Yasser Arafat) but terrorists who have carried out their trade.

Ronny S. Retter

Timonium

Bigoted column shows need to support Arab-Americans

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