TSA – the folks who make you take off your shoes at the airport – has had a troubled history, what with passenger resentment, critics, Congress, the press and so on. for the last three years though, it’s been relatively quiet. That may be because the bad guys are resting, it may be because TFP – the flying public- has grown cooperative or indifferent. Or it may be good management. We really don’t know, although we’ll vote for better management, if not for good management.
That better management, in the form of TSA administrator Kip Hawley, came to the Aero Club the other day to give has farewell address. being a smooth guy and a Harvard guy, he was very smooth, and we’ll quote a little bit of his patter here.
“In contemplation of the transition of administrations, I would like to share with you a list that I have prepared for whoever may end up at TSA in the next administration. It’s my version of The Top Ten Things Not To Do as TSA Administrator. And I speak from experience.
Number ten: Don’t take calls from friends in Washington about returning to government.
Number nine: Don’t use your real name. Or if you do, reserve the URL, whatever your name is, like KipHawleyIsAnIdiot.com, reserve that URL.
Number eight: Do not stick around for the “is mascara a liquid or a gel?” debate.
Number seven: Don’t ask for clarification when somebody says, “Huh, you look different in person.”
And number six: Don’t ever speak before checking the mute button.
Number five: Don’t read the TSA blog just before going to bed.
And number four, this one is particularly important: After meeting at DHS Headquarters, do not rush out of the meeting, hop into the front seat of the Secretary’s Suburban, and surprise the Secret Service agent on the Secretary’s detail.
Number three: Never carry your wife’s baggie through the checkpoint. It’s a long conversation, but…
Number two: Do not forget to keep a straight face, no matter what, if you ever find yourself on the C-SPAN call-in show. (I won’t explain that one, but…)
I’m going to save number one until a bit later.
All very smooth, until you get to the end. and then Hawley gets very serious. After talking about how the threat is real, recalls exactly why the TSA was set up: the attacks of September 11 2001, and the 3,000 deaths and the destruction. So that led Kip to his most important tip: NEVER FORGET. There wasn’t, as they say, a dry eye in the house.