Congressman Calls DCA Access Plan ’Misguided’

 - May 17, 2007, 7:18 AM

Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), a senior member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, criticized the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) plan to reopen Reagan National Airport to general aviation. “Two weeks after a wayward Cessna caused the evacuation of the White House, Capitol, Supreme Court and other federal buildings, I am concerned about security risks created by the TSA’s decision to permit such small planes to take off only seconds from these tempting terrorist targets,” Markey said. “While new safeguards will apply to these flights, we should be spending our homeland security resources on more pressing issues, such as inspection of all the cargo that is transported on planes carrying millions of passengers every year.” Markey said this “misguided decision” will likely make enforcement of the no fly zone around the Capitol and the White House “a nightmare” for first responders. The lasers deployed to warn pilots entering restricted airspace are ineffective on cloudy days, Markey noted, adding that “the influx of small planes in the area will mean many more false alarms sowing chaos and panic, and it will considerably heighten the likelihood of an attack over the city using a small plane carrying an unscreened box diverted from all the unscreened cargo currently flowing through Reagan National Airport.” Markey said he plans on introducing legislation mandating security upgrades at general aviation airports.