By Rance Sidhanes
AP Staff Writer
December 31, 2009
WASHINGTON — At a press conference this afternoon, Transportation Security Administration Acting Director Wilton Pohl told reporters he would “favor a ban on underwear” on domestic flights lasting over one hour and all international flights to protect Americans from future terrorist attacks.
“It would be a simple and inexpensive matter to enforce,” Pohl said, reacting to the alleged Christmas Day airliner bombing attempt by suspected al-Qaida operative Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. “Passengers could either arrive at the airport without underwear, or TSA marshals could collect their underwear in sanitary bags at the point of departure, and the passengers would get their underwear back at their destination.”
Asked if some Americans might stop flying if they had to do so without underwear, Pohl replied, “I don’t think this will be a major problem I often go without wearing underwear myself — but for those passengers who feel uncomfortable, we would issue temporary paper underwear. Once the people are aware of how vital this program is to our national security, I’m confident any objections will cease.”
Questioned as to what undergarments would be banned, Pohl said, “Boxers, briefs, pantyhose, long john’s, anything where a bomb could be concealed. Thongs, I don’t know they may be too small to worry about, although, for the sake of consistency, they will be prohibited too.”
Contacted for comment, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said, “Mr. Pohl’s credentials in this area are spotless. If he says we need this, then I take him at his word. Though it may sound funny to say, it’s true: we can’t have any more exploding underwear incidents aboard our airliners. Mr. Pohl’s program would make sure of that.”
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) objected to the proposal, “This is more of Obama’s socialism marching right into your underwear. Next the Democrat Party will have Americans taking airplanes buck-naked. We need a change in this country, but not of our underwear.”
The in-flight underwear ban, which does not require a full Congressional vote, could go into effect as early as February 2010, if approved by the House and Senate Homeland Security committees.
2009 RS Janes. LTSaloon.org.