A Republican candidate for Iowa’s third district congressional seat says it’s time to significantly change the screening process for airline passengers.
Dave Funk, a retired airline pilot who lives near Runnells, says “frequent fliers” who are well-known to the airlines should only be subjected to a walk through a magnetometer and an X-ray of their bags, while passengers who have no history of flying or questionable connections should get more intensive screening.
“You’ve just bought a cash ticket. You’ve never flown before. You’re going one-way with no checked baggage and you’re a 23 year old young man from Nigeria who’s got a travel history to Yemen recently and you’re on a watch list. We want to look at you pretty hard, OK? Ask you questions, full body scan — that sort of thing,” Funk says. “…Concentrating our efforts, really, on people we don’t know much about, with the higher technology, the high-security checkpoint lanes, but the (Transportation Security Administration) hasn’t done any of that.”
According to Funk, the flying public “is not safe under our current circumstances.” Funk says the bombing that was prevented on a plane making a final approach to Detroit on Christmas should be a wake-up call.
“Despite all of the billions…that we’ve spent since 9/11, the T.S. A. has not done anything in a ‘best practices’ way,” Funk says.
Funk is calling for the firing of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano because no one “connected the dots” about the man who tried to blow up that plane headed to Detroit.
“Google makes an awful lot of money by being able to literally in microseconds take a bit of information about anything, perform some pretty neat mathematical computations and look at literally everything out there on the web and give you thousands of results,” Funk says. “Why can’t the T.S.A. do the same thing?”
Funk served as head of security for the Northwest Airlines pilots union and he now works as an airline security consultant in addition to being a volunteer police officer for a Des Moines suburb.
Funk accuses Democrat Leonard Boswell, the current third district congressman, of “ignoring” the facts about airline safety and “putting American lives at risk every day” by “throwing money” at the Transportation Safety Administration rather than seeking improvements in the passenger screening system. Boswell is a member of the House Transportation Committee who serves on a subcommittee focused on aviation.