Coming soon: Keeping your shoes on at TSA screening

Janet Napolitano heard the cries of an anguished nation this week and said that maybe … just maybe .. you might be able to keep your shoes on when going through TSA screening in the near future. Of course, you’ll still have to buy all your drinks on the plane because the liquids ban will be “the last thing to go,” but I suppose it’s better than nothing.

Air travelers will eventually be able to keep their shoes on to pass through security, but the restrictions on carrying liquids on board are likely to remain in place for some time, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told a POLITICO Playbook breakfast Tuesday.

“We are moving towards an intelligence and risk-based approach to how we screen,” Napolitano told Mike Allen during a morning forum at the Newseum. “I think one of the first things you will see over time is the ability to keep your shoes on. One of the last things you will [see] is the reduction or limitation on liquids.”

“The solution to many if not all of these inconveniences is better and better technology,” Napolitano added.

It may sound like a small thing, but I have to tell you that I’d be glad to see it happen. In August, when I traveled to Alberta, Canada for the oil sands inspection tour, my plane was delayed out of Philly and I found myself running really close to the wire for my transfer in Toronto. I wound up stuffing my shoes back on but not tying them and jogging through the terminal trying to catch my connecting flight to the northwest, while dragging my not fully re-zippered carry on bag behind me. I didn’t wind up tripping over my own shoe laces, (too bad for you, YouTube!) but it did cross my mind.

What’s missing from this report is the specifics of which ‘new technology’ will allow them to peer through the mysteries of potential shoe bombers without trudging around in your stocking feet. Have they really gotten better or is Homeland Security perhaps reacting – if only partly – to a sustained tide of outrage from frequently flier voters?

Hey… anything to scrape up a couple more points in the polls, eh?

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