This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," November 14, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.
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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight, I absolutely hate going to the airport. Here in New York City, shoes have to come off, but in Chicago and Boston, I didn't have to take off my shoes.
Here they take your toothpaste if it's more than three ounces, and if you check your bags, good luck. Lost baggage, up 33 percent since the liquid panic of last summer.
Clearly, consumers being put through an ordeal just to fly, and something must be done.
Joining us now from Los Angeles, Peter Greenberg, author of the book "The Travel Detective." From Washington, Michael Jackson, deputy secretary of homeland security.
OK. Here's my beef, and I'm not whining here, Mr. Jackson. Because I know you guys have a responsibility to protect all Americans, and God help you if something happens in an airplane. I mean, the professor, I think, is living in a fantasy world. You really have to be aggressive.
However, in Chicago, I didn't have to take my shoes off. In Boston, I didn't have to take them off. It's optional. It could have made me take them off or not. In New York, I have to take my shoes off. I don't understand that. Can you explain that to me?
MICHAEL JACKSON, DEPUTY SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Yes. We're trying to harmonize the standards so it should be treated the same way, and taking your shoes off is now part of the routine that we're requiring at all airports.
O'REILLY: Why? Why does anybody have to take their shoe off if you're going through a detector that, if you had any kind of a substance at all on your shoe, will go off?
JACKSON: You're not going through a detector right now, Bill. You're going through a detector that's, like, looking for metal in the shoes. So the explosives detection is extra precaution that we're looking for, and we think this is an important thing to do.
O'REILLY: All right. So now when I take my shoe off and I put it through your detector there, you can see all the aspects of the shoe, so if I had a little powder or something like that, you'd pick it up?
JACKSON: That's right. We see about two million pairs a day. So our agents and our TSOs are trained to look at this.
O'REILLY: Isn't there an easier way to do this? Because every human being that goes to the airport has to take off his or her shoes, it takes a while.
JACKSON: You're right. As technology progresses here and we're aggressively doing research on bomb detection tools that will look at your shoes effectively, quickly, and when we can get technology to the lanes, we'll take it there.
O'REILLY: All right. Now toothpaste, you've taken away my toothpaste, why?
JACKSON: Initially, what we did after the August 10 takedown of a very real and very serious threat from Great Britain's terrorist cells. We went through what was a rather blunt instrument and forbade all liquids and gels.
After a chance to do some very serious research, we have torqued it back to our 9/11 policy, gave you a little bit more flexibility, consistent with good security, and we've found that balance point for the right measure of security and...
O'REILLY: All right. Somebody can put some explosive in a toothpaste tube more than three ounces, is that what you're saying?
JACKSON: All of the tubes and containers larger than three ounces were forbidden for this rule. It's a balancing point about potential explosives. This is about bombs.
O'REILLY: All right. Do you believe this, Peter? I mean, does this make sense to you?
PETER GREENBERG, TRAVEL EDITOR, NBC'S "TODAY SHOW": It's well-intentioned. The question is, is it well executed? No security works if it doesn't combine intelligence with intuition and common sense.
And as you pointed out, Bill, there's not a great amount of uniform application of security around the country. What works in Baltimore may not work in Chicago. What's imposed in New York may not work in Los Angeles.
I've gone through seven security checkpoints in the last few weeks with different amounts of stuff in my briefcase, including a cologne or toothpaste or shampoo. Some of it was taken away. Some of it wasn't.
I mean, the real question is, where do you draw the line? If you're going through the security area with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, does the peanut butter go but the jelly stay?
O'REILLY: But you know, Mr. Jackson is saying they're trying to be uniform about it. Look, I don't know enough about technology and explosives to know if my toothpaste tube can bring down an airliner or kill anybody in the seat next to me. I don't know. So I'm going to have to plead that Mr. Jackson is right on this and say, OK, I shouldn't bring the toothpaste.
But the problem then becomes, Peter, if I check my bag, U.S. Airlines is the worst. But none of them are good. They're losing bags like crazy and why are they losing bags like crazy?
GREENBERG: Well, they're losing bags like crazy because way before August 10, they reduced capacity and frequency in the U.S. to move more planes overseas to make more money on higher yield fares, which is why you haven't been on a plane and I haven't been on a plane that hasn't been totally full. It's a capacity issue. They cannot carry all the bags on every plane.
And what gets worst is when those planes have to connect. It's a smaller commuter flight. So the number of misconnected bags is growing exponentially.
O'REILLY: All right. So Mr. Jackson, don't you work with the airlines? If the airlines can't carry all the bags they have to carry, because you guys aren't letting people through with toothpaste, I mean, you've got a disaster. You know, you've got to coordinate it with the private carriers, do you not?
JACKSON: We do that very closely. We started on the night that the takedown took place, throughout the night working on these initial....
O'REILLY: Now working on 33 percent up since this happened in lost bags. That's enormous.
JACKSON: There was an initial surge of about 25 percent more checked bags. That's down to about 15 percent above the going in balance. But there are still more bags are being checked. That's why we have actually found a good balance point.
O'REILLY: All right. Is it possible that you and the airlines, Mr. Jackson, are working at cross purposes? Because I believe Peter when he says the airlines don't give a fig about consumers any more. If they can make more money flying to Paris, they're going to cut down their flights here. And if they can't get your bag on, that's tough. You lose your bag.
Now, the federal government has got to step in and regulate the airline industry to some extent or you have what you have now, sir, mass chaos. And I pity anybody who's got to fly Thanksgiving or Christmas in this country. Don't you?
GREENBERG: Bill, I've got to tell you, the last quarter, guess whose profits were up 40 percent? Federal Express. People are shipping their bags.
O'REILLY: I know it. But they shouldn't have to do it.
GREENBERG: I've been doing it for eight years.
O'REILLY: You know, I mean, I think the government has got to work it out with the private carriers, Mr. Jackson. Am I wrong?
JACKSON: You're not wrong. We are trying to work our part of the equation, which is the security part of the equation. The customer service about delivering bags on time for their customers is the airline's responsibility.
O'REILLY: Yes, but you've got to have some oversight federally or they're going to say it's our responsibility, and we're not going to do it. So who gets hosted? We do.
Gentlemen, your silence says it all. I appreciate you both for coming on the program.
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