Sen. Schumer Says to Avoid Some Airports

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This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," January 4, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, lax security there, just don't fly there? Well, that is the message that Senator Chuck Schumer is sending to airline today. But is it the wrong message, given the massive security mess we're already seeing at airports like Newark International last night through the weekend, six-hour waits, as they were trying to find a guy who walked the wrong way there.

Anyway, Mary Schiavo thinks so. The former inspector general of the Department of Transportation joins me by phone. Mary, what do you make of this, that, maybe if a place is designated to be dangerous, don't fly to or from there?

MARY SCHIAVO, FORMER TRANSPORTATION INSPECTOR GENERAL: Well, I can certainly understand his frustration, but it is a little short-sighted and doesn't really do much to answer the problem.

The FBI and the CIA do the threat assessments at various airports. And, already, for example, you can go on the State Department Web site and you can find places that are listed as don't meet the current U.S. security standards. And, if you cut those places out, unfortunately, the terrorists are also on to all those information pieces. And, for example, the most recent attacks, Pan Am 103 came out of Frankfurt. The bombing of other planes came out of (INAUDIBLE) India, Paris, London.

That is a very short-sighted solution proposed by...


CAVUTO: But, Mary, it is bigger than this, though. I mean, I was listening to what the senator had to say are what are the dangerous places. And we actually put together a map of those places that are deemed not ideal.

And you have got pretty much the world, and that if he had things his way, we wouldn't be going to or from any of these places. Now, what is the alternative then? If we rule out these as either destinations or launching points, leaving aside the fact that, on 9/11, the launching points were American cities into American cities...

SCHIAVO: That's right.

CAVUTO: ... then what do we do?

SCHIAVO: Well, we do sensible security. And our motto should be every passenger every time.

If you, for example, got the backscatter X-rays, and you assumed that there were three concourses in every airport in the U.S. in the world, so you needed three of those machines at every airport in the U.S. in the world, the price tag is just $1 billion. The AIG bailout was $200 billion. I think that we have our priorities wrong.

CAVUTO: What is that $1 billion for, though, Mary? I don't understand.

SCHIAVO: The machines cost about $150,000 each.


CAVUTO: Which machines are we talking about?

SCHIAVO: The backscatter X-rays, where you could see if someone has something concealed on their body.

CAVUTO: All right. So, this is the one that looks at you in your birthday suit, right?

SCHIAVO: Yes, your outline, sure.

CAVUTO: OK, because a lot of privacy groups are raised in — up in arms about that. Are you saying they have to get over it and just move on; it's security?

SCHIAVO: Actually, yes, I do. That is exactly what I have to say. They do have to get over it.

We entrust people. You know, there are lots of times that we are in compromising situations, not the least of which at the doctor's office, but sometimes you have to do this to be safe and secure. And I have been through them. I have even been stripped-search.

And you know what? If it is to make everyone secure, so we can all fly without a horrendous disaster, that is the way it has got to be.

CAVUTO: Well, Mary, my only problem with that is the TSA worker who I would encounter forcing such a search is a CNN viewer. And I know I'm doomed. And I know that's going to be up on YouTube. But I guess I'm being selfish.

Mary, always good having you. Happy New Year.

SCHIAVO: Thank you. Happy New Year.

CAVUTO: Mary Schiavo. All right.

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