Ehrlich overreached in characterizing origins of the TSA

PoliticsElectionsTransportation Security AdministrationNational SecurityU.S. SenateClarksville

Former Gov. Robert L. EhrlichJr.used a bit too much dramatic license in claiming that the Transportation Security Administration was the brainchild of the "left" ("The left and right view the world in predictable ways," Aug. 5).

My recollection is that the TSA was put into motion by former PresidentGeorge W. Bush, who could not be considered a member of the "left" by any reasonable measure, and that the actual creation of the agency reflected the bi-partisan spirit in Congress that existed immediately after the9/11terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

The TSA was created by the Aviation and Transportation Security Act that passed Congress in November 2001. The initial bills that ultimately created TSA were sponsored in the Senate by a Democrat, Fritz Hollings, and in the House by a Republican, Greg Ganske. I believe the Senate version passed with a near unanimous vote, and the amended House version, also introduced by a Republican, passed by a significant majority.

Beyond that, I think the real genesis of TSA was in a nationally televised speech given by President Bush a week or so after Sept. 11. If memory serves, the president used the moment to announce his intent to create a new "national security" department. And indeed, within a couple of months the Office of Homeland Security was up and running.

The new department ultimately became the Homeland Security Administration and took over the administration of the TSA from the Department of Transportation in 2003.

Michael Gardner, Clarksville

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