On Christmas Day, what was intended to be a far worse terrorist attack was narrowly thwarted, thanks to the prudence and bravery of a handful of airline passengers and flight crew. No one knows yet how Nigerian terror suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (aka “Farouk1986″) made it past every airport security checkpoint, with bomb materials literally strapped to his groin, and boarded a Northwest Airlines flight ultimately headed for Detroit. Nor does anyone know how the 23-year old made it onto one watch list but not the no-fly list.
But the now infamous PantyBomber incident has since sparked a heated debate over workers in the Transportation Security Administration that has both Democrats and Republicans fuming, and labor unions chomping at the bit to wage a war of an entirely different kind.
In October, 2008, then candidate Obama wrote a letter to John Gage, President of the American Federation of Government Employees union, promising collective bargaining rights to TSA workers and vowing to make it a priority for his administration.
The critical tone of Obama’s letter was directed at lawmakers who’d voted down attempts to legislate mandatory collective bargaining in the 2001 Aviation and Transportation Security Act that created the TSA, and again in 2007 when another mandatory provision was tucked into the Implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act.