WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, today released the following statement in reaction to Transportation Security Administration's intention to relax restrictions on certain carry on items. Effective April 25, retractable knives less than 6 centimeters (2.36 inches) - and some sports equipment including golf clubs and small baseball bats will be permitted on board commercial air flights.

"We learned some incredibly tough lessons about air travel security on 9-11. We applied those lessons in restricting carry-on items after recommendations from the bipartisan 9-11 Commission, as well as other extensive efforts," Menendez said. "So I want to know, what is the basis of this decision? Upon whose recommendation was it that the TSA decided that now is the time to relax carry-on restrictions of these items?".

Senator Menendez noted that the TSA's decision was reported to have been made without consultation with the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the Flight Attendants Union Coalition, and the Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations. The three organizations were among those who criticized the plan to relax carry-on restrictions.

"We learned after 9-11, how we have to look at conventional items and think about their potential use in non-conventional ways. These items can be used to threaten passengers and crew and make no sense to allow."