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As luck would have it, the question of all questions about TSA would not be the first questioned asked.  It instead would be the last.

As regular readers of Security Debrief know, my friend and fellow Catalyst Partner, David Olive and I made a bet about what the first question would be at TSA Administrator John Pistole’s first appearance before the House Homeland’s Subcommittee on Transportation Security & Infrastructure Protection. I said it would be about unions; Mr. Olive said it would be about cargo screening and whoever was right had to pay for the other’s lunch.

Presiding at today’s hearing, Chairwoman Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) had the honor of asking the question on the future of unionizing the Agency’s Transportation Security Officers (TSOs). Unfortunately for me, that question came at the very end of the hearing and not at the beginning, as I had bet. In a session that seemed to go on for hours, most notably because of a prolonged recess so members could go to the House floor and vote, I waited for some time to hear the question I was betting a lunch time appetite on, and boy was I disappointed.

Truth be told, I’m not really sure what the first question was. While trying to cover another hearing at the exact same time, the live webcast of the Homeland Subcommittee hearing kept freezing up on me, and I kept losing the broadcast of it. Regardless of those facts and what the first question was, I know for a fact that the unionization question was not the first question asked. It was without a doubt the last one offered before Rep. Jackson-Lee gaveled the hearing closed.

So the only honorable thing to do is buy Olive his lunch.

As he is often quoted as saying, “I’d rather be lucky, than good.”

In this case, I was neither, so I’ve got to feed him some upcoming afternoon. As you can imagine, I’m just thrilled about this…

But since I’m buying, I’m thinking of taking him to the Ford House Office Building Cafeteria so the Committee staff of both sides of the aisle can educate us both as to how these questions come up. God knows we called this one wrong.

One thing is for sure – we’ll be easy to identify amidst all of the people sitting at the cafeteria tables. Olive will be the guy laughing with a big smile on his face, and I’ll be the guy eating crow.

Rich Cooper blog primarily on emergency preparedness and response, management issues related to the Department of Homeland Security, and the private sector’s role in homeland security. Read More