Better Than A Suggestion Box

Being the new chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee hasn't gone to Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson's head. In fact, it's prompted him to become even more of a man of the people: He's offering his own kind of whistle-blower protection for the Transportation Security Agency.

The oft-traveling lawmaker gives TSA screeners his personal E-mail address and encourages them to reveal all. "They come in on my BlackBerry," he says. Thompson says he is particularly drawn to TSA screeners because they don't have whistle-blower protections and they're not allowed to join unions.

"I want to hear from employees about what's going on in the field." Thompson says one E-mail came in late on Super Bowl Sunday, and he responded "right after we were done watching the Super Bowl."

By Paul Bedard