The United spokesman completely missed the point. The "you know, what you did was illegal" response has seemed to be typical from the industry. Instead of focusing on the real issue (weapons getting past security) they are focusing on blaming whomever (person, media, etc.) that discovered the problem. They had a chance to nab the reporters, and they missed. Get over it.
Do you think that one of the hijackers said to one of the others, "You know, these knives might be illegal." And the others said, "You're right.... Well lets come up with another plan." Though I do believe the knifes they had were illegal at the time.
The industry needs to stop skirting the issues when these stories come out.