It’s important to note the pilot who recorded this video was pointing out security flaws that were already well known. But by pointing them out in a public fashion – on YouTube – the Department of Homeland Security has elected to punish the pilot by suspending him from the Flight Deck Officer program.
The Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) program is a voluntary training and certification that allows pilots to carry a handgun in the cockpit as an additional security measure. Not only did the TSA suspend the pilot from the program, the sheriff’s office in his area pulled his county issued state permit to carry a concealed weapon.
Homeland Security big brother antics and an abuse of power as far as I’m concerned, unless the pilot really did release confidential security information concerning San Francisco’s international airport. I already knew about what I saw in the video, it was common knowledge that ground crews did not have to go through the full security we experience as travelers.
The TSA may certainly have the authority to suspend the pilot from the FFDO program, but the sheriff’s office stepping in to the situation (what would they have to do with this?) seems totally unjustified. Sending four federal air marshals and two sheriff’s deputies to the pilots home – unannounced – is overkill and was done to send a threatening message to the pilot and the community.
From News 10 in Sacramento.
The 50-year-old pilot, who lives outside Sacramento, asked that neither he nor his airline be identified. He has worked for the airline for more than a decade and was deputized by the TSA to carry a gun in the cockpit.
He is also a helicopter test pilot in the Army Reserve and flew missions for the United Nations in Macedonia.
Three days after he posted a series of six video clips recorded with a cell phone camera at San Francisco International Airport, four federal air marshals and two sheriff’s deputies arrived at his house to confiscate his federally-issued firearm. The pilot recorded that event as well and provided all the video to News10.
At the same time as the federal marshals took the pilot’s gun, a deputy sheriff asked him to surrender his state-issued permit to carry a concealed weapon.
A follow up story indicates the pilot informed the TSA he would voluntarily esign from FFDO, and the TSA stated they would drop the issue. To me, that indicates the pilot did nothing wrong and the government was just throwing their weight around. Again, no justification for pulling his state permit either. If they man really did violate security rules … let’s here it.
What say you?
Overnight update: Allahpundit at Hot Air and Powerline writing. Drudge Report seems to be taking the story over-the-top suggesting his home was searched, which is not indicated in the articles I’ve read. AP is wondering if there was really a security leak of information within one or more of six of the YouTube videos, but if there was, you would think the TSA would not just drop the issue as long as the pilot resigned from the FFDO program.
Doug Powers at Malkin’s site writing this morning.