Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The TSA Strikes Back!

While the TSA isn't very good at finding terrorists, they are good at harassing people who make fun of them. A pilot who (legally!) posted videos showing the gaping holes in airport security got a visit from the TSA.  Details here.

The YouTube videos, posted Nov. 28, show what the pilot calls the irony of flight crews being forced to go through TSA screening while ground crew who service the aircraft are able to access secure areas simply by swiping a card.
"As you can see, airport security is kind of a farce. It's only smoke and mirrors so you people believe there is actually something going on here," the pilot narrates.
Video shot in the cockpit shows a medieval-looking rescue ax available on the flight deck after the pilots have gone through the metal detectors. "This looks a little more formidable than a box cutter, doesn't it?" the pilot asks.
Well, we can't have people interested in real security can we?! (as opposed to "security theatre")  Here's what happened next,

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.

Here is his background:

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.
He is also a helicopter test pilot in the Army Reserve and flew missions for the United Nations in Macedonia.
Father south in California today, the intrepid TSA had apparently run out of salad bars to inspect and grandmothers to grope, so they apparently decided to take a field trip so they could see some "climate change." Click to enlarge photo. 
Photo: Sign on San Diego
Have you communicated with your congresspeople yet?

UPDATE: Here is the video.


  1. If people could watch the pilots original, unedited videos somewhere they might better understand both sides of this. Right now there appears to be one news clip being recycled over and over across the web which only shows cuts from the pilots vids. I would have to see what he intended me to see before I decide if the tsa is out of line. Can't trust edited tv news

  2. Anonymous, if you have link to the unedited video, please post it. I'd be glad to see it and I'm sure others would. Perhaps I would change my mind if I saw it.

    That said, it is not illegal to tape the TSA and airport activities. Not only isn't it illegal, it isn't even against TSA policy unless it interferes with the screening process.

    I have written, numerous times, about the gaping holes in airport security including the one he is said to have taped -- that there is no screening of the people servicing the planes. Rather than fixing the gaps in security, the TSA -- predictably -- has gone after the person who has exposed the gap.

    The TSA is supposed to be protecting, not harassing, the public.

    Thank you for your comment and if you can find the link, please post it.

  3. Nice summary. Loved the detour by the TSA into "climate" issues. This alphabet soup agency AND all the other XYZ agencies must be terminated immediately. The increased pace of bureaucratic creep in this administration is frightening.

  4. @Danda ... You can't blame it just on this administration. The US started slipping into a police of regulations and bureaucrats many, many years ago. You just might not have noticed it until Obama was in power. Remember, the TSA and der Department of Homeland Security were Bush's creation.

  5. Bah... I flew USMC...then commercial airplanes from 1960 to 1998...(That is 38 years for you numbers challenged peeps) ...Misc USMC single engine jets... B-707... 727...737...DC-9...Airbus...and ... I am member of ALPA (Air Line Pilots Association)(#24---)...Union member... (2 strikes with CAL) ... Saudi Arabian Airlines and USMC...
    Since 9/11... despite my intense interest in the A*****e Mu***m hijackers and their brethren...
    It never ONCE occurred to me to think about that dam ax in the cockpit...
    And I have looked at it thousands of times ... and ... handled it more than a few times...
    I would bet my house vs a Big Mac that a huge ...a HUGE!!...% of potential hijackers have never thought of it or were aware of it either... (Although I'm sure some have)
    Now ALL of them are aware of it...
    Yes, I have viewed the youtube video ...
    The pilot betrayed us...
    Despite the incompetence of the government... There was a better way to expose this particular flaw in the system...
    Shame on you, sir...

  6. @anon ... I was a ramp agent and then a flight dispatcher ... we all knew about the ax. I think most people in aviation circles know.

    The pilot didn't betray anyone. He only highlighted the absurdity!


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