The inmates are running the asylum.
An airline pilot is being disciplined by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for posting video on YouTube pointing out what he believes are serious flaws in airport security.
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 letter from the sheriff’s department said the CCW permit would be reevaluated following the outcome of the federal investigation.
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. “I would say a two-foot crash ax looks a lot more formidable than a box cutter,” the pilot remarked.
A letter from the TSA dated Dec. 6 informed the pilot that “an administrative review into your deputation status as a Federal Flight Deck Officer has been initiated.”
According to the letter, the review was directly related to the discovery by TSA staff of the YouTube videos. “The content and subject of these videos may have violated regulations concerning disclosure of sensitive security information,” the letter said.
The pilot’s attorney, Don Werno of Santa Ana, said he believed the federal government sent six people to the house to send a message.
“And the message was you’ve angered us by telling the truth and by showing America that there are major security problems despite the fact that we’ve spent billions of dollars allegedly to improve airline safety,” Werno said.
The message: Don’t Mess With Big Brother. Especially when it’s an incompetent stooge.
Refuse a sexual assault from a TSA security agent and you’ll get taken down like a fugitive after a high-speed Los Angeles car chase.
Early Wednesday morning, a computer glitch shut down a security checkpoint for a couple of hours at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. The line snaked out the door as many travelers waited for more than an hour and some missed their flights. One of the first people in line after that shutdown never made it through. She was arrested and banned from the airport.
Claire Hirschkind, 56, who says she is a rape victim and who has a pacemaker-type device implanted in her chest, says her constitutional rights were violated. She says she never broke any laws. But the Transportation Security Administration disagrees.
Hirschkind was hoping to spend Christmas with friends in California, but she never made it past the security checkpoint.
“I can’t go through because I have the equivalent of a pacemaker in me,” she said.
Hirschkind said because of the device in her body, she was led to a female TSA employee and three Austin police officers. She says she was told she was going to be patted down.
“I turned to the police officer and said, ‘I have given no due cause to give up my constitutional rights. You can wand me,'” and they said, ‘No, you have to do this,'” she said.
Hirschkind agreed to the pat down, but on one condition.
“I told them, ‘No, I’m not going to have my breasts felt,’ and she said, ‘Yes, you are,'” said Hirschkind.
When Hirschkind refused, she says that “the police actually pushed me to the floor, (and) handcuffed me. I was crying by then. They drug me 25 yards across the floor in front of the whole security.”
An ABIA spokesman says it is TSA policy that anyone activating a security alarm has two options. One is to opt out and not fly, and the other option is to subject themselves to an enhanced pat down. Hirschkind refused both and was arrested.
Other travelers KVUE talked to say they empathize with Hirschkind, but the law is the law.
“I understand her side of it, and their side as well, but it is for our protection so I have no problems with it,” said Gwen Washington, who lives in Killeen.
“It’s unfortunate that that happened and she didn’t get to fly home, but it makes me feel a little safer,” said Emily Protine.
The TSA did release a statement Wednesday that said in part, “Our officers are trained to treat all passengers with dignity and respect. Security is not optional.”
Note two things:
The obscene lack of common sense is excused as, “it is for our protection so I have no problems with it”, and the TSA “security is not optional” reasoning behind the physical assault of an American citizen who posed absolutely NO TERRORIST THREAT.
The TSA has never detected or stopped any muslim terrorist from boarding a commercial flight in the United States.
Still feel safe, Emily Protine?
In an effort to make people like Emily feel even safer, don’t bring along the wrong beverage container:
The Homeland Security Department has alerted air carriers to a potential terror tactic involving insulated beverage containers like thermoses.
The alert stressed that there is no intelligence about an active terror plot, but travelers may notice airport screeners taking a closer look at empty insulated containers.
The Transportation Security Administration “is carefully monitoring information related to terrorist tactics” in coordination with other nations, TSA spokeswoman Sterling Payne said in a statement Thursday. “The possible tactics terrorists might use include the concealment of explosives inside insulated beverage containers, so in the coming days, passengers flying within and to the U.S. may notice additional security measures related to insulated beverage containers.”
Payne urged the public “to remain vigilant and aware of their surroundings and report any suspicious activity to their local authorities.”
Not a threat:
The TSA has done what no terrorist could ever do; it’s convinced me not to fly.