Thursday, May 21, 2009

Interesting case, where do you come down on this

Interesting case, where do you come down on this?
What did he do right? What did he do wrong? SACRAMENTO, CA - 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 pilot said he is not in trouble with his airline, but a supervisor asked him to remove public access to the YouTube videos. He does, however, face potential civil penalties from the TSA. He said he would likely go public when it becomes clear what the government plans to do with him. By George Warren, Update: Whistleblowing pilot explains why he did it Excellent group of answers! Maybe the best I've seen on this site yet.
Politics - 20 Answers
Random Answers, Critics, Comments, Opinions :
1 :
Airport security is a farce.
2 :
Sure he exposed a security flaw but he did it in such a way that every crackpot out there can now exploit it before authorities have an opportunity to plug the hole. Additionally, while he exposed particular flaws he may have unwittingly tipped his hand about others that he did not recognize himself. Irresponsible and dangerous behavior well worthy of the discipline he received. There are proper channels for voicing concerns.
3 :
I would definitely side with the pilot. All he did was expose the hypocrisy he sees on a daily basis. It is unfortunate that instead of addressing the issue our government felt justified in resorting to mafia style intimidation tactics.
4 :
He had good intentions but went about it the wrong way.
5 :
I lean towards the guy being a hero.
6 :
I'm with FrederickS always nosnod
7 :
I'm just guessing, and if I'm wrong, I apologize. But I'm betting he most likely tried to point out these flaws and stupidity to those in charge before he went public. But, dealing with a bureaucratic, unresponsive organization like TSA, he probably got the run around, stonewalled and ignored. If that is the case, his action were probably intended to light a fire under their butts. Bureaucracies usually only respond to public humiliation and exposure of their stupidness. They usually fail to respond to common sense.
8 :
The concept is wrong to start with. We've been attempting to stop bank robberies since there have been banks and at best we've reduced the number of bank robberies not even made them rare. People have been combating smuggling long as there have been contraband items in demand. Yet in England you can buy an Uzi despite a total ban on guns and being an island with some of the worlds best security. You can buy drugs there as well. Lots of things that the Gov attempts to prevent. You cannot stop an activity with defensive behavior, you have to go after the source. Nothing else is effective. I could devise 15 lethal weapons in half an hour that would go right through airport security. Give me a few months and I bet I could get a gun and ammo through airport security. Especially if I studied it a little and was able to do some practice runs. Airport security as a concept is flawed. At best we can catch a few very mentally unbalanced individuals who on the spur of the moment attempt something. Far as I'm concerned arming cockpit crews, adding air marshals and securing the cockpit are crucial to prevent hijacking. As for bombs detection is the key and airport security is focused on hijacking attempts not explosives. Many bags are never checked and ground crews have repeatedly been involved in smuggling and terrorist efforts. As for the pilot I say give him a medal for trying to expose serious safety issues that need addressing. If a plane goes boom in the sky the mostly likely way that will happen will be terrorists working as or posing as airport baggage handlers or shot down with anti-aircraft weaponry. Which brings to an even more serious but very difficult safety hazard. It doesn't take much of a rocket to take out a jet on take off. Commercial aircraft have JUST enough oompth to get off the ground as it is. That is why almost any mechanical failure on takeoff is so catastrophic and normaly lethal. A home made rocket that took out a single engine on take off would probably be more than sufficient, could be made for less than $100 and fired easily without coming near any security at almost every major airport in the US. More so more advanced military weaponry could be fired at an even greater range with even more devastating results and there isn't even a security plan for it much less safeguards.
9 :
How the heck did he get a CCW permit in California? That's almost impossible unless you are connected. His error of course lies in not being a good sheep.
10 :
What a shocker! The imperial federal government is only doing this for the illusion of safety? What more can I say? The ineptness of our government knows no bounds...
11 :
Others have cover this very well, so all I have to add is, why does tsa screen the flight and allow the ground crew complete access to all of the aircraft by only swiping a card? Isn't that kind of locking your door when it is open, it is locked but still stand open and protect nothing? It is my firm belief that the tsa is all show, and really doesn't do anything worth while, much like most of our government agencies, and three of the worst is Home land Security, TSA, and ICE. Now I have to worry about them coming after me for saying that. It surely would be no surprise to me if they show up at the front doors of everyone that answered this question and the one that ask the question door too.
12 :
I stand neutral with this argument. Here are my thoughts, and I welcome your thumbz down: I believe the pilot did a good deed. He points out some things that need improvement. But, as a TSA applicant myself, and knowing well that I have signed documents in the recruiting process concerning "disclosure." In other words, there are many things that I am not allow to talk about in the hiring process with other applicants. With that being said, the pilot's actions obviously violated a disclosure agreement that he had signed, something that he more than likely signed before accepting his job as a pilot with either the FAA or his airline. So once again I stand by my opinion on my neutrality. The pilot's actions were of good, but he breached his contract by revealing certain elements that perhaps the TSA and FAA did not want disclosed.
13 :
Will hold opinion until the "Complete" facts are out(probably never) but would venture that he probably tried to notify the proper agency,and was "blown off"by mid-level managers,and never got to the top.His largest problem will be the "Fed's" because they don't play nice when ANYONE points out their shortcomings to the public.My guess is things will not go well for him or his lawyer,and they both had better find another line of work very soon! Maybe they both can work for D.H.S. or the Coast Guard for "Global Warming" issues.With this current administration & President,there is little justice in our "Justice System".
14 :
TSA claims it's taken the equivalent of a few hundred LIVES worth of time from non-threatening travelers while inconveniencing absolutely no attackers. Obviously, their sense of modesty makes them very sensitive about pointing out their PERFECT record in this respect. This pilot revealed NOTHING we didn't already know, that the ENTIRE purpose of TSA is to assert authority over COMPLIANT people. No one has yet cited anything TSA does that is more related to security than it is a distraction PREVENTING attention to security.
15 :
Im confused. Why would they take away his gun because they think he is a security threat but allow him to continue at the controls of a 700,000 lb, 600 mph projectile filled with passengers and jet fuel? I get the feeling that the pilot only bothered to report what he perceives as security gaps after he was personally inconvenienced by new security protocols. I can only hope he exhausted all other methods of privately bringing this to the proper authorities attention. If an international YouTube broadcast highlighting weaknesses in airport security was the only way to bring this issue to the attention of those in a position to correct them then that is the main problem to be addressed here. The worldwide public perception of our security is an important component of the actually security. His actions weakened that perception and could possibly embolden would be attackers. I want to give the pilot the benefit of the doubt in this issue due to his service to our country, however his choice of YouTube and his questionable motivation make me uneasy. Perhaps I still have a bad taste in my mouth over the whole Wiki leak scandal and that is clouding my judgment. I hope this is not a copy cat spawned from wiki leaks. While I have nothing but respect for most whistle blowers, where a person blows the whistle is just as important as the act of blowing it, especially in matters of national security. As to the whole scanning issue that seems to have motivated this action on the pilots part, I really think the words "Let's Roll" on 9/11 ended armed hijacking. A few terrorist with box cutters of similar can no longer hold several hundred people in a plane hostage. While I am all for armed pilots and air marshals, I just do not see it as very likely that terrorist will again attempt to take over a plane and crash it, they now are just trying to blow them up mid air. While an observant and lucky Air Marshal might be able to stop that, the pilot could not. The threat to airlines is now explosives, ground to air ordinance, sabotage, and suicidal pilots. I really do not believe irradiating flight crews on a daily basis addresses any of these concerns.
16 :
What you have witnessed here is a absolute insult to the Right to Free Speech. What you have witnessed here is a absolute insult to the will of the American People. The TSA as a action agency for the flight security is a bigger farce, then the asshole agency it is flagged under, That being Janet the giant brainless Dyke Napolitanos DHS. These two abject failures are reasons the Average person on the ground and flying community has no confidence in the flakes that are supposed to protect them. What this Pilot showed is exactly what goes on everyday. One huge phucking mess up after another, IQ 9 minimum waged brainless asshole tsa guards now with Federal status Who were before the low life scourges of the incompetent private security firms who most of the time could stand there and piss themselves, and because they were so disgusting, people just accepted the fact this was who they were. They were the fearless line of defense that guarded airplanes. What a joke. TSA and Napolitano are so useless that when she and her other two losers who deal with National Security the other day on Diane Sawyers interview, Didn't even know what happened in London just 12 hours earlier, Chapple our illustrious head of National Security didn't even know a terrorist event of rather considerable magnitude had been thwarted, So this does not surprise me that issues like this occur, For all you have to do is consider the source of protection you are dealing with, Which IS NOTHING WORTH A SHIT,
17 :
How dare he expose the expensive (yet sensitive) uselessness of the TSA & DHS in kind. A war rages on our Southern Border between drug-dealing, ignorant, violent scum with machine guns and RPGs, yet these six find one pistol in the hands of a trained, licensed, educated professional a bigger threat. ? The age old question ... "Who watches the watchers." Since it has been proven that security leaks like a sieve, this is a "test" (I think) as to how much we will take along the lines of subjugation, since those who've elected themselves as a cure for a problem they invented, are all but useless in the task they advertised to resolve. Typical Nanny State intervention, that only succeeds in making things worse & accomplishing nothing, at a horrendous expense.
18 :
What he did right was to recognize the problem areas. Grey Area: Not sure from what I know whether he attempted to pass this information to the PROPER authorities before going public with it. I would consider this a mandatory step. What he did wrong was to post this information on YouTube. Whether or not he alerted the proper authorities first, posting information that would be helpful to the "crazies" is not a good thing. I MAY agree that he has 1st amendment rights to post this, but still believe it is a bad idea. If I were to have information concerning the vulnerability of ...say some municipal water source, the last thing I would do is post it for everyone to see. I don't need my 15 minutes of fame badly enough to risk the lives of others.
19 :
What he did right is exactly what he did: expose the blatant hypocrisy of the TSA, DHS, and most of the federal government as it is today. What did he do wrong? I'm just wondering why he waited so long to do what he did. I recall seeing videos of mechanics and baggage crew about 5 years ago. To those who think this guy revealed any major secrets or vulnerabilities, think again. The videos in '05 or '06 even showed gang graffiti spray-painted on walls in the cargo areas. ...
20 :
And I like it that he was picked up by another airline company. This is so typical now a day.......... Anyone notice who benefited by all the TSA Jobs?????

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