Crushing the Critics

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on December 24, 2010

Everyone knows that there are serious problems with airport security, and that most security measures are Kabuki-esque in nature. So a YouTube video showing those problems–even one that is being narrated by an airline pilot deputized to carry a gun in the cockpit–should come as no surprise to anyone.

What does surprise, however, is the fact that the TSA is disciplining the pilot in question for pointing out the security flaws found at airports.

I don’t know what the point of this is, other than for the TSA to inform all of us that it does not like being shown up by mere airline pilots. It is better for all of us to know what problems still exist with airport security; thus allowing us to demand changes in security procedures. The TSA might argue that by publicizing the problems found at airports, the pilot is allowing terrorists to take advantage of the information found in his YouTube video, but even without having seen the video, I am willing to bet that the pilot did not reveal any new information (everyone knows that contraband gets through the screening process all the time), and by revealing the information, the pilot actually did more to tell us, and the clueless TSA what problems need to be fixed.

And instead of being thanked, he is being punished. It boggles the mind. In a sane world, of course, higher-ups at the TSA, and at the Department of Homeland Security would be forced to answer for the huge security lapses documented in the pilot’s video. But we do not live in a sane world.

  • Mike Smith

    I have written about the same flaws taped by the pilot many times. Here is an example:

    The TSA is a rouge agency that badly needs to be reigned in.

    • Demosthenes

      “Rogue” agency, I think you mean. If only it were a rouge agency. Then at least we could laugh at (if not to) its badly overpainted face.

  • William Dix


    Bureocracies don’t like having their flaws pointed out. Expecting a bureocracy to acknowledge and fix a problem when it is pointed out by a critic often involves having the political powers that be coming down on them. However the current powers that be in the TSA are unlikely to do so.

  • TMLutas

    My understanding is that not only has the pilot’s federal status been suspended but sheriffs have also suspended his CCW permit issued in California until the federal review is completed.

    The process is the punishment here as even a positive outcome has left this pilot less secure in his travels so long as the investigation remains active.

  • LoboSolo

    @Mike … The problem is that TSA isn’t a rogue agency at all. It has the full support of the political elite.

    Is there anyone who can look at this and not understand that AmeriKa has slipped into being a police state that is run by regulations and bureaucrats?

  • Anonymous

    Gangster Government at work.

  • Multitude

    Where is the Congressional oversight and supervision as mandated? Napolitano is quite possibly in violation of whistle-blower provisions and should be dragged before Congress immediately following the planned reading of the Constitution at the start of the upcoming session.

    The public should be reminded that while the Federal Government has just imposed rigorous new punitive and untested whistle-blower regulations on the private sector, the public sector increasingly trends toward the reverse image. New regulations passed in the Dodd-Frank “Financal Reform” Bill provide major financial incentives for the activity, including a rather problematic incentive for well positioned individuals to “create their own reportable crime” and receive a large percentage of the fine assessed against their employer, as well as establishing damaging disincentives for the functioning of internal controls that desire the reporting, investigation and remediation of unacceptable practices within the company. Curiously, the Dodd-Frank regulation does nothing to hold two of the greatest financial criminals accountable for instigating great global damage to the economy, but rather names the legislation in their honor which further signifies the detachment from accountability in the public sector.

    Combine this with widespread, systemic pension fraud (through strategic, intentional underfunding of obligations by public sector employees, their unions and government management) and the nation has arrived at a destination where regulation is only applied to the private sector, intended to ensure the product of society’s new serfs is seized and re-appropriated by the post-Capitalist, neo-Fascist progressive hegemony.

    • Anonymous

      Multitude, until the replacements are sworn in, the House is still controlled by Copperheads, so the Republicans don’t have subpoena power, yet.

      The Senate, of course, remains under Copperhead control.

  • Anonymous

    Shouldn’t the pilot be protected by federal whistleblower laws? Oh, yeah, he’s blowing the whistle on the Feds…. Completely different. The Feds can do no wrong.

  • Vinny Vidivici

    The TSA has authority over commercial airline pilots? Well hell, why not. The FCC claims regulatory jurisdiction over the Internet, EPA implementing the discredited green agenda, unconfirmed czars roam hither and yon . . .

    This administration’s “NOW HEAR THIS” . . . “BECAUSE I SAID SO AND I’M FROM THE GOVERNMENT” bullying and its harrassment and persecution of critics have become relentless. And for eight years we were told Bush and Cheney were building the police state . . .

  • toes192

    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 or 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…

    • Anonymous

      I knew about the fire axe on the flight deck since just after 9-11 and the discussion about cockpit security doors and whether pilots should be armed. I am neither a pilot nor a frequent flier.

    • svg1234

      I think “betray” is too strong. But what he did is a stupid and ineffective way of bringing attention to needed changes. As a pilot, you’d think he would have acted in a more mature and measured way. Doing a “wikileaks” was the wrong approach. Those who pain this guy as some kind of hero really irk me. It seems that there are those in society, who no matter what the consequences, think that revealing “secrets” is ALWAYS the right thing to do. It isn’t.

    • USAFRet

      Are you kidding me-you checked to make sure the crash axe was there on every pre-flight as a co, then maybe just once in a while because you were a good guy once you upgraded to Captain-on every different plane you flew, and never realized it was there. Partner-you are not doing your jarhead reputation a lot of good there.

  • picturerock

    This is what we get for electing Democrats. They invariably err on the side of taking away rights, freedoms, and our money, and use our money to build an all encompassing government that regulates everything, and whose permission must be asked for even the littlest thing. That is gangster government.

  • Just a guy

    I’m disturbed over the fact that the TSA managed to boondoggle the county sheriff into suspending the pilot’s permit to carry a concealed weapon until the TSA allegations can be “investigated.” Even for California that’s a bit much.

  • Totwtytr

    In a sane world, there wouldn’t BE at TSA, but we don’t live in a sane world. I also don’t think that it’s a coincidence that the abuses of the TSA have accelerated exponentially since Obama took office. Liberals, despite their rhetoric to the contrary, love authoritarian government… as long as they are in charge of it.

    The TSA needs to be abolished and replaced with a rational anti terrorist strategy. For starters, I’d suggest allowing all lawful gun owners to carry on commercial flights. I’d even suggest that they be issued frangible ammunition before they board.

    I bet it would work better than what we have now.

    • submandave

      allowing all lawful gun owners to carry on commercial flights

      I happen to agree that you don’t want just anyone using a firearm in a confined, high density environment where bulkhead penetration poses hull integrity issues, so I have no problem with severe limitations on carry onboard. What makes no sense at all, however, is the prohibition on knives. Noone is ever again going to be able to try and take over an airliner with box cutters without having a half dozen passengers smacking them down, so why do the 99.9%+ of law-abiding innocent folks have to leave their pocket knives at home just to fly?

  • svg1234

    I don’t agree with what the pilot did. Right motivation, wrong method. However, that in no way justifies the TSA’s over-the-top “we’ll teach this guy a lesson” reaction. In addition to their bullying, I think it shows once again the TSA’s incompetence, i.e. their complete mishandling of a relatively minor and simple event. Big, heavyhanded, stupid moves seems to be their M.O. Doesn’t surprise me, with a half-wit like Napolitano at the helm. Imagine a TSA with Chris Christie in charge.

  • Eyebeam

    Well, they told me if I voted for a Republican that government dissent would be crushed…

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