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TSA Punishes Pilot Who Posted Videos Exposing Airport Security Flaws

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Slade Sohmer

By Slade Sohmer on December 23, 2010

Who watches the watchmen? One thing’s clear: Nobody can. Not even airline pilots.

One California-based pilot found that out the hard way. The unnamed pilot is being disciplined by the Transportation Security Administration for posting several videos to YouTube exposing flaws in the agency’s practices, and more damaging, its ill logic.

According to George Warren for News10: 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.

Watch Warren’s News10 report to see some of the pilot’s videos and the scene at the pilot’s home when SIX federal government employees showed up to his house to take his gun:

The real problem with this whole episode concerns the appearance of security. Even though this one closeted crackpot thinks the TSA patdowns are all part of the radical homosexual agenda, we can all agree that they’re unnecessarily invasive and not designed to catch terrorists. Popular Mechanics recently interviewed noted security expert Bruce Schneier, the man who coined the term “security theater” to put a fun label on what the TSA has been doing at the nation’s airports.

Here are some excerpts:

Q: The machines have shown up in the wake of the so-called underwear bomber, who tried to blow up a plane with chemicals stored in his briefs. Would this technology have stopped him?

A: The guys who make the machines have said, “We wouldn’t have caught that.”

Q: Has there been a case since 9/11 of an attempted hijacker being thwarted by airport security?

A: None that we’ve heard of. The TSA will say, “Oh, we’re not allowed to talk about successes.” That’s actually bullsh*t. They talk about successes all the time. If they did catch someone, especially during the Bush years, you could be damned sure we’d know about it. And the fact that we didn’t means that there weren’t any. Because the threat was imaginary. It’s not much of a threat. As excess deaths go, it’s just way down in the noise. More than 40,000 people die each year in car crashes. It’s 9/11 every month. The threat is really overblown.

Q: Is this security theater?

A: 100 percent. It won’t catch anybody.

It won’t catch anybody. Why do we put up with this nonsense if it’s not effective in the slightest? Because it gives us the impression that it is. The sooner we all realize these tactics have no bearing on reality, the sooner we can stand up and say “Just let me keep my fucking shoes on, dicks.”

We’ll see what happens to this pilot after disciplinary action is handed down. But let this be a lesson to anyone who dare question the all-powerful TSA: Don’t point out that what we do is foolish.

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