...TSA Says Training Program Working Well...

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The TSA fired back on Friday, saying the training program is coming along nicely. TSA spokeswoman Amy von Walter told Cyber News Service the agency has already doubled the number of FFDO classes and expects that all pilots who want to be trained, and are qualified, will be issued their Heckler and Koch semi-automatics by the end of September. Just how many of the U.S.'s 40,000 airline pilots will meet those criteria, von Walter didn't mention. The TSA has never discussed how many pilots are involved but von Walter did say that the TSA has "trained thousands of pilots who fly tens of thousands of missions." Cargo pilots can now apply and training for them will start in May, she said. She would not discuss the bill or Bunning's threat to move the program out of the TSA's jurisdiction. The bill would also eliminate many of the selection criteria for the program. The senators call the screening process redundant because pilots already go through background checks. There have been allegations by some pilots who have been through the process that the psychological screening is intimidating, and concerns that anything turned up during the testing that could affect their certificates will be turned over to the FAA. They are also allegedly told that publicly discussing any of the training could get them in trouble. Bunning said the bill would "protect the privacy of pilots" and would also allow them to discuss any concerns with their congressmen.