Pilot Tapes Airport Security, Feds Take His Gun

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Officials earlier this month asked a Federal Flight Deck Officer to surrender his sidearm after the airline pilot posted videos to YouTube describing airport security practices, in which he declared, "As you can see [...] it's only smoke and mirrors." In the videos, the pilot compares the security measures faced by passengers and flight crew with those faced by airline ground crews. He details that passengers and flight crews must remove their shoes and pass through metal detectors, and may be subjected to further screening. Meanwhile, says the pilot, ground crews swipe a magnetized card to access restricted areas that could in turn give them intimate access to baggage, aircraft, or both. The pilot also shows tools available to all cockpit crews after passing through airport metal detectors and states, "I would say a two-foot crash axe looks a lot more formidable than a box cutter." The footage was posted Nov. 28, in a series of six videos, and has since been removed from YouTube at the request of the pilot's employer, which has not taken any other action against the pilot. The TSA has offered a significantly different reaction.

On Dec. 6, the pilot received a letter from the TSA stating that "an administrative review into your deputation status as a Federal Flight Deck Officer has been initiated," according to ABC news. The letter contends the pilot "may have violated regulations concerning disclosure of sensitive security information." The government sent six people to the pilot's house to retrieve his firearm, according to ABC. The pilot has retained a lawyer and may face civil penalties from the TSA. According to the pilot, "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."