Bureaucrats Obstruct Armed-Pilots Law
Phil Brennan, NewsMax.com
Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2003
The bureaucrats who fought the arming of airline pilots are now
placing outrageous roadblocks in the implementation of the law
authorizing pilots to carry guns during flights.
The requirements proposed by the Transportation Security Administration,
including exhaustive psychological evaluations, are
"intrusive" and "obscene," charges Airline
Pilots' Security Alliance (APSA).
Congress voted last year
to allow the training of pilots to carry firearms on flights. The
program calls for volunteer pilots to become
"federal flight deck officers." But the requirements proposed
by the TSA, which has until Tuesday to implement its firearm-training
program and finalize its requirements, could discourage pilots from
entering the program and all but gut it, frustrating congressional
According to Tracy W.
Price, a spokesman for the pilots group, the TSA wants each pilot
who wants to carry a gun to submit to a wide-ranging background
investigation, including interviews with neighbors, relatives, friends
and co-workers, an interview with a
TSA psychiatrist, a second government psychological exam and a medical
Price said that many
of the requirements were redundant because the Federal Aviation
Administration conducts physical and psychological exams of pilots
every six months.
us to jump through so many hoops so that we can't meet the requirements."
Price said APSA objected
to some of the language in a draft of the TSA's guidelines for arming
the pilots. That draft, he explained,
shows that pilots have to "have the requisite mental, psychological
and cognitive abilities as well as the discipline and judgment"
possess the firearms. The pilots also must "conduct themselves
with maximum regard for the safety and security of the traveling
public, crew" and federal air marshals.
position is if you don't have those traits in abundance already,
you have no business being an airline pilot," Price said.
In a statement
Price’s group said, The TSA (the same government bureaucracy that
recently gave itself the power to
unceremoniously revoke a pilot's certificate) will require from
each Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) candidate:
1) A lengthy
and probing application and resume.
2) A government-administered
psychological exam, testing AIRLINE PILOTS for
things like MENTAL ABILITIES, JUDGMENT,
DISCIPLINE, AND THE ABILITY TO FOLLOW PROCEDURES, POLICIES, REGULATIONS
AND LAWS. Airline pilots must prove
each day that they possess an abundance of these traits. What would
happen to a pilot that failed to meet the TSA standard?
Would the benevolent government bureaucracy be merciful enough to
let him continue to do the job he has been doing quite
well for many years?
3) A one-on-one
"interview" with a TSA psychiatrist. The TSA will be screening
to make sure that AIRLINE PILOTS CAN
"CONDUCT THEMSELVES WITH MAXIMUM REGARD FOR THE SAFETY AND
SECURITY OF THE TRAVELING PUBLIC,
CREW AND FAMS..." No kidding.
4) A very
probing, intrusive and exhaustive government sponsored background
investigation to include an "interview" with
TSA "security expert." They will call a pilots
neighbors, friends, relatives, co-workers, previous employer and,
in direct violation
of the law, THEY WILL ASK HIS OR HER CURRENT AIRLINE EMPLOYER
IF THEY THINK THE PILOT SHOULD BE ALLOWED
TO PARTICIPATE IN THE FFDO PROGRAM. Considering the airlines
longstanding and clear opposition to this program, we
wonder what the answer might be?
5) A medical
evaluation. Apparently existing FAA exams required every six months
are inadequate for the TSA.
6) TSA agents
will be skulking around FFDO training facilities with pencils and
notepads OBSERVING THE BEHAVIOR OF
FFDO STUDENTS DURING THEIR FIREARMS TRAINING and making
sure they have the proper "mindset." Stand by for a
hostile training environment.
"psychological assessment" after training is completed.
Look forward to another TSA sponsored psychiatric
proven method, the one that is the safest and most secure way of
transporting a firearm, is for the individual
responsible for the firearm to carry it on his person. The TSA is
not planning to allow this for FFDO's BECAUSE THEY WANT
MAKE THIS PROGRAM AS CUMBERSOME, UNMANAGEABLE, UNWIELDY AND AS EXPENSIVE
AS POSSIBLE in order to
minimize the number of pilots that volunteer and to doom the program
to failure even before it starts. GUNS IN UNATTENDED LOCK-BOXES
OR IN UNSECURED CREW LUGGAGE WILL PUT ALL PILOTS IN JEOPARDY AND
TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM LESS SAFE, but these facts conflict
with the TSA's true agenda: To scuttle the FFDO program.
Price said that a "TSA
attorney-advisor, Mr. Stephen L. Cohen has made it clear that the
TSA intends to make the program so difficult, intimidating
and burdensome that no pilot will volunteer."
want nothing more than a reasonable, effective and safe program,"
Price said. "It is obscene to subject airline pilots,
who willingly volunteer for this unpaid duty so that they can defend
their passengers and crew, to the TSA proposed minefield. Airline
are not the enemy, the terrorists are!"
And, it appears, so is