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Sacramento's whistleblowing pilot explains why he did it

5:23 AM, Dec 24, 2010   |    comments
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SACRAMENTO, CA - The airline pilot who posted video on the Web critical of airport security said he was not prepared for the government's response.

"I just tried to address my concerns and voice it on YouTube," he said in an interview with News10, which broke the story Wednesday. 

The 50-year-old pilot has asked that neither he nor his airline be identified while he's under investigation by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) .

The pilot, who was deputized by the TSA to carry a handgun in the cockpit as a Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO), posted a series of six cell phone video clips showing what he believes to be a serious flaw in airport security.

Current regulations require flight crews to pass through a TSA checkpoint, while ground crews can gain access to the same aircraft simply by swiping a card at an unmanned door.

"How effective is security when everybody on board is screened and everybody on the ground isn't?" the pilot asked.

Within days of the video appearing on YouTube, a team of four federal agents and two sheriff's deputies appeared on the pilot's driveway to confiscate his federally-issued handgun and badge in what the pilot believes was an obvious attempt to intimidate him.

Additionally, the pilot's state-issued permit to carry a concealed weapon was suspended by his county sheriff.

"I was surprised by the response.  I could have just dropped my badge and gun in a FedEx box," he said. 

The pilot said he had resigned his position as an FFDO and was told by a TSA representative the resignation would result in the case being closed.  The pilot's attorney, Don Werno, said he was waiting for formal written confirmation.

The pilot said he did not regret posting the video on YouTube despite the difficulty it has caused him.

"Somebody obviously has to address the issue.  Really, the only way this news story got traction is because of the government's response," he pointed out.

by George Warren, GWarren@news10.net 

News10/KXTV

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