Congressman to TSA: Stop harassing pilot, fix the problem

5:24 AM, Dec 24, 2010   |    comments
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SACRAMENTO, CA - A Sacramento-area airline pilot has made national headlines after posting YouTube videos showing security flaws at San Francisco International Airport.

The 50-year-old man shared those videos with News10 to highlight what he and his attorney call serious security flaws.

The cell phone video shows ground crews' ability to enter the airfield without ever going through a screening process.

"The pilot was hoping to get national attention on what he thinks is a significant security issue," said his attorney Don Werno. "Nothing is more relevant at this point than attacks on America."

The national attention is attracting opinions from all over the country, including those of former Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and airport employees.

"I have been concerned about bypassing security ever since 9/11," said Ron Wilson, a former spokesman for SFO.

"A mechanic can come from home with his toolbox and roll it through the terminal, dressed in his uniform that signifies the airline, go up to the security door, scan his ID, drag his toolbox through the security door and he immediately has access to the airfield," Wilson said.  "Who knows what might be in that toolbox."

But of all the opinions heard, the loudest may have come from Washington.

"Rather than going out and fixing the problem, they're going out and harassing the person that brought it to their attention," said Congressman Peter Hoekstra, a Republican from Michigan.

Hoekstra is the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee. He believes the TSA will have to respond.

"These folks need to take public input and they need to revise their standards and their procedures. It's called continuous improvement. We do it in the private sector every day. [The] TSA needs to do it as well."

The TSA doesn't see it that way.

Nico Melendez, a spokesman based in Los Angeles, said "The TSA is confident in the tools the airport has implemented and reminds passengers there are security measures in place that are both seen and unseen."

By Nick Monacelli, nick@news10.net 

News10/KXTV

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