He’s not in trouble with the airline, but his status as an official federal Flight Deck Officer is in mortal peril.
Three days after he posted a series of six video clips recorded with a cell phone camera at San Francisco International Airport, four federal air marshals and two sheriff’s deputies arrived at his house to confiscate his federally-issued firearm. The pilot recorded that event as well and provided all the video to News10.
At the same time as the federal marshals took the pilot’s gun, a deputy sheriff asked him to surrender his state-issued permit to carry a concealed weapon…
According to the letter, the review was directly related to the discovery by TSA staff of the YouTube videos. “The content and subject of these videos may have violated regulations concerning disclosure of sensitive security information,” the letter said.
The gun was issued to him by the feds pursuant to his status as an FDO, so presumably they’re required to take it back when an investigation is pending. Meanwhile, Drudge is splashing this with a banner headline about Napolitano punishing the guy for merely being “critical of TSA,” but I don’t know how he can be so sure. It depends on what’s in the clips, which have since been made private on YouTube. If he violated the regs by putting something on film that might inadvertently show a bad guy how to get through, thereby creating a security risk, what are they supposed to do while they’re (hopefully) figuring out a way to eliminate that risk? Shrug it off and hope that no one with bad intentions finds the clip? It’s not clear here either whether this guy approached anyone at TSA with his concerns first or whether he took care to make sure there was nothing in the vids that might expose any security holes. It reminds me a bit of Wikileaks, actually. Which is not to say that Drudge isn’t right — maybe this really is all about TSA trying to protect its image by silencing a whistleblower — but I wouldn’t jump to conclusions just because the agency is usually (very) unsympathetic.
Update: I’ve got a feeling that even a cautious semi-defense of TSA won’t play well with readers, so I’ve added a second clip below to smooth things over. It’s seasonal, too!