Pilot in Hot Water for Exposing Security Flaws

Posted Dec 23rd 2010 10:25 AMUpdated Dec 23rd 2010 10:54 AM


An anonymous 50-year-old airline pilot is in hot water with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) after posting on YouTube a behind-the-scenes tour of what he says are security flaws at San Francisco International Airport.

While airplane passengers go through security screening -- such as with metal detectors, full body scanners and pat downs -- the pilot shows in one of several video clips, recorded with his cell phone, that airport employees at SFO simply swipe a card to go through an unmanned door.

"Well, folks, I just wanted to give you an idea of what type of security for the ground personnel there is. This is their screening. As you can see, there's only a card slide and one door," the pilot says in the video. "And right here's a sign, 'Think security.' Well, I don't think there's much security here."

The pilot, who has been flying for an airline for more than a decade, alerted Sacramento's KXTV when he posted the videos saying he wanted the information to be made public.

According to sister station ABC7 in San Francisco, the disclosure resulted in federal air marshals and sheriff's deputies showing up at the pilot's home -- an event the pilot, a deputized federal air marshal, also recorded -- to confiscate his federally issued handgun.

Attorney Don Werno, who represents the pilot, says he believes the TSA was sending a message that "you've angered us by telling the truth and by showing America that there are major security problems despite the fact that we've spent billions of dollars allegedly to improve airline safety."

A TSA spokesman tells ABC7 he's unaware of the incident, but if the pilot had concerns he should have brought them to the TSA.

Meanwhile, ABC7's aviation consultant, Ron Wilson, who worked at SFO for 47 years, says what the pilot says is true, and that the hole in security has bothered him ever since the 9/11 attacks.

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Shy Harbor, Phoenix. The TSA says, "Let us know if you see something suspicious." I repordted a strange package in the men's room..........it was still there about an hour later. Like most govenment agencies, this one is a joke.

May 02 2011 at 3:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm sorry, but I believe the pilot is right. I have been a heavy traveler for years, and anyone with their eyes open and a lick of common sense can walk through the airports and see dozens of weak points in security. The drama they put passengers through is ridiculous. They confiscate nail clippers at security but 10 feet on the other side you can buy another pair.. what is that all about? Does someone get kickbacks on nail clipper sales?

Why do they make pilots go through airport scanners when a pilot could easily crash the plane without sneaking anything on-board... it makes no sense...

They need to put in effective security, not the showroom flash they are trying to sell the people.. and the only way the government corrects these kinds of flaws are when their mistakes are made public. Replace the locks with biometrics.. or post a guard.. problem solved.

December 28 2010 at 12:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They showed this same flaw in the final episodes of LOST on ABC when Kate was running through LAX.

I thought everyone already knew about this. I'm not saying I believe everything I see on TV; but this one was easy to believe as true.

Maybe the TSA should be pissed at the LOST producers too.

December 28 2010 at 10:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Last week I sat at one of the Boston terminals awaiting my son's arrival with his family. For over a half hour II saw numerous airline employees go in and out of a doorway accessed by swiping their badges. I will say that when groups of employees came to the door they swiped and went thru the door individually, making sure the door was securely closed after passing thru.

But the location was out-of-the-way, and it would take little effort for someone to accost an airline employee and gain access within 10 seconds. All the while lines of travellers snake down corridors one flight above. How ironic.

You would think that Boston, of all cities, would be especially vigilent when it comes to security procedures, inasmuch as 2 of the 9/11 planes originated from here.

December 28 2010 at 10:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have seen zero change in post 911 treatment of carryons. they make a big fuss about scanning our bodies and feeling us up but they totally ignore bigger and real issues.

December 28 2010 at 10:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

it can't be stopped. even with as much of bullying, usurped authority that exists in this world, the secrets that it props itself up on will be found out. then the stupidity and ignorance will finally come to an end when people realize that they are no longer infants and can take care of themselves.

December 28 2010 at 9:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dr. K.

The chief of TSA at the SFO should be fired. The person responsible for the RETALIATION against the pilot should be fired and criminally prosecuted. Ultimately, MR. OBAMA should be held responsible.

December 28 2010 at 8:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Jen.of course the terroists watch the internet. Of coursre we all know they want to kill us. Apparently you have failed to notice what the TSA is doing has nothing to do with terrorists. What they are doing is humiliating and disgusting. All this pilot was doing was exposing the rediculous activity of the TSA. Feeling up grandma and grandpa in wheelchairs is rediculous.Feeling up decorated sevicemen is rediculous.The average american does not deserve this kind of treatment.They are not making the skies any safer at all.

December 28 2010 at 8:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
J. FLoyd

@ Ron

If the information Wikileaks has been passing on what is so called 'Confidential info' the U.S. & others involved should have done a much better job of keeping the information from prying eyes. I guess you've never heard of the 'Freedom of Information Act'? Yes, this and anything else our governments say or state can be deemed under the act.

December 28 2010 at 7:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

All lawmakers, judges & TSA officials should nave to go throiugh a full body scan or patdown every day like flight crew members and frequent travellers have to.

December 26 2010 at 7:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply