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By Geoff Metcalf

February 9, 2004

"A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within�"  -- Cicero

Disingenuous, duplicitous, dysfunctional bureaucrats at the Transportation Safety Agency are sandbagging the Federal Flight Deck Officers program.

Pilots are angry�and Congress is angry.

Obfuscating dissemblers are rejecting veteran pilots for failing to meet TSA standards, which appear to be arbitrary and capricious.

The standards include psychological tests that claim some pilots are unfit to carry firearms.

This is especially curious given the rejected pilots are apparently still capable:

  • of assuming the awesome responsibility for multi million aircraft
  • of flying the aircraft
  • of the responsibility for thousands lives on a daily basis

Yet somehow these same pilots are unfit to use a simple tool to protect their command.

If in fact a pilot IS judged psychologically unfit to carry a firearm, a reasonable person (that excludes TSA suits) would presume that pilot cannot and should not be entrusted with a multi million dollar vehicle OR the lives of the thousands of people he drives around, or the airport personnel he apparently threatens.

The TSA's mismanagement of the Federal Flight Deck Officers program frankly just doesn't pass the smell test.

Somehow, we are supposed to believe that pilots already trained to carry guns and operate sophisticated weapons systems are somehow unfit to bear arms to protect their aircraft from terrorist bad guys?

What a goat rope! Reportedly, former cops, weapons instructors and military pilots have been rejected by chairborne TSA agents of the anti-gun liberal mafia.

Pilots have filed written complaints questioning the elusive standards and the generic rejection letter that doesn't explain Jack-spit about WHY they were rejected.

In effect the TSA is saying:

  • We trust you to fly the plane
  • We trust you to COMMAND the plane
  • We trust you with the lives of thousands of our passengers.
  • However, we DON'T trust you to have a gun to protect your command.

A retired Air Force colonel/pilot wrote, "The USAF considered me psychologically sound enough to be directly responsible for nuclear weapons�yet a TSA psychologist has determined I am unreliable to carry a weapon in my own airliner."

This is bogus. TSA is blowing smoke. Nico Melendez (TSA spinmeister) said the program's psychological- and background-test system "is the most fair kind of system that we could put in place to qualify as many as possible." BULLFEATHERS!

Is the apparent myopia of the TSA a systemic prejudice against experience or is it a function of liberal antipathy for the tool�guns?

The unexplained rejections, gun-handling rules pilots say threaten security, and the declining number of pilots now willing to participate in the program has finally gotten the attention of several members of Congress. They are drafting legislation to eliminate "roadblocks" they say the TSA has created.

"We are talking about professionals here, but it's just been roadblock after roadblock at TSA. The only thing I can think of is, it's a liberal, knee-jerk reaction to guns," said Rep. Joe Wilson. Amen!

Sen. Jim Bunning, said legislation he and Wilson are drafting will force TSA to implement the program as it was originally intended by Congress.

The FFDO program was established after 9/11and TSA officials say "hundreds" of pilots have completed the one-week training program since it began. Big flipping deal! It could (and should) have been done in a month.

Melendez said, "You can't federalize the pilots they would like federalized in nine months." Yes you can! Faster when you factor in the volume of pilots with military, law enforcement, and firearms training who could and should be fast tracked. In case the TSA didn't get the memo, "We are AT WAR!"

Officers are abandoning the program because of rules that require them to carry guns in lockboxes at all times instead of in shoulder holsters, and the weapons cannot be accessed until they are behind reinforced cockpit doors. They say the procedures make the flight deck vulnerable to attack every time the cockpit door is open.

The evaluations are "just insulting" and one of many regulations designed as "a series of roadblocks to block it from becoming effective." 40204-100150-3132r.htm

To paraphrase Gary Allen, If we were just dealing with the law of averages, half of the events affecting our well-being should be good�If we were dealing with just incompetence, government should make an occasional mistake in our favor.

The TSA has intentionally sabotaged a program they don't like. It is bad enough we have activist judges poaching on legislative responsibilities�we can't afford activist bureaucrats cherry picking which regulations they choose to implement.

� 2004 Geoff Metcalf - All Rights Reserved

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"Geoff Metcalf is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host for TALK AMERICA and a veteran media performer. He has had an eclectic professional background covering a wide spectrum of radio, television, magazine, and newspapers. A former Green Beret and retired Army officer he is in great demand as a speaker. Visit Geoff's Web Site: While you're at it - pick up a copy of Geoff's latest book!  E-mail:








"If in fact a pilot IS judged psychologically unfit to carry a firearm, a reasonable person (that excludes TSA suits) would presume that pilot cannot and should not be entrusted with a multi million dollar vehicle OR the lives of the thousands of people he drives around..."