"Only a Handful of Discrepancies" Along Last Desperate Line of
The TSA has given us yet another reason to want to arm every
pilot who wants to be armed; and those pilots have more reason to
want to be armed, than ever before.
The next issue of TIME
Magazine (June 16), says, "...sources tell TIME, the TSA has
had to put scores of federal air marshals (FAMs) on leave for
discrepancies in background checks. The large number of grounded
FAMs -- the armed men and women who fly undercover and are
authorized to use deadly force -- has industry veterans worried.
'It raises concerns about the entire TSA vetting process,' says
Captain Bob Lambert, who flies for a major airline and is president
of the Airline Pilots' Security Alliance. 'FAMs are arguably the
most important part of our security system, but now, after several
months of them flying around with weapons and the responsibility to
shoot to kill, the TSA has to question their honesty?' TSA
spokesman Brian Turmail says, 'The FAMs have undergone extensive
and complete background investigations, and during a rapid buildup
of personnel, only a handful of discrepancies have arisen. The TSA
has acted quickly to clear those up and will take appropriate
So, the TSA, which canned 1208 screeners last week, half
of whom sported suspicious background items, now has canned
[or maybe just, "taken appropriate action" against] some -- it
never gives any real information -- of the tiny corps of
largely-demoralized Air Marshals.
TSA's administration-approved foot-dragging may cost us
another airliner some day...
The pilot-arming program, as ANN predicted, is being delayed as
much as possible by the TSA. The class of the original 44 pilots who were
authorized to carry guns (out of an initial class of 48, four were deemed "unfit"
for psychological, and possibly additional, reasons), and an
unknown and unverifiable number of Air Marshals, are all that are
protecting our flights.
The TSA, trying its best to delay the arming of any more pilots,
has decided that the training facility it used in Georgia isn't
good enough, and is moving its training to New Mexico, because...
well, they won't say, exactly; but many suspect that the entire
reason may have to do with the delay itself, rather than the
facility in Georgia, which the TSA itself had said was the only
qualified training center in the country...