Analysis: Will Foolish Mistakes and Nav Errors Become A Capital
For those of you who
had to suffer through some of the wildly inaccurate
and speculative reporting that appeared on various networks as
a result of Wednesday's foolish ADIZ transgression, few of the low
moments exceeded those associated with a Fox News pundit by the
name of John Loftus.
Loftus' own self-promotion describes him thus... "As a
former Justice Department prosecutor, John Loftus once held some of
the highest security clearances in the world, with special access
to NATO Cosmic, CIA codeword, and Top Secret Nuclear files. As a
private attorney, he works without charge to help hundreds of
intelligence agents obtain lawful permission to declassify and
publish the hidden secrets of our times. He is the author of four
history books, three of which have been made into films, two were
international best sellers, and one was nominated for the Pulitzer
Loftus (below, right), apparently not a fan of private aviation
(and based on his bio, without much of an aviation background),
intoned much about the dangers imposed on the public by GA... based
on his credentials as a former member of the Justice Department. In
addition to some terribly unflattering things uttered about GA,
Loftus (billed as a "a security analyst and FOX News contributor")
told Fox News that, "Almost nothing worked — this small plane
should never have gotten within four miles" (of the Capitol).
Loftus also was credited with statements that asserted that the
plane was too small to puncture the walls of the building and a
"running evacuation" of the federal buildings should not have been
called. Loftus added pronouncements about the danger presented
by small GA aircraft... while neglecting the other means by which
common transportation systems (Ryder trucks, for instance) might be
abused as far more effective weapons delivery systems.
It was these, and
other, insulting remarks about GA that upset a pilot enough to
confront Loftus, by email, about his worrisome pontifications. This
pilot (who asked us not to use his name as he is now afraid of
potential repercussions), wrote Loftus to note...
Note To Loftus
"Your recent public comments about general aviation pilots
being rich, arrogant businessmen who fly around like the rules
don't apply to them was way out of line. You of all people should
know that a few bad apples are not representative of the entire
group,especially when that group has done so much good for our
country and it's citizens.
Believe me, NO ONE is more upset about the actions of the jackass
that violated the Washington ADIZ than the General Aviation
It was a polite and direct (if restrained) counterpoint to
Loftus' inflammatory remarks, rendered in a proper and professional
tone (for which this flyer should be congratulated-- he did a
fine job of making his point). Loftus responded... anwering this
pilot with one of the most chilling and objectionable statements
(apparently rendered on a PDA or Blackberry, due to the
mis-spellings and absence of appropriate syntax) on this matter
that we have seen thus far. Please note that his response(s) are
unedited by ANN, and presented exactly as we received them.
"BUT IT KEEPS HAPPENING! hundreds of
violations a year. everyone except you understands we are at war.
either your hobby stops being a threat to national sedcurity, or we
start to shoot you down. that might get your
PS: a single pilot cessna with a 300 pount
fiberglass tank and a BW sprayer could have killed 85,000 peopleon
todays flight path. we cannt risk your navigation errors any
ANN was truly alarmed at this response. We simply couldn't
believe that someone who claims to have held the positions he has
would utter such a foolish (in our opinion) statement... so we
asked for verification. The pilot that started this discourse
verified it by email and telephone... and then Loftus himself, by
email, confirmed the response and added the following...
Loftus Statement to ANN
"I know most GA types are responsible
patriotic individuals, but that is not good enough anymore. We have
to stop these red zone overflights before a terrorist realizes that
it is perfect cover for an aerosol disbursement on the nations
capitol. It has happened too many times and the industry is doing
nothing about it. i recommend chganging federal laws to seize the
aircraft of thise who intrude in the 50 mile zone, and shoot down
authority within the 15 mile. GA is a privilege not a right, and
you have to balance your hobby against national
ANN is astounded by these sentiments. While there is some
potential validation in his statements about flying being a
privilege, we are amazed that he would advocate the diminishment of
flyer's rights while not demanding the same from everyone who
operated any vehicle that as equal or more potential to be used as
a weapon. Looking over his web site, we've seen no similar
diatribes against those who operate rental trucks and vans (such as
that used in the first attack on the World Trade Center).
Worse, the above
statement is riddled with critical errors... especially the part
that states that "It has happened too many
times and the industry is doing nothing about it." Mr.
Loftus blew it pretty badly with this ridiculous statement in that
he is ignoring the immense value of programs instituted by our
industry, especially the exceptionally effective AOPA Airport Watch program (among
others) which has enlisted (quite willingly and patriotically)
nearly every flyer and aviation staffer in the country to become an
extra set of eyes and ears in the fight to protect this nation.
Even the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation
Security Agency, agencies who are loath to credit any entity that
they don't, themselves, control has lauded Airport Watch with extravagant and
genuine praise -- which is much deserved.
ANN thinks that Loftus is WAY off base (to put it
mildly). While it was but a matter of time before someone made
such sickening statements (advocating the seizure of errant
aircraft and the killing -- via shoot-down -- of transgressing
aviators), the fact that someone actually said something like this
out-loud, and on an internationally televised broadcast, as a
new low in media punditry and a dangerous position for a former
Justice official to take. It is also far less than the "Fair and
Balanced" approach touted by Fox News... and we're quite inclined
to abandon this news channel if they keep employing off-base
pundits like Loftus.
What Loftus seems to be advocating is dangerous, poorly
conceived and hardly the sentiments we think our Founding Fathers
would have approved of. His statements are some of the most
un-American we have seen in quite the while... and need to be
aggressively and vociferously refuted at every opportunity.
What do you think? More to follow... much more.