I’ve often stated — as have many — that all the stringent and invasive procedures being used by TSA at airports are more of a smokescreen for the benefit of public imagery, to give people a false sense of security. Meanwhile, what’s going on behind and under the scenes is about as secure as a paper padlock.

Sophisticated terrorists, such as the al Qaeda variety, go through a great deal of planning before they carry out an attack. They know the security systems in airports and on planes better than the TSA. While Grandma Moses and Pastor Jeb Smith are being manhandled and X-rayed at the gate, loading and catering procedures are far from secure. It would only take one explosive device inside a suitcase in the belly of a plan, with a cell phone wired to the detonator, to bring down an aircraft remotely.

And even if some baggage is screened, one corrupt handler, or caterer, could plant a weapon. The Achilles Heel in airline security, is with the caterers and baggage handlers. TSA certainly knows that. The pilots know it better than anyone. I’m sure, if you polled any pilots and flight attendants you know, they’d tell you the same — maybe. (“Shh – don’t ever say I told you this.”)

That’s why one 50 year-old career pilot recently used his cell phone to video all the areas aircraft security that is at risk at the airport in San Francisco, and posted it on YouTube as an expose’. For his actions, the pilot is being punished by the government. Federal authorities, including four U.S. Marshals, came to his house the next day and relieved him of his firearm and his weapons permit. (??) And while the video was pulled from YouTube, the pilot — who prefers to remain anonymous — had released it to ABC News. The following links provide an article and a Video news report:

Click here: Sacramento-area pilot punished for YouTube video

Now the video, via ABC News:

Click here: TSA Punishes Pilot Who Posted YouTube Vids

Truth is, the government is trying to make us all think that security is at maximum because of the advanced machinery being used. While we might be intercepting threats at the gate, criminals and terrorists have opportunities to come through the back door unnoticed. Sushant Deb and Igor Livits, aviation security consultants, recently posted an article in which they say, “Airport attacks underscore the fact that weak areas can be exploited by terrorists. Unfortunately, it appears that human factors of safety and security are being seriously overlooked due to over-reliance on technology.”

One news commentator criticized the pilot for the stealth manner in which he took the videos and then for posting them on YouTube. She said the pilot should have turned his information over to the TSA, and not on-line for the world to see. That would be going by the book. But, I’ll bet the pilot had already tried that — likely more than once — and got nowhere. Ergo, his desperate measure to expose the dangers when nothing else worked.

Safety first.

There’s two ways that the feds could have handled this pilot. One, would be to acknowledge that there are always ways to improve on the state of airport security, or the other to dispatch six law enforcement agents out to his house like a posse as though he was a criminal and remove his concealed weapon permit. They chose the latter. Anyone surprised?

Then, of course, we don’t know much about the standards and screening being applied in the hiring process of those faceless handlers who have access to the bellies of our airplanes. Go to Google and type in “Airport Baggage Handler Arrest,” and see how often these folks are being caught committing crimes. That will provide a small indication of the vulnerable nature of the security through baggage handlers. It’s downright scary. Here’s a couple samples:

Click here: Phila. Airport baggage handlers arrested for theft |

Click here: Newark airport baggage handlers accused in cocaine

Remember, these are the ones who have been caught…and many more.

We should be following the example of El Al Airlines/ Ben Gurion Airport systems.

* Thoroughly screen every employee who works with baggage and catering.

* Profile and interrogate

* Deploy an armed Air Marshal on every flight.

No, I’m no holding my breath.

Here’s one more piece from Seattle Times, in which another anonymous pilot shares his fears about slack security with baggage handlers:

Click here: No pat-downs for baggage handlers at Sea-Tac – Seattle News

Also, check out this story, video speaks for itself:


  1. Felicia Katz-Taylor December 25, 2010 at 1:42 am #

    El Al, Israeli Airlines, is the highest secured system, and we should follow in
    their footsteps.

    • Christopher Jones December 27, 2010 at 9:53 am #

      Felicia has the answer. Let’s take a system which actually works… the one El Al uses, and apply it.

      Oh…I guess that would be politically incorrect. Gee we could be accused of profiling. Funny thing about profiling, if you ask any of us who worked in law enforcement, is that it WORKS. It is no excuse for picking on any particular group of people, but profiling prevents, stops, and solves crimes. I thought that is what government was supposed to do for us…

  2. Ed Hensley December 26, 2010 at 2:19 am #

    Felicia has summed up Real Airline Security in one sentence. Meanwhwile, the
    TSA continues it’s Dog & Pony Show, at the expense of pilots, aircrews and the traveling public. As shown by the ABIA TSA & Austin Police arrest of a woman who
    refused an enhanced pat down (sexual molestation of a prior rape victim), when
    Big Sis or her TSA Agents speak, we, the traveling public had better “Sit!”

    How sad, to see KVUE TV (ABC) Austin defend the TSA, with slanted coverage.
    Check those closing quotes, from other passengers……”it’s for our protection.
    ….”I feel a little safer…..”the law is the law.” No witness is quoted asking if just
    maybe, excessive force was used in the felony prone handcuff arrest of this
    woman, by 3 Austin Police Officers (local police co-opted by Big Sis). OK, if
    the lady went physical on the police, the force may have been justified. But, I fail
    to read or see that this lady phycially resisted. And, check this closing line:

    “The TSA says less than three percent of travelers get a pat-down.”

    Oh, I see said the peon…since 97% are not groped, then the 3 % who are had
    better just shut up, stand still and take it. What happend to my America?

  3. george p.wolf December 26, 2010 at 6:59 am #

    Really disgusting! I’ve come to the conclusion that laws are only for the law abiding.

    Immigration is a farce with it’s long waits for documentation. My brother’s wife, from Columbia, has been waiting for months for her documentation when all she needed to do was go south and come across the Rio Grande… this appears to be easier than following the law.

    Do the bad guys have a CCW permit? We can carry in a glove box without a permit.

    This could go on and on. Everything today seems to be smoke-and-mirrors.

  4. Dr. Jamie Marlowe December 26, 2010 at 8:18 am #

    Felicia is correct. No need to comment further. She said it all.

  5. Fran of 57 December 26, 2010 at 8:32 am #

    I use to work for an airline and when I read that article I was so happy . . . as this pilot is saying what I have been harping on for years! This “show” by TSA when you checkin at the airport is just that . . . nothing but a “show”!

    As all the people working “under” the airport, like the custodial people, food service people; baggage handlers; mechanics; cleaning people, etc. . . . NONE of them have to go thru security!

    So ask yourself . . . what is the point of hasling good, ordinary citizens when they allow anything, and everything, near the planes when they are one the ground?

    I just feel sorry for the pilot that he was treated that way by the gov’t. But to keep up their “seurity show charade” they had to do that to send a message to any other pilots or airport workers who might be tempted to speak out! How sad!

    • Christopher Jones December 27, 2010 at 9:55 am #

      Fran…I suspect that a lot of perverts are going to get off on this new TSA procedure…which is as you say just a show.

  6. Anonymous December 26, 2010 at 8:39 am #

    The corruption within our government and their agencies is appalling. There is such a lack of oversight on this bloated administration and all its goodie-laden agencies that we arefortunate not to have had a serious breach with many casualties.

    I think what galls me more than anything, is the willingness of the president’s supporters to pooh pooh and overlook all of these sophomoric attempts at running our government by those incompetents who are in charge . They place their opportunity for power and enrichment above the safety of our country.
    It is immoral and unfathomable.

  7. Les December 26, 2010 at 10:03 am #

    I could think of a hundred ways to sabotage a plane, and I’m a law abiding US citizen. How many more could someone intent on hurting us think of? We should make TSA officials US Marshalls and put them on every flight. Then maybe we’d see real reform. It’s obvious they are doing this to harass us, not keep us safe. If safety were their only purpose why are they so Politically Correct? That will kill us all.

  8. Richard Moore December 26, 2010 at 11:02 am #

    Marshall,There’s more to be concerned about than baggage handlers. A few years
    ago I was waiting to board a flight from Newark. After checking in and clearing
    security, I had more than an hour to spare so I decided to have something to eat.
    There was a restaurant out on the concourse. It was one of those retro style
    places made to look like a 50’s diner, so there was a long counter with fixed stools.
    I picked a stool near one end and ordered food and drink. It was a Sunday morning and I was the only customer. The server spent more time in the kitchen area than out front which didn’t bother me since I was in no hurry. At some point I
    noticed a molded plastic tray of flatware including a couple of dozen steak knives
    on the service side of the counter directly in front of me and within easy reach.
    The steak knives were the broad bladed kind with sharp points and serrations
    part way down the blade. They were at least 8″ or 9″ long with blades about 5″.
    Big enough to be deadly and they were available to anyone. Remember this is INSIDE the security screen. I pondered the idea of pointing out the problem to
    TSA. It was now getting close to boarding time for my flight and I felt that getting
    involved with the security people at this point would only hold me up and maybe
    cause them to hassle me. I flew home feeling a little guilty that maybe someone
    would be hurt or killed by one of those knives and that I could have prevented it.
    Thank God that so far as I know that hasn’t happened and maybe some citizen
    with more guts than I sounded an alarm and the problem has been corrected.
    The point is when citizens are afraid of being punished by law enforcement for
    trying to do the right thing, the system breaks down and everyone is in more

  9. Jack Milavic December 26, 2010 at 11:36 am #

    More concerns expressed about security but to deaf ears. Pointed out many times in past 18 months that there is available technology that is able to detect any explosive in real time available and offered to TSA and DOD by a US Government Research and Development Office but always received with a “oh that’s nice, by the way did you see the football game last night”. Aforementioned technology was developed for the US Government but not by a large industrial entity.

  10. JKR December 26, 2010 at 1:52 pm #

    Passenger profiling is certainly appropriate.

    Thorough background checks for baggage handlers, caterers, and other service personnel hardly exists. This has always been an Achilles’ heel in airline security, The majority of airline thefts take place during the loading-unloading process, including in the belly of the aircraft. Access to such jobs is not very difficult.

    Using El Al as an example is an over-simplification. We may take some lessons, such as profiling, from El Al. However, it is unrealistic to think that we can follow most of their procedures, such as arriving and remaining in a secure area for two to four hours prior to each flight, intensive screening, etc.

  11. Dave Creelman December 26, 2010 at 4:18 pm #

    Since this is all out in the open, I guess I can comment. I was a police sergeant at Miami International Airport for the last 10 years with my Department. The caterers coming on airside were to open the back door of their truck while civilian airport security looked in. That was it. Needless to say, anything could be hidden in the carts. As stated, baggage handlers were frequently arrested for everything from guns to drug smuggling to theft of passengers luggage. Ever want to know what happended to all that “lost luggage”? Guess.

    I also had the privilege of working a uniform security detail with El Al airlines on their flights from the counter check in to escorting the plane to the taxi way when it was ready to depart. I will not comment on their security procedures but as was previously stated, we should probably adopt some of their methods including profiling. As mentioned above, it would be impractical to interview each passenger, but profiling and interview could be used on a case by case basis by roving plain clothes officers. To hell with the ACLU, these are not criminal investigations, if passengers don’t want it, they can take a bus.

  12. Jerry December 26, 2010 at 4:58 pm #


    I totally agree with Dave, its time to tell the politicians and communist leaning ACLU to pound sand and profile those most likely to be involved in domestic and foreign sponsored terrorism. This sorry ass administration would sooner break bread with the Muslim extremists than offend them by profiling those most likely to be involved. During 35 years in law enforcement, if you were looking for a subject who was a specific race, you didn’t waste your time looking at people of other races. There is a well established, very defined profile of potential terrorists, USE IT!! If this offends the Muslim community, I don’t give a damm, its their brethren who are the terrorists.

  13. JKR December 26, 2010 at 10:48 pm #

    Ref Dave’s comments:
    The head coach of the Dallas Cowboys was returning to Dallas from Miami. His golf clubs were to be with him on the flight and the station manager of the major airline on which he was travelling knew of occasional thefts, so he personally put them into the aircraft cargo hold. They still never made it to Dallas.

    If an employee who worked the ramp was fired (not prosecuted) for theft, and that employee sought a job with a different airline then the theft information would generally not be passed on, as the firing airline feared lawsuits. This was particularly true of caterers and other such service providers.

    When the Air Marshal program first began one of the complaints from the marshal’s was that they carried their firearms when on assignment. However, if on their return flights to their home base while not officially on duty,they had to store their firearms in their luggage in the belly of the aircraft.

    The Catch 22 involving firearms on aircraft was that any firearm stored in luggage required the luggage to be tagged stating that a firearm was inside. This increased the odds on its theft. It was better to take a chance, store it illegally, and run the risk of it not being covered by insurance should it be stolen.

    Hopefully, much of the above has been resolved, but the weaknesses are evident.

  14. Helen Bennett December 27, 2010 at 3:40 pm #

    As an interesting aside, I was traveling from San Diego a few years ago. When I got home and searched my luggage, I found someone else’s bag of souvenirs in the outer pouch of my suitcase, a teddy bear and a T-shirt from Alabama. I called the airline, but the owner was not found. You never know…

  15. Ed Hensley December 27, 2010 at 4:17 pm #

    Big Sis Doubles Down Again:

    Homeland Security chief defends airport security – AP – 12/27/2010

    Does she think we all fell off the turnip truck just yesterday?

  16. Dave Creelman December 27, 2010 at 6:22 pm #

    Ref JKR’s comments:

    I have flown about six times in the last 4 years out of Orlando International Airport. I always carry my 9 mm in checked baggage. Thank goodness they do have new procedures in this area since the 10 years ago I retired. I have an FAA approved aluminum lockable case. Present it to the counter, sign a slip that insures it is not loaded and open the case for inspection. The slip is placed inside and I lock the case. I also put the gun case in my larger checked luggage. The counter person takes my luggage to TSA and tells them about the gun and that it is unloaded and properly locked along with the ammo. They run it through their x-ray or whatever it is and that is that is that. I am present in case they have any questions and they never have. Same procedure on return. There is no longer a tag that indicates there is a gun in the suitcase. At least that flaw has been corrected over the years. Since I only travel to states that have reciprosity with FL, I simply get my luggage, take it out of the terminal and have concealed carry. I have the state permit and qualify every year with my counties Sheriff’s Dept. under the Federal 2004 Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act. I have talked with some retired guys that are not aware of how easy it is to carry a firearm aboard and aircraft. Don’t leave home without it.

  17. Gary Anderson December 28, 2010 at 8:59 pm #

    Come on Marshall. You must know that the attempted attacks on America have been a joke since 911. Here is the bottom line, if you don’t have Dick Cheney and the oil men helping in a false flag act you get a guy with a car bomb on Times Square, and the bomb is faulty!

    Another Christmas has passed and no attack. Chatter but no attack. Any big attack must be seen as possible false flag. Face it Marshall. You were an investigator. Investigate!

    • Christopher Jones December 29, 2010 at 8:05 am #


  18. Gary Anderson December 29, 2010 at 10:38 am #

    Christopher, without Cheney involvement, the terrorists did not and do not have the capability to do anything but set off firecrackers. The link on my name points out that the Taliban went to Texas in 1997 as guests of Unocal and did not become enemies until they refused to build the pipeline to Halliburton investments in the Caspian Sea. They made an enemy of Dick Cheney when they refused to build out that pipeline.

    That gave Cheney motive both for facilitating 911 and for the Afghan war.

    • Christopher Jones December 29, 2010 at 11:08 am #

      That is without a doubt the biggest load of unadulterated crap I have ever read. It makes as much sense as when Rosie O’Wacko wrote that she knew the govt. blew up the World Trade Center Bldgs. because steel doesn’t melt. Gary…stay away from the Kool Aid. Please.

      • Gary Anderson December 29, 2010 at 11:07 pm #

        You can talk like that to Rosie but a lot of libertarians know the truth too. And Jesse Ventura would kick your butt. Which just proves that you are a windbag and too lazy to study the facts.

        • Christopher Jones December 30, 2010 at 7:45 am #

          Lets see. You are calling me a windbag, and saying anyone who watches FNC a person has a low IQ. You are funny! (I won’t even go down the Jesse Ventura road. My cat has a higher IQ than Ventura. Ooops, I don’t have a cat.)
          Like all left wing zeolots, you resort to name calling, innuendo, and threats. You do not back up your name calling, etc., with facts.
          My experience with those who decry FNC, is that they never watch it, only criticize it. Wonder if you know that the cross section of people who watch FNC is broader than ANY OTHER news source? That the audience is growing faster than ANY OTHER news source, including the NY Times? (Actually, the readership of the Times continues to shrink).
          Here is my guess. Gary Anderson is some 16 year old, who figured out how to use a computer, and has no parental guidance whatsoever. You don’t study facts, you read unadulterated crap on the internet, and take it for the truth. Sad.

          I will pray for you.

  19. Dave Creelman December 29, 2010 at 4:59 pm #

    Gary, you should thank goodness for the First Amendment. You hang in there guy. Don’t let overwhelming facts cloud your belief system. Here is a song for you.

    • Christopher Jones December 29, 2010 at 6:36 pm #

      Dave. The song is a riot.
      You said it best. Never let the overwhelming facts cloud your belief system. I love it.

      , with vigor.

      • Ed Hensley December 29, 2010 at 8:18 pm #

        Song fit’s Mr. Gary Anderson to a T! Had to search my facebook friends list to make sure a 911 Truther, so named, is
        not polluting my 4300 + friends. All clear, as I expected, as I
        have not read such nonsense on facebook in several months.
        Liberal Trolls & 911 Truthers are deleted & blocked from my
        fb page on sight. At 72 years old, I just don’t have time to waste
        on lala land conspiracy analysis of such nonsense.

        • Gary Anderson December 29, 2010 at 11:09 pm #

          Ed, you have to be smart to understand about the Taliban going to Texas. Do you deny it? Do you deny the BBC report?

          Do you think we are stupid? Or do you have a lazy streak and have no will to understand the obvious. It is an IQ thing and Faux news listeners have low IQ’s.

          • Christopher Jones December 30, 2010 at 7:47 am #

            We don’t THINK you are stupid.

            • Gary Anderson December 30, 2010 at 10:37 am #

              Chris, check out the video above where I say to pray for Dick Cheney.

              • Christopher Jones December 30, 2010 at 1:22 pm #

                My last comment on this whole sordid thing.

                I looked at your video. If you truly believe that Dick Cheney caused the 9-11 attacks, and that the video showing a controlled explosion is the same as what happened to the World Trade Centers, I feel extremely sorry for you.

                What no one seems to understand is that the real culpret behind the World Trade Centers’ collapse was Big Foot. Actually, he was aided by Champ (famed monster of the deep in Lake Champlain), and by the Loch Ness Monster. All the Big Foot … or would that be Big Feet??? got together and set those charges on each floor, and they conveniently put the charges ONLY on the floors UNDER where the jets hit the towers. It was diabolical. Just the training that those terrorists got to hit the correct floors… just above the charges which would implode the towers…those Big Feet were genius’. And they rode down the Hudson River on the backs of the sea monsters.

                And the Tooth Fairy was mad because she was left out of all this.

                Go back and listen to the song Dave C. mentioned.

                • Gary Anderson December 30, 2010 at 3:41 pm #

                  Are you serious? The implosions are identical. What? You can’t trust your own eyes? That is truly pathetic.

          • Ed Hensley December 30, 2010 at 3:40 pm #

            I deny you any more of my time Gary.
            End of 2 way comm. PERIOD!

            • Christopher Jones December 30, 2010 at 4:34 pm #

              Ed. Right on.
              I remember an old boss of mine in Pompano Beach used to say, when confronted with insanity…if I have to talk to him, I have to check my brain at the door. If you know what I mean.

              Maybe if we just ignore him, he will go away.

  20. Gary Anderson December 30, 2010 at 5:28 pm #

    Hey I just appreciate Marshall Frank allowing comments. Many conservative commentators do not. I know what I believe and that is all that matters. Visit me here: if you want to learn about the housing ponzi scam. Anyone who blames the borrowers instead of the banksters is brainwashed.

  21. Fran of 57 January 2, 2011 at 10:04 am #

    Many people in this country already have security clearance for one reason or another. Why can’t they issue those people an ID card, w/their finger print on it, similar to our driver’s licenses which are suppose to now be unable to be copied . . . and a machine, similar to those at Disney world park entrances . . . . so you slide your card thru the machine at the turnstyle and put your thumb print on that machine as the card is going thru that verifies it’s you ?

    Then you know exactly who is going thru . . . there is no reason to do all that unnecessary stuff to people like Marshall, or myself! And others should be able to apply for, and get, this same clearance.

    Maybe we should just outsource the TSA to Disney . . . they seem to be doing a good job w/getting people into their parks effectively!

    • Ed Hensley January 2, 2011 at 9:07 pm #

      Sorry Fran, – Your idea makes too much sense for Big Sis or her Big
      Boss Obama. Besides, a foolsafe biometric I.D. system, for trusted
      frequent flyers and for all Airline Aircrews, would work too good. It would eliminate the need for half the TSA Agents now groping &
      xraying honest flyers, from toddlers to grandmas. Hey, you lay off any
      goverment workers and your costing Obama & the Democrats votes.

  22. Sally Schoeneweiss January 2, 2011 at 9:41 pm #

    Very interesting and thought provoking article, Marshall.