Congress upset over TSA's 'pilot insecurity' rule


AOPA continues lobbying effort

November 2, 2003

Members of Congress are expressing their concern over TSA's "pilot insecurity rule," which permits the agency to declare a pilot a security risk based on secret information and force the FAA to revoke the pilot's certificate. AOPA continued its lobbying efforts this week against the rule.

AOPA President Phil Boyer today met with the powerful chairman of the House Transportation Committee, Don Young of Alaska. As Boyer explained the rule, Rep. Young became angry and demanded of his staff, "Did you know about this?" The staff said that they were receiving "tons" of mail from Alaska pilots. Rep. Young indicated he would take legislative measures to change the rule.

Click for larger image
AOPA Director of Advanced Technology Randy Kenagy (right) briefs Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) on the Capstone advanced avionics suite during a visit to AOPA headquarters today.

Meanwhile, AOPA Senior Vice President of Government and Technical Affairs Andy Cebula made the case against the TSA rule with Montana Representative Denny Rehberg during a visit to AOPA headquarters today. Rep. Rehberg sits on the House aviation subcommittee, and he too indicated unhappiness with the rule.

And on Capitol Hill today, Senator Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) raised the issue of the "pilot insecurity rule" with FAA Administrator Marion Blakey during a Commerce Committee hearing. He said the TSA rule turns the agency into the "accuser, judge, jury and court of appeals for pilots," and asked Blakey, "Do you feel this is fair?" Blakey replied that Homeland Security and TSA were charged with devising the procedures, and the FAA had provided "comment."

Sen. Burns closed saying, "This looks like an impossible situation if you can't face your accuser. This flies in the face of the American judicial system."

[See also AOPA's regulatory brief and the final rules: Ineligibility for an Airman Certificate Based on Security Grounds ( text | PDF); Threat Assessments Regarding Alien Holders of, and Applicants for, FAA Certificates ( text | PDF); and Threat Assessments Regarding Citizens of the United States Who Hold or Apply for FAA Certificates ( text | PDF).]

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