Pilots demand better warning

Associated Press / December 31, 2009

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DALLAS - A pilots union said yesterday that federal officials failed to notify crews on planes in the United States about the attempted attack aboard a Northwest Airlines jet on Christmas Day.

The Allied Pilots Association, which represents American Airlines pilots, said it would lobby Congress to require that federal officials notify all flights in the air - no matter where the flights started - as soon as they learn of a possible attack on another plane.

Federal officials said they limited immediate notification of the incident to crews on US-bound flights from Europe because they were considered to face the greatest danger.

“Based on intelligence information at that time, a strategic, risk-based decision was made to notify all 128 flights inbound from Europe,’’ said Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Sterling Payne.

But Mike Karn, an American pilot and the union’s security chairman, said if pilots of planes everywhere had known of the attempt on another jet, they could have imposed security measures.

Agency seeking bloggers’ sources
WASHINGTON - As the government reviews how a suspected terrorist was able to bring a bomb onto a US-bound plane on Christmas, the Transportation Security Administration is going after bloggers who wrote about a directive to increase security after the incident.

TSA special agents served subpoenas to travel bloggers Steve Frischling and Chris Elliott, demanding that they reveal who leaked the security directive. The government says the directive was not supposed to be disclosed to the public.

Frischling said he met with two TSA special agents Tuesday at his Connecticut home for about three hours and again yesterday, when he was forced to hand over his laptop computer. Frischling said the agents threatened to interfere with his contract to write a blog for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines if he didn’t cooperate and provide the name of the person who leaked the memo.

“It literally showed up in my box,’’ Frischling said. “I do not know who it came from.’’

The directive outlined new measures that would be apparent to the traveling public, such as requiring that passengers remain in their seats one hour before landing. It also listed people who would be exempted such as heads of state.