In the email, and always willing to admit when I’m wrong (especially when I am happy about the result):
I am a TSA Test proctor and pilot who found this intresting. I contacted
TSA/Air Marshal Dept and this is what I was told.
Thank you for your inquiry of March 25, 2009, written to the TSA Contact
Center , regarding the status of the Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO)
program within the Office of Law Enforcement/Federal Air Marshal Service.
In the Washington Times’ recent editorial “Guns on a Plane”, several
unfortunate and untrue statements were made regarding the Transportation
Security Administration’s (TSA) FFDO program. Although the editorial is
merely opinion, its inaccuracies may discourage those seeking to join the
thousands of pilots who have already volunteered to become FFDOs. In fact,
the Washington Times recently printed a retraction stating the story was
published in error.
TSA has trained thousands of dedicated volunteers to become FFDOs, and they
are an integral part of our layered approach to transportation security.
There has never been a discussion or plan to end the program as alleged in
the editorial, and there are no plans to transfer funds away from the FFDO
We appreciate that you took the time to share your concerns with us and
hope this information is helpful.
Feel free to pass this on.
I looked, and yes, there is an editorial at the Washington Times stating the program not only has the support of the current administration but increased funds are being sought:
The Obama administration has no plans to end a program that trains commercial airline pilots to carry guns and thwart terrorist attacks, and in fact is seeking to expand resources for oversight and training, government officials and pilots organizations say.
And, to finish the meme, from the Federal Flight Deck Officers Association:
Your voices have been clearly heard in Washington, D.C., and last week’s Op-Ed piece in The Washington Times, combined with expressing your concerns to Congress, has yielded one of the greatest showings of support (to date) from the TSA to operate a successful FFDO program. The Op-Ed retraction in The Washington Times today was a direct result of a defensive TSA responding to the pressure placed on them by Congress, and they publically went on the record.
Good news, and I’m pleased. I hope you are as well.