Pilot defends posting videos of airport security lapses online

Daily Mail

A pilot who posted YouTube videos criticising security at San Francisco International Airport has said he is shock at the national uproar they have created.

Chris Liu has defended the footage for exposing security lapses at the airport and said he did not think so many people watched the video upload site.

The 50-year-old, who lives in Colfax, California, recently posted the videos showing how ground crew can enter secure areas by swiping security cards without undergoing further screenings.

The videos have since been taken down.

Speaking on ABC’s Good Morning America, he said he only wanted to highlight the disparity between airport workers and passengers when going through security checks.

He said: ‘I don’t think I was jeopardising the safety. I didn’t really think anyone was watching YouTube.’

In one of the videos, he adds: ‘All I wanted to do was identify the disparity between upstairs and downstairs.

‘As you can see, airport security is kind of a farce. It’s only smoke and mirrors so you people believe there is actually something going on here.’

He added in a previous ABC interview: ‘People don’t understand that when they walk through the TSA checkpoints, well, they are getting… a groping, but they don’t understand that all those people you see outside, the ground personnel, all the caterers, all the airline cleaners, they get virtually nothing.’

Mr Liu, who has worked for the airline for more than a decade, has been suspended from an anti-terrorism programme that let him carry a gun on planes and is under investigation by the Transportation Security Administration.

His lawyer, Don Werno, has said his client decided to go public after his identity was discovered by reporters.

The video clips, taken on a mobile phone, have become internet hits – but Mr Liu could now face charges for sharing security secrets.

Mr Werno told the TV show: ‘I think the issue here is there’s a major national security problem that Chris has helped to expose.

‘We can have an intelligent dialogue about real security, or we can talk about smoke and mirrors.’

The videos were first posted on YouTube on November 28. Three days later Mr Liu said four federal air marshals and two sheriff’s deputies questioned him about the footage at his home.

His federally issued firearm was confiscated, along with his federal flight deck officer credentials.

Mr Liu’s permit to carry the weapon is being reevaluated, as well as his status as a federal flight deck officer.

A statement from the TSA said it held ‘all employees and those serving as federal flight deck officers to the highest ethical standards’.

‘The TSA responded and took action in this situation because the pilot in question was an FFDO. FFDOs must be able to maintain sensitive security information as a condition of the program.’

Mr Liu is also a helicopter test pilot in the Army Reserve and flew missions for the UN in Macedonia.

The TSA has faced increasing criticism over its security procedures.

Earlier this month, a businessman told how he accidentally travelled on a flight with a loaded handgun in his luggage.

He did not discover he had the weapon in his hand luggage until he reached his hotel and unpacked his bag.

Female passengers have complained about the new pat down checks at security checkpoints, with many claiming they amount to groping.

Scridb filter