Mon, Jan 27, 2003
Looks For 'Clarification'
After ANN broke the news of the TSA's
latest coup, the Experimental Aircraft Association expressed
concerns regarding new final rules issued Friday by the FAA
Those rules were mandated by Congress [not exactly; the TSA was
given carte blanche to do whatever it takes to make the
world safe --ed] under the Aviation Transportation Security Act of
2001 and were made effective immediately, without an opportunity
for prior public comment. Under the rules, TSA can call on FAA to
immediately revoke or withhold airman certificates if TSA deems an
individual is a "threat to the transportation system or national
security." An individual's certificates would be revoked or
applications denied unless they can fully satisfy TSA that they do
not pose a security threat.
Upon receiving an advance copy of
the rules on January 23 [and saying nothing until Friday], EAA's
Government Relations Office and Legal Advisory Council started an
initial review of provisions contained within the regulations. They
have discovered a number of troubling aspects that set precedents
contrary to established legal proceedings relating to the
revocation of FAA airman's certificates.
"There is no question that national security is the highest
priority for our government and EAA supports those efforts," said
Tom Poberezny, EAA President. "We at EAA understand the mission of
TSA but the process as written leaves room for abuse by those in
the future who may not exercise the proper due diligence."
EAA Isn't 'Opposing;' It 'Seeks Clarification:'
EAA is especially concerned about the procedural aspects
implemented by the new rules. Among the specifics that must be
Unclear definition of what
constitutes a security threat. For those who hold airman
certificates (pilot, repairman, mechanic, etc.), the guidelines as
to what would make them a security threat, and trigger TSA action
against them, remain unclear.
- Limited access by accused to information regarding their case.
Under the rules, airmen would have little access to specific
evidence that supported the revocation process. There are some
options within the appeals process to request evidence, but much of
that evidence may be labeled sensitive or classified, and therefore
remain unavailable. Such classified information is exempt from
provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.
- No opportunities for hearings or impartial appeals process. EAA
officials are concerned that there is no option for an individual
erroneously accused of being a security threat to meet with FAA or
TSA to refute the allegations.
EAA will continue to review the new
rules and will submit formal comments to FAA and TSA prior to the
end of the public-comment period on March 25, 2003. The
public-comment period was established to provide an opportunity for
the public to suggest modifications to the rules.
EAA, which met with TSA on Thursday, January 23, to discuss this
and other security-related issues, will also continue working with
FAA and TSA, requesting additional clarification on how these new
rules will be administered.
EAA will update its members and other aviation enthusiasts on
the specifics and ramifications of these rules, so that they may
use the information as a resource when developing their own
comments to the regulations.
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