THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Filed at 8:01 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government
said Friday that pilots deemed a security threat can have their
licenses taken away without a hearing, prompting an angry
reaction from a pilots' union.
The 66,000-member Air Line Pilots
Association said under the rule, a pilot's career could be ended
by an unsubstantiated accusation.
Capt. Duane Woerth, the union's
president, said pilots won't be able to defend themselves
because they won't have any way of finding out how the
government decided they are a threat.
``This rule clearly crosses the
line separating legitimate security measures from secretive,
unaccountable government conduct,'' Woerth said.
Under the policy, the
Transportation Security Administration would tell the Federal
Aviation Administration that a pilot is a security threat. The
FAA would revoke the pilot's license so the person could not fly
a plane legally in the United States. The pilot could then
appeal to the TSA or FAA.
``If you're not a terrorist, you
don't have anything to worry about,'' TSA spokesman Robert
Johnson said. He called the rule a ``technical correction'' to a
policy that's been in effect for a year.
The rule was enacted without
public comment. It appeared in Friday's Federal Register, which
spurred the pilots' union to issue a statement.
A government official who spoke on
condition of anonymity said in the last year 11 unidentified
pilots, none of them citizens, had their licenses revoked. Seven
appealed and three were reinstated after a review by TSA. Four
revocations were upheld, the official said.
FAA spokesman Greg Martin said the
policy is intended to reduce the threat of aviation-related
Woerth complained that the policy
robs pilots of due process because the government set no
standards, procedures or criteria to determine that someone is a
``The unanswered questions about
how one is determined by TSA to be a ``security threat'' should
evoke a chill in every American,'' Woerth said.