Pilots angry over how TSA handled botched Christmas Day attack - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Pilots angry over how TSA handled botched Christmas Day attack

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NATIONWIDE (CNN) -- It was breaking news around the world on Christmas.

But some airline pilots say they didn't get enough information about the terror attempt aboard Flight 253 and they're blaming the federal government.

CNN's Jeanne Meserve reports.

A man with a bomb tries to take down an airplane. The bomb fails to ignited and passengers and crew jump into action to prevent catastrophe.

But are all other aircraft in the skies warned? No.

And some pilots are furious.

"Outrage.  The pilot force is outraged that they didn't receive this information.  That most of them received it on the ground and most of them received it on the news." says Mike Karn from the Coalition of Airline Pilots Association.

The only pilots who were notified and told to take security precautions were those on flights inbound from Europe.

"Within an hour to 90 minutes of the incident occurring," says Janet Napolitano, the Secretary of Homeland Security. "All 128 flights in the air had been notified to take some special measures in light of what had occurred on the northwest airlines flight."

128 were notified, but at the time the Northwest Flight landed there were more than 3500 flights in the air over the U.S., and the number grew through the afternoon.

The TSA says in a statement it made "a strategic risk-based decision" to notify only some pilots based on "intelligence information."

But the pilots say: remember history.

911 and other Al-Qaeda plots have involved multiple attacks launched almost simultaneously.

And on Christmas Day, the pilots say, the TSA had no way of knowing if that pattern was being repeated, they say pilots should have been informed. 

"It's important that all of our airborne crews receive this information so they can modify their security procedures and monitor passengers, restrict movement in the cabin, monitor access to the cockpit door.  But that was not done in this case." says Karn.

There is a concrete example of why such notification can be important.

On September 11th, passengers on Flight 93 were able to thwart the hijackers and take the plane down in a field, because they had learned in the air about the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

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