Can the TSA do this?

This has been bugging me since it came out, but it looks like it will end up in the courts for a while.

An article describing the TSA’s new powers.

For a look at the actual verbage in the federal registry, go here .

For people who don’t look at links, the gist of the problem is that the TSA can declare any pilot a security threat. The pilot’s license is immediately revoked; the pilot has the option of appealing to the TSA. However, the TSA reserves the right to not disclose information it considers “sensitive”. Thus you can have your license revoked but can never be shown the information that the TSA used to revoke your license.

Since I earn my living with my pilot’s license, I’m a little concerned about this. Any lawyers out there (specifically constitutional types) who can comment on this? Is it legal for the TSA to suddenly declare that it has this power?


I’m not a constitutional* lawyer, but I will bet you a stewardess’ bra that you don’t have a constitutional right to have a pilot’s license and/or conduct Air Ops in the US AOR.


  • US Constitution assumed

But the way the law reads now, its that I actually DO have a right to a pilot’s license unless the guvm’t can prove that I DON’T deserve one. That’s the big issue here.

Go here to find a general description of what it takes to get a (very basic) pilot’s license.

And when I get to the point where I hold an Airline Transport Pilot certificate (ATP), along with the Class I medical every six months, I resent the fact that the TSA can now suddenly declare sovereignty over my livelihood.

No Congress is bound by the Laws of any previous Congress. They are only bound by the constitution. The new Patriot Act or whatever probably overrides the old law, or narrows it by giving the Administration (TSA) the ability to institute what’s called a rule.

NBIT33 , first of all, welcome to the boards!

Second of all, I know all about the legal constraints on Congress. I was asking specifically about an agency created by Congress that has now written rules that seem to exceed its authority.

This new “rule” by the TSA took the form of previous rulings except that it did not have the normal 90-day comment period. The TSA published this rule and said “It is law today. We say so.”

This is where my heartburn is: a federal agency thinks that it can circumvent accepted practices because it is “necessary” or “popular” or something. Whatever it is, it Is NOT securing airplanes!

And as an aside, by hassling me it is NOT making flying any safer. If you can’t trust me, then you can’t trust anyone!

Can you provide a quote that leads you to believe your license is a RIGHT and not a PRIVILEDGE?

Regardless of right/privilege questions (which I’ll get back to later), I would tend to be bothered by the procedural aspect as described in pilot141’s later post – the immediate effect of the rule, with no time for comment/debate, and the “we don’t have to make public the evidence against you” part of it.

As to the right/privilege question – a pilot’s, broadcaster’s, or medical doctor’s license may well be a concession the government makes to individuals it deems fit to engage in a government-regulated activity. But once granted, if revoking said license destroys the individual’s means of livelihood, they do have a right to have it done through a due process rather than just because the government says so. Now, if it were a temporary suspension pending investigation and timely hearing, BEFORE revocation, that’s different.