Why is Congress trying to make it harder to see where private jets are flying?
Deep in the embattled FAA funding bill is a provision that would make it far more difficult to track private jet flights.
It’s very difficult to see a legitimate interest in rolling back public access to the flights of private aircraft, especially when tracking aircraft provides key information for investigative journalism. Add to that concern the $5 Million in disclosed private trips that Members of Congress have accepted this year (despite attempts to ban privately funded travel), and a grim picture emerges. (And those are just the trips we know about.) Exactly who is Congress protecting with this pro-secrecy provision?
Section 119A of S. 1596:
SEC. 119A. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, none of the funds made available under this Act or any prior Act may be used to implement or to continue to implement any limitation on the ability of any owner or operator of a private aircraft to obtain, upon a request to the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, a blocking of that owner’s or operator’s aircraft registration number from any display of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Aircraft Situational Display to Industry data that is made available to the public, except data made available to a Government agency, for the noncommercial flights of that owner or operator.
h/t Daniel Morgan.
Update: For those wondering what kind of reporting is made possible through jet disclosures:
New York Times, For Perry, Private Jets Have Been Key to Public Job
St. Petersburg Times, Who’s on all those private jets up above Tampa Bay?
McClatchy, Who owned drug plane that crashed in Mexico?
Another one: Common Blog, Who was at the Koch Corporate Caucus in Vail, Colo.?