TSA Chief Defends Pat-Downs, Addresses John Tyner Complaint

Paula Duffy's picture

TSA administrator John Pistole took to the airwaves to defend full body scans and physical pat-down alternatives for passengers who pass through airport security in the U.S. In a CNN interview, he admitted there may be alternative methods being rolled out for flight crews.

Pistole told CNN host John Roberts that the TSA is trying to be fair to everyone, including those passengers who comply with enhanced security procedures in place at some U.S. airports. Why should those who refuse to be scanned or searched be allowed on an airliner, when his agency's purpose is to ensure that air travel is safe for everyone, he asked.

“The bottom line is, if somebody doesn’t go through proper security screening, they’re not going to go on the flight,” Pistole told Roberts. He added that the reason for the procedures is to ensure that “there’s not a group of boxcutters, or liquid explosives, or underwear bombs, or shoe bombs, or whatever” getting on board a plane."

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The TSA is in a bind since more people are becoming unhappy with the new security methods despite the hue and cry that erupts after someone gets aboard a plane with a weapon or what appears to be one.

John Tyner, a passenger in San Diego recorded his encounter with TSA officials

Addressing complaints by flight attendants and pilots about the use of full body scanning, the TSA chief hinted that help might be on the way for pilots, at the very least. Last week, flight attendants were up in arms about what they considered inappropriate touching of their genitals.

The CNN host asked why pilots are screened at all inasmuch as they have the biggest weapon of all at their disposal - the aircraft itself. Pistole said that was at the heart of discussions with the pilots' union about some leeway in the " a rule is a rule" mantra of the TSA, but wasn't willing to give much of a hint at what that compromise might be.

Over the weekend, a man at the San Diego International Airport, John Tyner caused a scene and caught the audio on his cell phone recorder. After refusing to submit to the body scanning he also protested a physical pat down. The San Diego Union-Tribune included this tidbit from the conversation between the flier and TSA workers. "If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested."

Tyner was taken out of the airport by security and told that for his refusal to undergo mandated security procedures he could be subject to legal action and hit with up to a $10,000 fine. John Tyner's blog with audio of the event can be found here.

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