Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator John Pistole says the intense security searches and screenings at airports will continue for passengers, but airline pilots will be exempt from some physical security checks at airports.
The scanners that show nude images of the person being scanned, or close-quarter body inspections have caused a furor among some passengers and pilots, and Pistole says he understands the public’s distaste for more intense security procedures, particularly hand pat-downs. He called it a "challenge" for federal authorities and airport screeners.
However, Pistole said the attempted bombing of a U.S. bound plane last Christmas and the effort to ship packages with bombs to this country on cargo planes more recently makes tougher security necessary. “The threats are real, and the best way to address those threats are by having the best technology and the best techniques,” he said. “Reasonable people can disagree as to what that blend, or that mix, is between privacy and security, but in the final analysis, I think everybody wants to be safe and secure on that flight,” he said.
In addition to passengers, pilots have complained about being held up in airport security lines with travelers, and forced to go through screening.
TSA now says that pilots traveling in uniform or on airline business will see immediate changes in their screening at airport checkpoints, says a written statement from the agency.
TSA Chief: Vows ‘Minimally Invasive’ Air Screenings
The agency is "constantly evaluating and adapting" security and refining procedures.