As we wrote last week, two of the nation’s largest airline pilots unions had recently told their members to refuse full-body scanners at airport security, arguing that pilots have already undergone rigorous background checks before getting their jobs. Now the head of the TSA says their could soon be a rule change that would treat pilots differently than passengers.
Appearing on Good Morning America earlier today, TSA chief John Pistole said, “We’ve had a number of very good discussions with pilots and hope to be announcing something very soon in terms of a good way forward for the pilots for that very reason, using a risk-based intelligence driven process.”
As was pointed out by GMA host George Stephanopolous, if the pilot of a 747 wants to destroy the plane, they don’t need to carry explosive devices onto the flight.
While the aforementioned pilots unions had told their members to opt for pat downs rather than the full-body scanners, many pilots — just like many passengers — have complained about the invasive nature of the TSA’s recently “enhanced” hands-on searches.
Last month, an ExpressJet pilot refused to submit to either the scanner or the pat-down and was refused entry at the airport.
As for why the TSA has ramped up the number of full-body scanners and instituted the new pat-down procedures, Pistole told GMA that previous undercover tests by the TSA and other agencies showed that the existing system was too easy to beat. “We have not been thorough enough,” he said. “We’re doing all this for the traveling public.”