Pilot Refuses Naked Body Scanner & ‘Pat Down’

One pilot’s revolt: Today’s security theater update
Pilot Refuses Naked Body Scanner & ‘Pat Down’from cnn: A pilot who refused to submit to a full-body scan or the alternative pat down going through airport security said the procedures violate his rights. Michael Roberts, a pilot for ExpressJet Airlines, refused a full-body scan last week at a Transportation Security Administration check point at Memphis International Airport in Memphis, Tennessee.

Opting out of scanning is permitted, but those who opt out must receive an enhanced pat down from a TSA employee. “Pat down is misleading,” Roberts said. “They concentrate on the area between … the upper thighs and torso, and they’re not just patting people’s arms and legs, they’re grabbing and groping and prodding pretty aggressively.”

Roberts said TSA security measures are ineffective, and cited concerns for his rights and privacy in refusing the procedures. “I was trying to avoid this assault on my person, and I’m not willing to have images of my nude body produced for some stranger in another room to look at either,” Roberts told CNN. The TSA said in a statement that “security is not optional” and any person who refuses security screening is not allowed to fly.

TSA’s responsibility is to keep the traveling public safe and we use an unpredictable variety of security techniques to carry out this mission,” the statement said. “Crew members have access to sensitive areas of both airports and airplanes, making it necessary for all crew members to be subject to multiple layers of security.”

Roberts, who has worked for ExpressJet for more than four years, said this was the first time he was asked to use the body scanners.

The scanners are in use in 58 airports, with more units being deployed to additional airports this year, according to the TSA website.

The TSA said strict privacy protection measures are in place. Officers screening passengers in line cannot see the images, and the TSA screeners who view the images do not see the passengers.

The image cannot be stored, transmitted or printed, and is deleted immediately once viewed. Additionally, there is a privacy algorithm applied to blur the image,” according to TSA’s website.

Roberts said he is unclear about whether his actions at the checkpoint will cost him his job.

ExpressJet Airlines, which provides regional service for Continental and United airlines as well as corporate flights, has not responded to calls for comment. According to CNN affiliate WMC-TV, Roberts currently is not working and will seek legal advice.

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4 responses to “Pilot Refuses Naked Body Scanner & ‘Pat Down’”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    I don't understand what is the issue, we the passenger have to do it. He and all other employees have access to secure areas he must be checked. The question remains why is he making a stink. does he have something to hide or was he stealing and now he cannot. I don't know and I don't care. The U.S. and specially after 911, we demand security and safety and scanning EVERYONE men, women, and children should be made MANDATORY. IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT DRIVE TO YOUR DESTINATION OR DON'T GO AT ALL.

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    Ok. I have several takes on this..
    1. while I agree, that the TSA is in place to keep things safe for all of us who fly, there has to be a limit. on what we do. Are we to bend over and say "ok" when they skirt around 4th amendment protections that protect us from unreasonable searches. I believe that this is AKIN, but not exact to a strip search, which is ILLEGAL unless you have probable cause. so because we are ALL flying does that justify probable cause?

    2. its an inconveinance yes, but how effective is it REALLY in the long run. W've been using gunpoweder detectors, metal detectors, and wand sweeps and pat downs, which work just fine.

    3. What about those with pacemakers, or cochelar implants, or any other type of medically required objects, how safe are the screenings for these folks. Certainly if I had a Cath bag or a feeding tube I wouldnt want the world knowing it. where does the invasion of privacy stop. We had an EXPECTATION of privacy prior to 9/11, and while 9/11 was a major turning point for us we still should have a REASONABLE EXPECTATION TO PRIVACY. the US CONSTITUTION provides that!!

    I HAVE challenged the TSA myself before, because I would not remove my hearing aid for them.. thats a PERSONAL BODY PART for me, so I would be offended myself. Do I believe the TSA serves its purpose.. YES.. but are we going overboard because we have allowed our paranoia and fears be exploited.. ABSOLUTELY!!

  3. Cynthia Redmond Avatar
    Cynthia Redmond

    I'm simply appalled that this is being allowed in this country. Especially in light of the fact that there are many other, more reasonable ways to administer safety measures. They were working on a system that would allow known safe folks (with background checks, etc.) to carry a card but that went by the wayside and this has taken it's place.

    As for the commenter who doesn't understand what the issue is, they are obviously not privy to the roots of our country or the amendments in our Constitution. This is no longer the America I grew up in and it makes me sick.

    Much of what is happening (terrorism) is not real at all. Look at the facts folks. It's a lot about fear and control and little about real terrorists.

    The result: Obeyme and Socialism.

  4. […] #3: Pilot Refuses Naked Body Scanner & ‘Pat Down’ Flashback: Body Scanners Can Store & Send Images, Group […]

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