TSA Chief: No Second Thoughts About Security Measures

By Kate McCarthy

Nov 19, 2010 10:17am

Cries of outrage from the public, threats to opt-out of full body scanners and people are suing – but the head of the Transportation Security Administration said he had no second thoughts about the level of security at airports.

“Obviously we know the threats are real so that’s what we are trying to deal with here, to keep it in context,” John Pistole told me on “GMA.” “The reason we are doing these types of pat downs and using the advanced imagery technology is trying to take the latest intelligence and how we know al Qaeda and affiliates want to hurt us, they want to bring down whether it is passenger air craft or cargo aircraft.”

Next Wednesday – one of the busiest travel days of the year – some airline passengers are threatening to opt-out of the full body scanners to protest the scanners and full body pat downs they say are too invasive.

Pistole defended the measures saying the TSA is trying to balance the public’s concerns with the intelligence information about potential threats. He said the scanners do not store images and TSA employees offer private screenings for passengers who request them.
But what about rolling out common sense screening standards for both passengers and pilots? After all, if a pilot wanted to bring down a plane he wouldn’t need to smuggle a device onboard.

“That is exactly right George. We have had a number of very good discussions with pilots and hope to be announcing something here quite soon in terms of a good way forward for the pilots for that very reason, using a risk based intelligence driven process,” he said.

The head of the TSA acknowledged the public debate about the level of security and even welcomed it.  But said “in the final analysis it comes down to the men and women of the TSA who are there, again, to protect everybody from having somebody get on that flight with explosives.”

Watch my interview with Pistole here and weigh in below: 

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