John Pistole, administrator of the Transportation Security Administration, said he hears the mounting criticism of his agency’s new and aggressive pat downs and full body scans, and even admits he doesn’t like them. But today, he told federal lawmakers the flying public will have to get used to them — and that the policy won’t change. In the end, fighting terrorism is more important, he said.
Pistole’s comments came during questioning from Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), who asked whether he was sensitive to the growing concern over the scanners — which generate anatomically detailed images of passengers — and the new pat downs, in which TSA agents have been accused of placing their hands on passengers’ private parts. Many of the complaints have come from women. "Does that worry you that maybe we’re at a point where this is not a vocal minority, that maybe we have overstepped?" Dorgan asked. "Yes, I’m concerned about that ... but, no I’m not going to change the policy," Pistole said, noting that the threat of terror is real.
The pat downs are given to passengers who set off metal detectors and to those who opt out of scanning. Those who opt for the pat downs are entitled to ask to have it done in a private place, authorities have said.