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In Depth with Francis Rose features daily interviews with top government executives and contractors. Listen live from 4 to 7 p.m. or download his archived interviews on our daily show blogs.
TSA Administrator John Pistole: scanner protests just hold up others
Tuesday - 11/23/2010, 4:48pm EST
"Transportation Security Administration chief John Pistole pleaded with Thanksgiving travelers for understanding and urged them not to boycott full-body scans on Wednesday. It would only snarl what is already one of the busiest, most stressful flying days of the and would only 'tie up people who want to go home and see their loved ones,' he said.
"He noted the alleged attempt by a Nigerian with explosives in his underwear to bring down a plane over Detroit last Christmas.
"A loosely organized Internet campaign is urging people to refuse the scans on Wednesday in what is being called National Opt-Out Day. The extra time needed to pat down people could cause a cascade of delays at dozens of major airports, including those in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta.
"More than 400 imaging units are being used at about 70 airports. Since the new procedures began Nov. 1, 34 million travelers have gone through checkpoints and less than 3 percent are patted down, according to the TSA.
"Ricky D. McCoy, a TSA screener and president of a union local in Illinois and Wisconsin, said the atmosphere has changed in the past two weeks for officers in his region. Since word of the pat-downs hit the headlines, officers have been punched, pushed or shoved six times after they explained what would be happening, McCoy said."
Last week Mr. Pistole testified at a hearing of the Senate Commerce Committee about what his agency is doing about the screenings, and about screenings for cargo. I played highlights of that hearing on the show today.
Click play to watch the entire hearing: