TSA chief: Be scanned or be grounded

Nov. 16, 2010 at 11:28 PM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Anyone who wants to fly must submit to a full-body scan or a thorough pat-down, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration head said Tuesday.

TSA Administrator John Pistole told the Senate Homeland Security committee he wants passengers to become "partners" in the work of securing airports and airplanes, The Washington Post reported. He said the agency hopes to be "sensitive to people's feelings about privacy."

But he said those with religious objections to security searches will not get a pass.

"While we respect that person's beliefs, that person's not going to get on an airplane."

The government said Monday it has begun an investigation of the California man who refused to go through a full body scan at the airport in San Diego and posted his encounter with airport security on the Internet. John Tyner, 31, of Oceanside, was singled out Saturday at Lindbergh Field for a full-body scan but opted out because he thought it was invasive, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Tyner was told he would have to go through a body search and told the TSA agent, "You touch my junk and I'm going to have you arrested." He then said the search procedure was like a "sexual assault," the Union-Tribune reported.

Tyner recorded the half-hour long incident on his cellphone and later put it on his personal blog, along with his account of the occurrence. The blog attracted hundreds of thousands of readers and thousands of comments.

The chief of San Diego's TSA office, Michael J. Aguilar, announced the investigation, saying it could lead to Tyner's prosecution and civil fines of up to $11,000.

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