Video: Pilots can bypass pat-downs, TSA says

  1. Closed captioning of: Pilots can bypass pat-downs, TSA says

    >>> good evening. as we head into the last weekend before thanksgiving, the holiday travel season is officially upon us now. that means millions of americans traveling by air and a whole lot of them will encounter the new much more aggressive airport security methods for the first time. an increasing number of americans are pushing back against attempts to pat them down or scan their bodies right through their clothes. some airports have found alternatives to the tsa. an increasing number of people are wondering if there isn't a better way and are saying they shouldn't have to go through it. that includes some airline pilots who argue they're in a different category. we want to begin tonight with our own pete williams at reagan national airport tonight. pete, good evening.

    >> reporter: that argument by pilots has prevailed because the rules are changing for them starting early next year. they will no longer be required to go through the full body scanners or the new more intrusive patdowns. they'll still have to go through the metal detectors , but these are the first changes and tsa says more they be coming. the new rules were just what pilots like ann po of south florida were hoping for. she stopped flying for continental two weeks ago and sued tsa over the full body scanners.

    >> it's just not right. i don't believe under any condition to be sexually molesting people and that's what i consider the aggressive patdown they're doing.

    >> reporter: know 80% of respondents say they do not object to the full body scanners, the internet is buzzing with calls for boycotts, some even set to usic.

    >> reporter: they're fodder, too, for late night talk.

    >> we have president bush on the program tonight, so everybody gets patted down.

    >> even you? this is your show.

    >> makes no sense at all.

    >> tell me about it.

    >> reporter: a long-time republican critic of the tsa, congressman john micah of florida, is urging airports to switch to private screeners. one florida airport plans to make that change in january. the tsa administrator says while the new procedures are intrusive, they're necessary to close gaps in air security that the government's own tests showed were letting too much slip through.

    >> these covert testers, undercover agents if you will, were able to get through our security for several reasons, but one of the common denominators was the lack of a thorough patdown.

    >> reporter: more lawsuits are coming from passengers who claim the new rules are unconstitutional, violating the fourth amendment's ban on unreasonable searches.

    >> in the past, there must be some reasonable suspicion that they're involved in some kind of criminal activity.

    >> reporter: courts have generally approved airport security methods, finding they're justified by the need to maintain security. and some legal scholars believe the new regime is likely to be upheld, too.

    >> that doesn't mean the judges give a blank check to the government, but it means they're cautious about stepping in and overturning a regulation that the executive branch thinks is necessary.

    >> reporter: for now, tsa is considering changes to the full body scanners that should show only an outline of a passenger's body, flagging hidden objects.

    >> sit a general image and the only display shown are the boxes which indicate potential threats found on the body.

    >> reporter: tonight, tsa says now that it's planning to xempblts pilots, it's starting to talk about whether it should do the same thing for flight attendants .

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