TSA Administrator John Pistole was back on Capitol Hill Wednesday to discuss aviation security in a hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee. As was the case during a hearing Tuesday before a separate Senate committee, lawmakers remain concerned over the status of international air cargo screening and TSA's increased use of Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) equipment and enhanced pat-down procedures. During Wednesday's hearing, senators also raised concerns about proposed changes to the existing background screening process for aviation workers and the prospect of collective bargaining rights for TSA employees.
The vast majority of the discussion centered on passenger experiences at screening checkpoints with the additional utilization of AIT equipment and TSA's enhanced pat-down procedures. Growing public concern - including an announced pre-Thanksgiving boycott of AIT machines - was evident during today's hearing, with senators in attendance offering a more direct challenge to TSA to address privacy and health-related questions and concerns. Lawmakers also pressed Administrator Pistole for a better understanding of whom exactly will be subject to pat-downs and under what circumstances.
AAAE legislative members may view the full hearing report online at http://www.aaae.org/federal_affairs/airport_legislative_alliance/hearing_reports/.