Airports Can Opt Out Of TSA Screening? Maybe Not

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Wednesday, news broke that Congressman John Mica had on Nov. 5 sent a letter to more than 150 airport managers suggesting they adopt private security -- but that would not remove the TSA from the equation. Mica appears headed to chair the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Thanks to an older law he helped write, airports can opt not to use the TSA for security screening, but, according to a report in the Orlando Sentinel, the airports would have to use the TSA to hire, oversee and pay the "private" screeners. This week, a San Diego man made national headlines when he refused both the pat-down or to subject himself to the TSA's full-body scanner. He was escorted to an exit and then told that if he left without submitting to the screening he would be sued. American Airlines pilots have heard a request from their union to opt out of full-body scans, and AVweb's Glenn Pew sat down for an interview with an ExpressJet Airlines pilot whose decision to opt out of the screening may cost him his job. Click here to listen.

Mica's attention to the TSA was well-documented in May, when he sent a letter to Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, and said the "TSA is a bureaucratic nightmare;" the average salary at TSA headquarters "is over $105,000;" and it's "an agency teetering on the verge of disaster." His latest letter doesn't go that far, but members of the flying public, individual pilots, grass-roots groups and at least one pilot union have so far all demonstrated some displeasure for the TSA's practices.